Ordinary Time: September 30th
Memorial of St. Jerome, priest and Doctor of the Church
Other Commemorations: St. Francis Borgia, Priest (RM)
Born in Dalmatia of a Christian, Jerome (345-420) was baptized in Rome, while taking his classical courses. He then studied under the best masters in foreign cities. But the Church had need of this extraordinarily gifted man. Jerome heard and obeyed the divine call, made a vow of celibacy, and withdrew for four years to a hermitage in the Syrian desert. The Holy Father soon summoned Jerome to Rome and entrusted him with the enormous task of revising the Latin Bible. This work, which took 30 years to complete, is the Vulgate version of the Scriptures. He also wrote many other works, mostly commentaries on the books of the Bible.
One of the greatest Biblical scholars of Christendom, Saint Jerome was born of Christian parents at Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 345. Educated at the local school, he then studied rhetoric in Rome for eight years, before returning to Aquilea to set up a community of ascetics. When that community broke up after three years Jerome went to the east. He met an old hermit named Malchus, who inspired the saint to live in a bare cell, dressed in sackcloth, studying the Scriptures.
- Jerome had a violent temper and was very strong-willed. He made a lot of enemies because of his temperament. To overcome these faults, he prayed and did penance. His canonization shows us that canonized saints aren't perfect, but have faults just like us. They just worked on them and cooperated with grace more fully to overcome them. What faults do we have that we need to work more diligently on overcoming?
- St. Jerome was a wonderful spiritual director, especially for women. It is important to have a spiritual director to grow in the spiritual life. Find out what a director can do for you, and make some arrangements for one.
- The Bible was of utmost importance in Jerome's life and should be in ours. Make a point to read the Bible daily. Jerome was known to say that ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
- Two books for children (out of print) on St. Jerome: St. Jerome and the Lion by Rumer Godden and St. Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges both give the story of St. Jerome curing a lion and the lion befriending him. There is also a St. Jerome and the Lion coloring book back in print.
- Read more about the symbolism in certain art depicting St. Jerome. There are multiple works depicting St. Jerome in his study and St. Jerome with a lion, and most famous is the unfinished work by Leonardo da Vinci. For some examples of St. Jerome in his Study, see:
- Joos Van Cleve,
- Albrecht Dürer.
- Antonello da Messina
- Pieter Coecke van Aelst, the elder
- Vincenzo Catena
- Jan Van Eyck
- Domenico Ghirlandaio
- Joos Van Cleve,
- There is also a multiple panel depiction St. Jerome's life.
St. Francis Borgia
Francis Borgia, viscount of Catalonia and third general of the Jesuits, was born in 1510. On his father's side he was a great-grandchild of Pope Alexander VI; on his mother's side he was the great-grandchild of a son of Ferdinand the Catholic. His holy life atoned for the sins of his ancestors.
- Although Francis lived a holy life, he was deeply moved and changed his life even more profoundly after seeing the corpse of the young and once beautiful Empress Isabella — it was totally disfigured and unrecognizable. This made him realize the transcience of life and the worthlessness of riches. We should follow his example and meditate on this.
- Learn more about the infamous Borgia family tree.
- See the statue of St. Francis Borgia in St. Peter's Basilica Colonnade.
- Read more about St. Francis at New Advent, Catholic Harbor and Ignatian Spirituality.