Archive for July 4, 2017

Feast of Daniel Sylvester Tuttle (April 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Daniel Sylvester Tuttle

Image in the Public Domain



Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church


We were most civilly and courteously treated in this call, but I was not asked to call again.  I did not detect any violation of grammar or of good sense or of good taste on his part during our call.  He is so powerful a man in everything here, and so unscrupulous a man, I fear, in most things, that my policy will be to have as little as possible to do with him.  With his keensightedness he must know, that if not in will yet in reality, by our services and our school, we are putting our clutches to his very throat.

–Bishop Tuttle, writing to his wife, after meeting Brigham Young, July 10, 1867


Daniel Sylvester Tuttle was a bishop for nearly 56 of his 86 years–about 65 percent of his lifetime.

Tuttle, who studied to become a teacher, joined the ranks of Episcopal priests.  He, born at Windham, New York, on January 26, 1837, graduated from Columbia University, New York, New York, in 1857.  He taught at the Columbia College Grammar School and worked as a private tutor in New York City before matriculating at the General Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1862.  Our saint, ordained a deacon in 1862 and a priest the following year, served at just one congregation–Zion Church, Morris, New York–first as the Curate then as the Rector.  He married Harriet Minerva Foote (1841-1899) in 1865.  The couple had children.

In late 1866 the House of Bishops elected the 29-year-old Tuttle the Missionary Bishop of Montana, with responsibilities also in Utah and Idaho.  On May 1, 1867, at the age of 30 years (the minimum age for an Episcopal bishop) he commenced his episcopate.  Our saint proceeded to establish Episcopal churches and other institutions–including St. Mark’s Cathedral (the first non-Mormon church in Utah), St. Mark’s School, and St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City–on the frontier.  Life for Tuttle and his family in the West was primitive, certainly compared to conditions in New York City.  In 1880 his title changed to Missionary Bishop of Utah and Idaho; Montana became the responsibility of another bishop.  Tuttle, who, after meeting Brigham Young, considered the Mormon leader “unscrupulous” and someone to avoid, built up The Episcopal Church in his jurisdiction in such a way as to win the respect of many Mormons.  An official Latter-day Saints source called the bishop “a consistent adversary.”  His task, as he understood it, was to build up The Episcopal Church, not to tear down the Mormon Church:

My plan for dealing with Mormonism, and for putting down Mormonism, immoral as it is, infidel as it is, heathenish as it is, in God’s own time, is by preaching the full truth of the everlasting Gospel, as contained in the Holy Bible and embodied in the Church, and by striving constantly, with His help, to do unto others as I would that others should do unto me.

Tuttle translated to the Diocese of Missouri in 1886.  There he remained for the rest of his life.  During his tenure the diocese, out of necessity, divided, giving birth to the Diocese of West Missouri  in 1890.  Our saint was a busy man, for he doubled as the acting Missionary Bishop of Salt Lake (with responsibilities in Utah and parts of Nevada and Wyoming) from late 1903 to late 1904 and as the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church from 1903 to 1923.  He was the last man to serve as the Presiding Bishop on the basis of seniority; the General Convention changed the system in 1919.

Tuttle died in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 17, 1923.





Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Daniel Sylvester Tuttle,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718



Feast of Max Josef Metzger (April 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Max Josef Metzger

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr


It is honorable to die for one’s country, but still more honorable to die for righteousness and peace.

–Max Josef Metzger


Father Metzger comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997).

Max Josef Metzter, born in the German village of Schopfheim on February 3, 1887, discerned his priestly vocation at an early age.  He, ordained the priesthood in 1911, served as an army chaplain in 1914-1915, leaving military service during World War I due to ill health.  The lasting effect of the Great War upon our saint was to transform him into a pacifist.  He devoted the rest of his life to the cause of peace and disarmament, among other causes.  He worked with the White Cross, a mission to the downtrodden.  Our saint also founded the World Peace League as well as the World Congress of Christ, an ecumenical peace movement.  He was also a pioneering ecumenist, for he promoted Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue and reconciliation.

Metzger opposed Nazism from the beginning.  The Gestapo asserted him several times, the final time being in June 1943.  His specific offense was to write foreign bishops to ask them to help secure a negotiated settlement of the war.  The courier, unfortunately, was an agent of the Gestapo.  Metzger, convicted of treason, went to his fate (martyrdom via beheading) on April 17, 1944.  His final spoken prayer was

Now, Lord Jesus, I come.

Our saint was 57 years old.

The example of Father Metzger raises some challenging issues.  As Voltaire reminds us down the corridors of time,

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

Likewise, to quote The Use of Force in International Affairs (1961),

If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

I rank Metzger among the German patriots.  Patriotism does not necessarily entail supporting the government or the administration.  This is especially true when the government is a genocidal dictatorship.

