Feast of Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates (December 17)   1 comment

rca-crest

Above:  The Crest of the Reformed Church in America

A Scan from the Cover of Our Reformed Church, by Howard G. Hageman and Revised by Gregg A. Mast (New York, NY:  Reformed Church Press, 1995)

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MARY CORNELIA BISHOP GATES (DECEMBER 14, 1842-DECEMBER 17, 1905)

U.S. Dutch Reformed Hymn Writer

Mary Cornelia Bishop, born at Rochester, New York, on December 14, 1842, came from a family where culture and public service were values.  Roger Williams (1603-1683), the founder of Rhode Island and champion of religious toleration and the separation of church and state, was in the family tree.  Her father, William S. Bishop (1804-1863), was an attorney, a state legislator, and an elder of the Central Presbyterian Church, Rochester.  Our saint’s mother, Anna Cornelia Bishop (1808-1893), was a daughter of a state legislator.  Young Mary received a fine education before teaching at Le Roy Female Seminary (now Ingham University), Le Roy, New York, for several years.

In 1873 our saint married Dr. Merrill Edward Gates (1848-1922), who served as the Principal of Albany Academy, Albany, New York, from 1870 to 1882.  Then he was the President of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, from 1882 to 1890, and the President of Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, from 1891 to 1899.  Next the educator served on the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners from 1899 to 1912.  During that time he preached at a Congregational church in Washington, D.C.

Mary was a skilled writer.  She contributed to publications such as The Christian Intelligencer (Dutch Reformed, 1830-1920), The Independent (Congregationalist, 1848-1928), The Youth’s Companion (1827-1929), and The Atlantic Monthly (1857-present, now just The Atlantic).  A posthumous volume, Hymns of Nature and Songs of the Spirit (1908), collected many of her writings between two covers.  Dr. Denis Wortman (1835-1922) wrote:

The characteristic of her poems is their evangelical nature.  She lives in the great world of nature, but her particular home is with the Nazarene.  She has a personal affection for Jesus, like Mary and Martha, and like them she makes him the guest of her home and of her heart.

One of the themes in our saint’s hymns was foreign missions, for she served on the Women’s Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America for many years.

Gates died on December 17, 1905.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILL CAMPBELL, AGENT OF RECONCILIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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One response to “Feast of Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates (December 17)

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  1. Pingback: Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates | GATHERED PRAYERS

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