Feast of Priscilla Lydia Sellon (November 20)   Leave a comment

Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Above:  Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Image in the Public Domain

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PRISCILLA LYDIA SELLON (MARCH 21, 1821-NOVEMBER 20, 1876)

A Restorer of the Religious Life of The Church of England

The description of Priscilla Lydia Sellon comes verbatim from Common Worship (2000), the most recently approved alternative to The Book of Common Prayer (1662) in The Church of England.  It is a fitting description, for Sellon’s work was pioneering in the realm of Anglican religious orders for women.

Sellon, born at Hampstead, England, on March 21, 1821, was a daughter of Commander Richard Baker Sellon of the Royal Navy.  Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and the commander remarried eventually.  Our saint grew up in a loving home and blended family.  She also grew up in much economic comfort.

On January 1, 1848, Sellon heard and answered a call from God.  That summons was a vocation to educate poor children in Plymouth.  Our saint, at a young age, routinely worked long days; a 16-hour-long work day was relatively light.  She founded a free industrial school for girls, a night school for boys aged 12-16 years, a school for starving children, and a home for the orphans of sailors.  Sellon also assisted female emigrants and prepared people for baptism and confirmation.  In 1849 she and a few other women founded the Society of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Spirit, of Davenport.  This was controversial, given the ubiquity of anti-Roman Catholic bias in English society, the English press, and The Church of England.  The Oxford Movement was so controversial that some of its opponents accused Tractarians of being in league with Satan.  That controversy over the Oxford Movement disrupted church life in the Anglican Communion for decades and framed the debate over Sellon’s humanitarian order.  In that controversy Richard, our saint’s father, offered a vigorous defense of his daughter and her religious work.

That work was essential.  Early on it included tending to patients in London suffering from cholera in 1849.  Five years later Sellon sent some members of her order to Crimea under the authority of Florence Nightingale, who supervised medical care in the context of the Crimean War.  Our saint, paralyzed in 1861, continued the good work until her death.  In 1864, for example, she answered Emma Rooke‘s request that the order commence work in the Kingdom of Hawai’i.  The mission station at Honolulu opened later that year.

Sellon died at West Malvern, England, on November 20, 1876.  She was 55 years old.  Her order has ceased to exist, but the legacy of its work is everlasting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (November 12)   Leave a comment

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Above:  St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI (JULY 15, 1850-DECEMBER 22, 1917)

Founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart

Her feast transferred from November 13

Francesca Savierio Cabrini, born at Sant’Angelo, Lodigiano, Italy, on July 15, 1850, became a great champion of emigrants and immigrants.  She, the youngest of thirteen children, grew up on a farm and trained at a convent to become a teacher.  At the age of 18 years she tried to become a nun, but her health prevented that effort from succeeding.  Our saint taught at the House of Providence Orphanage for girls (closed in 1880) at Cadogono, Italy, for six years.  Finally, in 1877, she was able to take her monastic vows.  Three years later Cabrini founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, dedicated to the care of poor children in schools and hospitals.

Our saint aspired to become a missionary to Asia, as St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) had done.  Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) had another idea, however.  He sent her and six other members of the order to the United States, where an influx of Italian immigrants had led U.S. Roman Catholic bishops to request priests and religious from Italy.  Italian immigrants were a despised population for a set of reasons:

  1. Most of them were Roman Catholics.  The United States was a predominantly Protestant nation-state in which anti-Roman Catholicism was endemic and accepted.  In various states in the late 1800s Blaine Amendments to constitutions prohibited the granting of public funds to parochial schools.  The real target was Catholic schools, although the wording of the amendments applied to institutions of other denominations, ironically.  And in 1884, at a rally for James G. Blaine, the Republican presidential nominee, a Presbyterian minister stated that Blaine would save the United States from the Democrats, the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,” a reference to, in order, alcohol, Roman Catholicism, and the Civil War.  Blaine was almost certainly unaware of that remark in real time, but his support for the failed federal constitutional Blaine Amendment that inspired state constitutional amendments made criticisms of him for being anti-Roman Catholic seem not unreasonable.
  2. Most of Italian immigrants were also poor.  They competed with others, including many native-born Americans, for low-paying jobs.  Economic insecurity has frequently contributed to opposition to immigration.
  3. They spoke Italian and needed to learn English.  This was easier for some than it was for others.  With the issue of language came the related issue of the culture the tongue from the old country carried.  This was a point of controversy with regard to more than one ethnic group (i.e, Danes, Norwegians, Germans, Swedes) in the United States in previous generations.  [Aside:  It remains one today, mostly with regard to Hispanics.  The other groups assimilated, as many Hispanics are doing.  This year, for example, I have heard news stories about politicians having to appeal to Hispanic voters who do not speak Spanish.]
  4. Nativism and xenophobia have never ceased to exist in the United States, a country of immigrants and descendants thereof, since the founding of the republic.  They have fed off the fact that immigration alters the country’s demographics, a reality that has proven frightening in the U.S.A. since the late 1700s.  This has been evident in, for example, the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), the existence of the American Party (1843-1856), and the federal immigration law of 1924.  [Aside:  One can find evidence of nativism and xenophobia in contemporary social media and politics in many nation-states quite easily in 2016.]

