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February 8

Saint of the day:

Saint Jerome Emiliani

Patron Saint of Orphans & Abandoned Children

Saint Jerome Emiliani’s Story

Born wealthy, the son of Angelo and Eleanor Mauroceni Emiliani. His father died when Jerome was a teenager, and he ran away from home at age 15. After a dissolute youth, he became a soldier in Venice, Italy in 1506. Commanded the League of Cambrai forces at the fortress of Castelnuovo in the mountains near Treviso, Italy. Captured by Venetian forces on 27 August 1511, he was chained in a dungeon. He prayed to Our Lady for help, was miraculously freed by an apparition, and hung his chains on a church wall as an offering. Mayor of Treviso while studying for the priesthood. Ordained in the spotted-fever plague year of 1518.


Cared for the sick, and housed orphans in his own home. At night he roamed the streets, burying those who had collapsed and died unattended. Jerome contracted the fever himself, but survived. Founded six orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes, and a hospital. Founded the Order of Somaschi (Company of Servants of the Poor, or Somascan Fathers, or Regular Clergy of Somasca) c.1532, a congregation of clerks regular vowed to the care of orphans, and named after the town of Somasca where they started, and where they founded a seminary; the society was given approval by Pope Paul III in 1540, and continue their work today in a dozen countries. Believed to have developed the question-and-answer catechism technique for teaching children religion. Declared the patron of orphans and abandoned children in 1928 by Pope Pius XI.






Santuario di San Girolamo Emiliani

(Sanctuary of Saint Jerome Emiliani)

Via alla Basilica 1

23808 Vercurago, Italy

*This church honors the memory of St Jerome Emiliani.

It was here in this city that he founded the Somascan Fathers with the primary mission of caring for orphans.

During his feast on February 8th the Somascan Fathers present to the faithful an urn containing his skull.

His bones rest behind a grate placed upon a wall within the chapel dedicated to him on the right side of the nave.

*The spot where St Jerome Emiliani died is preserved within a small chapel located just a short walk from the church.

Also of note is the small sanctuary called the Valletta located along a path that rises above this town.

Further along this same path is an abandoned fortress called the Rocca dell’Innominato which

provides an amazing view of both the Southern Alps and of Italy’s northern lakes.



Their menus reads a lot like my southern roots, yummy!

Seafood and grits! Fried Soft shelled carbs, Squid….



  • 2 ripe peaches, seeded and diced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 bottle chilled



  1. Place the peaches, lemon juice, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth.

  2. Press the mixture through a sieve and discard the peach solids in the sieve.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons of the peach puree into each Champagne glass and fill with cold prosecco. Serve immediately.

  4. Top with a raspberry or peach slice ...yummmmmy!




Risi i Bisi (Rice and Fresh Peas)

One of the most famous and ancient regional specialties of Venice, Risi i Bisi is offered in most Venetian restaurants and homes.  This simple and tasty dish is a unique combination of soup and thick risotto made of fresh peas and risotto (rice) and cooked with chunks of pancetta (thick Italian bacon). 

Rice is a mainstay on Venetian menus and arrived on the scene from Arabia as a result of the strong maritime merchant position of Venice.  Rice dominates Venetian cuisine, but is served differently than in other regions of Italy.  Never eaten alone, rice is always cooked and served with other ingredients, such as fish and shellfish, sausage, beans, and more. 

Risi i Bisi (Rice and Fresh Peas)



  • 1 pound bag frozen peas

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons onion, chopped

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 cup Arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated


  1. In a soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.

  2. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes lightly golden.

  3. In a separate pot, heat the stock until it reaches a simmer.

  4. Once the onion is ready, add 3 cups of the simmering stock,
    the rice, the bag of frozen peas, and a good pinch of salt.

  5. Cover the pot and and cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, 
    until the rice is just tender.

  6. If the rice is too thick, thin it slightly with the remaining stock; it should be thick but not porridge.

  7. When the rice is ready, add the grated Parmesan and taste for salt. Serve.

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