The feast day of St. Jerome – Sunday, September 30th – is upon us! Gleeson Library celebrates St. Jerome because he is the patron saint of libraries, librarians, and scholars. Born in 347 and died circa 419, Jerome devoted his life to asceticism, monastic studies, and biblical scholarship. His most notable work is a Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate. He is also known for his many Scripture commentaries and historical writings.
St. Jerome has made numerous appearances in Christian art. Jacopo Palma il Giovane’s 16th century painting features many of the stories and motifs associated with Jerome. Here, he is seated outside of the grotto, or cave, where he spent the last several years of his life studying and writing. He was a member of the clergy, so he is draped in a cardinal’s red cloth. The lion at his feet is a reference to the belief that Jerome tamed a lion by removing a thorn from its paw. Finally, the skull, a popular motif in Christian art, is a reminder that life is transient and death is certain.
We at Gleeson Library have a long tradition of honoring St. Jerome. A display has been setup in the lobby of the library and features several books about the saint from our collection. We have also constructed a cave entrance and provided some saintly costume accessories. Help us celebrate Jerome’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge and truth by browsing the display and posting photos of yourself at Jerome’s cave! If you post a photo, be sure to select Gleeson Library as your location and #stjerome2018 as your hashtag.