Cabrini and her six companions arrived in New York City in 1889.  Their first convent, if one could call it that, was a tenement unfit for human habitation.  Archbishop Michael Corrigan, who initially thought this mission to slum-dwelling immigrants unsafe for the women, ordered them to return to Italy.  Cabrini replied that Pope Leo XIII outranked him.  In time the archbishop an advocate for and benefactor of the sisters’ work among the slum-dwelling immigrants.  Cabrini remained in the United States for the rest of her life and became a naturalized citizen.  She died of malaria at Chicago, Illinois, on December 22, 1917.  She was 67 years old.  Our saint was responsible for the existence of 67 institutions–schools, hospitals, and orphanages–in Europe, North America, and South America.

The Roman Catholic Church moved relatively rapidly to recognize Cabrini formally.  Pope Pius XI declared her a Venerable in 1937 and a Blessed the following year.  Then, in 1946, Pope Pius XII canonized her.

Cabrini is the patron of emigrants, immigrants, orphans, hospital administrators, and victims of malaria.  Her life invites to consider those who are vulnerable and those who are foreign to us.  They bear the image of God also, her life reminds us.  Will we act accordingly?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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God our Father,

you called Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy

to serve the immigrants of America.

By her example teach us concern for the stranger,

the sick, and the frustrated.

By her prayers help us to see Christ

in all the men and women we meet.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Christian Prayer:  The Liturgy of the Hours (1976), page 1318

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Feast of Giovanni Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz (November 6)   Leave a comment

Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Above:  Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI GABRIELI (1557-AUGUST 12, 1612)

Composer and Organist

teacher of

HANS LEO HASSLER (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 26, 1564-AUGUST 19, 1612)

Composer and Organist

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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (BAPTIZED MAY 15, 1567-NOVEMBER 29, 1643)

Composer and Musician

teacher of

HEINRICH SCHUTZ (OCTOBER 8/18, 1585-NOVEMBER 6, 1672)

Composer and Musician

Lutheran Feast Day = July 28

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With this post I add four composers of church music to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Classical music is my favorite genre of audio input.  For most of my life I have derived much spiritual benefit from classical church music, including certain works by some of these four composers.

Giovanni Gabrieli, born in Venice, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, in 1557, was a nephew of Andrea Gabrieli (circa 1520-1586), a composer and organist.  Andrea, famous for his madrigals and sacred works, served as the second organist (1566-1585) then primary composer (1585-1586) at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  Giovanni, who studied music under the direction of his uncle, succeeded him as the second organist (in 1585) and as primary composer (in 1586), holding both posts for the rest of his life.  In 1584 and 1585 Giovanni and his uncle taught Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612).  The younger Gabrieli also befriended Hassler.  Giovanni, whose major works include the Sacre Symphoniae, composed the first truly orchestral sacred music, with spatially separated choirs, intended for performance at St. Mark’s Basilica.  He also edited and preserved many of his uncle’s compositions.  Giovanni, ill for the last six years of his life, died at Venice on August 12, 1612.  He was 54 or 55 years old.

Hans Leo Hassler, baptized at Nuremberg, on October 26, 1564, became the most German composer of his time.  His father and first music teacher was Isaak Hassler (died in 1591), an organist.  Hans studied music with the Gabrielis in Venice in 1584 and 1585.  Back in Germany, Hans became the organist to the Fugger family, bankers in Augsburg.  Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612) made the composer a nobleman in 1591.  Nine years later Hassler became the director of music for the city of Augsburg.  The following year he transferred to Nuremberg, to fill a similar position.  Finally, in 1608, Hassler became the organist to Christian II (reigned 1591-1611), the Elector of Saxony.  The composer stayed on in that capacity in the service of Elector Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  Our saint, a Lutheran, composed madrigals as well as sacred music in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.  He died of tuberculosis at Frankfurt on August 19, 1612.  He was 47 years old.

