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SAINTS OF SEPTEMBER

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SEPTEMBER 1

ST. GILES

St. Giles was born in Athens, Greece, in early times. When his parents died, he used the large fortune they left him to help the poor. For this reason and especially because he worked many miracles, Giles found himself a greatly admired young man. He did not want this praise and fame at all. So, to be able to serve God in a hidden life, he left Greece and sailed to France.

There he went to live alone in a dark forest. He made his home in a rough cave behind a thick thorn bush. Giles lived there contented, safe from the danger of becoming conceited at hearing himself praised. But one day, a certain king and his men went hunting the forest. They chased the deer that often came to Giles' cave. The deer lost them by going into Giles' cave, which was hidden behind the large thorn bush. One of the men shot an arrow into the thorn bush, hoping to hit the deer. When they forced their way in, they discovered Giles sitting wounded by the arrow.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" demanded the king. St. Giles told them the story of his life. When they heard it, they asked his forgiveness. The king sent his doctors to take care of the saint's wound. Although Giles begged to be left alone, the king felt such respect for him that he came often to see him. Giles never would accept the king's gifts. Finally, however, he agreed to let the king build a large monastery there. Giles became its first abbot. This monastery became so famous that a whole town grew up there. When the saint died, his grave at the monastery became a great shrine where many people came on pilgrimage.

SEPTEMBER 2
BLESSED JOHN DU LAU AND THE SEPTEMBER MARTYRS

Blessed John was the archbishop of Arles, France. He and his companions are celebrated today because they died heroic martyrs' deaths during the French Revolution. The new constitution of 1790 was against the Church. The people were being forced to sign their agreement with an oath. If they did not, they were punished. By 1792, the punishment was more than a prison term. Now it meant death.

Many brave bishops, priests, religious and lay people would not sign the oath supporting the French constitution. They knew they would be betraying God and his Church. Pope Pius VI told them that they were right. It was a sad time for the people of France. On September 2, 1792, a crowd of several hundred people rioted and broke into a former monastery. It was now a prison for priests and religious. The mob approached several priests and told them to sign the oath. Each priest definitely refused. Each was slain on the spot.

Among the martyrs was Blessed Alexander Lenfant, a Jesuit. Just a few minutes before he died, he had been hearing the confession of a fellow priest. Both were killed moments later. The rioters then went to the Carmelite church which was also being used as a prison. Blessed John, archbishop of Arles, and other bishops and priests were being held there. All refused to take the oath and all were murdered. On September 3, the same mob went to the Lazarist seminary. It was also a temporary prison, with ninety priests and religious. Only four escaped death.

By the time the terrible Revolution had ended, 1,500 Catholics had been killed. Several were bishops, priests and religious. The martyrs we celebrate today number 191. They were proclaimed "blessed" in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.

SEPTEMBER 3
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT

St. Gregory was born in 540 in Rome. His father was a senator. His mother is a saint, St. Celia. Gregory studied philosophy and while still young, became governor of Rome. When his father died, Gregory turned his large house into a monastery. For several years he lived as a good and holy monk. Then Pope Pelagius made him one of the seven deacons of Rome. When the pope died, Gregory was chosen to take his place. He did not want that honor at all. He was so holy and wise, however, that everyone knew he would be a good pope. Gregory even disguised himself and hid in a cave, but he was found and made pope anyway.

For fourteen years he ruled the Church. Even though he was always sick, Gregory was one of the greatest popes the Church has ever had. He wrote many books and was a wonderful preacher. He cared for people all over the world. In fact, he considered himself the servant of all. He was the first pope to use the title "servant of the servants of God." All the popes since have used this title.

