Saint Jerome

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Jerome; 19th century by F X Zettler, Munich, Germany; parish church of Saint Alban, Gutenzell-Hürbel, Biberach, Germany; photographed in January 2015 by Andreas Praefcke; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius
  • Girolamo
  • Hieronymus
  • Jerom
  • Man of the Bible



Born to a rich pagan family, Jerome led a wild and misspent youth. Studied in Rome, Italy, and became a lawyer. He converted and joined the Church in theory, and was baptised in 365, but it was only when he began his study of theology that he had a true conversion and the faith became integral to his life.

He became a monk, then, needing isolation for his study of Scripture, he lived for years as a hermit in the Syrian deserts. There he is reported to have drawn a thorn from a lion‘s paw; the animal stayed loyally at his side for years.

Priest. Student of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen. Secretary to Pope Damasus I who commissioned Jerome to revise the Latin text of the Bible. The result was 30 years of work which we know as the Vulgate translation, the standard Latin version for over a millenia, and which is still in use today.

Friend and teacher of Saint Paula, Saint Marcella, and Saint Eustochium, an association that led to so much gossip that Jerome left Rome to return to desert solitude. He lived his last 34 years in the Holy Land as a semi-recluse, writing and translating works of history, biography, the writings of Origen, and much more. Doctor of the Church and Father of the Church. Since his own time, he has been associated in the popular mind with scrolls, writing, cataloging, translating, which led to those who work in such fields taking him as their patron – a man who knew their lives and problems.






  • cardinal‘s hat, often on the ground or behind him, indicating that he turned his back on the pomp of ecclesiastical life
  • lion, referring to the who befriended him after he pulled a thorn from the creature’s paw
  • man beating himself in the chest with a stone
  • aged monk in desert
  • aged monk with Bible
  • aged monk writing
  • old man with a lion
  • skull
  • hourglass
Additional Information



What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known. Saint Augustine of Hippo

In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: in my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was. Saint Jerome’s letter to Saint Eustochium

The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection. Saint Jerome

If I am to indulge in any of the pleasures of the present life, I am resolved to do it in such a way that the solemn realities of the future Judgment may never be banished from my thoughts. Saint Jerome

You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard…. But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs? Saint Jerome from Against Vigilantius, 406

I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: “Search the Scriptures,” and “Seek and you shall find.” For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of the prophet Isaiah in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. -Jerome: from a commentary on Isaiah

When the Latin Fathers are represented in a group, Saint Jerome is sometimes in a cardinal‘s dress and hat, although cardinals were not known until three centuries later than his time, but as the other Fathers held exalted positions in the Church, and were represented in ecclesiastical costumes, and as Saint Jerome held a dignified office in the court of Pope Dalmasius, it seemed fitting to picture him as a cardinal. The Venetian painters frequently represented him in a full scarlet robe, with a hood thrown over the head. When thus habited, his symbol was a church in his hand, emblematic of his importance to the universal Church. Saint Jerome is also seen as a penitent, or again, with a book and pen, attended by a lion. As a penitent, he is a wretched old man, scantily clothed, with a bald head and neglected beard, a most unattractive figure. When he is represented as translating the Scriptures, he is in a cell or a cave, clothed in a sombre coloured robe, and is writing, or gazing upward for inspiration. In a few instances, an angel is dictating to him. – from Saints in Art, by Clara Irskine Clement

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Jerome“. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 November 2021. Web. 30 November 2021. <>