Girolamo (Jerome) Terzo (1683-1758) O.Carm, Priest
Also Known as Jerome of Jesus Mary Joseph
Born Girolamo (Jerome) Nunzio Matthew Terzo in May 1683 in Noto, Italy to a poor family. As a young man, he took up the trade of shoemaking until 1707 when he entered the hermitage of Jesus, Mary and St. Conrad and was clothed in the habit on October 30, 1707. In 1710 he was called to the pass of Bove to direct the other hermitage of St. Mary of the Ladder.
In 1710 he came into contact with Marquis Andrew Statella of Palermo, who through Jerome’s influence became a priest and then a Carmelite with the name of Salvatore of the Trinity (1678-1728). Fr. Salvatore attained great holiness and introduced a Carmelite reform into some houses of Sicily. Ven. Jerome supported Fr. Salvatore and this reform and helped to guide it.
In 1715 due to an earthquake he rebuilt and expanded the church at the hermitage of St. Mary of the Ladder, and made it a center of Marian devotion. It is due to Jerome that the devotion to Mary, Ladder to Paradise was established and gained popularity among the people. Two centuries later, the diocese of Noto asked for and obtained the Virgin under this title as its principal patroness.
Jerome was vested in the Carmelite habit on October 6th 1741 and made his religious profession. A man of prayer and penance and unshakable faith, Jerome also had the gifts of prophecy, miracles, and reading of hearts, and was known to have a great love of the Eucharist.
Full of zeal for the salvation of souls, he worked for the conversion of sinners and the Muslims in Sicily and Malta. In 1743, when Messina was devastated by the plague, he exhibited heroic charity.
He died on April 11, 1758 at the age of 75 near the sanctuary of “Our Lady the Ladder of Paradise” which he had served and honored so much, and where his body rests.
His fame for holiness and miracles moved the ecclesiastical authorities to begin working immediately for his canonization. His cause for beatification was introduced on May 4th, 1796 but was interrupted for political reasons. It was reopened on November 7, 1944.
On January 28, 2004, the Carmelite postulator General, Felip M. Amenòs presented the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregations for the Causes of the Saints a critical study of the difficulties of the cause for Jerome Terzo. The hope was to remove the block that had been placed on the cause in November 1944.