Feast of Lydia Emilie Gruchy (April 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lydia Emilie Gruchy and the Ministers who Ordained Her, 1936

Image in the Public Domain

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LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY (SEPTEMBER 5, 1894-APRIL 9, 1992)

First Female Minister in the United Church of Canada

In 1936 Lydia Emilie Gruchy became the first woman ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada.

Gruchy’s journey toward that recognized vocation started at Asnieres, France, where she debuted on September 5, 1894.  Our saint was the eighth of ten children.  Gruchy lost her mother to death when she was eight years old.  From then until 1913 our saint moved from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other in the company of various members of her immediate family.  She and two brothers (Arthur and Victor) were in Saskatchewan together before she and her sisters attended a boarding school in Seaford, England, starting in 1905.  Our saint took a business course in London and worked as a civil servant for a year before she and sisters Florence, Hilda, and Elsie moved to Saskatchewan in 1913.  There Gruchy completed high school, worked as a housekeeper for a year, and trained to become a teacher.  From 1915 to 1923 she taught recent immigrants in one-room schools.  Along the way Gruchy earned her B.A. degree (University of Saskatchewan, 1920), received the Governor-General’s Gold Medal for academic excellence and leadership (1920), and studied theology at Presbyterian College (later St. Andrew’s College), Saskatoon (1920-1923).

Meanwhile, World War I affected Gruchy.  Brothers Arthur and Bert died in the war.  Another brother, Stanley, suffered injuries.

Our saint perceived a vocation to become an ordained minister.  In 1923 she applied to become a Presbyterian minister; the synod turned her down.  For more than a decade Gruchy worked as a lay missionary.  From 1923 to 1927 she served as a missionary to the Doukhobors at Veregin, Saskatchewan.  Meanwhile, in 1926, the Kamsack Presbytery and the Saskatchewan Conference of the new United Church of Canda (created via a merger the previous year) petitioned the denomination to ordain her.  The question of ordaining women was a matter of official study from 1927 to 1931, however.  As the United Church studied Grouchy worked as a lay missionary in Wakaw, Saskatchewan.  Our saint took a sabbatical to Long Beach, California, in 1931-1932; she visited relatives there.  Then she served as a lay missionary to Kelvington, Saskatchewan, from 1932 to 1936.

The United Church of Canada was finally ready to ordain women in 1936.  So, on November 4, 1936, at St. Andrew’s United Church, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Grouchy became a reverend.  At first she assisted the senior minister at St. Andrew’s Church, Moose Jaw (1936-1938).  From 1938 to 1943 she was the secretary for the Committee on the Deaconess Order and Women Workers, Toronto.  Then our saint served as pastor at Simpson (1948-1952), Cupar (1952-1957), and Neville-Vanguard (1957-1962), all in Saskatchewan.  She also received her Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, in 1953.

Gruchy retired in 1962.  She and a sister relocated to White Rock, British Columbia, where our saint died, aged 97 years, on April 9, 1992.

Pioneers such as Lydia Emilie Gruchy have enriched the life of the institutional church and paved the way for other women to pursue their vocations from God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED OSCAR ROMERO AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, FATHER OF MODERN CHURCH MUSIC

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Lydia Emilie Gruchy,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (April 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Stamp

Image in the Public Domain

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DIETRICH BONHOEFFER (FEBRUARY 4, 1906-APRIL 9, 1945)

German Lutheran Martyr

Instead of writing a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I refer you, O reader, to the following links:

  1. Link #1
  2. Link #2
  3. Link #3

Now I reflect on his legacy.

Bonhoeffer opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler, who sought to make Germany great again and wrecked the country and committed genocide in the process.  This opposition made our saint an associate of men who plotted to assassinate Hitler.

Sometimes making moral choices is relatively easy.  Much–perhaps most–of the time, however, life exists in shades of gray, not black and white.  Much of the time the best we can do is to select the least bad choice.  The fact that this is true as often as it is indicates that we live in a world in which sin has infected social institutions.  Bonhoeffer found himself in a difficult situation not of his making.  In that context he made the best choice he could.  That led to his execution shortly before the fall of the Third Reich.

