He treated victims of the bubonic plague (black death) in France.
The renowned prophet Michel de Nostradame was born on December 14, 1503 in St. Remy, Provence, France. He came from a long line of Jewish doctors and scholars.
His family had converted from Judaism to Christianity in 1502, as a result of persecution on the ascension of Louis XII. After a classical education he studied medicine, herbalism and astrology.
Growing up, Nostradamus spent much of his time learning languages, math, astronomy, and astrology from his grandfather, Jean. Later he attended the University at Avignon where he studied liberal arts. Afterwards, he graduated from the medical school at the University of Montpellier and began a private practice where he succeeded at treating bubonic plague victims in Montpellier and the surrounding areas.
During his lifetime the Black Death (today known as the bubonic plague) wiped out over a quarter of Europe.
Nostradamus can indisputably be said to have been ahead of his time, at least in terms of medical practice. His treatment of the bubonic plague involved removal of the infected corpses, fresh air and unpolluted water for the healthy, an herbal preparation rich in Vitamin C, and (in contravention of contemporary medical practice) not bleeding his patients.
Nostradamus was successful in lessening the impact of the bubonic plague in the capital of Provence, Aix. The grateful citizens gave him a stipend for life.
Around 1534 he married and began a family. Tragically, the bubonic plague, which he had been so successful in treating previously, took the lives of his wife and two children. (The names of his wife and children are not known)
Distraught and pursued by the Inquisition, Nostradamus packed his bags and traveled throughout Italy and France for the next six years.
He eventually settled down in the town of Salon, France in 1554 where he married his second wife, Anne Ponsart Gemelle, with whom he raised six children - three boys and three girls.
It was during this time that he began his career as a prophet. In 1555, at the age of 52, he wrote his first collection of Centuries - a set of 100 quatrains. Over the next several years he would complete a total of 10 Centuries. Nostradamus referred to the ten chapters of his famous book, The Centuries, as "centuries", although they have nothing to do with 100-year cycles. Each of the centuries (or chapters) contain 100 prophetic quatrains, except for Century VII, which has 42, for a total of 942 prophecies.
Nostradamus had the visions which he later recorded in verse while staring into water or flame late at night, sometimes aided by herbal stimulants, while sitting on a brass tripod. The resulting quatrains (four line verses) are oblique and elliptical, and use puns, anagrams and allegorical imagery.
Most of the quatrains are open to multiple interpretations, and some make no sense whatsoever. Some of them are chilling, literal descriptions of events, giving specific or near-specific names, geographic locations, astrological configurations, and sometimes actual dates. It is this quality of both vagueness and specificity which allows each new generation to reinterpret his work.
In 1564 Nostradamus was appointed Royal Physician to King Charles IX.
Source: This biography on Nostradamus has been assembled from various Internet web sites.