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September 30, 2006



The story is also to be found in the wonderful Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts, by Abbie Farwell Brown. Sadly out of print, but perhaps findable.


I love the story of some Pope walking by a mural portraying St. Jerome, pausing and saying, "If you could be a saint, ANYBODY could be a saint."

He really does strike one as a cantankerous old grouch. Our St. Bonaventure Society read some of his stuff out loud and it's a bit, shall we say, musty seeming. I love the saints who seem ill-tempered and out for a fight like Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, and Simon Stylites. The "Nasty Saints", I call them. I pray to them frequently!

Ol' Jerome thought it would be a neat idea to adopt a young girl and raise her right, unlike all the other parents--boy, oh boy! was that ever a lesson to him! I laugh every time I think about it. Raising a daughter ain't a paint by theological numbers job!

Saint Jerome, patron saint of ill-tempered know-it-alls, pray for us sinners here below and give us hope that we may join you in everlasting Glory, where Our Lord reigns with His Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.


St. Jerome is also the patron of translators. We ought to pray to him for more accurate translations of the liturgical texts.

Donald R.McClarey

"He really does strike one as a cantankerous old grouch."

Many of his contemporaries thought so also. He sometimes reminds me of a religious Ambrose Bierce! A perfect patron saint for irascible Bloggers!

Rich Leonardi

From George Ferguson's Signs & Symbols in Christian Art

An interesting legend is told that, while he was living at his monastery in Bethlehem, a lion, limping grievously, suddenly appeared. The other monks fled, but St. Jerome, in complete confidence, examined the lion's paw and removed from it a deeply embedded thorn. The lion, to show his gratitude, became the constant companion of the saint. But the troubles of the lion had not yet ended. The monks of the convent petitioned St. Jerome that the lion should work to earn his daily food, as did everyone else in the convent. St. Jerome agreed, and ordered the lion to act as a guard for the ass of the convent on its trips to fetch wood. All went well for a time One day the lion wandered off into the familiar desert, leaving the ass unguarded. Left alone, the ass was seized by robbers and sold to a caravan of merchants, who led it away. On his return, the lion could not find the ass, and went back to the convent alone, in great distress. The monks, seeing the lion's apparently guilty look, thought that he had eaten the ass. The lion was then ordered to do the work of the ass in atonement. The lion obeyed in perfect humility, but one day he saw the ass in a caravan, and triumphantlyh brought the whole caravan to the convent to prove his innocence.
Were this not a family blog, I would offer an interesting moral to the story.

I do like your image of St Jerome and his lion. At first glance it looks as if they are playing chess :-)


The lion, tamed and even reduced to humiliating tasks, seems to me nothing more than Jerome's alter ego, an outward symbol of the saint beset by a notorious temper that he must have struggled to keep in check.

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