Lives of Saints in Medieval Europe.

Essay by NatsukoCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

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In the lives of Saints Macrina, Perpetua and Godelieve faith in Christ and the Christian Church played an important role. St. Macrina founded a religious women's group with her mother in the 4th century AD. St. Perpetua gave her life happily in the name of faith during the anti-Christian 3rd century AD in Carthaginian amphitheatre. And St. Godelieve lived in an abusive marriage ever praying to God wishing her husband health and never speaking an ill word against him until she was murdered by the man in the 11th century AD. Another important aspect in the lives of these courageous women is the role their families played and how they supported (or did not support) them. In each woman's life their parents, siblings or husbands helped to shape their individual destinies.

St. Macrina the Younger came from a family of saints; her grandmother on her father's side was St. Macrina the Elder, her grandmother on her mother's side was a martyr for the Church, her parents were St.

Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia and two of her brothers were saints, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa. It's highly likely that growing up in a family with such a firm base in the Christian world affected Macrina in a way that would help to affirm her faith throughout her life. Her brother Gregory thought the world of her and made it known. "...having raised herself to the highest peak of human virtue through philosophy, [Macrina] should not be passed over in silence and her life rendered ineffective" (St. Macrina, 77). St. Basil the Great respects his sister so much that she is credited with his decision to turn to an ascetic and monastic life.

The relationship between St. Macrina and her mother St. Emmelia illustrates...