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St. Ambrose

Born in Germany, Ambrose was brought to Rome after the death of his father, who had been praetorian prefect of Gaul. Raised by his pious mother and his devout older sister Marcellina, who became a consecrated virgin, Ambrose a brilliant student, became a lawyer and was appointed as governor of Liguria and Aemilia. Making his capital in Milan, Ambrose won the devotion of the people. Tumult ensued when the bishop of Milan died and as Ambrose was trying to prevent conflict, the people spontaneously proclaimed him bishop. Although he tried to refuse the honor, he accepted in obedience to the Emperor. This put Ambrose in an unusual position for like many Christians in his day, he had deferred baptism out of reverence for the sacrament; he was baptized, and after receiving holy orders was consecrated bishop on December 7, 374. Ambrose immediately devoted himself to theological studies and became known for his austere life, brilliant sermons, and care of the poor. He combated the Arian heresy, especially with his writing, and defended the Church against attempts of control by secular authority. His friendship helped bring Augustine of Hippo back to the faith. Ambrose died April 4, 397. He is a Doctor of the Church and his feast is celebrated on December 7.

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