St. Gregory took special, loving care of poor people and strangers. Every day he used to feed them a good dinner. He was also very sensitive to the injustices people suffered. Once, when he was still a monk, he saw some blond boys up for sale in the slave market of Rome. He asked where they were from and was told that they were from England. The saint felt a great desire to go to England to bring the love of Jesus to those pagans. When he became pope, one of the first things he did was to send some of his best monks to convert the English to Christ. The last years of this holy pope's life were filled with great sufferings, yet he continued working for his beloved Church until the very end. St. Gregory died on March 12, 604

SEPTEMBER 4
ST. ROSE OF VITERBO

St. Rose was born in 1235 in Viterbo, Italy. She lived at the time when Emperor Frederick had conquered land that belonged to the Church. Rose's special mission was to make the people of her own city and nearby cities remain faithful to the Holy Father. And this she did when she was just a teenager. In fact, Rose was only eight years old when our Blessed Mother told her while she was sick that she was to wear the habit of St. Francis. Our Lady also told Rose to give good example by her words and actions. Slowly the girl gained her health. She began to think more and more about how much Jesus suffered for us and how much sinners hurt him. She prayed and made sacrifices to show Jesus how much she loved him.

Later on, this daring girl began to preach in the streets of the city. She told people to stand up to the emperor who had taken land from the Church. So many people listened to the saint that Rose's father became frightened. He told her he would beat her if she did not stop preaching. She was only about thirteen, but she answered gently, "If Jesus could be beaten for me, I can be beaten for him. I do what Jesus has told me to do, and I must not disobey him."

Two years more Rose preached with such success that the enemies of the pope wanted her killed. In the end, the ruler sent Rose and her parents out of the city. But she said that the emperor was going to die soon and that is just what happened. Back in Viterbo, the saint was not permitted to become a nun, so she returned to her own home. There she died in 1252, when she was only seventeen. Her body is still preserved and venerated in Viterbo.

SEPTEMBER 5

ST. LAWRENCE JUSTINIAN

St. Lawrence Justinian was born in Venice, Italy, in 1381. His mother sometimes thought her son was aiming too high. He always told her that he wanted to become a saint. When he was nineteen, he felt he should serve God in a special way. He asked the advice of his uncle, a holy priest of the community of St. George. "Do you have the courage to turn down the delights of the world and to live a life of penance?" asked his uncle. Lawrence was quiet a long time. Then he looked up at a crucifix and said, "You, O Lord, are my hope. In this cross there is comfort and strength."

His mother wanted him to marry, but Lawrence joined the community of St. George. His first assignment was to go out among the people of his city and seek donations for the support of the order. Lawrence was not ashamed to beg. He realized that the offerings of money or goods would help God's work. He even went in front of his own home and asked charity. His mother would try to fill up his sack with food, so that he could go back to the monastery early. But Lawrence would only accept two loaves of bread and then would be off to the next house. In this way, he learned how to make little acts of self-denial and grew very dear to God.

One day a friend of his came to try to persuade Lawrence to leave the monastery. Instead, the saint spoke of how short life is and how wise it is to live for heaven. His friend was very impressed and was persuaded to become a religious himself.

Later, Lawrence was made a bishop, even though he was not happy about it. His people soon learned what a kind and holy man their bishop was. Crowds came to him for help every day. When he was dying, he would not lay on a soft bed. "That shall not be!" he exclaimed humbly. "My Lord was stretched out on a hard and painful tree." St. Lawrence Justinian died in 1455.

SEPTEMBER 6
BLESSED BERTRAND

Blessed Bertrand lived in the last half of the twelfth and first part of the thirteenth centuries. His country, France, was troubled by religious wars. There was great confusion about Church teaching. Bertrand's parents managed to live a peaceful life and they taught the true faith to their son. In 1200, the Cistercian monasteries were attacked by an army led by Raymond of Toulouse. He believed in a heresy called Albigensianism. He attacked people who did not believe as he did. He especially persecuted the Cistercian monks. They were trying very hard to help people know about the true Catholic faith.

