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It’s often wise to be wary of online quotes which carry a famous name, but no reference. One of these caught my eye a couple of days ago, and I wondered if it was genuine. A google search revealed nothing as to its source, unfortunately. It does appear without reference in a Catholic collection of quotes from the saints.
Here it is:
Quotation - Case - Reference - St - Jerome
The quotation in this case is indeed authentic. The reference is St Jerome, Letter 22 to Eustochium (de virginitate servanda / on the duties of a virgin), chapter 37; taken from F.A.Wright (translator), St Jerome: Select Letters, Loeb Classical Library 262 (1933), p.144-5.
Letter 22 is a treatise, really, rather than a letter. It was composed around 384 AD. It was translated by W. H. Fremantle for the 19th century Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series II, volume 6. This translation may be found online in many places, such as here. Fremantle renders the Latin as follows:
Roof - Prayer - Armor - Street - Frail
When we leave the roof which shelters us, prayer should be our armor; and when we return from the street we should pray before we sit down, and not give the frail body rest until the soul is fed.
Yet another translation of letter 22 appears in P. Carroll, The satirical letters of St. Jerome, Chicago, 1956, on p.17-68. There are probably others. The most recent translation known to me is by Charles Christopher Mierow, The Letters of St Jerome, vol. 1 (1-22), (1963), in the Ancient Christian Writers series, on p.134-80. But I have not seen any of these.
Latin - Text - Hilberg - CSEL - Pages
The Latin text was printed by Hilberg in CSEL 54, on pages 143-211, from which the Loeb text was supposedly drawn. The text of our quote is the same in both, and reads:
Egredientes hospitium armet oratio, regredientibus de platea oratio occurrat ante, quam sessio, nec prius corpusculum requiescat,...
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