Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church

Saint Jerome, born in Dalmatia in 347, was sent to school in Rome.   His boyhood was not free from fault, 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 jerome info - MY EDIT- 30 sept 2018

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 organise 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 honours.SAMSUNG

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.NORTH ITALIAN SCHOOL - ST JEROME - SNIP DETAIL

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.Hans_Memling_-_St_Jerome_and_the_Lion - YOUNGER_-_WGA14946

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.HEADER ST JEROME-813x1024

Bernini’s St Jerome at St Peter’s Basilica



Saint of the Day – 25 August – St Joseph Calasanz Sch.P. (1557-1648)

Saint of the Day – 27 August – St Joseph Calasanz Sch.P. (1557-1648) (Also known as:  Joseph Calasanctius,  Joseph of Our Lady, Josephus a Matre Dei, Joseph Calsanza) was a Spanish Catholic Priest, Teacher, Lawyer, Founder of the Pious Schools, (providing free education to the sons of the poor) and the Religious Order that ran them, commonly known as the Piarists.   He was born on 11 September 1556 at Peralta, Barbastro, Aragon, Spain in his father’s castle and died on 25 August 1648 at Rome, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – Catholic schools (proclaimed on 13 August 1948 by Pope Pius XII), schools, colleges, universities, students, schoolchildren, the Piarists and the Congregation of Christian Workers of Saint Joseph Calasanz.St. Joseph Calasanz at the Monastery of Montserrat.

Joseph  Calasanz was born in Aragon, Spain, in 1556 of a noble family, who gave him a very Christian education.   When only five years old, he led a troop of children through the streets to find the devil and slay him.   He became a lawyer and then a Priest (after a serious illness caused his father to relent in his opposition) and was engaged in various reforms when he heard a voice saying, “go to Rome, Joseph” and had a vision of many children who were being taught by him and by a company of Angels.   When he reached the Holy City, his heart was moved by the vice and ignorance of the children of the poor and he saw clearly that ignorance was the mother of vice and misery.   Sunday Catechism lessons were insufficient to remedy the situation.   When he could find no collaboration under the existing frameworks, the children’s need mastered his profound humility and he undertook to found personally, the Order of Clerks Regular of the Pious Schools, or the Piarists.CopiadeCalasanzRD2001.jpgSt-Joseph-Calasanz-e1440632416712

The parish priest of Saint Dorothy’s Church in Trastevere, placed two rooms at his disposition and assisted him in all things.   Two other good priests joined the founders, and the school soon had several hundred children.   He taught the children catechism, reading, writing and arithmetic and he himself provided all that was necessary for the program of instruction, receiving nothing in payment.   Other schools were organised elsewhere in Rome and the holy priest had scholars of every rank under his care.   Each lesson began with prayer.   Every half-hour, piety was renewed by acts of faith, hope and charity.   At the end of the day the children were escorted home by the masters, so as to escape all harm on the way.   An annual retreat was given them during the Easter season. Clement XIII approved the new Congregation, which became an Order with the ordinary three vows and in addition a definitive commitment to the instruction of the indigent.

Calasanz was a friend of Galileo Galilei and sent some distinguished Piarists as disciples of the great scientist.   He shared and defended his controversial view of the cosmos.  When Galileo fell into disgrace, Calasanz instructed members of his congregation to provide him with whatever assistance he needed and authorised the Piarists to continue studying mathematics and science with him.   Unfortunately, those opposed to Calasanz and his work used the Piarists’ support and assistance to Galileo as an excuse to attack them.   Despite such attacks, Calasanz continued to support Galileo.   When, in 1637, Galileo lost his sight, Calasanz ordered the Piarist Clemente Settimi to serve as his secretary.   But enemies arose against Saint Joseph, however, from among his own subjects, thus imposing on the Founder the most sorrowful of all crosses, resembling that of the Lord Himself.   They accused him to the Holy Office and at the age of eighty-six he was led through the streets to prison, where he was briefly held and interrogated by the Inquisition.

