ST. MACRINA THE ELDER
Feast: January 14
Patron of widows; invoked against poverty
Grandmother of Sts. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa. She was trained in the faith by St. Gregory Thaumaturgis. During the persecution instituted by Emperor Diocletian, Macrina and her husband had to flee Neocaesarea, in Pontus. They lived on the shores of the Black Sea.
This lady was the grandmother of saints, the most notable being the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. It was Macrina and her husband who founded the faith of the family and passed it on as a splendid treasure to her children and grandchildren. That faith was born of suffering and persecution.
St. Macrina the elder was a native of Cappadocia, in what is now eastern Turkey. It was here that the great apostle of Cappadocia, St. Gregory the Wonderworker, established the faith around the year 250. When he arrived in the territory, it was said, there were only seventeen Christians in the town of Neo-Caesarea; when he died in 268, there were only seventeen pagans.
Macrina was born about the time of Gregory's death, and it was the faith of this ardent apostle that became the way of life for her family. Early in the next century, during the persecution of the Emperor Galerius, Macrina and her husband were forced to leave their home and to live in the wooded hills of Pontus for seven years, during which they suffered much. They were often without food. Later, during another persecution, their property was seized by agents of the emperor, and they lived in almost total destitution. When the persecution ended, they were honored as confessors of the faith, a much revered title among the Christians of that time.
It was at his grandmother's knee that Basil received his first instructions in the Christian faith, and it was from her that he and his family were nourished in that Christian discipline that made them saints. Macrina was known to have treasured and read the writings of Gregory the Wonderworker, and it was the fire and zeal of his writings that was passed on to Basil and his brother.
The exact date of Macrina's death is not known. She is revered as a saint in the calendars of both the Eastern and Western Churches.
Thought for the Day: Many saints have become saints because of the teaching and example of a parent or grandparent. Thus, the power of a living example. Holiness and Christian living are taught chiefly by personal influence, and it is the living instruction that flows from a holy life that leads others to holiness. As the old Latin maxim has it: Verbum sonat; exemplum tonat ("Words make a noise, but example thunders").
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves."—Matthew 10:16
Taken from "The One Year Book of Saints" by Rev. Clifford Stevens published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750.