The month of September is still part of Ordinary Time, with green being the liturgical vestment color.
MAJOR SAINTS AND FEAST DAYS OF AUGUST
|September 3||Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor||Memorial|
|September 14||Exaltation of the Holy Cross||Feast|
|September 16||Cornelius, Pope and Martyr; Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr||Memorial|
|September 21||Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist||Feast|
|September 23||Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)||Memorial|
|September 29||Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels||Feast|
|September 30||Jerome, Priest and Doctor||Memorial|
IRISH SAINTS OF SEPTEMBER
September 1 Fiacre (d.c. 670)
Fiacre was an Irishman who went to France in search of a place of solitude. The bishop of Meaux gave him a tract of land at Breuil, where he lived as a solitary for a time. Eventually, he built a hospice for travelers there, attracted many disciples, ministered to the poor, and dealt out spiritual advice. A number of cures are attributed to his intercession, including some on behalf of the royal family of France. He is the patron saint of Paris cabbies (fiacres). Fiacre is also the patron saint of gardeners. If you are living or traveling in the Youngstown, Ohio, area, look for the statue of St. Fiacre in Fellows Garden, Mill Creek Park.
September 3 Macinisius, Bishop (d.514)
Macinisius (or Aengus MacNisse) was, according to legend, baptized by St. Patrick, and later consecrated bishop by him as well. He may have journeyed to the Holy Land and spent time at Rome. He founded a church and monastery at Kells–later considered the first bishopric of Connor. Stories of very extravagant miracles surround him.
September 4 Ultan, Bishop (d.657)
Probably bishop of Ardbraccan, he was a learned evangelizer, also known for his ministrations to the poor, sick, and orphaned. Reputedly, he collected the writings of St. Brigid and wrote the life of Brigid known as “the third life,” and supplied St. Tirechan with his materials for his annotations on the life of St. Patrick found in the Book of Armagh. The existence of more than one saintly Ultan has resulted in confusion.
September 6 Bega, Virgin (7th century)
Also known as Bee or Begh and reportedly of Irish royalty, she fled to Cumberland to avoid a marriage to a Norwegian prince. She lived as a hermitess for a while, but on the advice of St. Oswald, king of Northumbria, took religious vows from St. Aidan and founded a monastery at Copeland. St. Bee’s Head in Northumbria is named after her.
September 7 Grimonia, Virgin and Martyr
Grimonia was the daughter of a pagan Irish chief. As a teenager, she converted to Christianity and took a vow of virginity. She fled to the Continent to escape being forced into marriage and lived as a hermitess in the forests of Picardy. The cause of her death is uncertain. She may have been slain defending her chastity against marauders, or her father’s retainers who had discovered her refuge may have killed her for refusing to return.
September 8 Disibod (d.c. 674)
Disibod is said to have been a bishop in Ireland. Though a zealous preacher, he became discouraged with his lack of success at home, and decamped for the Continent, where he evangelized the Germanic peoples around Bingen. There he founded a monastery. In the 12th century, a community of Benedictine nuns located nearby; their abbess was the famous mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard wrote a life of Disibod. However, it consists mostly of disquisitions on morals and Scripture. In fact, we know very little about Disibod.
September 9 Ciaran, Abbot (d.c. 556)
One of a number of sainted Ciarans, this man is known as Ciaran the Younger. HIs name is also spelled “Kieran.” Many fanciful stories are told of him. We do know that he studied at St. Finnian’s school at Clonard, and tutored the daughter of King Cuala. He is one of the so-called Twelve Apostles of Ireland. After some wanderings, he founded the famous abbey at Clonmacnois on the Shannon in County Offaly, a renowned center of Irish learning.
September 10 Finnian of Moville, Bishop (d.c.579)
An Ulsterman possibly of royal blood, he studied at several monastic schools before crossing to the land of the Scots and becoming a monk at Whitern in Strathclyde. It would be interesting to know more about one of the stories told of him: that he was forced to leave Whitern, due to the fallout from a prank which he played on a Pictish princess who was enamored of him. He went to Rome and was ordained there. Upon returning to Ireland, he founded a monastery at Moville, where St. Columba was one of his disciples. There is a story that the two fell into a dispute about a copy which Columba made of a manuscript of St. Jerome’s psalter. The dispute received royal mediation, resulting in a victory for Finnian. Finnian is credited with founding, at some point, the monastery at Holywood in Scotland.
