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.
September 18. Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. His tendency to levitate during prayer was often times a cross.
September 19. Little is known about the life of Januarius. Legend has it that he and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius' blood ultimately brought to Naples.
September 20. The Korean martyrs, including Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Chong Hasang, spread the gospel in their native land under extremely difficult circumstances. The holy companion martyrs include bishops, priests, and laity, some of whom where French missionaries.
September 21. Saint Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Romans as a tax collector. His fellow Jews considered him a traitor, and resented him. The Pharisees viewed him, and all tax collectors, as a sinner. So it was a real shock to hear that Jesus called such a man to be one of his followers. But that’s the kind of thing that Jesus did.
September 22. Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the first canonized Filipino martyr, became a witness to the faith almost by accident. Fleeing a legal charge, he ended up with a group of Dominicans headed for Japan, where they were all arrested, tortured, and finally executed.
September 23. Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, grew up in southern Italy. At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchins and was ordained in 1910. In 1918 he received the stigmata, the markings of the crucified Jesus.
September 24. John Henry Newman, the 19th-century's most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches.
September 25. Frustrated in their attempts to enter Religious Life, Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin married and had nine children. Their youngest child, who entered a Carmelite convent at 15, became Saint Thérese of the Child Jesus, affectionately known as the Little Flower.
September 26. Blessed Pope Paul VI helped prepare for the Second Vatican Council, and was the one to complete it after the death of his predecessor, Pope Saint John XXIII. In 1965, he instituted the Synod of Bishops and spoke to the United Nations General Assembly during a visit to New York City.