Feast day: January 12
Saint Caesaria the Elder was the first abbess of a monastery for women established by her brother, Saint Caesarius, Bishop of Arles, in 512. This monastery was built just outside the walls of the city of Arles, France, and remained there until the French Revolution. It became very popular, especially with women who had been widowed and soon expanded to include hundreds of sisters.
Saint Caesaria and her sisters exhibited great devotion and care for the poor by washing and mending their clothing. They also did fine needlework and were renowned for their beautiful copy work, especially of the Bible.
Saint Caesaria the Elder carried out her ministry until she passed on to her heavenly reward about 525 or 530. Around 525, her niece, Saint Caesaria the Younger, was appointed abbess by her uncle, Saint Caesarius. In later years, Saint Caesarius revised the “Rule for Nuns” he had originally written for the monastery, and allowed the sisters to elect the abbess of their choice.
(Image by Friesach_-_Dominikanerkirche_-_Hochaltar_-_Hl_Agnes_von_Montepulciano.jpg: Neithan90derivative work: Eugenio Hansen, OFS, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)