Saint Paula was a wealthy mother of five, four daughters and one son, at the age of 32 when her husband died. A close friendship with Saint Jerome helped Saint Paula cope with her grief and resulted in a newfound devotion to her God. To become closer to her faith, she willingly stripped herself of all earthly possessions. Shortly thereafter, her eldest child, her daughter Blesilla, passed away after an illness. Upon learning of Paula's second loss and new overwhelming grief, Saint Jerome wrote her a letter reminding her of the love of God. With new resolve, Saint Paula left her home and pilgrimaged with one of her other daughters to join Saint Jerome in Bethlehem where she remained until her death on 26 January 404.
For her strength in devoting herself to her Lord and God in the face of the sorrow of the loss of her husband, Saint Paula is known as the patron saint of widows.