St. Ambrose – December 7

Born around 340, Saint Ambrose served as the bishop of Milan from 374 to 397.  He is one of the four Great Latin Doctors of the Church, and is perhaps most famous for his role in the conversion of Saint Augustine.

Ambrose descended from an ancient and powerful Roman family, was educated by his mother and his sister after his father’s death  He soon became well versed in Greek learning and philosophy, and studied law before being appointed governor of Milan by the Emperor.

He was a catechumen preparing for baptism when the bishop of Milan died in 374. A chaotic crowd formed outside the cathedral to elect a bishop, and Ambrose, who had gone out to the crowd to quieten them down, was unanimously acclaimed bishop of Milan after a child cried out “Ambrose for bishop! Ambrose for bishop!”

He was thus baptized, confirmed, ordained a deacon, a priest, and then a bishop all on the same day. Ambrose was famous for his sermons and his teaching, especially on the sacraments, and it was his sublime preaching and holiness that captured the attention of the young Saint Augustine.

He died April 4, 397, in Milan.


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