Francisco de Zurbarán. Saint Jerome with Saint Paula and Saint Eustochium, circa 1640–50. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
b. circa 368, Rome; d. 419/420, Bethlehem
Eustochium was a Roman noblewoman and virgin scholar who, with her mother Paula, traveled and studied under the guidance of Jerome, a Christian leader who translated the Bible into Latin from Greek and Hebrew. They lived an ascetic life devoted to spiritual reflection, traveling widely to other ascetic communities and eventually settling in Bethlehem. There they built a monastic community with separate quarters for men and women, Jerome directing the monastery and Paula and Eustochium directing the convents, which housed many women who had taken vows of chastity. After Paula's death, Eustochium supervised the nunneries alone and assisted Jerome with his biblical translations. Around 417, the monastic complex was pillaged and burned by a local mob. Eustochium died shortly after and is currently celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church on September 28, the day of her death.
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