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)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: