A Week of Saints: September 30-October 6, 2019

Monday, September 30:  St. Jerome, Priest (331-420)

Jerome is frequently remembered for his temper and sarcastic pen, but his love for God was extraordinary.  He translated the Old Testament  from Hebrew  (the vulgate), and wrote his famous commentary. St Augustine said, “What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known.”

He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic.

“Begin now to be what you will be hereafter.”

Patron: of Librarians

Tuesday, October 1:  St therese of Lisieux, nun (1873 – 1897)

Theresa of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life in France. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering.

All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness, and died of tuberculosis. She suffered without complaint. She had her “little way”.  St. Therese translated “the little way” in terms of a commitment to the tasks and to the people we meet in our everyday lives.  To do everything with great, even something as simple as picking up a pin. 

“A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.”

Patron:  Missionaries; HIV/AIDS, florists, gardeners, loss of parents, tuberculosis

Wednesday, October 2:  Guardian Angels

Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” My 18:10

Many saints have given witness to Guardian Angels, St’s Benedict, Bernard Francis de Sales, Pio, and many more.

“Make yourself familiar with the angels and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you.”

St Francis de Sales

Thursday, October 3:  Bl Columba Marmion, monk (1858-1923)

Blessed Columba Marmion was an Irish monk, and was one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century. He believed that a mans love for God was reflected in his love of neighbor. He “possessed an extraordinary facility for adapting himself to other people,” and above all “in comforting others and putting them at their ease.

“The ways of God are entirely different from our ways. To us it seems necessary to employ powerful means in order to produce great effects. This is not God’s method; quite the contrary. He likes to choose the weakest instruments that He may confound the strong”

Friday, October 4:  St Francis of Assisi, priest (1182-1226)

Francis of Assisi followed what Jesus did by how he lived. 

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Much prayer led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ. Embracing a leper on the road manifested his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: he would have been content to be the “nothing” man. He gave up everything, and thought a religious fanatic, begging from door to door.  People began to realize his way was love of God. He started the Franciscan Order. During his last years he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata.

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”

Patron: animals, environment 

Saturday, October 5:  St Faustina, religious sister (1905-1938)

Saint Faustina was born in Poland.  When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women. She was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added, “of the Most Blessed Sacrament”. She was asked by our Lord to be a model of how to be merciful to others, and teach God’s plan of mercy for the world. She wrote and suffered in secret, with only her spiritual director and some of her superiors aware that anything special was taking place in her life..

Patron: mercy

“I will not allow myself to be so absorbed in the whirlwind of work as to forget about God.  I will spend all my free moments at the feet of the Master hidden in the Blessed Sacrament.” 

Sunday, October 6:  St Bruno, Priest (c 1030)

Bruno was born in Cologne to a prominent family. He was a professor, but later became a hermit. He and six companions were assigned a hermitage.They built an oratory and individual cells, roughly followed the rule of St. Benedict, and thus began the Carthusian Order. They embraced a life of poverty, manual work, prayer, and transcribing manuscripts..

“For the devil may tempt the good, but he cannot find rest in them; for he is shaken violently, and upset, and driven out, now by their prayers, now by their tears of repentance, and now by their almsgiving and similar good works.”

Patron:  monastic communities, possessed people

A Week of Saints (September 23-29, 2019)

Monday, September 23: St. Padre Pio, Priest (1887-1968)

Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio, when he was fifteen. He was drafted during World War I, but had tuberculosis, and then discharged. In 1918, he was praying after Mass, and had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side.

Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. His confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; many said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned.  St John Paul II honored him for his prayer and charity.

“Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.”

Patron: stress relief, adolescents

Tuesday, September 24:  Blessed John Henry Newman Priest (1801–1890)

John Henry Newman, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches. Catholic theology tended to ignore history, but instead was inclined to draw deductions from first principles. Newman taught that  lived experience of believers was recognized as a key part of theological reflection.  Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. After Newman died, a Newman Club for Catholic students began at the Universities.

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons“

Wednesday, September 25:  St Cleophas (time of Christ)

One of two disciples who met Christ on the road to Emmaus. He was also identified as the father of Mary, one of whom stood with the Mother of God at the foot of the Cross. He has been identified as the father of St. James the Less and as brother of St. Joseph.

Thursday, September 26:  Ss. Cosmos & Damian, Martyrs (c287)

Sts. Cosmas and Damian were brothers, from Arabia, known for their knowledge of medicine.  Because of their faith, they never took money for their craft. Their reputation made them marked objects of persecution. They were apprehended, and beheaded.

Patron of Druggist

Friday, September 25:  St Vincent de Paul, Priest (1580-1660)

St. Vincent, known as The Apostle Of Charity, was born to a poor family in FranceFrance, about 1580. On  a sea voyage he was captured by African pirates and made a slave for two years, until he escaped. He returned to France, and began to preach missions.  His charity was extended, from children to old age. In spite of popularity, he remained deeply rooted in humility. 

“If the world takes something from us on the one hand, God will give us something on the other.”

patron:  charitable societies.

