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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

October 5

St. Galla, Widow

SHE was daughter to Symmachus the Younger, the great, the most learned and virtuous patrician of Rome, whom Theodoric unjustly and barbarously put to death. 1 From her cradle she gave herself fervently to the service of God, and being married very young, lost her husband before the end of the first year. She could have yet pleased the world, and was strongly solicited and courted by it, but her only desire in it was to please God alone; and trampling upon the world amidst its honours and riches, she considered herself as freed by her state of widowhood from its distractions. Out of devotion to the apostles she chose for her dwelling a little cottage or cell near their tombs on the Vatican hill, where she never interrupted her devotions but by other good works. The revenues of her great estates were made the patrimony of the poor; and, by her austerities, which reduced her body to a mere skeleton, she made herself a holocaust to penance. The prayers and spiritual instructions to the greatest saints and prelates who at that time adorned the Western church, were a tribute to her piety and fervour; which, among other means of her sanctification, she sought with great earnestness. The pious letters which St. Fulgentius wrote to her from the place of his banishment, are extant amongst his works. After a train of tedious distempers, she was afflicted during the last years of her life with a cancer in her breast. She suffered extreme pains with incredible patience and resignation, and by them finished the martyrdom of her penance about the middle of the sixth age. See St. Gregory, Dial. l. 4, c. 13; St. Fulgentius’s Letters, Baronius, Sirmond, &c.  1
Note 1. On his extraordinary virtue and erudition, see Priscian, præf. in l. de Ponderibus et Mensuris, Procopius, l. 1, Hist. Gothorum a Grotio versæ. Boetius de Consol. Philos. l. 2, prosa 4, &c. Papebrochius in Joanne papa 1. t. 6, Maij, p. 704. [back]