Archive for October 13, 2017

Feast of St. Matthew Le Van Gam (May 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Indochina, 1842

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MATTHÊÔ LÊ VAN GAM (CIRCA 1813-MAY 11, 1847)

Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr

Alternative feast day = November 24 (as one of the Martyrs of Vietnam)

St. Matthêô Lê Van Gam found his vocation as a layman.  He, born circa 1813 in Gò Công, Biên Hòa, Vietnam, grew up in a Christian family.  Our saint studied at the seminary at Lai Thieu, but left to assume his responsibilities as the firstborn son in his family.  He married and became the father of four children, two of whom died because they were Christian.  After an incident of infidelity our saint rededicated himself to his faith and to the Church, especially to assisting missionaries.

Emperor Nguyen Phuoc Toan (Thiêu Tri, reigned 1841-1847) persecuted Christians.  In 1864 our saint came to the attention of authorities.  He, a skilled sailor, was smuggling Christians out of the country.  For example, in two separate trips, our saint smuggled a group of seminarians to Malaysia and a group of diocesan priests out of the kingdom.  In July 1846 authorities arrested our saint, who bribed some soldiers successfully yet failed to escape imprisonment and frequent torture after he refused to desecrate a cross.  On May 11, 1847, at Cho Ðui, Dong Nai, Vietnam, our saint died of beheading after three blows.

Pope Leo XIII declared our saint a Venerable in 1899 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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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 Saint Matthêô Lê Van Gam,

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 Enrico Rebushini and St. Luigi Guanella (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of the Vatican

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENRICO REBUSCHINI (APRIL 28, 1860-MAY 10, 1938)

Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick

helped by

SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA (DECEMBER 9, 1842-OCTOBER 24, 1915)

Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph

His feast transferred from October 24

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O my Jesus, draw me entirely to you.  Draw me with all the love of my heart.  If I knew that one fiber of my heart did not palpitate for you, I would tear it out at any cost.  But I know that I could not speak without your help.  Draw me, O my Jesus, draw me completely.  I know it well, my heart cannot rest until it rests in you.

–St. Luigi Guanella

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We need assistance from each other to become what we ought to be spiritually.  To function as an instrument of God in that way is a high calling.

Above:  Blessed Enrico Rebuschini

Image in the Public Domain

Blessed Enrico Rebuschini, born in Gravedona, Como, Italy, on April 28, 1860, encountered obstacles in his spiritual path and received help in overcoming them.  His mother, Sophia, was devout, but his father, Domenico, a tax inspector for the province of Como, had no use for religion.  Young Enrico, the second of five children, discerned a vocation to the religious life, but his father’s opposition frustrated plans for acting on that call.  Our saint studied mathematics at Pavia for one year.  He left due to the anticlericalism rampant at the university.  Rebuschini, back home, performed his year of mandatory military service.  The devout young man graduated (with honors) with a college degree in accounting in 1882.  Then he went to work as an administrator in the silk firm of a brother-in-law.  This employment did not satisfy our saint, prone to severe depression.  Finally, in the summer of 1884, Domenico permitted his son to pursue a religious vocation.  The intervention of St. Luigi Guanella was partially responsible for this decision.

Above:  Saint Luigi Guanella

Image in the Public Domain

Guanella was a priest who acted to help many people with regard to their practical needs.  He, born in Francisco di Campodolino, Sondrio, Italy, on December 9, 1842, was the ninth of thirteen children of the poor and pious Lawrence and Maria Guanella.  Our saint, who started his seminary studies at age 12, became a priest on May 26, 1866.  As a parish priest Guanella opened schools for the poor, founded a nursing home, started an orphanage, and founded a home for the handicapped.  From 1875 to 1878 he had worked with St. John Bosco in caring for homeless children.  Our saint was a friend and advisor of Pope St. Pius X and St. Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1850-1921), from 1894 the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.  Guanella also founded three religious orders–the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity (of the Guanellians, for men), and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph (to pray for the dying).

Guanella suffered a stroke in 1915.  He died of complications of that stroke on October 24 of that year.  He was 72 years old.

Pope John XXIII declared Guanella a Venerable in 1962.  Pope Paul VI declared our saint a Blessed in 1964.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized Guanella in 2011.