Saturday, September 28:  St. Wenceslaus, Martyr (907-935)

St. Wenceslaus was born near Prague, and was the son of a Duke. St. Ludmila, his grandmother taught him Christianity.  

After the death of his father and grandmother, at the hands of the Magyars, he was declared the new ruler.  He encouraged Christianity. His brother, invited Wenceslaus to a religious festival, trapped and killed him on the way to Mass.

Patron:  Bohemia, Prague

Sunday, September 29:  Ss. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels

Saint Michael is the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” the leader of all the angels. His name is Hebrew for “Who is like God?”  He cast down Lucifer and the evil spirits into Hell, and is invoked for protection against Satan. The four offices of Saint Michael are: to fight against Satan, to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy,  to be the champion of God’s people, to call away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment.

“Then war broke out in heaven; Michaeland his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail.

Patron:  Guardian of the Catholic Church, Jewish People, police officers, military, grocers, mariners, paratroopers, firefighters, paramedics, sickness

Saint Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength,” announced the birth of John the Baptist  and the at Incarnation of the Word to Mary.

He appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who “strengthened” Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Patron: grocers, soldiers, doctors, mariners, paratroopers, police, and sickness

Patron:  of messengers, telecommunication workers, postal workers

Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed” because of his healing of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit.  Tobit is the only book in which he is mentioned. His office is generally accepted by tradition to be that of healing and acts of mercy.

Raphael is also identified with the angel in John 5:1-4 who descended upon the pond and bestowed healing powers upon it so that the first to enter it after it moved would be healed of whatever infirmity he was suffering.

“I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord”

Patron:  travelers, the blind, and bodily ills

A Week of Saints (September 16-22, 2019)

Monday, September 15th:  Sts. Cornelius, Priest, Pope and Cyprian, Priest, Bishop, Martyr (d. 253)

Because there was no pope for 14 months the Church was governed by a college of Priests.  Cornelius was elected pope “by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good men.”

Cornelius’s two-year term as pope had to deal with the readmission of Christians during the time of persecution.  Novatian, a Priest was not in favor of this, and had appointed an antipope. This antipope not only denied the church to forgive these Christians, but also murder, adultery, and fornication.  Cornelius held a synod and ordered the “relapsed” to be restored to the Church with the usual “medicines of repentance.”

Cyprian (d. 258) . Cyprian was very educated and a famous orator.  He was generous to the poor and mad a vow of chastity before becoming a Priest.  A friend of Pope Cornelius, he followed him as pope and not the antipopes, although he was not completely on board with St Cornelius.  Cyprian was martyred standing firm in his faith.

Cornelius: “There is one God and one Christ and but one episcopal chair, originally founded on Peter, by the Lord’s authority. There cannot, therefore, be set up another altar or another priesthood. Whatever any man in his rage or rashness shall appoint, in defiance of the divine institution, must be a spurious, profane and sacrilegious ordinance”

Cyprian: “You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother…. God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body…. If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace”

Tuesday, September 17:  St Robert Bellarmine, Priest (1542-1621)

He worked on church doctrine against the Protestant Reformers.  His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable.  He used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, “The walls won’t catch cold.”  Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, 

“Love is a marvelous and heavenly thing. It never tires and never thinks that it has done enough“

Patron: canon lawyers, catechists

Wednesday, September 18:  St. Joseph of Cupertino, Priest (1603-1663)

Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer.  Already as a child, he liked prayer. After a short time with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventuals. He cared for the friary mule, then Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer.  He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.

Patron:  Air Travelers, Astronauts, Pilots

Thursday, September 19:  St. Januarius, Bishop, Martyr (c 305)

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento. He went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He also was imprison. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius’ blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquifies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date..

Patron:  blood banks, volcanic eruptions

Friday, September 20:  Ss. Andrew Kim Tae- gon and Paul Chong Ha-Sang and Companions, Martyrs (1821-1846)

This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and married man, aged 45..

Saturday, September 21:  St. Matthew Apostle, Martyr (time of Christ)

Matthew was a Jew who collected Roman taxes. Tax collectors were generally hated as dishonest traitors by their fellow Jews. The Pharisees lumped them with “sinners”. So it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers. Matthew got Jesus in further trouble by having a sort of going-away party at his house. The Gospel tells us that “many” tax collectors and “those known as sinners” came to the dinner. The Pharisees were still more badly shocked. Matthew is one of the twelve Apostles.

Sunday, September 22:  St Maurice, Martyr (3rd Century)

Maurice and his fellow legionnaires refused to sacrifice to the gods as ordered by the Emperor. The entire Legion of over six thousand men were put to death. To the end they were encouraged in their constancy by Maurice and two fellow officers, 

Patron: Vatican’s Swiss Guard, armies, weavers, cloth makers

A Week of Saints: Sept 9-15, 2019

Monday, September 9:  St Ciaran, Priest (516-549)

St. Cieran was born in Connacht, Ireland, the son of a carpenter. He was considered the most learned monk at Clonard. He was forced to leave a monastery,  for what they considered his excessive charity.  With eight companions he eventually came to a spot on the Shannon River, which later became the famous Clinmanoise, This monastery became known as a great center of Irish learning, with St Ciaran it’s  Abbot. He is is one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland”. Many extraordinary miracles are attributed to St Ciaran. 

