Feast of Enmegahbowh (June 12)   2 comments

Above:  Enmegahbowh

Image in the Public Domain

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ENMEGAHBOWH (1807/1813-JUNE 11/12, 1902)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Ojibwa Nation

Also known as John Johnson

One route to a calendar of saints is to be the first person to do something.  Thus we come to case of Enmegahbowh, the first Native American to become an Episcopal priest, in 1867.  He was not, however, the first Native American to become a priest in the Anglican Communion; that man was Sakachuwescum, also known as Henry Budd, a Canadian Cree, in 1850.

Enmegahbowh, literally “the One who Stands Before his People,” was also from Canada.  He, born at Rice Lake, Ontario, in 1807 or 1813 (depending on the official Episcopal Church resource one consults), was Odawa (Ottawa)-Ojibwa/Chippewa.  He grew up a Christian, and a Methodist minister baptized him as John Johnson.  In 1832 our saint, then a Methodist missionary, arrived in the United States.  Eventually he attempted to return to Canada, but a storm on Lake Superior and a vision of Jonah stopped him.

Enmegahbowh became an Episcopalian in time, after receiving a copy of The Book of Common Prayer prior to 1850.  Eventually me met James Lloyd Breck, with whom he founded St. Columba’s Mission, Gull Lake, Minnesota.  Enmegahbown was a peacemaker.  The way he pursued that calling made him persona non grata among many Ojibwa/Chippewa for a time, but he did facilitate peace between the Dakota and the Ojibwa/Chippewa, in 1869.  Our saint, a missionary to the Ojibwa/Chippewa, became an Episcopal deacon (by the hands of Bishop Jackson Kemper) in 1859 then a priest (by the hands of Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple of Minnesota) in 1867.  Enmegahbowh ministered at the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota until his death on June 11 or 12 (depending on the official Episcopal Church resource one consults), 1902.

Certainly part of Enmegahbowh’s legacy is the active presence of The Episcopal Church among indigenous peoples in Minnesota.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIACH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud:

Grant that the ministers of your Church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh,

may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility.

This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with

you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 129

1 Peter 5:1-4

Luke 6:17-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 423

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2 responses to “Feast of Enmegahbowh (June 12)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Henry Budd (December 22) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Feast of David Pendleton Oakerhater (September 1) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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