St. Jerome, an early Christian scholar who lived around A . D . 400, is considered one of the early Latin Fathers and Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. He became well known for his translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. Called the Vulgate, his work remained in use until 1979.
According to legend, a lion limped into St. Jerome's monastery in Bethlehem one day. The other monks ran away in fear, but Jerome calmly looked at the lion's paw and removed a large thorn. Thereafter the lion became his companion. The other monks felt that the lion should work for his food as they did, so Jerome told the lion to guard the monastery's donkey. However, one day the lion neglected his duty, and thieves stole the donkey. Noticing that the donkey was missing, the monks accused the lion of eating it and forced the lion to do the donkey's work. Although innocent, the lion obeyed the order without complaint. Some time later, the lion saw the donkey in a caravan passing by the monastery and brought it back to the monks to prove his innocence.
Paintings of St. Jerome usually show him accompanied by a lion. His feast day is September 30.