Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30th September - Jerome

Born to a rich family, he led a mis-spent youth. Studied in Rome, became a lawyer, he began his study of theology, and was converted to Christianity. Monk. He lived for years as a hermit in the Syrian deserts and stories surrounding him include Jerome drawing a thorn from a lion‘s paw; the animal staying at his side for years. He was commissioned to revise the Latin text of the Bible and produced the Latin Vulgate after 30 years of work. He lived his last 34 years in the Holy Land as a semi-recluse.

Patron of archaeologists, librarians, school children, students & translators.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

29th September – Michael and All Angels

Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels). In medieval England Michaelmas marked the ending and beginning of the husbandman's year.

Michaelmas marks the beginning of the academic year in universities, the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.

Michaelmas is one of the quarter days. There are four “quarter days” in a year, Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September) and Christmas (25th December). These are three months apart, on religious festivals, close to the solstices or equinoxes. They were the four dates on which servants were hired, rents were due or leases begun. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

28th September - Bernardine of Feltre

Born to the nobility, the eldest of nine children, he grew up with a speech impediment. He joined the Order of Friars Minor, taught, and was later ordained. His speech impediment was miraculously cured and he became a travelling preacher throughout Italy. Bernadine was noted for his fiery sermons against moneylending. He organized more than thirty “monti di pieta” (charitable credit organisations run on a non-profit basis) throughout Italy to give people an alternative to high-interest lenders.

Patron of bankers and pawnbrokers.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

27th September – Vincent de Paul

Born to a peasant family, highly intelligent, Vincent spent four years with the Franciscan friars at Acq, France getting an education. He became a tutor to children of a gentlemen in Acq, and was ordained aged 20.

He was taken captive by Turkish pirates to Tunis and sold into slavery. Freed in 1607 when he converted one of his owners to Christianity. Returning to France, he served as parish priest near Paris where he started organizations to help the poor, nursed the sick and found jobs for the unemployed.  Chaplain at the court of Henry IV of France. Together with Louise de Marillac, Vincent founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity and instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists). He worked tirelessly for the poor, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored and the pariahs.

Patron against leprosy.

Patron for charitable workers, charities, horses, hospital workers, hospitals, lepers, lost articles, prisoners, spiritual help and volunteers.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

26th September - Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries

Cosmas and Damian (known as moneyless or silverless) were twin brothers, physicians, and early Christian martyrs (d303). They practiced their profession in the seaport of Aegeae, then in the Roman province of Syria.

Accepting no payment for their services led to them being named "Unmercenaries". By this they attracted many to the Christian faith.

Patrons against blindness, against pestilence and patrons for apothecaries, barbers, blind people, doctors, hairdressers, hernias, midwives, pharmacists and surgeons

Friday, 25 September 2015

25th September – Herman

Herman was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents cared for him until the age of seven, but in 1020 they gave him over to the abbey of Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany; where he spent the rest of his life. Aged 20, he became a Benedictine monk. 

Herman was a genius. He studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, mathematics, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He built musical instruments and astronomical equipment. In later life he became blind and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, he is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

24th September - Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham is an alternative title of Mary the mother of Jesus. The title derives from the belief that Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout English noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk. In this vision she was taken by Mary to be shown the house in Nazareth where Gabriel had announced the news of the birth of Jesus. Mary asked Richeldis to build an exact replica of that house in Walsingham. Walsingham became known as England's Nazareth. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

23rd September - Adamnan of Iona

Relative of Columba, monk, abbot of Iona, president-general of all the Columban houses in Ireland and evangelist throughout Ireland.

He promoted laws that helped protect civilian and clerical populations in areas at war, prohibiting the murder or enslavement of non-combatant women and children. He wrote a biography on the life of Columba, a work that survives today.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

22nd September - Maurice

Maurice, an officer in a legion of Christian soldiers from Upper Egypt. His legion of 6600 men was massacred by their own side when they refused to participate in pagan sacrifices prior to battle. The army offered public sacrifices to the Roman gods; Maurice, and the Theban Legion, refused to participate. For refusing orders, the Legion was decimated, one tenth were executed. When the remainder refused to sacrifice to the gods, they were decimated again. When the survivors still refused to sacrifice, the remaining soldiers were killed.

