Chances are, students hear the name “Saint Ambrose” every day, but few know about the man behind the name.
A new part of St. Ambrose University has been hard at work researching information on our patron saint since 2009. It is known as the Academy for the Study of St. Ambrose of Milan. Fr. “Bud” Grant is the director of the academy and helps to broaden the knowledge and history of St. Ambrose.
“We are the only Catholic university in the world to be named after St. Ambrose of Milan,” Grant said. “It is our duty to research and preserve the work of our patron saint.”
Since 2010, the university has been hosting events on behalf of the academy as well as arranging for trips to Milan, Italy. Guests in the fields of philosophy and theology who had knowledge of St. Ambrose take part in lectures on behalf of SAU.
“Last year we had the prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, Cesare Pasini, lecture at the university,” Grant said.
This year, the academy will be inviting a special guest to discuss and lecture on the works of St. Ambrose of Milan. Francesco Braschi, a priest from the diocese of Milan, Italy. He has studied at the Catholic Seminary of Milan Diocese and earned a degree in Catholic theology. He has also studied in Rome at the Augustinianum Institute, earning a license and diploma of theology for his work on St. Ambrose’s “De obitu Theodosii.” He has taught classes, given lectures and papers on the Catholic faith, especially with a focus on St. Ambrose. When he comes to SAU in the beginning of March, Francesco Braschi will be giving a lecture on the early beginnings of Ambrose and his tale of becoming the bishop of Milan.
“Before becoming the Bishop of Milan he was the prefect of Milan,” Grant said. “The governor, in a way. He ran about one-in-thiry-seconds (1/32) of the Roman Empire during his time. During the time, the previous bishop of Milan had died and Ambrose was working on keeping the peace. He was called on to become the new bishop. He refused at first, but eventually decided to become the new bishop of Milan.”
The popularity of St. Ambrose during the time of the Roman Empire was thanks to his education in literature and law. A legend on Ambrose’s childhood told of how a swarm of bees rested on his face while he was a baby. The bees did not sting him and instead left some honey. His father saw it as a sign that his son would posses a ‘honeyed tongue’, which means that Ambrose would be an incredible speaker as he got older. As such, bees and beehives have become a symbol for the saint, which also helps in giving SAU its own mascot.
This has only been a small part in the life of St. Ambrose of Milan. It helps to know of the history behind the saint our university is named after. Thanks to the efforts of many people, including members of the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan, to keep the knowledge and history of the patron saint alive.
It would help to keep the tradition alive with the upcoming events in store for SAU. Keep an eye out for the beginning of March as special guests of the academy will be arriving to the university.
In the words of Saint Ambrose, “A kindness received should be returned with a freer hand.”