Bonhoeffer understood that grace is free yet costly.  We cannot purchase grace yet it does require a response.  That response in the life of our saint led to martyrdom.  As Bonhoeffer wrote,

When Christ calls a man to follow him, he bids him come and die.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED OSCAR ROMERO AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, FATHER OF MODERN CHURCH MUSIC

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Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life,  you gave grace to your servant

Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ,

and to bear the cost of following him:  Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example,

may receive your word and embrace its call with an undivided heart:

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

Romans 6:3-11

Matthew 5:1-12

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 317

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Feast of St. Casilda of Toledo (April 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint Casilda of Toledo, by Francisco de Zurbaran

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CASILDA OF TOLEDO (950-1050)

Roman Catholic Anchoress

St. Casilda of Toledo was a daughter of a Muslim king in Toledo, on the Iberian peninsula.  As such she grew up in a wealthy family.  Our saint, sympathetic to Christian prisoners, smuggled food for them in her clothes.  St, Casilda, when a young woman, visited the shrine of San Vicente, near Buezo. There she found healing in the spring at the shrine.  Our saint, thereafter baptized at Burgos, dedicated her life to God and became an anchoress near the shrine.  She lived to the ripe old age of 100.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED OSCAR ROMERO AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, FATHER OF MODERN CHURCH MUSIC

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Casilda of Toledo,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of Randall Davidson (April 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Archbishop Randall Davidson

Image in the Public Domain

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RANDALL THOMAS DAVIDSON (APRIL 7, 1848-MAY 25, 1930)

Archbishop of Canterbury

Randall Davidson was the Archbishop of Canterbury for about a quarter of a century.  The native of Edinburgh, Scotland, born on April 7, 1848, grew up a Presbyterian.  The son of Henrietta Swinton and Henry Davidson, a grain merchant, grew up in The Church of Scotland.  Our saint, educated at the Harrow School and at Trinity College, Oxford, converted to Anglicanism.  He, ordained in 1875, became the chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait in 1877 then to Edward White Benson, Tait’s immediate successor.  Davidson married Tait’s daughter, Edith (died in 1936), in 1878.  Our saint gained the confidence of Queen Victoria and advised her regarding ecclesiastical appointments.  Through her favor he succeeded to the posts of Dean of Windsor (1883), Bishop of Rochester (1891), and Bishop of Winchester (1895).  In February 1903 he succeeded Frederick Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Davidson had a passion for reconciliation, ecclesiastical and political.  He sought to find common ground in theological arguments (such as the one regarding ritualism), favored the League of Nations, and became an ecumenical leader.  Our saint supported Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, favored closer Anglican-Eastern Orthodox ties, and argued for retaining the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.  He also opposed religious persecution in Russia and spoke out on behalf of the rights of indigenous peoples, thereby making the work of Anglican missionaries easier.

Davidson retired, aged 80 years, in November 1928, shortly after the Parliament refused to approve the proposed Book of Common Prayer, meant to replace the Prayer Book of 1662.  He had hoped that Parliament would approve the proposed Prayer Book.  He died on May 25, 1930, aged 82 years, in London.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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Heavenly Father, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Randall Davidson.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

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

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of William Derham (April 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  William Derham

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM DERHAM (NOVEMBER 26, 1657-APRIL 5, 1735)

Anglican Priest and Scientist

Despite the negative opinions of some, whether in the church or outside it, there has long been a good relationship between science and elements of the church.  In fact, certain scientists have been clergymen, members of religious orders, or prominent laymen.  William Derham was a scientist and an Anglican priest.

Derham, born at Stoulton, Worcestershire, England, on November 26, 1657, became a priest of The Church of England.  He studied at Blockley, Gloucestershire, then at Trinity College, Oxford (1675-1679).  Out saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1681, became the Vicar of Wargrave, Berskshire, that year.  Starting in 1689 Derham served as the Rector of Upminster, Essex.  He doubled as Canon of Windsor in 1716-1735.

Derham recognized no conflict between religion and good science.  He wrote four books:

  1. Artificial Clockmaker (1696),
  2. Physico-Theology (1713),
  3. Astro-Theology (1714), and
  4. Christo-Theology (1730).

