Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Today is the memorial of St. Jerome. Here are fifteen fast facts about him.
1. St. Jerome is a Father and Doctor of the Church.
2. He was a brilliant scholar, monk, traveller, teacher, letter writer, and consultant to Popes and Bishops.
3. St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia (near Aquileia, north of Rome) around 340 to a wealthy Christian family.
4. At the age of 20, St. Jerome was sent to study in Rome, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek and developed a love for the classical writers.
5. He he acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to control his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home.
6. St. Jerome travelled throughout western Europe with a friend but that ceased when he had a conversion experience in Trier and decided to become a monk.
7. He joined a monastic community in Aquileia in 370, where he met some who would become his close friends and others his enemies.
8. When the monastic community disbanded, St. Jerome decided to go east and he lived for years in the the Syrian desert as a hermit.
9. He studied Hebrew, which he hated, but used it as a distraction against sexual temptations.
10. He was ordained a priest in Antioch and at the age of 40 went to Constantinople, where he met and befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus.
11. St. Jerome became the secretary of Pope Damasus, who commissioned the Vulgate from him, which took him 30 years to write.
12. His harsh temperament and his biting criticisms of his intellectual opponents made him many enemies in the Church and in Rome and he was forced to leave the city.
13. St. Jerome went to Bethlehem, established a monastery, and lived the rest of his years in study, prayer, and asceticism.
14. St. Jerome died at Bethlehem, September 30th, 420.
15. St. Jerome is the patron saint of archaeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, schoolchildren, students, and translators.