Bertrand became a Cistercian and a priest. Around 1208, he met St. Dominic. This was God's invitation to him to begin a very important ministry. He was one of the six men who joined Dominic in 1215 to form a new religious congregation, the Order of Preachers. They are often called "Dominicans" after their founder. Blessed Bertrand was sent to Paris to start the order there. After a short while, St. Dominic called for Friar Bertrand to go to Bologna to establish the order there. Bertrand obeyed happily. Meanwhile, the Order of Preachers was growing. They preached the Gospel message in the towns and countryside. They wanted people to know and love their Catholic faith. In 1219, Blessed Bertrand accompanied St. Dominic on a trip to Paris. He loved and admired St. Dominic very much.

The Dominicans had a big meeting in 1221, called a General Chapter. Bertrand was there. The order was divided into eight provinces so that the religious and their ministries could be more effective. Bertrand was made the superior or provincial of southern France. He spent the rest of his life preaching and helping people grow closer to God. He died in 1230 and was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.

SEPTEMBER 7
BLESSED JOHN DUCKETT AND BLESSED RALPH CORBY

Blessed James Duckett studied at the English college of Douay and became a priest in 1639. He studied for three more years in Paris, and spent several hours each day in prayer. Before being sent back to his persecuted England, he spent two months with the Cistercian monks, devoting that time to prayer and retreat. The young priest labored for a year in England. He was caught with holy oils and a book of rites. When his captors threatened harm to his family and friends if he did not confess his identity, he admitted that he was a priest. He was brought to prison in London. There he met a fellow priest, Ralph Corby, a Jesuit. Father Corby had been laboring in England for twelve years before he was caught celebrating Mass. The Jesuit order tried feverishly to save Father Corby. When the "reprieve" came, he insisted that Father John Duckett who was younger, use it. But Father John would not allow himself to walk away and leave his friend.

Actually, neither priest would have been allowed to take advantage of the reprieve. The judges ignored it and condemned both priests to death. On September 7, 1644, at ten o'clock, the two men mounted the cart that would take them to Tyburn, the scene of execution. Their heads were shaved and they wore their cassocks. Each made a short speech, then embraced each other. They would meet again in the presence of the Lord of glory.

SEPTEMBER 8

BIRTH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

We do not usually celebrate the birthdays of the saints. Instead we celebrate the day they died, because that is the day they were born into the joys of heaven.
But the birthday of Mary, our Blessed Mother, is an exception. We do celebrate her birthday because she came into this world full of grace and because she was to be the Mother of Jesus.

The birth of Our Lady was like a dawn. When the sky starts to turn a rosy pink early in the morning, we know the sun will soon come up. In the same way, when Mary was born, she brought great happiness to the world. Her birth meant that soon Jesus, the Sun of justice, would appear. Mary was the wonderful human being whose privilege it was to bring the Lord Jesus to all people. Even today, if we have Mary, we have Jesus. Whoever is very devoted to her is very close to the heart of Jesus.

SEPTEMBER 9
ST. PETER CLAVER

St. Peter Claver, the Spanish priest of the Society of Jesus was born in 1580. He is known as the "apostle of the slaves." While he was still studying to become a Jesuit, he felt a burning desire to go to South America as a missionary. He volunteered and was sent to the seaport of Cartagena. There great shiploads of African slaves were brought to be sold.

At the sight of those poor people all crowded together, sick and suffering, Peter felt great pity. He made up his mind to help them and to convert them. As soon as a shipload arrived, he would go among the hundreds of sick slaves. He gave them food and medicine. He baptized the dying and the little babies. He nursed the ill. It was hard work in terrible heat. One man who went once with St. Peter could never face the heart-breaking sight again. Yet Peter did it for forty years. He baptized some three hundred thousand people. He was there when the ships came in. He cared for and loved those who were treated so unjustly by society.

Although the slave owners tried to stop Father Claver, he taught the faith to the slaves anyway. It was slow, discouraging work. Many people criticized him, saying it was all a waste of time. They thought the slaves would never keep the faith. But St. Peter was patient and he trusted that God would bless his people. He also went to visit his converts after they left Cartagena. The priest never stopped urging the slave owners to take care of the souls of their slaves and to be better Christians themselves.
During the last four years of his life, Father Claver was so sick that he had to stay in his room, He could not even celebrate Mass. Most everyone forgot about him, but he never complained. Then suddenly at his death on September 8, 1654, it was like the whole city woke up. They realized that they had lost a saint. From then on he was never forgotten again. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him a saint in 1888.