To praise those who resisted the Third Reich is easy in North America in 2017.  After all, finding someone, regardless of political affiliation, who looks upon Nazi Germany with moral revulsion is a simple task.  More challenging is to ask how one, if one had been in Nazi jurisdiction at the time, would have acted.  One might hope that one would have had the moral courage to resist the Third Reich, but one might be inaccurate.  How easy is it after all, to go along and get along, to keep one’s head down and be passive?  Yet, as the late Howard Zinn reminded us, one cannot be neutral on a moving train.

Father Metzger took a moral stand and paid the ultimate price.  His conscience did not permit him to attempt to be neutral on a moving train.  Many of us are so fortunate as not to have to take such risks.  Others, however, must, due to their circumstances, make such decisions.





Holy and righteous God, you created is in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Max Josef Metzger,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ,

our Saviour 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


Feast of Emily Cooper (April 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Image in the Public Domain


EMILY COOPER (1839-APRIL 17, 1909)

Episcopal Deaconess

The Episcopal Church added the commemoration of the life of Emily Cooper to the calendar of saints in 2015.

Discussions regarding the establishment of the female diaconate in The Episcopal Church began in 1868 and terminated with the approval of the germane canon at the General Convention in 1889.  Prior to 1889, however, some women had already become deaconesses.  One of the earliest Episcopal deaconesses was our saint, part of a group of four women who became deaconesses during a ceremony at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, New York, in June 1873, after two years of preparation.

Cooper, a 44-year-old widow in 1873, returned to her native Kentucky to serve as a deaconess.  In 1880 she became the director of the new Home of the Innocents, Louisville, a diocesan home for cast-off children–the abused, the sick, the dying, and the abandoned.  For about 24 years our saint led her staff in this good work.  Some of the abandoned children lacked even names; she named them.  Cooper also assisted at the baptisms of 244 children.  Our saint retired in 1904.  She spent her final years at the Orphanage of the Good Shepherd.  She died, aged about 70 years, on April 17, 1909.

The Home of the Innocents continues to operate as it expands its facilities and services.





God of the holy innocents, we thank you for the motherly witness of your deaconess

Emily Cooper, who, in naming and baptizing did not forget the children:

Draw our hearts and minds also to the plight of little ones,

always remembering your Son’s teaching that in receiving a little child in his name,

we receive Christ himself, who lives and reigns with you

and the Spirit, as one, caring for ever and ever.  Amen.

Zechariah 8:3-12, 16-17

Psalm 146 or 22:22-27

1 Peter 4:7-11

Mark 10:42-52

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)


Feast of Lucy Larcom (April 16)   1 comment

Above:  Lucy Larcom

Image in the Public Domain


LUCY LARCOM (MARCH 5, 1826-APRIL 17, 1893)

U.S. Academic, Journalist, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer

Lucy Larcom came to my attention when I found her name in a hymnal.

Larcom was a woman ahead of her time, for she was a pioneering academic.

Larcom, born at Beverly, Massachusetts, on March 5, 1826.  Her father, a sea-captain, died when she was a juvenile.  Therefore she had to leave her school in 1837 and go to work at the Lowell Mills, Lowell, Massachusetts, until 1845.  She also took classes at Lowell.  During her final two years at Lowell Larcom contributed to the Lowell Offering, the first magazine in the United States edited exclusively by women.  Our saint taught at a rural school in Looking Glass, Illinois, from 1846 to 1849.  Then, for three years, the studied at Monticello Female Seminary, graduating in 1852.

Larcom chose professional life over marriage.   She did have a romance, but she kept the details private.  From 1854 to 1863 our saint taught English literature and composition, history, logic, botany, and moral philosophy at Wheaton Female Seminary, Norton, Massachusetts.  In 1855 she founded The Rushlight, the college’s literary magazine.  Larcom reduced her teaching schedule, due to health issues, and returned to the college in 1865-1867 then at other times as a visiting lecturer.  Larcom contributed prose and poetry to various publications.  She also edited Our Young Folks (as Assistant Editor from 1865 to 1866 and as Editor-in-Chief from 1866 to 1873).  She also published works of prose and poetry in book form.  From some of these volumes came hymns.

Larcom, who grew up a Congregationalist, spent much of her life as a Christian not affiliated formally with any church.  She attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts, throughout the 1880s, finally accepting confirmation in 1890.  Larcom had to work through her Puritan upbringing and her complicated relationship to organized religion.  Anglican influences on her changing religious opinions included Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872) and Phillips Brooks (1835-1893).

Larcom died, aged 67 years, at Boston, on April 17, 1893.





O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Lucy Larcom and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34






Feast of Isabella Gilmore (April 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Isabella Gilmore

Image in the Public Domain



Anglican Deaconess

The Church of England commemorates the life of Isabella Gilmore on April 16.

Gilmore was one of the leaders of the movement to revive the ancient order of deaconesses in The Church of England and in the wider Anglican Communion.  She, made a deaconess in 1887, stood in the spiritual lineage of Elizabeth Ferard (1825-1883), the first deaconess in The Church of England.

