On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixion, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church. The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds. Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible. In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio. The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him. Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day. Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed. Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.
Saint Maurice and The Theban Legion numbered more than six thousand men. The legion had been conscripted from the very Christian areas surrounding Thebes, Egypt hence the name of the legion. They marched from the East into Gaul, and proved their loyalty at once to their Emperor and to their God. They were encamped near the Lake of Geneva, under the Emperor Maximian, when they got orders to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods and turn their swords against the Christian population. This Christian legion refused to obey the order. In his fury Maximian ordered them to be "decimated", meaning every tenth soldier killed as an example.
St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collectors place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the "Levi" of Mark and Luke.
The story of Saint Eustace tells how a Roman general named Placidus was once out hunting. He pursued a noble stag, which suddenly turned and approached him. Between the stag's antlers Placidus saw a crucifix. A voice was calling him by name. During the vision he received a prophecy: "I am Jesus who you honor without knowing it..." and that he would suffer for Christ. He was baptized with his wife and two sons, and given the name Eustachius (or Eustace).
Together with his deacons Socius and Festus, and his lector Desiderius, Januarius, bishop of Beneventum, was subjected to most atrocious torturing during the Diocletian persecution (about 304). Nevertheless, with God's aid they were preserved unmaimed. The wild animals let loose upon them would not attack. Beheaded at Puteoli, their bodies were reverently interred in the neighboring cities. Eventually the remains of St. Januarius became the prized possession of the city of Naples, of which he is the patron saint.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions. He is recognized as the patron saint of air travelers, aviators, astronauts, and people with a mental handicap, test takers, and weak students. He was canonized in the year 1767.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church was a remarkable woman, a "first" in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings.
Pope Saint Cornelius (251-253) whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope to succeed Fabian in an election delayed fourteen months by Decius' persecution of the Christians. The main issue of his pontificate was the treatment to be accorded Christians who had been apostasized during the persecution.
The sorrows: at the prophecy of Simeon; at the flight into Egypt; having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem; meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary; standing at the foot of the Cross; Jesus being taken from the Cross; at the burial of Christ.
On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (or Triumph of the Cross) we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, according to early accounts. The miraculous discovery of the True Cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is the origin of the tradition of celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on this date. Constantine later built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site of her discovery of the cross. On this same pilgrimage she ordered two other churches built: one in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem.