Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Eustochium, 3rd daughter of Paula
Eustochium, 3rd daughter of PAULA, the friend of Jerome, from whose writings all that is known of her is gathered. Born probably c. 370, she had shared from her earliest days the ascetic views of her mother, and was confirmed in them by frequenting the house of Marcella (Hieron. i. 952, ed. Vallarsi). Her uncle Hymettius, with his wife Praetextata (see Thierry's St. Jérôme, i. 161), endeavoured to wean her from these by inviting her to their house, changing her attire, and placing her among the mirrors and the flattery of a patrician reception-room (Hieron. i. 394, 683); but she resisted their seductions and took the vow of perpetual virginity, being the first Roman lady of noble birth to do so (i. 394). Jerome addressed to her his celebrated treatise de Virginitate Servandâ (i. 88), in which vivid pictures of Roman society enforce the superior sanctity of the state of virginity. This treatise excited great animosity against Jerome, and was one cause of his leaving Rome and returning to Palestine. Paula and Eustochium resolving to go there also, embarked in 385 at Portus. At Bethlehem they built and managed the hospice and convent, and from her mother's death in 404 Eustochium was its head till her own death in 418, two years before that of Jerome. Many passages in Jerome's writings give a picture of her character and manner of life. Small in stature (i. 290), she had great courage and decision of character (i. 394), and followed the ascetic teaching of Jerome and her mother with unwavering confidence and enthusiasm (i. 402, 403). She spoke Greek and Latin with equal facility, and learnt Hebrew to sing the Psalms in the original (i. 720). Jerome praises her skill in the training of virgins, whom she led in all acts of devotion (i. 290) and to whom she set an example by undertaking all menial offices (i. 403). She was eager to increase her knowledge of the Scriptures, and to her importunity Jerome ascribes the writing of many of his commentaries, which were dedicated to her and her mother, and afterwards to her and her niece the younger Paula, who, with the younger Melania, was her coadjutor in her convent work and her study of Scripture. She is reckoned a saint in the Roman church, her festival being Sept. 28.