Patron against cramps, against gout patron of armies, cloth dyers, cloth-makers, infantrymen, soldiers, swordsmiths & weavers

Monday, 21 September 2015

21st September – Feast of St Matthew

Matthew, son of Alphaeus, was a Roman tax collector. As such he was thought to be in collaboration with the enemy by the very ones from whom he collected taxes.

Matthew’s Gospel was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. Matthew preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia and places in the East.

Patron of accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers & tax collectors.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

20th September - John Houghton

Born – 1487, Essex, England
Died – 1535, hanged, drawn, and quartered. His body was chopped to pieces and put on display around London as an example to others

John graduated from Cambridge with degrees in civil and canon law. He was ordained in 1501 and served as a parish priest for four years. John was the first person to oppose King Henry VIII‘s Act of Supremacy. He was imprisoned and initially signed the oath, sensing he could be loyal to Church and Crown. John was released but a few days later troops arrived and forced the monks to sign the modified oath. Following three days of prayer, John asked for exemption for themselves and their monks. The group was arrested and thrown in the Tower. True to his Carthusian vow of silence, John would not defend himself in court and refused to sign. The jury could find no malice to the king, but when threatened with prosecution themselves, they found John and his co-defendants guilty of treason. John became the first person martyred under the Tudor persecutions.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

19th September - Theodore of Tarsus

Theodore was the eighth Archbishop of Canterbury (668-690). He was a Greek from Tarsus, the home of St Paul. He was a highly-educated monk living in Rome who was quickly advanced through all the clerical ranks and was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury at the age of sixty-five.

Theodore arrived in Kent when he was almost seventy. In spite of his age, he was energetic, travelling throughout England founding churches and consecrating bishops to fill those Sees which were left vacant by an outbreak of plague. He also created new Sees and established a school in Canterbury where Greek was taught.

In Northumbria, Theodore settled a dispute involving episcopal succession.
St Theodore summoned a council of the entire English Church at Hertford in 672. Not only was this the first church council in England, it was the first assembly of any kind attended by representatives from all over the country. In 679 he convened another synod at Hatfield to maintain the purity of Orthodox doctrine.

Theodore died in 690. Under his leadership, the English Church became united in a way that the various tribal kingdoms did not. The diocesean structures which he established continue to serve as the basis for church administration in England. He was respected for his administrative skills, and also for his moral and canonical decisions.

Friday, 18 September 2015

18th September - Joseph of Cupertino

Patron of aviators, flying, air travellers & studying

Joseph was born at Cupertino, Naples, in 1603. He has been described as a nuisance, slow and absent-minded and he would wander around, going nowhere, his mouth gaping open. He had a bad temper and remained unpopular. He tried his hand at shoemaking, but failed. He joined the Order of Capuchins but was sent away because he could not seem to do anything right. He dropped piles of dishes and frequently forgot what he was told. He was finally accepted as a servant at the Franciscan monastery. Joseph began to change. He grew more humble and gentle, more careful and more successful at his work. 

It is said that his life was marked by ecstasies and levitations.There was great interest in the unusual and Joseph’s ecstasies caused both admiration and disturbance in the community. For 35 years he was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession, or say Mass in church. To prevent making a spectacle he was ordered to remain in his room with a private chapel.

Joseph retained his joyous spirit, keeping seven Lents of 40 days each year, never letting his faith be shaken. He became incredibly popular with common people and died on September 18, 1663.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

17th September - Hildegard of Bingen

"There is the music of heaven in all things"

Hildegard, a truly remarkable woman, was the tenth child born to a noble family. As was customary with the tenth child, which the family could not count on feeding, she was considered a tithe and dedicated at birth to the Church. Hildegard produced major works of theology. She was highly respected and advised bishops, popes and kings. She is the first musical composer whose biography is known. She founded a vibrant convent where her musical plays were performed. 