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized on May 15, 1567, at Cremona, Duchy of Milan (now Cremona, Lombardy, Italy), became an influential composer.  He studied music under Mark Antonio Ingegneri (circa 1545-1592), choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 1590 Monteverdi became a string player in the service of Vincenzo I (reigned 1587-1612), Duke of Mantua.  The composer and the duke traveled to Hungary in 1595 and the Low Countries in 1599.  Also in 1599, Monteverdi married Claudia Cattaneo (died in 1607), a singer.  They had two sons and a daughter.  One son became a Carmelite friar and a chorister at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  The other son, a doctor, became a target of the Inquisition in 1627.  Fortunately, the Inquisition acquitted him of charges of heresy the following year.  Duke Vincenzo I promoted Monteverdi to the post of director of music at the ducal court.  In 1612, however, Duke Francesco IV (reigned in 1612), citing the necessity of budget cuts, terminated Monteverdi’s employment.  The composer served as choir master at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, from 1613 to 1643 (his death), becoming a priest in 1632.

Monteverdi was an influential composer during his lifetime and afterward.  He composed madrigals, motets, operas, and sacred music.  L’Orfeo (1607) has become the oldest opera still performed.  The music to some of his operas has not survived, unfortunately.  Monteverdi also wrote settings of the Mass and of vespers.  Especially notable was Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), dedicated to Pope Paul V (reigned 1605-1621).

Monteverdi led a frequently unhappy life yet he composed much fairly light music.  That life, the last few years of which he spent in illness, ended at Venice on November 29, 1643.  He was 76 years old.

The birth date of Heinrich Schutz was October 8, 1585 on the Julian Calendar and October 18, 1585, on the Gregorian Calendar.  The site of that debut was Kostritz, Thuringia.  He became the greatest German composer prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  The son of Euphrosyne Bieger and Christoph Schutz (the manager of an inn) became a chorister at Kassel, under the patronage of Maurice the Learned (reigned 1592-1627), the Landgrave of Hesse-Kessel.  Schutz studied law at the University of Marburg in 1608 and 1609.  Then, in 1609-1612, he, financed by Maurice the Learned, studied music at Venice, where Giovanni Gabrieli was his teacher.  Schutz studied law at Leipzig, starting in 1613, but accepted Maurice’s offer to become the second organist at the court at Hesse.

Starting in 1614, Schutz began to work primarily for the Electors of Saxony, starting with Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  The composer began by supervising the music of the baptism of Johann Georg’s son.  Next Schutz went to work in the electoral chapel at Dresden.  In 1619 he married Magdalene Wildeck.  The couple had two daughters.  In 1628 Schutz visited Venice, where he studied under Claudio Monteverdi.  Then he returned to Dresden and the electoral court, but left after three years, due to the combination of plague and the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  In 1633-1635 Schutz served as the kappelmeister at the Danish royal court when Christian IV (reigned 1588-1648) was the sovereign.  Then the composer returned to the electoral court at Dresden, where he remained for the rest of his life, despite his expressed wishes to leave.  Schutz died after a stroke, on November 6, 1672.  He was 87 years old.

Schutz left and impressive musical legacy, including madrigals, sacred works, and operas.  Daphne (1627) was the first German opera.  The score has become lost to history, unfortunately.  He also composed a German requiem mass, Musikalische Exequien (1636).  Other sacred works included a Christmas oratorio (1664) and settings of the Passion narratives from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

These composers left a living legacy, one which a person can access via technology easily and legally.  Doing so will prove spiritually beneficial to he or she who really listens to those works and inwardly digests them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants

Giovanni Gabrielli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of our new creation in Jesus Christ

our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, and John Merbecke (November 21)   Leave a comment

Flag of England

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS TALLIS (CIRCA 1505-NOVEMBER 21 OR 23, 1585)

English Composer and Organist

teacher and colleague of

WILLIAM BYRD (1543-JULY 4, 1623)

English Composer and Organist

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JOHN MERBECKE (CIRCA 1505-1585)

