Saint Jerome, c. 341–420
When Saint Jerome was alive, most people spoke Latin. Because the Bible was written in Greek or Hebrew, most people couldn’t read it. Jerome thought that everyone should be able to discover the Word of God, so he spent the rest of his life translating the Bible into Latin. His translation was called the Vulgate. The Church used it as the main Bible for almost 1,500 years. Jerome also wrote explanations about parts of the Bible that are hard to understand. These explanations are called commentaries. Saint Jerome wrote many other things, including history books and stories about Saints.
Discuss: What do you know about the Bible?
Jerome is a patron Saint of librarians, archeology, translation, and Bible scholars. His Vulgate took fifteen years to complete. He is considered one of the many Doctors of the Church. Jerome is often shown as a cardinal attended by a lion, as a hermit, or as a scholar, with an owl and writing tools beside him.
Explain to the child that Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. At the time, Latin was the spoken language. Latin is now a dead language and not actually spoken in any country. In some Catholic services, Latin is still used. (If you need practice with pronunciation, find on the Internet the Sign of the Cross, The Lord’s Prayer, and Glory Be spoken in Latin.)