Ordinary Time: September 30th
Memorial of St. Jerome, priest and Doctor of the Church
Old Calendar: St. Jerome, Priest, Confessor, Doctor
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 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 with a lion. For some examples, see: St. Jerome in his Study by Joos Van Cleve and St. Jerome in His Study by Albrecht Dürer.