SEPTEMBER 10
ST. NICHOLAS OF TOLENTINO

St. Nicholas was born in 1245 in Ancona, Italy. His parents had waited long and anxiously for a child. Nicholas was the answer to prayer and a pilgrimage the couple had made to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari. The couple was so grateful to the saint that they named their baby after him. When the boy grew up, he talked about becoming a priest. He was prayerful and wanted to live close to God. Friends of his family wanted him to be a priest in a wealthy parish where Nicholas would be promoted. Nicholas didn't say much, but he quietly searched and prayed. One day he slipped into a church. A fervent Augustinian priest was preaching a sermon. He said: "Don't love the world or the things of this world because this world is passing away." Nicholas thought about this. He went away with the words dancing in his head. He realized how God had used that preacher to touch his own life. He became convinced of the importance of preaching God's Word. He made up his mind to ask to join the same order to which that priest belonged.

The order was the Augustinian Friars and the priest was Father Reginald who became his novice master. Friar Nicholas professed his vows when he was eighteen. Then he began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained around 1270. Father Nicholas performed his preaching ministry with love in various parishes. Then while praying in church one day, he seemed to hear a voice saying: "To Tolentino, to Tolentino. Stay there." Shortly afterward, he was assigned to the town of Tolentino. He spent the remaining thirty years of his life there. There was great political unrest in those times. Many people did not come to church to hear the Word and to worship the Lord. The friars of St. Augustine decided that street-preaching was necessary. St. Nicholas was chosen to be part of this initiative. He preached outside and in gathering places willingly. People listened and many repented of their sins and lack of caring. They led better lives. Father Nicholas spent hours in the slum areas of Tolentino. He visited the lonely. He brought the sacraments to the sick and dying. He took care of the needs of children and visited prisoners. Miracles were reported while St. Nicholas was still alive. He touched a diseased child and said, "May the good God make you well," and the child was cured.

St. Nicholas of Tolentino was sick for about a year before he died on September 10, 1305. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Eugene IV in 1446.

SEPTEMBER 11
BLESSED LOUIS OF THURINGIA

Blessed Loius, the German prince, lived during the last part of the twelfth and first part of the thirteenth centuries. He married St. Elizabeth of Hungary when he was twenty-one and she was just fourteen. The marriage had been arranged by their parents. This was the custom. But they both loved God, and he gave them great love for each other. So it was that they were very happy together. Their joy increased when God sent them their three children. The youngest was Blessed Gertrude.

Louis helped his wife in her many works of charity for the poor. He also joined her in devout prayer. Time after time, the people saw their handsome prince and his lovely wife helping the poor. It is said that once Elizabeth brought a leper into their castle and nursed him in their bed. For a moment, when Louis saw that, he was angry. Then, suddenly, instead of the leper, he saw our crucified Lord lying there. After that proof of how much Jesus appreciated Elizabeth's charity, Louis had a hospital for lepers built.
One long, bitter cold winter, Louis had to be away from his land. When he returned, Elizabeth was overjoyed. The next year Louis left on a Crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. But on the way, he caught malaria, and soon was dying.

Because he had always lived in close union with Jesus, the brave ruler felt no fear of death. He received the Last Sacraments and died peacefully in 1227.

SEPTEMBER 13
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

St. John Chrysostom was born in Antioch around 344. His father died when he was a baby. His mother chose not to marry again. She gave all her attention to bringing up her son and daughter. She made many sacrifices so that John could have the best teachers. He was very intelligent and could have become a great man in the world. When he gave speeches everyone loved to listen to him. In fact, his name, Chrysostom, means "Golden-mouthed." Yet John wanted to give himself to God. He became a priest and later was made bishop of the great city of Constantinople.
St. John was a wonderful bishop. Although he was always sick, he accomplished a tremendous amount of good. He preached once or twice every day, fed the poor and took care of orphans. He corrected sinful customs and stopped bad plays from being performed. He loved everyone, but he was not afraid to tell even the empress when she did wrong.