Hildegard was an abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She is considered the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems and supervised miniature illuminations. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

16th September - Ninian

Whithorn Abbey

Ninian, son of a chieftain, raised a Christian, a student in Rome, a Priest, a Bishop and a friend of Martin of Tours. He returned to his homeland, Scotland, and helped to lay a solid foundation for the Church. Ninian built the White House, so called because stone work was unusual at that time. It was probably the first Christian settlement in Scotland and is known as Whithorn Abbey, one of the holiest places in Scotland. His tombs and a nearby cave are places of pilgrimage.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

15th September - Catherine of Genoa

Born into a wealthy family, related to popes, youngest of five children, Catherine was a religious and prayerful girl. She tried to enter a convent at age 13 but was turned away because of her youth. She was married at 16 to a Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. They remained childless and her husband was known for his cruelty, violence and unfaithfulness. After Catherine was struck down by a revelation of God‘s love and her own sinfulness she led her husband to the faith and they spent the rest of their lives working with the sick and poor. Her writings have continued her fame.

Catherine is patron against adultery, against temptation and for brides, childless people, difficult marriages, people ridiculed for their piety, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness and widows.

Monday, 14 September 2015

14th September – Holy Cross Day

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
The feast of the Cross commemorates the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. While Good Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the Crucifixion, this day celebrates the cross as the instrument of salvation.

The cross became the universal symbol for Christianity, replacing the fish symbol of the early church. After the end of the persecution era, early in the fourth century, pilgrims began to travel to Jerusalem to visit and pray at the places associated with the life of Jesus. Helena, the mother of the emperor, was a Christian and, whilst overseeing excavations in the city, is said to have uncovered a cross which many believed to be the Cross of Christ. A basilica was built on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and dedicated on this day in the year 335.

The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania, has been a place of pilgrimage for many years. It grew in significance during Soviet times and became a place of anonymous but surprising resistance to the regime. The Soviet government considered the crosses and the hill a hostile symbol. Wooden crosses were broken and burnt, metal ones used as scrap metal and stone and concrete crosses were broken and buried. Several times the hill itself was levelled by bulldozers. Tactics became more subtle: crosses were removed as having no artistic value, different “epidemics” were announced forbidding people to come into the region and roads were blocked by police. At other times, the hill would be flattened, crosses destroyed and excrement sprayed over the area. The Hill was guarded by both the Soviet army and KGB. In 1978 and 1979 there were attempts to flood the territory. Despite all these endeavours crosses would reappear, each marking a personal and public tragedy. Today, visitors leave a cross or a rosary or make one from pebbles, twigs or grass.

Collect for today …..
Almighty God,
who in the passion of your blessed Son
made an instrument of painful death
to be for us the means of life and peace:
grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ
that we may gladly suffer for his sake;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

13th September – John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom (golden-mouthed), c349 – 407, Archbishop of Constantinople, known for his preaching and public speaking and his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders. In 398, he was elevated to the See of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. He had enemies in high places. The empress Eudoxia, offended by the freedom of his discourses, sent into exile. In the midst of his sufferings he found the greatest peace and happiness. His enemies were not satisfied with his sufferings and banished him to the very extremity of the Empire. He died on his way there in 407.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

12th September – Guy of Anderlecht

Born to poor parents, he lived a simple life, serving as a sacristan in the local church. He remained so until persuaded to invest in a trading venture. When the ship carrying the cargo in which he had invested sank in the harbour, Guy believed he was being punished for being greedy and went on a pilgrimage, first to Rome as penance, and then to Jerusalem where he worked as a guide to other pilgrims. He died on his way home.

He is the patron saint of Anderlecht, animals with horns, bachelors, convulsive children, epileptics, labourers, protection of outbuildings, protection of sheds, protection of stables, sacristans, sextons and work horses. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

11th September – Deiniol

Deiniol, d584, known as the first Bishop of Bangor, Wales. Bangor Cathedral, dedicated to Deiniol, is on the site where his monastery stood. Deiniol is described as one of the seven blessed cousins and spent part of his early life as a hermit. He was called to be a bishop “despite deficiencies in his formal education”.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

10th September - Nicholas of Tolentino

Nicholas of Tolentino, 1246 – 1305, Patron of Holy Souls.

