“A false interpretation of Scripture causes that the gospel of the Lord becomes the gospel of man, or, which is worse, of the devil.”
Born: A.D. March 27, 347
Died: A.D. September 30, 420
Feast Day: September 30
Patron of archaeologists, biblical scholars, librarians, students, and translators
Saint Jerome was a lot of things — insanely smart, hot-headed, disciplined, book-ish, intense — but “easy to hang out with” probably was not in his top ten. Jerome dedicated his life to his studies and while his brains got him into a lot of trouble, his love for God and contributions to the Catholic faith also changed the world forever.
Jerome was born in Dalmatia and moved to Rome and Germany for his studies. Considered by St. Augustine and many others to be one of the (if not the) smartest saints in the entire communion of saints, he was a very learned man, the finest of Scripture scholars, and a master of Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldaic languages. He served as the private secretary for the pope and translated the entire Bible into Latin (called the “Vulgate”). Jerome’s writings helped shape the Christian world and forever changed the Church, which is why he earned the title of Doctor of the Church. A well-traveled man, Jerome was constantly looking for ways to learn and grow in holiness.
Jerome spent five years in the desert, praying, studying, and offering penance. He then moved on to Bethlehem, where it is said he lived in the cave where Christ was born. He eventually died there, and his remains can be found in the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome.
Saint Jerome sometimes gets a bad rap for being too difficult to get along with. He had exceedingly high expectations of himself and others. He wanted everyone to know and love God and expected everyone to work as hard as he did at growing in knowledge and holiness. Ironically, those are the very attributes that grew him in virtue over his life and eventually made him a saint. Jerome always made time for God, though, and his prayer life would humble and stack up to even the greatest of saints.
We can take a lot from St. Jerome’s story and example. You do not have to “be” perfect to become a saint, but chasing perfection certainly helps one grow in discipline and virtue. Ask St. Jerome to pray with you, not only if you have a short temper but if you want to grow in knowledge — especially knowledge of Scripture — and if you want the courage to stand for truth in the midst of a culture that rejects it at every turn.
• Translated the entire Bible into Latin
• Lived and died in the cave where Christ was born
• Most famous written works are “On Famous Men,” “Dialogue Against the Luciferians,” “Against the Pelagians,” “Apology Against Rufinus,” and “Commentary of Jeremiah”
• Declared a “Doctor of the Church,” an honor bestowed on only 36 saints (to date)
Learn more about saints who lived extraordinary lives in seemingly ordinary circumstances in our book “100 Saints Every Catholic Teen Should Know.” We can also live holy lives worthy of sainthood!