A letter that St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout 4th century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its superior until her death about 383. Since his correspondent was acquainted with the details of St. Lea’s life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died.
“Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adoring her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues that she practiced on earth.
Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer.”
PRAYER: Lord, amid the things of this world, let us wholeheartedly be committed to heavenly things in imitation of the example of evangelical perfection You have given us in St. Lea. Amen.