St Lawrence is thought to have been born in Spain, at Huesca, a town in theAragon region near the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. As a youth he was sent to Zaragoza to complete his humanistic and theologicalstudies where he encountered the future Pope Sixtus II. Eventually, both leftSpain for Rome.
When Sixtus became the Pope in 257, he ordained St Lawrence as a one of the7 deacons of Rome. Saint Lawrence was known as an “Archdeacon of Rome“, a position of greattrust that included the care of the treasury and riches of the church and thedistribution of alms among the poor.
A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times around the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for thematerial goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor.
St. Ambrose of Milan relates that when St. Lawrence was asked for thetreasures of the Church he brought forward the poor, among whom he haddivided the treasure as alms.
“Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the church’s crown.”