Nearly all of what we know of Saint Lea of Rome comes from the testimony of Saint Jerome whom she counted as a close and dear friend. Saint Lea was a very wealthy citizen of Rome who suddenly found herself widowed when her husband died. She inherited his wealth and could have spent her days that remained on earth enjoying the wealth and social status but instead joined a convent of consecrated virgins inside Rome. She gave away all of her wealth to support the poor and convent . While working on a translation and commentary of Psalm 73 with Saint Jerome she tragically died.
Saint Jerome praised her for her penances, austerity and obedience. He wrote to wrote a preserved letter to Saint Marcella shortly after Saint Lea's death, praising her and referring to Saint Lea as a woman truly worthy of heaven. Here are some of the excerpts:
Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth.
We must not allow … money to weigh us down, or lean upon the staff of worldly power. We must not seek to possess both Christ and the world. No; things eternal must take the place of things transitory; and since, physically speaking, we daily anticipate death, if we wish for immortality we must realize that we are but mortal