San José de Calasanz | Francisco Jover y Casanova

Saint Joseph Calasanz

August 26. Saint Joseph Calasanz dedicated his life to poor children. He gathered teachers to help him, and eventually organized the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools--also known as the Piarists or Scolopi. But his work was not without opposition, as some objected to the education of the poor.

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Detail | Stained glass window in the Church of Saint James the Greater in Bouxwiller | photo by GFreihalter

Saint Monica

August 27. Perhaps Saint Monica is best known as the mother of Saint Augustine—a pretty noble label. But Saint Monica was also the mother of two other children, and is known as a woman of great prayer. We know that she prayed for the conversion of her son, and her prayers were heard. She also prayed for and obtained the conversion of her husband and mother-in-law.

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Saint Augustine of Hippo | Line engraving by P. Cool after M. de Vos | Wellcome Images

Saint Augustine of Hippo

August 28. Saint Augustine is a giant in many ways. He had a powerful and forceful personality which he used both before and after his conversion. He had a passion for whatever he did, and this showed up in his theological teachings. Yet he also was a man of great love, as is evident in his sermons to his priests. And he had a deep love for the Lord.

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Salome with the Head of John the baptist | Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

August 29. The martyrdom of John the Baptist is one of the most gruesome stories in the New Testament. Yet it is the story of the victory of faith and loyalty over cowardice and hate. A king makes a careless promise and does not have the courage or integrity to do the right thing when his jealous wife takes advantage. This is one of those blunt stories of what living faithfully is all about.

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Statue of Saint Jeanne Jugan at the Sisters of the Poor in Valladolid | photo by Rodelar

Saint Jeanne Jugan

August 30. Canonized in 2009, Saint Jeanne Jugan had a history of helping the elderly and the poor. She founded the Little Sisters of the Poor to help her with her work, and by the time of her death they numbered 2,400. Her life included a few obstacles, but Saint Jeanne was a woman of determination and vision and she got it done.

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Monastery Church: Altar of the crucifixion, Mecklenburg | Gaston Lenthe | (Longinus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus)

Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

August 31. We know little about Saint Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus except what we find in scripture. We do know that they were Jewish men of some standing who were not afraid to express their respect for Jesus. Each in his own way played a role in the life of Jesus that required courage and showed some understanding of who Jesus was.

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Old altar piece from Kvæfjord church, Norway | photo by Universitetsmuseenes fotoportal

Saint Giles

September 1. One of the 14 Holy Helpers of Germany, Saint Giles was a popular saint in Germany, England, and elsewhere. While we know little about him, his popularity attests to his greatness.

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Massacre à la Salpêtrière, 3 septembre 1792 | anonymous (Unrelated, but similar incident during the French Revolution.)

Blessed John Francis Burté and Companions

September 2. Victims of the French Revolution, these saints witnessed to their faith by refusing to agree with the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which amounted to a denial of the faith. On a single day, 185 people were martyred.

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Saint Gregory the Great | Jusepe de Ribera, also known as José de Ribera

Saint Gregory the Great

September 3. Saint Gregory became a pope at the age of 50. In his new role, he had much to do both within and outside of the Church. He proved to be a capable shepherd addressing many ecclesial and civil issues with a firm, steady resolve.

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Santa Rosa e San Donnino | fresco, Duomo di Ivrea | photo by Laurom

Saint Rose of Viterbo

September 4. Saint Rose achieved sainthood in only 18 years of life. She had shown a great desire for prayer early in life, and joined the Secular Franciscan at the age of 10. She used to preach in the streets and was very generous to the poor.

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