Archive for October 24, 2016

Feast of Blessed Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski (December 11)   Leave a comment

auschwitz-entrance

Above:  The Entrance to Auschwitz

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED KAZIMIERZ TOMASZ SYKULSKI (DECEMBER 29, 1882-DECEMBER 11, 1942)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Our saint, born at Konskie, Poland, was a son of Michael and Tekla Cybinskich.  He attended seminary at Sandomierz, Poland.  Sykulski, ordained to the priesthood in 1905, studied theology at the Roman Catholic academy at St. Petersburg, Russia, from 1908 to 1911.  He served at various parishes in Poland before becoming a military chaplain during the 1920 Russian-Polish war.  In 1921 he became the pastor of the Cathedral of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Radom.

From 1939 to 1941 Sykulski helped refugees.  Then, on October 1, 1941, Nazis arrested him.  At first they imprisoned him at Radom.  Then they sent him to Auschwitz.  There, on December 11, 1942, guards shot him for insisting on preaching Christianity.  He was 59 years old.

Pope John Paul II beatified Sykulski in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Blessed Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Blessed Severin Ott (December 11)   Leave a comment

shield_of_the_premonstratensians-svg

Above:  Premonstratensian Shield

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED SEVERIN OTT (1627-DECEMBER 11, 1708)

Roman Catholic Monk

We know little about the life of Blessed Severin Ott.  We do know, however, that he was German.  At some point Ott became Premonstratensian monk at Roggenburg, Swabia, Bavaria.  Our saint had a reputation as a man of prayer, personal penances, and one devoted to St. Mary of Nazareth.  He also promoted pilgrimages to a shrine at Scheissen, nearby.  During his later years Ott became a hermit and devoted most of his time prayer.

Some people with whom I have usually agreed and others with whom I have frequently differed have characterized saints such as Blessed Severin Ott as useless.  This has long puzzled me, for these individuals who have made such statements have affirmed the efficacy of prayer.  They have therefore contradicted themselves.

The existence of people who devote their lives to prayer comforts me.  They stand in succession with great saints, such as Blessed Severin Ott.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Blessed Severin Ott,

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

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

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Feast of St. Peter Fourier and Blessed Alix Le Clerc (December 9)   Leave a comment

peter-fourier

Above:  St. Peter Fourier

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PETER FOURIER (NOVEMBER 30, 1565-DECEMBER 9, 1640)

“The Good Priest of Mattaincourt”

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BLESSED ALIX LE CLERC (DECEMBER 2, 1596-JANUARY 9, 1622)

Foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine

Her feast transferred from January 9

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These two saints contributed much to education, especially that of impoverished girls.

St. Peter Fourier entered the world at Mirecourt, Lorraine, on November 30, 1565.  He joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine in 1585.  As a young man Fourier tutored the sons of wealthy families.  Our saint, ordained a priest in 1689, had studied at the University of Pont-a-Mousson, starting at the age of 15 years.  He returned to that university years later and studied theology.  Fourier, an excellent student, committed the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas to heart.

In 1597, at the age of 32 years, our saint became the priest at Mattaincourt, Vosges.  He remained there for nearly 30 years.  During that time Fourier did much to improve his community and earned his label, the “good priest of Mattaincourt.”  He proclaimed Roman Catholic theology plainly, lived ascetically, nursed sick people in the community, and established a bank that issued zero-interest loans.

alix-le-clerc

Above:  Blessed Alix Le Clerc

Image in the Public Domain

Fourier’s influence extended well beyond Mattaincourt.  In 1597, for example, he supported Blessed Alix Le Clerc in founding the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine, an order devoted to the education of impoverished girls.  Le Clerc, born into a wealthy family at Remirement, Lorraine, on December 2, 1576, spent many of her early years in frivolous living.  The family moved to Mattaincourt when he was 18 years old.  When she was 21 years old an illness confined her to bed for a time.  She read a devotional book and devoted her life to the service of God and the poor.  Le Clerc also reported seeing visions (including one of St. Mary of Nazareth) and hearing voices that told her to help poor children.  Fourier encouraged her when many others heaped scorn upon her.

The new order started on December 24, 1597, when Le Clerc and three other young women publicly dedicated themselves to Our Lady.  Le Clerc’s father, who opposed the new order, ordered his daughter to enter the convent at Ormes instead.  She obeyed her father initially and found the milieu of the convent unsatisfactory.  Fortunately, a wealthy person donated much money to the new order, so Le Clerc had the opportunity to follow her vocation.  The sisters did their work well.  They even pioneered the use of blackboards in classrooms and the practice of nuns teaching.  The nuns overcame much opposition from relatives and ecclesiastical authorities.  Their motto was, “Let God be your love around.”  The order received papal approval in 1616.

The new order’s difficulties were not over.  Ecclesiastical politics led to Fourier replacing Le Clerc as the leader of the order.  She handled these problems gracefully, however.  Le Clerc died at Nancy, Lorraine, on January 9, 1622.  She was 45 years old.

Pope Pius XI declared Le Clerc venerable in 1932.  Fifteen years later Pope Pius XII beatified her.

1625 was an eventful year for Fourier.  For three years he had been the instructor of the canonical communities of his order in the Diocese of Toul; he continued in that position until 1629.  In 1625 those communities formed one congregation, named the Congregation of Our Savior three years later.  He became the Abbot-General of the congregation in 1632.  Also in 1625 our saint spent six months in the region of Salm-Salm, gently reclaiming it for Holy Mother Church from Calvinism.

In 1636 Fourier and some like-minded canons regular had to go into exile because they refused to swear loyalty to King Louis XIII.  They relocated to Gray, Franche-Comte.  There they ministered to victims of plague.  Fourier died at Gray on December 9, 1640.  He was 75 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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, 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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