Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: September 30
Saint Jerome, born in Dalmatia in 329, was sent to school in Rome. His
boyhood was not free from faults; his thirst for knowledge was
excessive, and his love of books, a passion. He had studied under the
best masters, visited foreign cities, and devoted himself to the pursuit
of learning. But Christ had need of his strong will and active intellect
for the service of His Church. He told him in a supernatural experience
he never forgot that he was not a Christian, but a Ciceronian: “Your
heart is where your treasure is,” said the Lord to him — that is, in the
eloquent writings of antique times. Saint Jerome obeyed the divine call,
making a vow never again to read profane works, and another of celibacy.
In Rome he had already assisted a number of holy women to organize
houses of retirement where they consecrated themselves to God by vow.
Calumnies, arising from jealousy, made a certain headway against the
scholar whose competence was beginning to attract honors.
He fled from Rome to the wild Syrian desert, and there for four years
learned in solitude, intense sufferings and persecution from the demons,
new lessons in humility, penance and prayer, and divine wisdom. “I was
very foolish to want to sing the hymns of the Lord on foreign soil, and
to abandon the mountain of Sinai to beg help from Egypt,” he declared.
Pope Damasus summoned him back to Rome, and there assigned to the famous
scholar, already expert in Hebrew and other ancient languages, the task
of revising the Latin Bible. Saint Jerome obeyed his earthly Head as he
had obeyed his Lord. Retiring once more in 386 to Bethlehem, the
eloquent hermit sent forth from his solitary cell not only a solidly
accurate version of the Scriptures, but during thirty years’ time, a
veritable stream of luminous writings for the Christian world. He
combated with unfailing efficacy several heresies being subtly
introduced by various personages in his own region and elsewhere.
For fourteen years the hand of the great scholar could no longer write;
but Saint Jerome could still dictate to six secretaries at a time, to
each on a different subject, in those final years. He died in his
beloved Bethlehem in 420, when over 80 years old. His tomb is still in a
subterranean chapel of its ancient basilica, but his relics were
transported to Saint Mary Major Basilica of Rome, where the crib of
Bethlehem is conserved