English Composer, Organist, and Theologian

Also known as John Marbeck

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the lives of these three composers, two of them lifelong Roman Catholics and the other a Calvinist at the end of his life, on November 21, one of two possible dates for the death of Thomas Tallis.  These facts demonstrate one of the most positive features of the calendar of saints of The Episcopal Church.  I refer to the fact that the main two qualifications for consideration for admission to it are being both Christian and dead.  Those are also the main qualifications for consideration for addition to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Thomas Tallis (born circa 1505) was the most important English composer prior to William Byrd (1543-1623), his student.  Both men were lifelong Roman Catholics who navigated the treacherous waters of English religious politics.  Most of the details of the early years of their lives have proven inaccessible to historians, unfortunately.

The account of their lives must therefore begin in the adulthood of each composer.

Tallis worked as an organist at various places.  In 1532 he was at Dover Priory.  Five years later his place of employment was St. Mary-at-Hill, London.  In 1540 Tallis received wages and rewards for services rendered upon the dissolution of Waltham Abbey, Essex.  From Essex he moved along to Canterbury then to the Chapel Royal, London.  Byrd, the organist at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lincoln from 1563 to 1572, became co-organist (with Tallis) at the Chapel Royal in 1572.  Three years later Queen Elizabeth I granted them a monopoly on the importing of music paper as well as the printing, publishing, and sale of music.  Among the first volumes Tallis and Byrd published after receiving the monopoly was Cantiones Sacrae (1575), or Sacred Song, dedicated to the Virgin Queen.  The book contained 34 motets by Tallis and Byrd.

[Aside:  I consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1968.  The article on Byrd informed me that Tallis composed 16 of the motets and Byrd the remaining 18.  However, the article of Tallis contradicted this, indicating an even 17-17 split.]

The Tallis motets in Cantiones Sacrae (1575) were the only ones of his published during his lifetime.

Tallis composed both instrumental and vocal works.  His catalog included the following:

  1. Mass for Four Voices;
  2. Magnificat (I);
  3. Magnificat (II);
  4. The Lamentations of Jeremiah (I);
  5. The Lamentations of Jeremiah (II);
  6. Salve Intemerata;
  7. Miserere Nostri;
  8. Spem in Alium, arguably his magnum opus, with its 40 parts;
  9. Settings of services from The Book of Common Prayer (1549),
  10. A series of anthems, including the great If Ye Love Me; and
  11. Nine tunes (1567) for the Psalter by Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker (in office 1559-1575).

Especially notable among the Psalm tunes were the third (the basis for the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughan Williams), eighth (Tallis’s Canon), and ninth (Tallis’s Ordinal) ones.

Tallis, who married his wife Joan in 1552, spent his final years in Greenwich.  She died in 1589.

Byrd and his family relocated to Harlington, Middlesex, 1577.  Juliana, his first wife, died nine years later.  Afterward the composer increased the pace of the publication of his own music, including:

  1. Psalmes, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie (1588);
  2. Songs of Sundrie Natures (1589);
  3. Cantiones Sacrae (II) (1589);
  4. Cantiones Sacrae (III) (1591);
  5. Three Settings of the Mass, including the Mass for Four Voices and the Mass for Five Voices;
  6. Gradualia (I) (1605);
  7. Gradualia (II) (1607); and
  8. Psalmes, Songs, and Sonnets (1611).

Byrd remained eventually.  In 1592 or 1593 he and his family moved to Stondon Massey, Essex.  He spent the rest of his life there.

Byrd was the greatest composer of the Shakespearean age.  He wrote for every instrument (except the lute) available, composed the best English organ music of the time, and played an important role in the development of music for the viol consort.  He was also crucial to the development of the freely composed fantasia.

John Merbecke, or, as the 1968 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica listed him, John Marbeck, entered the world circa 1505.  Details of his early life have faded from the historical record, unfortunately.  By 1531 he came to live at Windsor; there he remained for the rest of his life.  He became the organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, no later than 1541 and served in that capacity until the following year.  He endured a heresy trial and conviction on that charge in 1543 and nearly burned at the stake the following year.  Fortunately, Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, saved his life.  Nevertheless, authorities did seize and burn Merbecke’s “great work,” a concordance of the Bible.  He resumed work on that project and published the result in 1550, however.  That year he also published The Book of Common Prayer Noted, a musical setting of The Book of Common Prayer (1549).  Merbecke’s work fell into a long period of disuse after the publication of The Book of Common Prayer (1552), but Tractarians revived his settings of the 1549 Prayer Book in the 1800s.

