Tuesday, September 30, 2014

St. Jerome, The Thunderer

Saint Jerome visited by angels by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi
I just realized it is St. Jerome's feast day. Like many, I have a fondness for this crochety, language specialist and translator, who was a spiritual director to many holy women. This amusing poem captures a great deal of the spirit of this very human saint.

The Thunderer

God’s angry man, His crotchety scholar
Was Saint Jerome,
The great name-caller
Who cared not a dime
For the laws of Libel
And in his spare time
Translated the Bible.
Quick to disparage
All joys but learning
Jerome thought marriage
Better than burning;
But didn’t like woman’s
Painted cheeks;
Didn’t like Romans,
Didn’t like Greeks,
Hated Pagans
For their Pagan ways,
Yet doted on Cicero all of his days.

A born reformer, cross and gifted,
He scolded mankind
Sterner than Swift did;
Worked to save
The world from the heathen;
Fled to a cave
For peace to breathe in,
Promptly wherewith
For miles around
He filled the air with
Fury and sound.
In a mighty prose
For Almighty ends,
He thrust at his foes,
Quarreled with his friends,
And served his Master,
Though with complaint.
He wasn’t a plaster sort of a saint.

But he swelled men’s minds
With a Christian leaven.
It takes all kinds
To make a heaven.

From "Times Three" by Phyllis McGinley


  1. I especially love the last two lines "It takes all kinds/To make a heaven."

    St. Jerome has been my patron saint for this year, and I have appreciated having him as my patron this year.