In 404, Jerome composed a lengthy epitaph (ep. 108) commemorating Paula, his longtime patron and monastic companion. This article combines textual, historical, and reception studies for an innovative approach to this fascinating work in the broader context of Jerome's life and work. Key hagiographic features of ep. 108 that have been overlooked by previous scholarly treatments are explored here. In particular, it is argued that while Jerome cast it ostensibly as a consolatio for Paula's daughter Eustochium, he conceived it primarily as the textual basis for a Bethlehem-centered cult of Paula the ascetic martyr-saint.