Typically remembered as curmudgeon, the Church remembers Saint Jerome, priest, monk and Doctor of the Church known for the depth of scriptural learning and his translation of the Bible into what we call the Vulgate, the Latin version of sacred Scripture. Among the many significant things Jerome was known for is his insistence on the necessity for Christians knowing the Old Testament.
The Church has experience with human nature an never fails to recognize the God-given mission of his people: Jerome is the patron saint of people with difficult personalities. You’ll notice many of the pictures of Jerome position him in the regalia of a cardinal (a position that did not exist in Jerome’s era) yet more realistic is his sacrificial life, the ascetic life for the training of all Christians to be in relationship with Christ Jesus, with others for the sake of building the Kingdom of God.
Historians tells us that Jerome was born around 340 as Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius in present-day Croatia, and homeschooled in the Christian faith from his father and later was sent him to Rome for instruction in rhetoric and classical literature. Pope Liberius baptized Jerome in 360.
Drawn to monastic and intellectual centers of the newly Christian empire (remember that Christianity had recently become legal), he set out to learn and be formed by a proper sense of culture (focussed on the Savior) and knowing the history, language, and sacred writ. His studied under Chromatius and Heliodorus, who were outstanding teachers of orthodox theology. Both were named saints.
Saint Jerome once said, “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.”
Saint Jerome died in his Bethlehem monastery in 420.