Feast of Emma Francis (December 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of the United States Virgin Islands

Image in the Public Domain

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EMMA FRANCIS (DECEMBER 7, 1875-APRIL 8, 1945)

Lutheran Deaconess in the United States Virgin Islands and Harlem

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God is God.  He alone is All-wise.  On Him we must trust for the future although it appears dark to us.

–G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 389

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Emma Francis devoted her life to serving God and being a positive influence in society.  She, born on St. Kitts (in the West Indies) on December 7, 1875, was a daughter of Mary H. Francis and the Reverend Joseph Francis.  After a Moravian education on Antigua, our saint trained in Germany to become a missionary.  She was originally supposed to go to Africa, but the leaders of the missionary training school became concerned that white missionaries would discriminate against her.  So, in 1906, Frances began to train in Friendenshort to become a deaconess.  She, consecrated in 1907, transferred in 1908 to the Ebenezer Home for Girls, Frederikstad, St. Croix, Danish territory until 1917.  She taught in the orphanage for all but six years of the remainder of her life.

Frances spent 1921-1927 in Harlem, New York, New York.  In 1922 she became the first African-American deaconess in North American Lutheranism–in the United Lutheran Church in America (extant 1918-1962), a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  While in Harlem, she helped to found the Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration, now the Christ Center at Transfiguration.

Francis, a stickler about observing the Sabbath, worked well with at-risk youth for decades.  She also learned German and Spanish so she could expand her ministry.

Deaconess Emma Francis, 69 years old, died on April 8, 1945.

In 2019 the Queen Louise Home campus of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands has a special unit for children and young adults with severe physical and developmental disabilities.  The name for that unit is the Sister Emma Cottage, appropriately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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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,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior 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), 60

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