Few of Merbecke’s compositions have survived, unfortunately.  Aside from The Book of Common Prayer Noted (1550), three works have survived fully.  There is a Mass, Missa Per Arma Justiael; as well as a carol, the title of which in Latin translates into English as “A Virgin and a Mother.”  There are also two antiphons, Ave Dei Patris Filia and Domine Jesu Christe, one of which is complete and the other of which lacks a tenor part.

Merbecke was also a theological and devotional writer.  Based on his writings from the last decade of his life, he died a Calvinist in 1585.

Fortunately, one can find performances of many of the works I have mentioned in this post, as well as other compositions of these composers, easily and legally on the Internet.  Listening to them will enrich one’s spiritual life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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O God most glorious, whose praises are sung night and day by your saints and angels in heaven:

We give you thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke, and Thomas Tallis,

whose music has enriched the praise that your Church offers you here on earth.

Grant, we pray, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity

that we may be made ready to join your saints in heaven and behold your glory unveiled for evermore;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 15:16, 19-25, 28

Psalm 47

Revelation 15:1-4

John 15:1-8

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 693

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Feast of Kamehameha IV and Emma Rooke (November 28)   3 comments

Kamehameha IV and Emma

Above:  The Royal Couple

Image in the Public Domain

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KAMEHAMEHA IV (FEBRUARY 9, 1834-NOVEMBER 30, 1863)

King of Hawai’i, 1855-1863

Also known as Alexander Liholiho

husband of

EMMA ROOKE (JANUARY 2, 1836-APRIL 25, 1885)

Queen of Hawai’i, 1856-1863

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Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) designates November 28 as the day to celebrate the lives of “Kamehameha and Emma.”  In this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the citation is more specific.

Alexander Liholiho, born at Honolulu, Oahu, on February 9, 1834, grew up learning how to be a constitutional monarch.  His uncle, King Kamehameha III (reigned 1824-1854), as a liberal ruler who came from a tradition of absolute monarchy yet promulgated the constitutions of 1840 and 1852.  He also secured recognition of Hawaiian independence and sovereignty from the United States in 1842 and from France and the United Kingdom the following year.  Furthermore, Kamehameha III issued the Edict of Toleration (with regard to the legality of religious diversity) in 1839 and brought Christian missionaries into his court as tutors and translators.  In fact, Congregationalist missionaries from the United States educated Alexander, whose father was High Chief Mataio Kekuano’a (1791-1868) and his mother was Princess Elizabeth Kina’u (1805-1839), the prime minister (to use an English-language term) for a time.

Emma Rooke, born at Honolulu on January 2, 1836, grew up with Hawaiian and British influences.  Her father was High Chief George Na’ea and her mother was High Chieftess Fanny Kekelaokelani Young (1806-1880).  Nevertheless, her maternal aunt, High Chieftess Grace Kama’iku’i Young Rooke, and uncle, Dr. Thomas Rooke, raised her.  Missionaries from the United States educated the future queen.

Alexander became King Kamehameha IV in 1855.  In the realm of foreign policy he resisted U.S. Manifest Destiny and strove to maintain the independence of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, in part maintaining close relations with the United Kingdom.  In this personal life he married Emma Rooke on June 19, 1856.  They had one child, Prince Albert Edward Kamehameha (May 20, 1858-August 27, 1862).  With regard to domestic policy the Holy Sovereigns, as Hawaiians call them, sought to improve the lives of their subjects.  For example, after a smallpox epidemic Kamehameha IV and Emma raised funds for the building of Queen’s Hospital, which continues to exist in 2016.

In 1860 the royal couple, enamored of Anglicanism for its ceremony and gentleness, asked Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, to send missionaries to the kingdom.  The following year Wilberforce consecrated Thomas Nettleship Staley (1823-1898) the first Bishop of Hawai’i.  Staley and the first two priests arrived in October 1862.  November 28, 1862, was the date of the confirmation of the royal couple, hence the date of their feast.  The new Anglican province was the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church, also known as The Church of Hawaii.  Kamehameha IV translated The Book of Common Prayer (1662) into Hawaiian in 1862 and 1863.  The founding of The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Honolulu (1862) was another early step in the building of the new Anglican missionary church in the kingdom.