Because he fought sin, St. John had enemies- even the empress herself. She had him sent away from Constantinople. On the trip he suffered greatly from fever, from lack of food and sleep. Yet, he was happy to suffer for Jesus. Just before he died, he cried out, "Glory be to God!"

St. John died in Turkey on September 14, 407. A terrible hailstorm fell on Constantinople when he died. Four days later, the evil empress died too. Her son honored St. John's body and showed how sorry he was for what his mother had done.

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JUNE 1
ST. JUSTIN, MARTYR (165).
He lived in Palestine. He was converted to the Catholic Faith by the reading of Holy Scripture.

JUNE 2
STS. MARCELLINUS AND PETER (304).
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter an exorcist (one of the minor orders), who both lived in Rome and labored there under the cruel Emperor Diocletian.

JUNE 3
ST. CHARLES LWANGA AND COMPANIONS (1886-1887).
These were 22 young men and boys, from 13 to 30 years old, who were mar­tyred for the Catholic Faith in Uganda in Africa after undergoing cruel torments.

JUNE 3
ST. CLOTILDE (545)
St. Clotilde was a queen, the wife of King Clovis of the Franks. Her husband brought the French people as a nation into the Catholic Church in 496, when he was baptized at Rheims by St. Remigius. Her husband died in 511, and St. Clotilde was left a widow for 34 years.

JUNE 4
ST. FRANCIS CARACCIOLO (1608).

He was born of a royal family in the King - dom of Naples. As a little boy he started reciting the rosary daily. Very early in his life he contracted leprosy, and was miraculously cured of it. Francis spent every possible moment of his life in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

JUNE 5
ST. BONIFACE (755).

Saint Boniface was born in England, in 680. His name in English was Winfrid, which in Latin is translated to Boniface, and means "he who does good.

JUNE 6
ST. NORBERT (1134).

He was born near Cologne, in Germany, and was educated at the court of the emperor. After a somewhat worldly life, he was struck down one day by lightning while riding on a horse.

JUNE 6
ST.PHILIP THE DEACON (FIRST CENTURY).

He was one of the Seven Deacons ordained by the Apostles, as we are told in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6.

JUNE 7
ST. ROBERT OF NEWMINISTER (1159).

He was an English priest from York - shire, England, who became a Cistercian monk.

JUNE 7
ST. WILLIBALD

St. Willibald was a bishop and missionary. A native of Wessex, England, he was the brother of Sts. Winebald and Walburga and was related through his mother to the great St. Boniface.

JUNE 8
ST.MEDARD AND GILDARD (558).

These two French saints were twin brothers, as we are told in the Roman Martyrology.

JUNE 9
ST. EPHREM (373).

St. Ephrem the Syrian is both a Father and a Doctor of the Church. He was born in Mesopotamia, not far from the place where Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden.

JUNE 9
ST. COLUMKILLE (597).

St. Columbkille, also known as Columba, was born in Donegal, Ireland, on the feast of St. Ambrose, on December 7. Columbkille founded many monasteries and churches not only in Ireland, but in Scotland as well.

JUNE 10
BLESSED DIANA (1236).

She was a Dominican nun, a native of Bologna, Italy. Despite opposition from her noble born family, Diana gave up the world to follow Jesus and became a nun.

JUNE 10
ST.GETULIUS.

St. Getulius was martyred with Amantius, Caerealis, and Primitivus.

JUNE 11
ST. BARNABAS (60).

St. Barnabas was the cousin of St. Mark the Evan-gelist.

JUNE 12
ST. JOHN OF ST. FACUNDO (1479).

