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.

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