The Power of St. Ambrose’s Milan

Some surprising conversion stories started in Milan, as I explain in a piece for the Dec. 7 feast at the Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine:

Name the saint who was not Catholic until a visit to Italy inspired a conversion and a new life dedicated to Catholic education.

Right answers include St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Henry Newman, and St. Augustine of Hippo — and they all have the same person to thank: St. Ambrose.

In the middle of the preparations for Christmas, there are a lot of great feast days — St. Nicholas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Juan Diego, St. Lucy … and St. Ambrose. He may not be the one we think of first, but his achievements have given us more than we know.

That is how my article “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Witness of the ‘Church of Ambrose,” begins. Here are some of the surprising quotations that bear this out.

“To Milan I came, to Ambrose the Bishop,” wrote St. Augustine, in explaining what finally brought him into the Church.

“In the city of St. Ambrose,” St. John Henry Newman wrote, “one understands the Church of God more than in most other places.”

“I assure you my becoming Catholic was a very simple consequence of going to a Catholic country,” wrote St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, describing her time in the nearby coastal city of Livorno, Italy.

Read the whole thing here.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.