Antigonus, the father of this saint, was a nobleman of the first rank and quality in the court of Theodosius the younger, nearly allied in blood to that emperor, and honored by him with several great employments in the state. He was married to Euphrasia, a lady no less illustrious for her birth and virtue, by whom he had one only daughter and heiress, called also Euphrasia, the saint of whom we treat.
After her birth, her pious parents, by mutual consent, engaged themselves by vow, to pass the remainder of their lives in perpetual continence, that they might more perfectly aspire to the invisible joys of the life to come, and from that time they lived together as brother and sister, in the exercises of devotion, alms-deeds, and penance. Antigonus died within a year, and the holy widow, to shun the importunate addresses of young suitors for marriage, and the distraction of friends, not long after withdrew privately, with her little daughter, into Egypt, where she was possessed of a very large estate. In that country she fixed her abode near a holy monastery of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never used any other food than herbs and pulse, which they took only after sunset, and some only once in two or three days; they wore and slept on sackcloth, wrought with their hands, and prayed almost without interruption. Continue reading