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St. Jerome

Jerome was born in Dalmatia around the year 340. In 360, he was baptized at Rome and then went to Trier to begin theological studies. Around 373 he settled in Antioch; the next year, he began living as a hermit in the desert to the southwest of Antioch. Once ordained he traveled to Constantinople, where he become friends with St. Gregory of Nazianzus. In 382, he returned to Rome, where Pope Damasus asked him to translate the Old Testament from the Hebrew; this would become the famous Vulgate—the Church’s official Latin translation of the Bible. Jerome strongly and at times caustically defended his positions on doctrine and other Church matters, and this made him some enemies. After Pope Damasus died in 385, Jerome’s harsh critics compelled him to leave the city. He settled in Bethlehem, near a convent founded by St. Paula and other noble Roman women; these women were friends and disciples of Jerome when he was in Rome. Paula and the women with her were well-educated; they encouraged and helped Jerome with his translations. Jerome led a life of austerity in Bethlehem, dedicated to pray, study, and writing. Much of his writing was directed at correcting religious errors. As he grew older, he developed trouble seeing, but he persisted with his work of translating the entire Bible into Latin. St. Jerome died in Bethlehem on September 30, 420. He is a Doctor and Father of the Church. His feast is September 30.

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