The Order was reduced to a simple Congregation under local episcopal authority and was not restored to its former privileges until after the Saint’s death.   Yet he died full of hope.   My work, he said, was done solely for the love of God.   Saint Joseph is the first to have given gratuitous instruction to the children of the people.   Religion can claim for its own the instruction of the poor, both by birthright and by right of conquest. st joseph statue larger my edit

St Joseph died at the age of 90 having always remained faithful in all things, admired for his holiness and courage by his students, their families, his fellow Piarists and the people of Rome.  The body of Saint Joseph  Calasanz reposes in the church of Saint Pantaleon in Rome, his heart and tongue are conserved incorrupt in a devotional chapel in the Piarist Motherhouse in Rome.  Eight years after his death, Pope Alexander VII cleared the name of the Pious Schools. Joseph Calasanz was beatified on 7 August 1748, by Pope Benedict XIV.   He was Canonised by Pope Clement XIII in 1767 and on 13 August 1948, Ven Pope Pius XII declared him to be the “Universal Patron of all Christian schools in the world.”

st joseph last communion
The last Holy Communion of St Joseph



Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church – Priest, Confessor, Theologian, Historian, Hermit, Mystic – born Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius also known as Girolamo, Hieronymus, Jerom and the Man of the Bible – (347 at Strido, Dalmatia – 419 of natural causes).  His body was interred in Bethlehem and his relics are now enshrined at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, Italy.   Patronages – Archeologist, archivists, Scripture scholars, librarians and libraries, schoolchildren; students, translators, Saint-Jérôme, Québec, City of, Saint-Jérôme, Québec, Diocese of, Taos Indian Pueblo.   Attributes – • 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 lion 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.


St Jerome was a man of extremes.   He lived to age 91 even though he undertook extreme penances.   Jerome had a fierce temper but an equally intense love of Christ.   This brilliant saint was born in Eastern Europe around 345. His Christian family sent him to Rome at age 12 for a good education.   He studied there until he was 20.   Then he and his friends lived in a small monastery for three years, until the group dissolved.   Jerome set out for Palestine but when he reached Antioch, he fell seriously ill. He dreamed one night that he was taken before the judgment seat of God and condemned for being a heretic.   This dream made a deep impression on him.

He is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin mainly from the Hebrew (the translation that became known as the Vulgate) and his commentaries on the Gospels.  His list of writings is extensive.   Jerome was strong willed.   His writings, especially those opposing what he considered heresy, were sometimes explosive.   His temperament helped him do difficult tasks but it also made him enemies.   Jerome was named a Doctor of the Church for the Vulgate, his commentaries on Scripture, his writings on monastic life and his belief that during a controversy on theological opinions, the See of Rome was where the matter should be settled.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well.   He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic.   He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia.   After his preliminary education, he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers. He once served as private secretary to Pope Damasus.

Skilled in the study of languages and exegesis, he laboured for more than 20 years to translate most of the Bible into the Latin language.   Jerome’s edition, the Vulgate, is arguably the most influential translation of the Bible.   During the Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Vulgate was affirmed as the official text of the Church.  He is still considered the Church’s greatest Doctor of Scriptures.

He conferred this praise upon St. Augustine:  “As I have done, you applied all your energy to make the enemies of the Church your personal enemies.”   This eulogy is consistent with the counsel of St. Augustine:  “You must hate the evil, but love the one who errs.”

Regarding St. Jerome the Roman Breviary says:  “He pummeled the heretics with his most harsh writings.” 

St Jerome was orthodox in his theology and was a defender of historic Christianity. However, his greatest contributions to the faith came in terms of biblical studies and translation.

  1. Jerome insisted that Bible translations should come from the languages Scripture was originally written in.   For example, instead of relying on the popular Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures of the time (the Septuagint), Jerome utilized ancient Hebrew copies that he considered more reliable.
  2. Jerome believed that Christians should be well grounded in and possess a good knowledge of Scripture.   In his commentary on Isaiah, Jerome stated: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
  3. Jerome modeled and advocated the Christian ascetic and scholarly life.   The life of a monk seems well suited for a Bible translator.

After these preparatory studies, he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ’s life with an outpouring of devotion.   Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally, he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ.   Jerome died in Bethlehem and the remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome.

“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