The Birth of the Virgin | fresco by Giotto

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 8. Affirming the humanity of Jesus, the Church celebrates the birth of Mary, his mother. While Scripture does not record the birth of Mary, the apocryphal Protoevengelium of James notes the development of Christian piety around Mary's parents and her birth.

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Stained glass window in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Andrew in Dormagen in Rhein-Kreis Neuss (Nordrhein-Westfalen) | photo by GFreihalter

Saint Peter Claver

September 9. A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland forever in 1610, to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena, and began a ministry to the slaves brought there from West Africa, as well as becoming a moral force in the city of Cartegena.

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Santo Tomás de Villanueva | Francisco Camilo

Saint Thomas of Villanova

September 10. Saint Thomas was from Castile in Spain and received his surname from the town where he was raised. After joining the Augustinian friars at Salamanca, he became prior and then provincial of the friars. He sent the first Augustinian friars to the New World.

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Head Reliquary of Saint Cyprian in the St. Kornelius chapel of the abbey church of Kornelimünster Abbey in Kornelimünster | photo by ACBahn

Saint Cyprian

September 11. Saint Cyprian played an important role in the development of Christian thought and practice in the early Church. He was a noted speaker who became a Christian as an adult. He was ordained a priest within two years of his conversion and was then chosen the Bishop of Carthage.

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The Virgin and Child (The Madonna of the Rose) | Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 12. This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters. Mary encourages us to cooperate with Jesus in building a peace based on justice.

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Chrysostemos | Carl Christian Peters

Saint John Chrysostom

September 13. Saint John Chrysostom, the great preacher of Antioch, was the victim of his own success. Called to be a bishop, this simple monk found himself embroiled in the workings of the empire. He, however, managed to stay focused on the needs of the Church.

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The Exaltation of the True Cross | anonymous Russian icon painter

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14. Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, is credited with having found the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The cross quickly became an object of veneration.

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Our Lady of Sorrows statue in Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem | photo by creisor

Our Lady of Sorrows

September 15. The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul, and Jesus’ words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple. The two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.

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Stained glass window in Catholic Church of Saint-Corneille | photo by GFreihalter

Saint Cornelius

September 16. Cornelius was elected pope “by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the clergy, by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged priests and of good men” after a 14 month vacancy in the papacy. Cornelius served as Pope for only two years, but they were years packed with important happenings in the life of the Church.

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Detail | Stained glass window in Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio | photo by Nheyob

Saint Robert Bellarmine

September 17. Saint Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570 during a period when the study of theology was in a weakened state. He dedicated his time and energy to the study of Church history, the Fathers of the Church, and to Scripture, to organize Church teaching and to face the attacks of the Protestant Reformers.

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