Sophia Institute Press

Jerome’s Tears: Letters to Friends in Mourning

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The mystery of death strikes at the core of the human soul. We instinctively recoil at the pain of losing loved ones, and as we grapple, we are quick to seek remedies to console ourselves. There is no one better suited to assuage our grief than the translator of the Bible, St. Jerome (ca. 347–420). This book presents — for the first time in English — a fresh translation of seven of his most moving letters that sought to soothe his friends who suffered the loss of spouses, children, relatives, and loved ones.

You will be struck by the relevance of St. Jerome’s words to your experiences of grief today. You will learn how to find peace after the death of a dear one as St. Jerome, with palpable emotion, points to the hope promised in Christ’s Resurrection. You’ll also learn to transform your loss into a new opportunity to follow the Lord more closely through deeper Christian living, a union that St. Jerome explains powerfully to his friends.

This book begins with an introduction that presents the challenge of providing solace to the suffering along with a summary of St. Jerome’s long life and of his theology of consolation. Each of the seven letters is contextualized with a brief paragraph about the people and the situation at hand as well as key themes for the contemporary reader’s focus.

These precious letters reveal the compassionate heart of this enigmatic and eminent Church Father. By reflecting on the words that he used to hearten his spiritual children, you will be comforted in your own grief and fortified to support others in theirs.

St. Jerome also encourages those who remain in their grief to consider the blessings they received from the lives of their loved ones and to look forward to a happy eternity together with them in Heaven. After reading his letters, you will never think of death in the same way again.



Far from being just another diatribe, these absorbing pages provide a deeply illuminating historical perspective, revealing how this chaotic period in the Church is hardly unprecedented — or unpredicted. Instead, it represents a recurring feature of life in the Church throughout her history and is even a part of the divine plan. With this context, you will be able to make sense of and discover solutions to our present suffering.

You will see how eleven of the greatest Catholics in history — canonized saints all — suffered from undeserved persecution by their superiors and even betrayal by clergy and how this suffering was part of their sanctification, serving as a heroic model for us today. You will contemplate the valor and wisdom of priests from the earliest days of the Church; of lay people from St. Joan of Arc to St. Thomas More; of religious, such as Sts. Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, and Alphonsus Liguori; and of modern-day giants, including St. Padre Pio and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. As you travel with these remarkable characters across twenty centuries and four continents, you will see the wisdom of the divine plan and be encouraged to defend the Church through this present hour of darkness.

Additionally, you will find thorough and orthodox explanations of doctrine concerning Church authority, fraternal correction, and the virtue of obedience, as well as a practical plan to redeem our current shameful chapter in Church history. This book stands as a valuable and heartening resource for pastors, catechists, and those who seek to “counsel the doubtful” and “comfort the afflicted.”

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Additional Information

David G. Bonagura Jr.
Softcover book, 240 pgs
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