Saint Paula was, according to an inscription on her tomb, "the first of Roman dames." She was a 4th-century descendant of the Second Founder of Rome with a senator husband said to come from Agamemnon.
After he died, when she was in her 30s, she toured the world's holy sites and nobly gave up a noblewoman's life. In Bethlehem, she became disciple to and patron of the great ascetic and scholar Saint Jerome: they founded twin monasteries together, one for Paula and her nuns and one for Jerome and his monks.
"I must mortify that body which has been given up to many pleasures," she told her fellow saint. "I must make up for my long laughter by constant weeping."