September 12 Ailbhe (d.c. 526)
Little is known of this saint but miraculous stories. Also known as Ailbe or Albeus, he preached in Ireland prior to St. Patrick according to some accounts. More likely, he lived in the 6th century.
September 15 Mirin, Abbot (7th century)
A disciple of St. Comgall, Mirin undertook missions to Scotland. He was for a time abbot of Bangor. At one time a number of churches in Scotland bore his name.
September 23 Adamnan, Abbot (c. 624-704)
Adamnan was born in Donegal, becoming a monk there and later at Iona, where he became the ninth abbot in 679. Adamnan had close ties to the royal family of Northumbria, having sheltered the heir to the throne from a usurper. He later used this connection to secure the ransom of Irish prisoners of war. The English monastic writer Bede recalled that as a teenager he met Adamnan during a visit Adamnan made to Wearmouth and Jarrow. Adamnan was instrumental in bringing about the agreement of the Irish church to adopt the Easter calendar usage of the Roman church, bringing it into line with most of Europe, though his own community of Iona resisted. Bede noted Adamnan’s reputation as a brilliant scholar of Scripture. He was an advocate of the protection of women and children from the ravages of war, wrote an important biography of Columba, and also composed a travelogue of the East, based upon the account of a Frankish bishop who was shipwrecked near Iona on his way home from Jerusalem.
September 25 Finbar, Bishop (d.c. 633)
Reputedly the illegitimate son of a Connaught master smith and a royal female, and baptized Lochan, he was sent to Kilkenny to be educated. It was from the monks there that he received the name by which he is known, Finbar (Fionnbharr), Whithead, due to his fair hair. He made at least two trips to Rome, on one of which he visited St. David in Wales on his way home. He may have preached in Scotland, as well as southern Ireland, lived as a hermit for several years, and ultimately founded a monastery which grew into the city of Cork. He was its first bishop.
September 26 Colman of Lann Elo, Abbot (c. 555-611)
There are a number of sainted Colmans. This Colman was a native of Tyrone, a nephew and protege of St. Columba. Aboout 590, he built a monastery in Offaly called Lann Elo (Lynally).
This month we celebrate the feast of Michael and the other archangels. Devotion to Michael was strong in medieval times in Ireland and throughout the British Isles. Skellig Michael, an island about 8 miles west of the Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry, is the site of monastic ruins of great antiquity. Images of Skellig Michael may look familiar to moviegoers, since scenes from Star Wars VII, “The Force Awakens,” were filmed there.
NEWS OF INTEREST
–The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have inflicted harm on many people and institutions, one of the latter being Catholic schools. Already experiencing shaky finances, a number of Catholic schools will likely not be able to reopen. For instance, the Archdiuocese of Boston estimates that about 10% of its schools will not reopen.
–July 20: A woman who “identifies” as a man has filed suit against a Catholic hospital in Maryland for refusing to perform a hysterectomy on her. The suit cites the recent Bostock decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
–July 21: Also in Maryland, the federal Office of Civil Rights within the Justice Department has successfully intervened in the case of a Catholic patient who was being denied the last rites by a hospital, on the grounds that his condition was not considered serious enough.
–July 29: The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has endorsed the candidacy of Joe Biden.
–July 31: Apparently we can add St. Damien de Veuster (1840-89) to the list of Catholic saints, including Junipero Serra and King Louis IX of France, who are to be cancelled by the “woke.” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has said that St. Damien’s statue in the Capitol Building represents “white supremacist culture.” The Belgian priest dedicated his life to the lepers of Molokai in the Hawaian Islands, eventually succumbing to the disease himself.
–In a letter dated August 11, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) has asked Attorney General William Barr to step up efforts to combat attacks on catholic churches, shrines, and statues.
–During the Democratic Convention, Democrats for Life unsuccessfully lobbied the party to fix its position on abortion. Democrats for Life would like to see conscience protection written back into the party platform. Prominent Democrats for Life include Louisiana Governor Johnathan Bel Edwards and former Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski, who was eliminated in this year’s primary by a nationally-backed pro-abortion opponent.
[Sources consulted for this report include: Butler’s Lives of the Saints, complete edition, ed. and rev. by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater; 4 vols. (New York, 1956); The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite (New York, 1975); The National Catholic Register; ewtn.com; catholic.org; priestsforlife.org.]
Patrick J. Lally