Nicholas Gurrutti was born in Pontano, Italy, the son of parents who had been childless into middle age. Aged 16, Nicholas became an Augustinian Friar. He was ordained aged 25 and soon became known for his preaching and teachings. On account of his kind and gentle manner his superiors gave him the task of daily feeding of the poor at the monastery gates. At times he was so generous that the procurator begged the superior to check his generosity. Nicholas worked as a peacemaker in a city torn by strife. He ministered to his flock, helped the poor and visited prisoners. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

9th September – Charles Lowder

Charles Lowder, born in Bath, ordained a deacon in 1843 and ordained a priest in 1844. He was the founder of the Society of the Holy Cross.

Seeking a parish with a Catholic pattern of worship Lowder became assistant curate at St Barnabas' Church, Pimlico, a church at the heart of an area of slums,  built to serve the poor. However, an opponent of high Church worship at St Barnabas' stood for the post of churchwarden in an attempt to bring them to a stop. He hired a man to parade up and down the street wearing a sandwich-board canvassing for votes for churchwarden. Lowder, keen to oppose him, gave money to the choirboys to buy rotten eggs and encouraged them to pelt the board carrier. As a result Lowder was called in front of a magistrate and fined. He was also reprimanded by his bishop and suspended from duty for six weeks.

Lowder earned the love of his parishioners and he was known to them as "the Father of Wapping", "the Father" or "Father Lowder". Lowder became the first Church of England priest to receive the title "Father"

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

8th September – Nativity of Mary

The Nativity of Mary, or Birth of the Virgin Mary, refers to the traditional birthday of Mary. The Church has celebrated Mary's birth since at least the sixth century. Few days mark the commemoration of a birth, the exceptions are those of Mary and of John the Baptist. The earliest known account of Mary's birth is found in an apocryphal text from the late second century, with her parents named as Anne and Joachim. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. Augustine connects Mary's birth with Jesus' saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. "She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed."

Winegrowers in France call this feast "Our Lady of the Grape Harvest". The best grapes are brought to the local church to be blessed and then bunches are attached to hands of a statue of Mary. 

Mary, patron of ...... chefs, coffee house keepers,  distillers,  drapers,  fishmongers,  goldsmiths,  pin makers,  potters,  restauranteurs,  silk workers,  silversmiths &  tile makers

Monday, 7 September 2015

7th September - Anastasius the Fuller

Church of Anastasius the Fuller at  Struga

Anastasius was born into a wealthy family. After reading St Paul‘s advice to the Thessalonians: “it is best to work with your hands”, he became a fuller at Spalato, Dalmatia (modern Split, Croatia). Anastasius lost his life in the persecutions of Diocletian. He painted a cross on his shop door and openly practised his faith. He was drowned with a weight around his neck in 304. His body was recovered, brought back to Salona and a church was built there in his honour.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

6th September - Cagnoald

Cagnoald (d633), Patron of all those in Exile
Chagnoald became a monk and was later ordained bishop of Laon. He angered the king, Theuderic II, by criticizing him for his immoral life. Theodoric exiled Chagnoald from his territories and Chagnoald found refuge near Lake Constance, working with Columbanus as a missionary. When Theodoric gained control of this area, Columbanus and Chagnoald left for Rome. After the death of Columbanus, Chagnoald returned to his old diocese and resumed his duties as bishop. Whilst very little is known of Cagnoald, we do know that he lived in times where the king lived an immoral life and Cagnoald spoke against this. He was exiled, several times. We also know that he attended one of the early Church Councils. We see through his life that he lived with integrity and had to flee to foreign lands.  

