Feast of Adelaide Teague Case (June 19)   Leave a comment

Episcopal Flag

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Professor, Columbia University, New York, New York

Professor, Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Advocate for Peace

Religious Educator

Adelaide Teague Case, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 10, 1887, nevertheless, considered herself a native New Yorker because her family moved to the City of New York during her infancy.  Educated at Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University, she taught religious education at Columbia, where she served as head of that department from 1935 to 1941.  She had earned her doctorate there in 1924.  Her dissertation, Liberal Christianity and Religious Education, remains in print.

As an educator, Case advocated a child-centered pedagogy, not a teacher-centered one.  This might seem like old news today, but it was revolutionary then.  Religious education, she insisted, must relate to the social environment of the pupils and both nurture faith and further the cause of social justice.

Case’s faith was evident in her life’s work.  An Episcopalian of Anglo-Catholic leanings, she placed a high premium on frequent sacraments.  Beginning in 1915, she belonged to the Companions of the Holy Cross, a group of Episcopal women who live simply, gather to pray, and advocate for ecumenism and social justice.  Close to Case’s heart was the cause of human reconciliation, and therefore peacemaking–in the context of common prayer and eucharistic practice.  This peacemaking also had an international aspect for Dr. Case, especially during the 1930s and 1940s.  A pacifist, she pursued peace via Episcopalian and ecumenical organizations.

In 1941, Case, the foremost religious educator in The Episcopal Church, joined the faculty of Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She became the first female faculty member at an Episcopalian or Anglican seminary.  Case’s acceptance in the community at ETS was slow, and she left behind tenure and a good salary at Columbia University to make the academic move, but she found acceptance in time.  She shared her home with homeless families from varied religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

Case died on tuberculosis on June 19, 1948.  Her last words were,

What can I do for you?

Perhaps the words of one student at Columbia University function as the ideal epitaph:

She was a true believer in Christ and you saw him living in and through her.

May people have cause to say that of you and me.






Everliving God, in whose light we see light:

We thank you for your teacher and peacemaker Adelaide Case,

who inspired generations of students with a love of learning that built up the Church and their communities.

Grant that we, following her example, may serve you tirelessly as learners and teachers,

laboring for the transformation of the world toward your reign of peace,

through the companionship of Jesus your Saving Word;

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

Proverbs 4:1-9

Psalm 119:33-40

Hebrews 5:11-6:1

Mark 4:21-25

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 473


Post Revised on April 4, 2020



Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) lists Dr. Case’s feast day as July 19.  However, its successor, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) lists her feast day as June 19.  So does Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.




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