May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of September inspire you to grow closer to Jesus Christ. The month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
September 5: St. Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Mother Teresa joined the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She departed for India, arriving in Calcutta in January 1929. She was assigned to teach at St. Mary’s School for girls for the next 20 years.
During a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her inspiration of Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls. Over the next several months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him, and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. “Come be My Light,” He asked her, “I cannot go alone”. The order was established in 1948, and by the end of her life, Mother Teresa’s Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world.
“I prayed much to obtain the grace as to how we will make our Society holy and also the families we serve. The Promises of the Sacred Heart and the pleading of Our Lady became clear in my heart: the Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart, the First Friday devotion, and the Family Rosary.”– St. Teresa of Calcutta
“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”– St. Teresa of Calcutta
September 8: Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all mankind, and the holiest of God’s creatures. Because of her Son’s infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, by the will of the Holy Trinity, all grace is given to mankind.
The Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on its traditional fixed date of September 8, nine months after the December 8 celebration of her Immaculate Conception as the child of Saints Joachim and Anne. This is one of three birthdays in the Church Calendar — the Birth of Jesus (December 25), the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Birth of Mary. On Our Lady’s birthday, the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Savior’s mother, Mary.
Saint Augustine described the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an event of universal and historical significance:
“She is the flower of the field from whom the precious lily of the valley bloomed. Through her birth, the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”Saint Augustine
September 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
This feast commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been found on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The cross was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, in 629.
It is said that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: “Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross.” The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and was able to continue the journey.
During the 40 years in the desert, an event took place which foreshadowed the victory of the cross. “The LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived” (Num 21: 8,9). This foreshadowing was confirmed by Jesus when He told Nicodemus “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:13).
“We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee, Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.”– Stations of the Cross
September 15: Our Lady of Sorrows
The title, Our Lady of Sorrows, was given to our Blessed Mother to honor the suffering she endured throughout her life and the faith and courage which she displayed when faced with grief. It is based on the prophecy of Simeon “… and you yourself will be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” (Luke 2:35). This feast day gained widespread devotion throughout the Church from the 12thto the 15th century, and was officially added to the Roman Missal in 1482. Interestingly, it was added under the title of Our Lady of Compassion, emphasizing the great love Mary displayed in suffering with her Son. In 1913, St. Pope Pius X established the feast day for September 15th under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are:
1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (John 19:17)
5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
6. The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (John 19:31-37) 7. The burial of Jesus (John 19:38-42;)
September 21: Feast of St. Matthew
No one was more shunned by the Jews than a publican, who was a Jew working for the Roman enemy by robbing his own people and making a large personal profit. Publicans were not allowed to trade, eat, or even pray with other Jews.
While seated at his table of books and money, Jesus looked at St. Matthew and said “Follow me.” This was all that was needed for Matthew to rise, leaving his wealth to follow Christ. His original name was Levi, and his new name in Christ, Matthew, means “Gift of God.” After his conversion, Matthew threw a dinner party for Christ and His disciples, to which he invited his fellow tax-collectors. The Jews were surprised to see Jesus eating with publicans, but Jesus explained that he had come “not to call the just, but sinners.”
Traditionally St. Matthew’s Gospel has been considered the first in the New Testament. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, and the purpose was to convince the Jews that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. Not much else is known about St. Matthew. According to tradition, he preached in Egypt and Ethiopia, and was martyred on the orders of the King of Ethiopia while celebrating Mass.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”– Matthew 11: 28-30
September 29: Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael
On this feast day, we celebrate the three Archangels who are mentioned in the Bible. The Archangel St. Michael, whose name in Hebrew means “who is like unto God?”, is also known as “the prince of the heavenly host.” He appears in Scripture four times, twice in the Book of Daniel, in the Epistle of St. Jude, and in the Book of Revelation. From Revelation, we learn of the battle in heaven, with St. Michael and his angels combatting the fallen angels.
St. Gabriel appears in the Bible three times as a messenger. He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist. He was chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation. His name means “God is my strength”.
St Raphael is in the book of Tobit. His mission as a healer and a traveler with Tobias, has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing pool in Bethesda. His name means “God has healed”.
In 1884 Pope Leo XIII, after seeing a horrific vision of the works of Satan in the 20th Century, composed the following prayer for St. Michael’s protection. In 1994 St. Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to recite this prayer frequently.
“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
September 30: St. Jerome (345-420)
One of the great Biblical scholars of the Church, Saint Jerome was eventually appointed as the personal secretary of Pope St. Damasus. In 382, at the request of the Holy Father, he began the enormous task of revising the Latin Bible. This effort took 30 years to complete and resulted in the Latin version of the Bible known as the Vulgate. In addition to revising the Latin Bible he wrote many commentaries on Scripture. After the death of Pope Damasus, forced by his enemies to leave Rome, St. Jerome spent the rest of his life in Bethlehem, establishing a monastery and a convent. He was fond of saying that Plato located the soul of man in the head, Christ located it in the heart.
“We must love Christ and always seek Christ’s embrace. Then everything difficult will seem easy.”– St. Jerome