Tuesday, September 10:  St. Thomas of Villanova Bishop(1488-1555)

St. Thomas was from Castile in Spain and achieved a superior education at the University of Alcala.  He became a popular professor of philosophy there.  He was ordained a priest while an Augustian friar.

He was a teacher, despite his absentmindedness and poor memory. When provincial of the friars, he sent the first Augustinians to the New World. He was appointed the archbishopric of Granada.  He wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. Several hundred poor came to Thomas’s door each morning and received a meal, wine and money. When criticized because he was at times being taken advantage of, he replied, “If there are people who refuse to work, that is for the governor and the police to deal with. My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door.” Thomas of Villanova was  called  “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor.”

“Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him a saint, in spite of his present weakness.”

Wednesday, September 11:  St. Cyprian, Bishop (d. 258)

Highly educated, a famous orator.  He became a Christian as an adult, within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage.  During a plague in Carthage, he urged Christians to help everyone, including their enemies and persecutors.  One of the early writers of the Primacy of the Pope. He refused to sacrifice to the pagan deities and firmly professed Christ, Africa, and was martyred by the Roman proconsul. 

“He [Christ] protects their faith and gives strength to believers in proportion to the trust that each man who receives that strength is willing to place in him.”

Patron: North Africa

Thursday, September 12:  The Most Holy Name of Mary

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church.

Friday, September 13:  St. John Chrysostom, Bishop (d. 407)

.St. John, was named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence.  He lived the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest.

He was advanced to Bishop of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. But he had enemies, the empress Eugoxia, and he was sent into exile.

In the midst of his sufferings, he found the greatest peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power.

“These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for the body wounds and medicines, so for the soul are sins and repentance. However, sin has the shame and repentance possesses the courage.”

Patron:  education, epilepsy, lecturers, orators, preachers

Saturday, September 14:  The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

Sunday, September 15:  Our Lady of Sorrows

The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.  Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. St. Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors.

A Week of Saints, September 2-8, 2019

Monday, September 2:  Blessed John Francis Burté  Priests, martyr (d. 1772)

These priests were victims of the French Revolution. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy required all priests to take an oath which was a denial of the faith. These men refused and were executed.

John Francis Burté became a Franciscan, and after ordination taught theology. Later he was arrested and held in the convent of the Carmelites.

With 182 others, including several bishops and many religious and  priests.  They were massacred in Paris in 1772.

Tuesday, September 3:  St. Gregory the Great, Pope (540?-604)

At the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners,  and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is uncertain.

In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” hehas been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

“We make Idols of our concepts, but Wisdom is born of wonder”

Patron:  Musicians, singers, students, and teachers

Wednesday, September 4:  St. Rose of Viterbo, Secular Franciscan (1233-1251)

Rose achieved sainthood in only 18 years of life. She had a great desire to pray and to aid the poor. She lived a life of penance and was generous to the poor.  She became a Secular Franciscan at age ten, and began preaching in the streets about sin and the sufferings of Jesus.

“Prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures. It fills them with light, strength and consolation; and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home“

Patron:  people in exile; people rejected by religious orders;     

Thursday, September 5,:  St. Teresa of Calcutta Religious Sister, (1910-1997)

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was short in stature but known throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor.she founded the Missionaries of Charity, as a diocesan religious community. At age 18 she entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. She was sent to the Loreto novitiate in Darjeeling, India. It was there she chose the name Teresa .

While riding a train, Sister Teresa heard what she explained as “a call within a call. She was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them, and give up her life with the Sisters to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

The work was exhausting, but she was not alone for long. Volunteers who came to join her in the work, some of them former students, became the core of the Missionaries of Charity. Other helped by donating food, clothing, supplies, the use of buildings. In 1952 the city of Calcutta gave Mother Teresa a former hostel, which became a home for the dying and the destitute. As the Order expanded, services were also offered to orphans, abandoned children, alcoholics, the aging and street people.

For the next four decades Mother Teresa worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor.  She traveled the world inviting others to see the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor. In

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Patron: World Youth Day, Missionaries of Charity 

Friday, September 6:  Blessed Claudio Granzotto (1900-1947)

At the age of nine his father died, and six years later he was drafted into the Italian army.  His artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to study and earn a diploma in art.   When Claudio entered the Friars Minor, his parish priest wrote, 

“The Order is receiving not only an artist but a saint.” Prayer, charity to the poor and artistic work characterized his life, which was cut short by a brain tumor, and died on the feast of the Assumption.

Patron:  sculptors, artists

Saturday, September 7:  Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853)

Frédéric was a French scholar. He founded with fellow students the Conference of Charity, later known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. 

“Let us go in simplicity where merciful Providence leads us, content to see the stone on which we should step without wanting to discover all at once and completely the windings of the road.”

 Patron:  politicians, lawyers, philanthropists, laborers

Sunday, September 8:  Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. Tradition tells us that Anna and Joachim were infertile but prayed for a child, with a promise of a child that will be a part of Salvation.