Isabella Morris, born in London on July 14, 1842, was a daughter of William Morris (a financier) and Emma Morris.  Our saint’s famous brother was William Morris (the artist, author, architect, and political activist), who lived from 1834 to 1896.  [Aside:  The English custom of naming a son after his father without using suffixes, such as “Jr.” and “III,” can be very confusing.  I like to know of whom I am thinking, writing, and speaking–grandfather, father, or son.]  William Sr. died when his daughter was just five years old.  The family relocated to Walthamstow, where Isabella studied under a governess then at schools in Brighton and Clifton.  The family moved again–to Leyton Hall, Essex–in 1856.

Our saint had a family life.  In 1860 she married naval officer Arthur Hamilton Gilmore.  She as the wife of a sailor, moved often.  After her husband died in 1882, our saint moved in with her family.  She also trained to become and became a nurse, a profession unfit for a woman of her social class, according to social conventions.  In 1884 Gilmore began to care for the children of her recently deceased brother, Randall.

Gilmore put her experience in taking care of others to good use as a deaconess.  In 1886 Anthony Thorold, the Bishop of Rochester, recruited the reluctant Gilmore to pioneer deaconess work in the diocese.  The following year she became a deaconess.  Our saint, active in the order until she retired in 1906, trained had deaconesses for other dioceses.  Her influence was widespread.

Gilmore died, aged 80 years, on April 16, 1923.





Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Isabella Gilmore,

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

Raise up in our own 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


Feast of St. Bernadette of Lourdes (April 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Bernadette

Image in the Public Domain




Also known as Marie-Bernarde Soubirous and Sister Marie-Bernard

French feast day = February 18

Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, informally known as Bernadette, was an illiterate peasant girl of Lourdes, France, when her reality changed.  Our saint, born on January 7, 1844, was the eldest daughter of Louise Soubirous and Francois Soubirous, a miller.  Her health was fragile; asthma prevented her from attending school more often than she did.  From February 11 to July 16, 1858, at the Massabielle Rock, St. Bernadette, just 14 years old, experienced 18 visions and received messages from a woman who identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.  This changed not only our saint’s life, but the lives of countless people.  St. Bernadette, initially unaware of the meaning of that term, learned from a priest that this was St. Mary.

[Aside:  Contrary to common, theologically illiterate misunderstanding, the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth are different.  The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of St. Mary without original sin, so she would be a fit vessel to become the Mother of God.  I recall hearing certain Protestant ministers as well as lay people confusing the Immaculate Conception for the Virgin Birth.  One should, when in doubt theologically, consult a catechism for definitions of terms.  Also, although the status of the Immaculate Conception, as a dogma, dates to 1854, the idea, as a doctrine, dates to the Patristic Era.]

St. Bernadette, always honest and never self-seeking, had to overcome opposition from her family, local priests, and civil authorities.  Some considered our saint to be too stupid to have had such an experience.  In being consistent in her story, was St. Bernadette being obstinate?  Certain authorities thought so.  The discovery of a healing spring brought blessings to many people and much displeasure to others.  All of these realities made St. Bernadette a center of attention.  This was difficult for her.

The Church, however, eventually sided with the visionary.  In 1862 the diocese declared that the faithful were justified in affirming the reality of the visions.  Fourteen years later Our Lady’s command that a church edifice exist on the location came to fruition with the consecration of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.  In 1901 Church officials consecrated the larger Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Furthermore, Pope Pius XI beatified our saint in 1925 and canonized her eight years later.

St. Bernadette escaped the attention she was getting at Lourdes by going to the convent of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers.  At first she was merely a student at the boarding school, where she finally learned to read and write.  Then, in 1866, our saint became a novice in the order.  As Sister Marie-Bernard St. Bernadette earned her reputation for kindness, holiness, and joyfulness.  Much of the time, however, she was in agony due to tuberculosis of the bone.  She accepted what Our Lady told her:  she would suffer in this world.

St. Bernadette died on April 16, 1879.  She was 35 years old.

Above:  Lourdes, 1890-1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-05297

Lourdes has long been a destination for pilgrims seeking healing.  Documented medical recoveries have occurred, but most healings have been of a spiritual variety.  The terminally ill have left still dying, but at peace with that reality.

Would God work through an illiterate peasant girl to help many people during and after the lifetime?  Why not?  Would the Mother of God appear to a seemingly insignificant person at a garbage dump?  Why not?


Usually I adapt a collect and list readings specified from a liturgical volume.  This time, however, I feature an original collect and list passages of scripture I have selected.

Gracious God, the source of life, healing, and wholeness,

you choose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Thank you for the scandal of grace evident in many lives,

especially that of your servant Saint Bernadette Soubirous,

and for the continuing legacy of her fidelity to you.

May we, by your grace, also be instruments of your agape in the world.

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

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1

Psalm 131

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Matthew 19:13-15