Born in what is now Croatia, Jerome (ca. 345-420) became a monk around the age of 25. After a dream in which he was told he was not Christian enough, he moved to the Syrian desert to become a hermit.Jerome went to the desert like others, with the intention of abandoning attachment to certain things so that he might embrace All, but he could not detach himself from learning: while others took nothing but rags with them to the desert, Jerome brought his library.
For this, and other reasons, he is the patron of booklovers, librarians, and scholar.
After four or five years in the desert, he returned to Rome, where Pope Damasus asked him to take on an immense task: to translate the entire Bible into Latin. Jerome spent the rest of his life on the project of almost unimaginable breadth. (For this he is also the patron of translators.)
Jerome is often depicted with a lion. The back-story: One day a lion limped into the monastery where Jerome was at work. The other monks fled while Jerome stayed calm. The story goes that the lion handed Jerome its paw and Jerome withdrew a thorn. For the rest of its life, the lion protected him. This story is the reason that statues of lions often appear before libraries: those are Jerome’s lions. Be not afraid, as Jerome wasn’t, and pat a stone lion’s head the next time you pass one.