Patron of Librarians
Stridonium, a small town on the border of Dalmatia, was the place where St. Jerome first beheld the light in 347. In Rome he studied Latin and Greek, devoted himself to oratory, and finally pleaded at the bar. For a time he gave himself up to the world, but his piety returned to him after he began to travel. Having made a tour of Gaul, he went again to Rome, where he received Baptism, which at that time was frequently deferred until a mature age. Whether this Sacrament was administered before or after his journey to Gaul is not certain. From Rome, he journeyed to the East, and visited the Anchorites and other persons of sanctity. After sojourning a while at Antioch, he took up his abode in the desert of Chalcis in Syria, with the holy Abbot Theodosius. Here he spent four years of prayer and study; and here, temptations in the form of recollections of the past assailed him. To distract his mind from these he began the study of Hebrew.
At Antioch the Saint received Holy Orders about the year 377, under the stipulation that he should not be obliged to serve in the ministry. After traveling in Palestine, he visited Constantinople, where St. Gregory Nazianzen was then Bishop. Again returning to Palestine, he departed for Rome, where he filled the office of secretary to Pope St. Damasus, who asked him to revise the Latin versions of Sacred Scripture then in use.
After the death of St. Damasus, Jerome returned to the East, in 385. In his way he visited St. Epiphanius at Cyprus, and arrived at Jerusalem in the winter, leaving soon after for Alexandria to improve himself in sacred learning. Returning to Palestine, he retired to Bethlehem. His wanderings were now at an end, and his solitary life at Bethlehem began the career of study that has immortalized him.
His Scriptural works, above all, have been unparalleled in the history of the Church. Besides this branch of sacred learning, he attacked, like the other Fathers of that age, the various errors of his day. The fame of St. Jerome spread far and wide, and people came to consult him from all sides. He also governed and directed the monastery of nuns founded by St. Paula. Finally, after a long life of prayer, penance, and labor, St. Jerome died at Bethlehem in 420.
PRAYER: God, You gave St. Jerome, Your priest, a great love for Holy Scripture. Let Your people feed more abundantly on Your word and find in it the source of life. Amen.