Saturday, 5 September 2015

5th September - Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was born in 1910 in Skopje. Her father died when she was eight years old. Gonxha's religious formation was with the Jesuit parish of the Sacred Heart in which she was very involved as a youth. Gonxha left her home at the age of 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. She received the name Sister Mary Teresa. In 1929, she left for India, arriving in Calcutta, and taught at St Mary's School for girls. Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows in 1937, becoming, as she said, the "spouse of Jesus" for "all eternity." From that time on she was called Mother Teresa.
She continued teaching at St. Mary's and in 1944 became the school's principal. In 1946, during a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration, her call within a call." On that day, in a way she could never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart.
In 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor. She went for the first time to the slums, visited families, washed the sores of children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She started each day with communion then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him amongst "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." After some months, she was joined by former students. Mother Teresa sent her Sisters to other parts of India. She opened a house in Venezuela, followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.
Mother Teresa received many awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She received both prizes and attention 'for the glory of God and in the name of the poor."
In addition to her extraordinary love for the poor, Mother Teresa service was marked by experiences of deep, painful and abiding feelings of being separated from God, even rejected by Him, along with an ever increasing longing for His love. She called her inner experience, the darkness. The "painful night" of her soul started around the time she started her work for the poor and continued to the end of her life.
In 1997, Mother Teresa died. She was given a state funeral by the Government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa's Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world.
Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity. Her response to Jesus' plea, "Come be My light," made her a "mother to the poor," and a symbol of compassion to the world. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

4th September - Ultan of Ardbraccan

Ultan was the uncle of St Brigid, a disciple of St Declan, bishop of Ardbraccan and was noted for illuminating the writings of St Brigid. Ultan founded a school, educating and feeding its poor students. He has been described as "the great sinless prince in whom the little ones are flourishing: the children play greatly round Ultan of Ardbraccan." The Yellow Plague attacked adults more than children. In many places through the country children were left orphaned, helpless and starving. Ultan collected as many children as he could find and brought them to his monastery. He often had as many as 150 children. Ultan ended his days in 653 on one of the Aran Islands.

He is the Patron Saint of paediatricians and a children's hospital in Dublin.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

3rd September - Gregory the Great

Gregory, patron saint of teachers

Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of Gordianus, a wealthy senator, who later renounced the world and became one of the seven deacons of Rome. Gregory was appointed Chief Magistrate of Rome. After the death of his father, he built six monasteries in Sicily and founded a seventh in his own house in Rome, which became the Benedictine Monastery of St. Andrew. Where he assumed the monastic habit. After the death of Pelagius, Gregory was chosen Pope. Gregory had strong convictions on missions. He re-energized the Church's missionary work in northern Europe and sent a mission, under Augustine of Canterbury, to evangelize the pagan Anglo-Saxons of England. The mission was successful, and it was from England that missionaries later set out for the Netherlands and Germany. He is known for his contributions to the Liturgy, his writings and is one of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church. He died in 604 and is the patron of teachers.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

2nd September - Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig

NFS Grundtvig, 1783 – 1872

Danish pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher, educationalist and politician. He was one of the most influential people in Danish history. 

Grundtvig is credited with influencing modern Danish national consciousness. He was a forceful and controversial preacher who, after finding his faith in Lutheranism, strongly argued that Christianity was not a theory to be derived from the Bible and elaborated by scholars. He questioned the right of theologians to interpret the Bible. He was prosecuted for libel, fined and forbidden to preach. In 1832 Grundtvig obtained permission to preach again and served as pastor of the workhouse church of Vartov hospital, Copenhagen, a post he held until his death.

As an educationalist, Grundtvig promoted a spirit of freedom, poetry and disciplined creativity within all branches of educational life. He promoted values such as wisdom, compassion and equality. He opposed all compulsion in education, including exams, describing them as "deadening to the human soul" and strongly advocated the unleashing of human creativity. 

As a politician he was realistic, always giving voice to an anti-authoritarian attitude; he supported peaceful change rather than revolution. He left behind him religious and popular movements and remains influential in the folk high schools, the church, the parliament and with the public at large.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

1st September - Giles of Provence

St Giles and the Hind, National Gallery

Giles (650-710), was a Greek hermit from Athens. He founded an abbey in Arles under Benedictine Rule which became a place of pilgrimage and a stop-off on the Pilgrim Way of St James on the journey to Santiago de Compostela. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, 14th century group whose intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. 

In his early life he lived deep in the forests, his sole companion being a deer who sustained him on her milk.The king's hunters, chasing the deer, shot an arrow at the deer but wounded Giles, who later became known as patron of cripples.