Jerome, Saint. [Letter to Eustochium, 383-384] in Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Epistulae ep.22

[Letter from Saint Jerome to Eustochium]
In this long letter written to Eustochium when she chose the life of ascetic virginity, but clearly intended for a larger audience, Jerome sets out his programme" for the virgin life and also attacks the "rottenness which, as he saw it, was infecting great numbers of would-be Christians in Rome" (, 101). It is also in this letter that Jerome tells the famous story of his vision, in which the heavenly judge condemned him as a Ciceronian, not a Christian (22.30). Glorifying virginity as the best mode of life, Jerome tells her and other virgins what to avoid, how to live daily life, and about the models for ascetic virginity, the three types of monks in Egypt. Since most of the women dedicated to religion in Rome at this time were widows, Jerome makes much of the virgin as bride of Christ, using erotic language from the Song of Songs, and in a phrase that shocked some readers, telling Eustochium that by becoming the spouse of Christ she makes her mother a mother-in-law of God, "socrus dei," 22.20 (see , 251 and note 43). Jerome was also attacked for the Manichean tone of his extreme regimen, see , 15-16.
Online in two parts at Epistolae: part one and part two (See also Bibliographia record).