He was born in northern Spain, in the town of St. Facundo. He was a brilliant and attractive young boy, educated in the household of a bishop, and became one of the Hermits of St. Augustine.

JUNE 12
ST. LEO III.

St. Leo III is remembered as Charlemagne's pope. The cardinal priest of Santa Susanna, Leo was unanimously elected to the papal see in 795.

JUNE 13
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA (1231).

There is no more loved and admired saint of the Catholic Church than Anthony of Padua. Though his work was in Italy, he was born in Portugal.

JUNE 14
ST. ELISEUS (NINTH CENTURY B.C).

He was an Old Testament prophet, the disciple and companion of St. Elias.

JUNE 15
ST. VITUS (303).

Vitus, whose name can also be Guy, was a child saint, entrusted by his pagan parents to the care of a Catholic nurse, Crescentia, and her husband, Modestus.

JUNE 15
ST. GERMAINE COUSIN (1601).

She was the daughter of a poor farmer who lived near Toulouse in France.

JUNE 16
ST. JOHN FRANCIS REGIS (1640).

He was one of the greatest priests of the Society of Jesus.

JUNE 17
ST. BOTOLPH (680).

Botolph was a Benedictine, and an Englishman, with over 70 churches dedicated to him in England. An English town, origi­nally called Saint Botolphstown.

JUNE 18
STS. MARK AND MARCELLIAN (THIRD CENTURY).

They were twin brothers and deacons of the Church at Rome who were martyred under Diocletian.

JUNE 19
ST. ROMUALD (1027).

He was a Benedictine monk, and later an abbot. He was the founder of the Camaldolese Order of the Benedictines in 1024. This saint's life was written by another holy man, Saint Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church.

JUNE 20
ST. SILVERIUS (538).

This 60th Pope of the Catholic Church suffered great persecution for defending the dogmatic truths of the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

JUNE 21
ST. ALOYSIUS GONZAGA (1591).

He was born on March 9, 1568, and is the model of the virtue of holy purity for all young Catholic boys.

JUNE 22
ST. PAULINUS OF NOLA (431).

Paulinus was born at Bordeaux, France, of one of its noblest and wealthiest families. He was appointed by the Roman Emperor, Prefect of all France.

JUNE 22
ST. THOMAS MORE (1535).

He was the wonderful English martyr, Chancellor of the Realm, who was beheaded on Tower Hill, just outside London.

JUNE 23
ST.AUDREY (ETHELDREDA) (679).

St. Audrey was an East Anglian princess, and later a queen. Driven to do so by her parents, she first married a prince named Tonbert, who died three years after their marriage.

JUNE 24
THE NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (1 B.C).

John the Baptist was the miraculous son of Sts. Zachary and Elizabeth, given to them when Elizabeth was well beyond the years of childbearing.

JUNE 25
ST. WILLIAM THE ABBOT (1142).

St. William the Abbot (1142). Of the many saints and holy people named William, none is better remembered than St. William of Monte Vergine, in Italy.

JUNE 26
ST. JOHN AND PAUL (362).

Sts. John and Paul (362). These two notable Roman soldiers were martyred under the rule of the cruel Julian the Apostate. They were executed for refusing to support Julian's defection from the dog­matic truths of the Catholic Church.

JUNE 27
ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA (444).

A Doctor of the Church, St. Cyril was "the soul of the Council of Ephesus" in 431.

JUNE 28
ST. LRENAEUS (202).

This great saint was born to Christian parents in Asia Minor, and died when he was 72, the same age as Our Lady at her death. Irenaeus is one of the Fathers of the Church and is sometimes called "the father of Catholic theology.

JUNE 29
ST. PETER AND PAUL(67).

Peter the Apostle, the first Pope of the Catholic Church, was the son of a fisherman in Galilee, named Jona.

JUNE 30
ST.THE FIRST MARTYRS OF ROME(64).

On this day the Church lovingly remembers the first fruits of the martyrs of the Church at Rome.

 
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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