St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist-Feast Day September 21st: Matthew was born in Capernaum in the North of Galilee and was also know as Levi. According to the Bible he was one of Christ´s original 12 apostles who was present at His Resurrection and Ascension. He was believed to have been a publican (tax collector) by profession .His trade would have made him a despised individual among the community. After his calling, Matthew invited Jesusto his home to participate in a feast ,for associating with a tax collector the Pharisees and scribescriticised Jesus which prompted him to say, » I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance». Tradition states that he is the author of the first Synoptic Gospel ,as a publican he would have had a strong knowledge and background inand Aramaic. Matthews work features a strong Jewish influence and is characterised by an emphasis on Jesus as the fulfilment of Messianic hopes. Very little is known of his later lifeis believed that he preached in Judea , Ethiopia and Persia and was eventually martyred for his faith.
Saint Thomas of Villanova-Feast Day September 22nd: Thomas was born in Villanueva de los Infantes in Castille in Spain in 1488. He was educated at the university of Alcala where he studied the arts, theology and philosophy. He became a popular professor at the university where he was known affectionately as the absent minded professor because he had an tendency to forget things. He went on to join the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained as a priest in 1518. He became Provincial of the friars sending the first Augustinians to the new world . Although absent minded he was an excellent scholar and an eloquent preacher. He composed beautiful sermons among which stands out the sermon of «The love of God». A while later Thomas was appointed Archbishop of Granada, here he concentrated mainly on the poor, he was a humble man that lived an ascetic lifestyle .Each morning several hundred or so of the poor used to knock on his door and he would provide them with a meal wine and money. For his kindly endeavours he received the title » The almsgiver» of «The Father of the poor». He died during Mass in Valencia in 1555 ,whilst reciting the words » Father in to your hands I commit my spirit».
Papa Pio-Feast Day September 23rd: Saint Pio of Petrecina was born Francesco Forgione in Southern Italy in 1887 ,he was a son of a deeply religious poorfamily. By the time he had reached his fifth birthday he had already decided tohis life to God. When he was 15 he entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Capuchin friars at Morcone ,here he took the name of Friar Pio. He then began a 7 year study to enter the priesthood and in 1910 underwent his ordination. Saint Pio suffered terribly from an array of serious ailments andto his poor health he was moved to aCapuchin friary in Foggia where he remained until his death. He is well renown for being a stigmaticbegan to sufferwounds corresponding to the wounds of Christ on the Cross.also experienced «transverberation «, a piercing of the heart which is indicative of aof love with God. He offered upintense pain suffering quietly and gladly for the sake of others but the constant bleeding from the stigmata embarrassed him so he covered his hands up with gloves. There was a lot of jealousy surrounding these special graces thatacquired through Godmany accused him of fraudulent behaviour. He was an extremely humble individual with very strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. At his death there was not a single scar left on his body, no doctor that examined him could explain the phenomenon . He was endowed with many spiritual gifts including levitation, bio- location, healingprophecy. Papa Pio died in 1968 ,many miracles have been attributed to his intercession.