Rebuschini was content in 1885, for he was, partially due to help from Guanella, living into his vocation.  Rebuschini was studying for the priesthood at the Gregorian University, Rome.  There was a major problem, however.  In March 1886 our saint fell into a nervous depression that lasted through May 1887.  He returned home.  Rebuschini, pondering that stage of his life in real time, wrote:

There are moments when the hand of God has weighed down on us and has plunged us into suffering…what a month of silence and what suffering at this time.  May God at least put an end to this and give us back our treasure.

Eight years later our saint wrote:

I was sent to a spa.  There God restored my health by giving me total confidence in His infinite goodness and mercy.

Yet Rebuschini never fully recovered his health.  He suffered occasional bouts of depression, although they were not as severe as the period of March 1886-May 1887.  He would have fared better had he lived during a time when better treatments existed.

Rebuschini, who had a devotion to St. Mary, the Mother of God, chose to help those who needed the most.  In 1887 he worked briefly in a hospital, losing his job because he insisted on working not in the assigned department, but instead among the poorest and most isolated patients.  On September 27 of that year our saint joined the Camillians (the Company of the Servants of the Sick) of Verona.  He, ordained a priest on April 14, 1889, made his profession in that order on December 8, 1891.  Among his duties for a few years was to be a hospital chaplain in Verona.

Rebuschini had a reputation as a kind man who sought to focus on the best characteristics of people he met.  He admitted that doing this was difficult for him much of the time; he relied on God to help him succeed.  Our saint was most critical of himself, however; his perfectionist tendencies, applied to himself, led him to regard himself as unworthy of taking on many tasks assigned to him.  He followed through on those tasks anyway.

On a happy note, Rebuschini was a punster.  Obviously he had an excellent sense of humor and a fine vocabulary.

Our saint, a hospital chaplain at Verona (1890-189?) and vice-novice master and professor of theology in that city (by 1895), left for Cremona in 1899.  At Cremona he served as the first chaplain to the Camillian Sisters.  A few years later he took on a second portfolio–that of bursar, which he performed for between 34 and 35 years, until 1937.  During that time Rebuschini also served as superior for 11 years.  In 1938, shortly before he died of pneumonia at the age 78 years, our saint asked forgiveness from all those he thought he might have offended.

Pope John Paul II declared Rebuschini a Venerable in 1995 then a Blessed two years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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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 to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Blessed Ivan Merz (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ivan Merz

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED IVAN MERZ (OCTOBER 16, 1896-MAY 10, 1928)

Croatian Roman Catholic Intellectual

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Catholic faith is my life vocation.

–Blessed Ivan Merz

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Blessed Ivan Merz was a man who, according to people who knew him well, was in nearly perpetual union with God–in a state of prayer, simply put.  He, born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary, on October 16, 1896, became an academic.  Our saint began his studies at Banja Luka before he attended the military academy at Wiener Neustadt.  Then, in 1915, Merz matriculated at the University of Vienna.  In March 1916, however, our saint enlisted in the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  While fighting in Italy, Merz placed his future in God’s hands.  He made a vow of perpetual chastity in February 1918.  At that time he wrote in his diary:

Never forget God!  Always desire to be united with Him.  Begin each day in the first place with meditation and prayer, possibly close to the Blessed Sacrament or during Mass.  During this time, plans for the day are made, one’s defects are put under examination and grace is implored for the strength to overcome all weakness.  It would be something terrible if this war had no meaning for me!…I must begin a life regenerated in the spirit of this new understanding of Catholicism.  The Lord alone can help me, as man can do nothing on his own.

–February 5, 1918

Merz resumed his studies after World War I.  He studied at Vienna (1919-1920), Paris (1920-1922), and Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia (1922-1923), earning his doctorate in philosophy.  The title of his dissertation was “The Influence of the Liturgy on French Authors.”  Our saint went on to become Professor of Language and French Literature at the University of Zagreb.  In his spare time he studied philosophy as well as documents of the Catholic Magisterium.

Merz also had an active interest in the Christian formation of the young.  He founded the League of Young Croatian Catholics and, within the Catholic Action movement in Croatia, the Croatian League of Eagles.

Merz died of natural causes at Zabreb on May 10, 1928.  He was 31 years old.  Our saint had offered his suffering to God.