Kamehameha IV’s life and reign were brief.  He, aged 29 years, died of asthma on November 29, 1863.  His brother succeeded him as Kamehameha V (reigned 1863-1872).

Meanwhile, Queen Dowager Emma devoted herself to good works for years before returning to politics.  She traveled in Hawai’i and Europe to raise funds for churches and for schools and other institutions for the sick and the poor.  Among her backers was Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901).  Kamehameha V died in 1872.  Lunalilo, a royal cousin, succeeded to the throne yet died after thirteen months.  Since he had no heirs the succession, according to the constitution, was the decision of the legislature.  Emma, who favored close ties to the United Kingdom, ran against Kalakaua, who sought to maintain Hawaiian independence by establishing closer economic ties to the United States, the largest market for Hawaiian exports.  Kalakaua (reigned 1874-1891) won, 39 votes to 9 votes.

Emma died at Honolulu on April 25, 1885, aged 49 years old.  The construction of the current building of the cathedral, begun in 1867 as a memorial to Kamehameha IV, finished in 1886.    The website for the cathedral says:

Sharing Queen Emma’s Vision Since 1862.

U.S. businessmen, sailors, and Marines overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1893.  The Church of Hawaii became the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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O Sovereign God, who raised up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii,

and inspired and enabled them to be diligent in good works and for the welfare of their people

and the good of your Church:  Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel;

and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that never fades away;

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 21:1-3

Psalm 97:1-2, 7-12

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 707

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Eleven Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above:  City Hall, Athens, Georgia

Image in the Public Domain

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On the morning of Tuesday, August 9, 2005, I moved from East Dublin, Georgia, to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, to begin doctoral studies in history at The University of Georgia (UGA).  My major professor, to whom I refer to as “John Doe” in this post, dashed my hopes and killed my program within sixteen months, however.  I dropped out of UGA in December 2006, for I knew that I would have no third year and perceived no reason to complete the second year.  The graduate supervisor of the department advised me take a M.A. degree instead.  I informed him that I had one already.  Take a second one, he replied; the second M.A. will be from a “superior institution.”  My succinct reply, via email, copied to my negligent major professor, who was stingy with feedback, was, “No.”  The powers that were in the Department of History had tried to convert me into something I refused to become:  someone who could not pass five minutes without saying or thinking “subalternate.”  I liked people who changed the course of history and left documentation about it.  Subalternates did not interest me very much.  I finished Fall Semester 2006, holding myself together with the emotional equivalent of twine and duct tape.  Blazing Saddles, in five-minute-long increments, also helped greatly.  (Thank you, Mel Brooks!)  “To thine own self be true,” as Shakespeare wrote, placing those words in the mouth of Polonius in Hamlet.  I maintained my integrity in the face of pressure to do otherwise.

I still find subalternates boring.  Institutional and Great Man and Woman history retain my interest.

I also refuse to call what happened to me anything other than what it was:  academic abuse.  Judgment and mercy on the guilty parties rest entirely in the purview of God, I am not the judge of Dr. Doe and those in the department who made excuses for him.   Grudges do not build me up anyway, and any quest for revenge would damage me and be contrary to my Christian principles.  The trauma of my short-lived doctoral program has left much spiritual scar tissue; I need not add any more to it.  On the other hand, my stress levels today are much lower than they were when I was a graduate student at UGA.  I conclude that the Department of History was not a healthy milieu for me at that time.

Athens, however, has become my home.  Of all the places I have lived it is the one in which I fit best.  The intellectual life of the city is agreeable to me.  And, after all those years of feeling like the damned, marginalized liberal and heretic in South Georgia, I find myself slightly to the right of the center in most circles in which I move.  I have not even changed my opinions much.  I have, however, ceased to be an outcast.  I also refuse to make those to my left feel like outcasts, for I have no desire to do unto others negatively as others have done to me negatively.

I have never lived in one place this long.  I, born in Rome, Georgia, spent my earliest years in Chattooga County, Georgia–a few years in Trion but mostly in the ancestral family home in Summerville.  When I was six years old my parents moved my sister and me to South Georgia.  Starting in 1980 we took the grand tour of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.  From kindergarten to Twelfth Grade I attended schools in six counties.   Then I attended college in three more counties and lived in four other counties prior to relocating to Athens-Clarke County.

