Archive for the ‘February 5’ Category

Feast of Pedro Arrupe (February 5)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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PEDRO ARRUPE GONDRA (NOVEMBER 14, 1907-FEBRUARY 5, 1991)

Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Pedro Arrupe comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Father Joe Nangle, OFM, writing in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Pedro Arrupe Gondra, born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, was a Basque, like St. Ignatius (of) Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Arrupe, who joined the Jesuits in 1927, studied medicine in Madrid.  He continued his studies overseas, starting in 1932, when the Spanish Republican government expelled members of the Society of Jesus.  Our saint arrived in Japan, as a missionary, in 1938.  He, ordained to the priesthood in St. Marys, Kansas, in 1936, held a doctorate in medical ethics.

Arrupe understood the relationship between the Gospel and societal responsibility; he absorbed the message of various Hebrew prophets regarding exploitation of the poor and the marginalized.  Our saint, arrested as an alleged spy in December 1941, spent 33 days in prison.  Then he returned to his duties as master of novices for the Jesuit mission to Japan.  He, living on the outskirts of Hiroshima, joined his colleagues in serving as first responders after the U.S. nuclear bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.  Of the 150 people to which Arrupe and company tended, 149 survived.  Arrupe, regardless of where he was, recognized Jesus in “the least of these.”  This attitude helped him in his work, regardless of his title and duties.  Our saint became the Superior of the Jesuit Japanese Province in 1958.  From 1965 to 1983, he served as the Superior General of the order.

Vatican II was reshaping the Roman Catholic Church.  That Council coincided within a movement within Roman Catholicism in Latin America to defend the poor and the exploited, not military dictatorships that preyed on civilians.  The teaching of the divine preference for the poor informed this shift.  Arrupe challenged Christians, including his brother Jesuits, to defend “the least of these,” as Jesus would have had them do.  In a revolutionary age in the Church, our saint supported Liberation Theology, but only to a point.  Arrupe insisted on the primacy of the Gospel over political revolution.  He also shielded the Society of Jesus from attacks from more conservative quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.  As Jesuit priests and bishops, including Father Rutilio Grande (1928-1977) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), joined the ranks of martyrs at the hands of brutal dictatorships, Arrupe continued to support he cause for which they died.

Arrupe, being an intellectually and spiritually honest Christian, also defended the rights of refugees.  He, affected by the plight of Vietnamese boat people, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.  Our saint insisted,

Saint Ignatius called us to go anywhere where we are most needed for the greater glory of God.  The spiritual as well as the material need of more than 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater.  God is calling us through these helpless people.

Arrupe, who said that

the love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce,

resigned as Superior General in 1983.  He had suffered a stroke in late 1981, and a Papal appointee had served as interim Superior General.  Our saint, forced to use a wheelchair, died in Rome on February 15, 1991.  He was 83 years old.

The cause for Arrupe’s beatification and canonization opened officially on February 5, 2019.

Attempting to read the minds of dead people can easily become an act of great folly.  In this case, however, I know what Arrupe would say about the global refugee crisis in 2019.  I do not have to guess what he would think about Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Neither do I have to guess what our saint would say about Trump’s recommendation to shoot asylum seekers in the legs.  I do not have to guess what Arrupe would say about government policies that enrich the wealthy and keep the impoverished poor.

Pedro Arrupe was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR., “FATHER NITSCHMANN,” MORAVIAN MISSIONARY; MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729; JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; ANNA NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN ELDRESS; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, MISSIONARY AND FIRST BISHOP OF THE RENEWED MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF CYRIACUS SCHNEEGASS, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BLESSED FRANCIS XAVIER SEELOS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, U.S. NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND OPPONENT OF FUNDAMENTALISM

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of the Martyrs of Japan (February 5)   1 comment

martyrs-of-nagasaki

Above:  Martyrs of Nagasaki

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

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The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

–Tertullian (circa 155-circa 240)

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Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries had converted at least 300,000 Japanese by 1597.  This alarmed the Tokugawa shogun that year, for he associated Christianity with Western imperialism.  The first victims of the persecution were the Martyrs of Nagasaki, crucified together on February 5, 1597.  The 26 Franciscan missionaries, Jesuit missionaries, and Japanese converts were:

  1. St. Antony Deynan (age 13),
  2. St. Bonaventure of Miyako,
  3. St. Cosmas Takeya,
  4. St. Francis Blanco,
  5. St. Francis of Nagasaki,
  6. St. Francis of St. Michael,
  7. St. Gabriel de Duisco,
  8. St. Gundisalvus Garcia,
  9. St. James Kisai,
  10. St. Joachim Saccachibara,
  11. St. John Kisaka,
  12. St. John Soan de Goto,
  13. St. Kichi Franciscus,
  14. St. Leo Karasumaru,
  15. St. Louis Ibaraki (age 12),
  16. St. Martin of the Ascension,
  17. St. Matthias of Miyako,
  18. St. Michael Kozaki,
  19. St. Paul Ibaraki,
  20. St. Paul Miki,
  21. St. Paul Suzuki,
  22. St. Peter Baptist,
  23. St. Peter Sukejiroo,
  24. St. Philip of Jesus,
  25. St. Thomas Kozaki (age 15), and
  26. St. Thomas Xico.

The Roman Catholic Church has beatified and canonized hundreds of other Martyrs of Japan who died for the faith from 1598 to 1639.