Pope John Paul II declared Merz a Venerable in 2002 then a Blessed the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Blessed Ivan Merz 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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin (May 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Dorothy Day, 1934

Image in the Public Domain

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DOROTHY DAY (NOVEMBER 8, 1897-NOVEMBER 29, 1980)

ARISTODE PIERRE MAURIN (MAY 9, 1877-MAY 15, 1949)

Cofounders of the Catholic Worker Movement

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Don’t call me a saint.  I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.

–Dorothy Day

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People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness’ sake.  Modern society calls the beggar bum and panhandler and gives him the bum’s rush.  But the Greeks used to say that people in need are ambassadors of the gods.  Although you may be called bums and panhandlers, yo are in fact the ambassadors of God.  As God’s ambassadors you should be given good, clothing, and shelter by those who are able to give it.

–Peter Maurin on Christian hospitality

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Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin were radicals, even according to the standards of many other radicals.  Their radicalism was consistent with their Christian faith.

Peter Maurin lived according the reality that all of us depend entirely on God.  Aristode Pierre Maurin, born in Oultet, in the Lanquedoc region of France, on May 9, 1877, joined the Christian Brothers when he was 16 years old.  Mandatory military service in 1898 and 1899 highlighted sense of the conflict between civil and religious duties.

Maurin preferred his religious responsibilities.  The government of the French Third Republic closed many religious schools in 1902.  At that time our saint left the Christian Brothers and joined Sillon, a left-wing Roman Catholic movement.  He departed that movement in 1908, for he disagreed with Sillon’s increasingly political nature.  Maurin emigrated to Canada in 1909.  After two unsuccessful years as a homesteader in Saskatchewan, our saint worked a series of jobs in the United States and Canada.  He was, for example, a wheat harvester, a track layer, and a coal miner.  In 1932 Maurin, who never married, was working as a handyman at a Roman Catholic boys’ school in upstate New York.  When time permitted he travelled to New York City, where he spent time in branches of the public library and spoke on street corners.  He met Dorothy Day in the city in December 1932.

We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other.  We know Him in the breaking of the bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore.  Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.

–Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day, born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 8, 1897, made a roundabout journey to faith.  She, baptized in The Episcopal Church when young, had rejected the Christian faith by the time she was a college student.  Day dropped out of college to become a journalist for radical publications in New York City.  In 1926 our saint, in a common-law marriage on Staten Island, gave birth to a daughter, Tamar Teresa Day (Batterham Hennessy), who lived until 2008.  Day had her daughter baptized in the Roman Catholic Church.  The following year our saint converted to Roman Catholic Church, thereby ending her common-law marriage.

Day became dissatisfied with the church’s support for the status quo.  She channeled this attitude into The Catholic Worker, the first issue of which debuted on May 1, 1933.  The publication, which Maurin suggested calling The Catholic Radical, was pro-labor and critical of both Marxism and capitalism.  The Catholic Worker, rooted in the Gospels, advocated not for reform, but for school revolution of a nonviolent variety.  She preferred an agricultural and decentralized society grounded in faith.  Toward this end the movement founded farms.  Also, the newspaper offices became a “house of hospitality” for providing food and shelter.

Maurin suffered a stroke in 1944.  He spent his final years, during which he struggled with memory loss, at the retreat center near Newburgh, New York.  There he died on May 15, 1949, aged 72 years.  His corpse, buried in a borrowed grave, wore a secondhand suit.

Day, radical politically–to the point of being a professing anarchist–was conservative in her piety.  Our saint, a pacifist–even during World War II–opposed wars consistently and argued against nuclear proliferation.  She also committed acts of civil disobedience, for which authorities arrested her repeatedly.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated her, as if she were a threat or a criminal.  Director J. Edgar Hoover was a reactionary and an unrepentant racist who opposed social change (especially the Civil Rights Movement any antiwar movement), kept his job as long as he did by blackmailing politicians, trampled civil liberties, and presided over an agency that attempted to blackmail the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., into committing suicide.  Of course Day had an F.B.I. file.  If Jesus of Nazareth had lived in the U.S.A. at the time, Hoover would have labeled him a subversive and ordered surveillance of him.  Our Lord and Savior’s F.B.I. file would have been thicker than a large-print Bible.

Day died, aged 93 years, in New York City on November 29, 1980.  The Roman Catholic Church, having begun to consider her for recognition as a saint, has labeled her a Servant of God.

Day and Maurin were indeed subversives–for Christ.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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

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

Help us, like your servants Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior 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

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