I have changed spiritually since I arrived in Athens in 2005.  I have, by grace and through trauma, become a better human being.  I am more aware of my weaknesses and my complete dependence upon God.  I am more forgiving, of both others and myself, for being weak.  I am more aware of my responsibilities to others, especially my students.  I know what St. Paul the Apostle meant by “dying to self,” although I cannot express that meaning in words.  I have received abundant grace via human beings and know of my responsibility to function as a vehicle of grace for others better than I did.  I have experienced spiritual death and rebirth.  I know well the pain of the death and the elation of the rebirth.  I am quite aware of my dark side, of my unworthiness, and of the immeasurable riches of the love of God.  I know that the light shines most brightly in the deepest darkness.

I do not know how long I will remain in Athens or its vicinity.  Neither do I know how long I should continue to live here.  I hope and pray that I will remain here as long as that is appropriate and that I will then move along to the proper subsequent location.  Meanwhile, I am glad to reside in Athens-Clarke County.

May my twelfth year in Athens be positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

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Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 19)   Leave a comment

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Above:  St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY (JULY 7, 1207-NOVEMBER 17, 1231)

Princess of Hungary and Humanitarian

Also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia

St. Elizabeth of Hungary has three feast days.  Since Advent 1969 her feast has fallen on November 17 in the Roman Catholic Church.  The Book of Catholic Worship (1966), reflecting the calendar current that year, lists her feast day as November 19.    Common Worship (The Church of England, 2000) lists her feast day as November 18.  Her feast day in The Episcopal Church is November 19.  Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, 2006) and its predecessor, the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), list her feast day as November 17, however.

St. Elizabeth was royalty.  Her father was Andrew II, King of Hungary (reigned 1205-1235).  Her mother was Queen Gertrude of Merania (1185-1213), sister of St. Hedwig of Andechs/of Silesia (feast day = October 16), Duchess of Silesia (1201-1238) and of Greater Poland (1231-1238).  St. Hedwig, who became a lay sister (without monastic vows) after her husband died, was extravagant in her generosity to the poor, especially widows, orphans, the ill, and lepers.  She founded hospitals for them, in fact.  Her generosity found an echo in the good works of her famous niece.  St. Elizabeth, born at Pozsony, Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia), on July 7, 1207, grew up (from the age of four years) in the court of Thuringia (now Hesse, Germany), where she prepared for an arranged marriage to the future Louis/Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (reigned 1217-1227).  They married in 1221; he was 20 years old; she was 14.  The couple had three children:

  1. Hermann II (1222-1241; never reigned as landgrave);
  2. Sophie of Thuringia (1224-1275); and
  3. Gertrude (1227-1297), also known as Blessed Gertrude of Aldenberg, Abbess of Aldenberg from 1248 to 1297.  Her feast day is August 13.

Louis/Ludwig, also known as Blessed Louis/Ludwig IV of Thuringia (feast day = September 11), died of fever in Italy in 1227, en route to join the Sixth Crusade (1228-1229).  He was 26 years old.  The Landgrave had approved of his wife’s extravagant generosity to the poor.  She gave state robes to the poor, fed them from the royal granaries, spun wool cloth for clothing for them, sold her jewels to finance a hospital for the poor, and visited the patients daily.  Certain relatives, however, objected strongly to such generosity.  In 1228 she and her children left the court of Thuringia and moved to Marburg.  She might have left involuntarily.  (Sources disagree on that point.)

St. Elizabeth, as a widow (1227-1231), had a difficult life.  She took monastic vows, including celibacy (which proved politically useful for her, preventing a loveless marriage) and obedience to her confessor, Konrad von Marburg (1180-1233), in the Third Order of Franciscans.  Konrad was a cruel man, unfortunately.  He, for example, ordered her beaten and commanded her to send her children away.  She did, however, regain her dowry, which she used to help the poor.  One of the ways she did this was to finance a hospital for the poor at Marburg.

St. Elizabeth died at Marburg on November 17, 1231.  She was 24 years old.  Pope Gregory IX canonized her in 1235.

May we find the most effective way to help those vulnerable people to whom God sends us and whom God sends to us.  Not all of us can afford to finance hospitals, for example, but we can do something, even if it is just to donate food to a local food bank.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary

recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world:

Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble,

in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Tobit 12:6b-9

Psalm 109:20-25

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Luke 6:35-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 689

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