A highly sensitive and imaginative child, she very early began to practise asceticism and see visions, and at the age of seven solemnly dedicated her virginity to Christ.
In his insistence on virginity as the specifically Christian virtue he set up the great theme of the church of the 4th and 5th centuries.
To this petition Ambrose replied in a letter to Valentinian, arguing that the devoted worshippers of idols had often been forsaken by their deities; that the native valour of the Roman soldiers had gained their victories, and not the pretended influence of pagan priests; that these idolatrous worshippers requested for themselves what they refused to Christians; that voluntary was more honourable than constrained virginity; that as the Christian ministers declined to receive temporal emoluments, they should also be denied to pagan priests; that it was absurd to suppose that God would inflict a famine upon the empire for neglecting to support a religious system contrary to His will as revealed in the Scriptures; that the whole process of nature encouraged innovations, and that all nations had permitted them, even in religion; that heathen sacrifices were offensive to Christians; and that it was the duty of a Christian prince to suppress pagan ceremonies.
To this category belong the tracts On Virginity and On Pilgrimages; as also the Canonical Epistle upon the rules of penance.
Great stress is laid upon virginity (although there is not a sign of monasticism), upon fasting (especially for the bishop), upon the regular attendance of the whole clerical body and the " more perfect " of the laity at the hours of prayer.