These 4 saints show us the way to listening to and following the Lord no matter the circumstances.
During September, the month dedicated to the Sorrows of Mary, we are reminded of how the Blessed Mother was the perfect model of obedience to God’s will and how many saints followed in her footsteps.
These four saints celebrated in September show us the importance of doing the will of God through loving obedience to Him. May we turn to their words the next time we need a good reminder. Below, meet a humble missionary, a martyr pope, a mystic confessor, and a hermit scholar, all of whom have something powerful to say about doing God’s will.
September 9 – St. Peter Claver (1580-1654)
St. Peter Claver was a Jesuit missionary who ministered to enslaved people brought to South American from Africa.Having resolved that he, himself, would be God’s slave forever, he saw the intrinsic worth of these frightened slaves and upon their reaching the New World, he greeted them with medicine and food.
He wore a cloak that he famously shared with anyone in need and it was said that anyone who had been draped in the cloak was healed. He baptized and catechized over 300,000 enslaved people and would himself sleep in slave quarters whenever possible. In the words of St. Peter Claver:
“Man’s salvation and perfection consists of doing the will of God, which he must have in view in all things and at every moment of his life.”
September 16 – St. Cornelius, Pope (3rd century)
Pope Cornelius served as Pope from 251 until he was martyred in 253. He is famous for the merciful stance he took after a period of persecution of the Church, when a schism occurred regarding how lapsed Church members (who had practiced pagan sacrifices to save their own lives) could be readmitted to the church.
Some believed those who had betrayed the Church by practicing pagan sacrifices should not be allowed to be readmitted to the Church. Cornelius’ position was that if those sinners did varying forms of penance they could return.
As Roman persecutions swelled once more, Cornelius was exiled and then he himself died a martyr. This merciful pope with a martyr’s soul gave everything to God, including his own life, to do the Father’s will. In the words of St. Cornelius:
“We remitted all things to Almighty God, in whose power all things are reserved.”
September 23 – St. Padre Pio (1887-1968)
Padre Pio is a renowned and beloved saint from Pietrelcina, Italy. He was a Franciscan Capuchin friar and priest. He is famous for being a mystic who received the stigmata, deeply devout when saying Mass, and a dedicated confessor who had a mystical knowledge of the sins of those in his confessional before they had spoken a word.
Despite many trials including illnesses, attacks from the devil, painful stigmata, and persecution, his unwavering perseverance and obedience to the will of God is a model for us all. In the words of Padre Pio:
“Where there is no obedience there is no virtue, where there is no virtue there is no good, where there is no good there is no love, where there is no love, there is no God, and where there is no God there is no Paradise.”
A new film about the life of Padre Pio comes out this September.
September 30 – St. Jerome (born 342 in what would today be Croatia)
St. Jerome, patron saint of librarians, biblical scholars and translators, is famous for his legendary Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. Though he struggled with morality as a brilliant young student and lived a wild life (in a way similar to St. Augustine), he sensed God’s will calling him and so became a Christian, zealous in his faith.
His peerless, invaluable contributions to Catholic theology made him a Father and Doctor of the Church. He lived for four years as a hermit alone in the desert, a sharp ascetic contrast to his former lifestyle of vice. And for a time, he even lived in a cave near the Church of the Nativity in the Holy Land, which is where he worked on his translation of the Bible.
In art, St. Jerome is often depicted as dwelling in a cavernous library surrounded by books, with a skull on his desk reminding of the fleeting passage of time.
In the words of St. Jerome:
“Martyrdom does not consist only in dying for one’s faith. Martyrdom also consists in serving God with love and purity of heart every day of one’s life.”
Saints of September, as we seek and savor your words of wisdom, pray for us!