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1703, contributed to papers thereof, and edited scientific works by other people.  Derham’s scientific interests included zoology and astronomy.  He wrote about sunspots, marsupials, Jupiter’s moons, and the aurora borealis, among other topics.  In 1709 he published an estimate of the speed of sound.

Oxford granted Derham a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1730.

Derham died at Upminster (near London), England, on April 5, 1735.  He was 77 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

We thank you for William Derham and all in whom you have planted the desire

to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Christ your eternal Word, through whom all things were made.  Amen.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 738

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Feast of Johann Cruger (April 8)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Johann Cruger

Image in the Public Domain

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As a writer and editor of tunes this distinguished musician occupies a special niche in the hymnic hall of fame.

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952)

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Johann Cruger ranks among the greatest composers in the Lutheran Church.  He, born at Gross-Breesen, Brandenburg, on April 9, 1598, studied at Guben, Sorau, and Breslau before studying at the Jesuit school at Olmutz then the Poets’ School at Regensburg.  At Regensburg Cruer studied music under Paul Homberber, who had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli.  Next our saint traveled in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia before settling in Berlin in 1615.  Then he worked as a private tutor until 1620, when he began to study music and theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Cruger settled at Berlin again in 1622, when he became the cantor (organist and choirmaster) at St. Nicholas Church and a teacher at the Gray Cloister.  Our saint held both posts for the rest of his life–about 40 years.  Cruger composed at least 122 chorale tunes, 18 of which remained in widespread use at the times of the publication of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  In 1657 Paul Gerhardt became the deacon at St. Nicholas Church.  They became friends and Cruger set 21 texts by Gerhardt to music.

Cruger edited and published five important volumes:

  1. Neues vollkommliches Gesangbuch (1640), with 161 hymns;
  2. Praxis Pietatis Melica (first edition, 1644; forty-fourth edition, 1736); the twenty-third edition (1688) included 1114 hymns; the forty-third edition had 1316 hymns;
  3. Geistliche Kirchenmelodien (1649), with 161 hymns;
  4. Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (1653), with 92 tunes and no texts; and
  5. Psalmodia Sacra (1657), with 319 texts; intended for Huguenot immigrants.

Cruger died at Berlin on February 23, 1662.  He was 63 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Cruger)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Blessed Mariano de la Mata Aparicio (April 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Mariano de la Mata Aparicio

Image Source = catholicsaints.info

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BLESSED MARIANO DE LA MATA APARICIO (DECEMBER 31, 1905-APRIL 5, 1983)

Roman Catholic Missionary and Educator in Brazil

Blessed Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, born at La Puebla de Valdavia, Palencia, Spain, on December 31, 1905, became a great missionary in Brazil.  His parents were Manuel and Martina de la Mata Aparicio; he was one of eight offspring.  After studying at Valladolid, Spain, our saint followed in the footsteps of three of his brothers and became an Augustinian on September 9, 1921.  He made his vows on January 23, 1927.  He studied philosophy in Pisuerga, Spain, then went to the Monastery of St. Maria La Vid, Burgos, Spain.  De la Mata Aparicio, ordained a priest on July 25, 1930, taught at the College La Encarnacion, Llames, Spain, briefly.

Our saint spent most of his life in Brazil, however.  He went to the Augustinian vice-province of Brazil in 1931.  Then he served in a variety of functions during the following 52 years.  He was a priest, of course; pastoral roles were part of his work.  Of special concern to de la Mata Aparicio were the poorest of the poor.  Our saint also taught and coordinated education.  On the vice-provincial level de la Mata Aparicio was an administrator, a secretary, a prior, and a counselor.

De la Mata Aparicio was a kind and sympathetic man quick to smile.   He was kind and sympathetic, of course, to those who received little comfort from the world.  He was also kind to plants, which reminded him of the greatness of God, their creator.  Our saint took care of them and spoke to them as part of his panentheism–recognizing God in nature.  De la Mata Aparicio also had devotions to Mary and the Holy Eucharist.

Our saint died at Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 5, 1983.  He was 77 years old.  Pope John Paul II venerated him in 2004.  Pope Benedict XVI beatified de la Mata Aparicio two years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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