Sustained persecutions drove Christianity in Japan underground by 1630.  Nevertheless, a remnant of the faithful persisted for more than two centuries.  When new missionaries arrived in the 1800s, they found Christians.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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O God our Father, source of strength to all your saints,

you brought the holy martyrs of Japan

through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life:

Grant that we, encouraged by their example,

may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:10-12

Psalm 40:1-11 or 40:5-11

1 Corinthians 1:18-24

John 12:23-33

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

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Feast of Sts. Phileas and Philoromus (February 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ruins of Mud Brick Structures at Thmuis, Egypt

Image Source = Link

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SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROMUS (DIED 304 C.E.)

Roman Catholic Martyrs

Their feast transferred from February 4

St. Phileas was Bishop of Thmuis, Egypt, the city of his birth.  Arrested during the last empire-wide persecution of Christianity, he refused, under the threat of death, to sacrifice to pagan gods.  St. Philoromus, imperial treasurer at Alexandria, Egypt, had become a Christian through the efforts of St. Phileas.  He objected to the handling of the bishop’s case and also found himself under a death sentence.  Both men died by beheading.

When will authorities learn that killing adherents of a religion does not end the religion, but often swells its ranks instead?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWN, ABOLITIONIST

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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 Saints Phileas and Philoromus,

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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Revised on November 27, 2016

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Posted December 2, 2011 by neatnik2009 in February 5, Saints of 300-349

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Feast of St. Avitus of Vienne (February 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 511 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT AVITUS OF VIENNE (CIRCA 470-523/525)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Vienne

St. Avitus of Vienne, born at Auvergne, was son of Isychius, Bishop of Vienne.  He succeeded  his father in the episcopate in 490.  The saint earned his reputation for learning, wisdom, and charity, and for the ransoming of many captives from the Burgundians.  He converted King Sigismund (reigned 516-524), who had murdered his son, Sigeric in 522, due to a false accusation from Sigeric’s stepmother, to rebuild the monastery at Aganaum as a penance.  Sigismund, had been an Arian, but the saint brought him over to Roman Catholicism in 516.

My consultations with old encyclopedias (yes, multi-volume, hardcover sets) reveal that Sigismund (listed on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints as a marytr, with a feast day of May 1), died by the hand of the Clodomer, Frankish King of Orleans (reigned 511-524), son of  King Clovis I (reigned 481-511), founder of the Merovingian Dynasty.  Burgundy passed into the rule of Gundomar, who reigned for a decade before the Franks absorbed the kingdom.

St. Avitus also argued against Semi-Pelagianism and wrote on various topics, including chastity and original sin.  Some of his works survive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWN, ABOLITIONIST

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Almighty God,

you raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Saint Avitus of Vienne.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Revised on November 27, 2016

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Posted December 2, 2011 by neatnik2009 in February 5, Saints of 450-499, Saints of 500-549

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for February   Leave a comment

Winter, by Hendrick Avercamp

Image in the Public Domain

1 (Henry Morse, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1645)

  • Benedict Daswa, South African Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1990
  • Charles Seymour Robinson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • Mitchell J. Dahood, Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar
  • Sigebert III, King of Austrasia

2 (PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE)

3 (Anskar and Rimbert, Roman Catholic Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen)

  • Adelaide Anne Procter, English Poet and Feminist
  • Alfred Delp, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • James Nicholas Joubert and Marie Elizabeth Lange, Founders of the Oblate Sisters of Providence
  • Jemima Thompson Luke, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer; and James Edmeston, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Samuel Davies, American Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

4 (CORNELIUS THE CENTURION)

5 (Martyrs of Japan, 1597-1639)

  • Avitus of Vienne, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Jane (Joan) of Valois, Co-Founder of the Sisters of the Annunciation
  • Pedro Arrupe, Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized, and Superior General of the Society of Jesus
  • Phileas and Philoromus, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 304

6 (Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, Poet and Hymn Writer)

  • Danny Thomas, U.S. Roman Catholic Entertainer and Humanitarian; Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Mateo Correa-Magallanes and Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927
  • Vedast (Vaast), Roman Catholic Bishop of Arras and Cambrai

7 (Helder Camara, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife)

  • Adalbert Nierychlewski, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • Daniel J. Harrington, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar
  • Gregorio Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer; brother of Domenico Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer
  • Moses, Apostle to the Saracens
  • William Boyce and John Alcock, Anglican Composers

8 (Josephine Bakhita, Roman Catholic Nun)

  • Cornelia Hancock, U.S. Quaker Nurse, Educator, and Humanitarian; “Florence Nightingale of North America”
  • Jerome Emiliani, Founder of the Company of the Servants of the Poor
  • John of Matha and Felix of Valois, Founders of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Josephina Gabriella Bonino, Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family

9 (Bruce M. Metzger, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Biblical Translator)

  • Alto of Altomunster, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Porfirio, Martyr, 203

10 (Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola; and her twin brother, Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Benedict of Aniane, Restorer of Western Monasticism; and Ardo, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Henry Williams Baker, Anglican Priest, Hymnal Editor, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Norbert of Xanten, Founder of the Premonstratensians; Hugh of Fosses, Second Founder of the Premonstratensians; and Evermod, Bishop of Ratzeburg
  • Philip Armes, Anglican Church Organist

11 (ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM)

12 (Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and Jarena Lee, Evangelists and Social Activists)

  • Benjamin Schmolck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Charles Freer Andrews, Anglican Priest
  • Julia Williams Garnet, African-American Abolitionist and Educator; her husband, Henry Highland Garnet, African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist; his second wife, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, African-American Suffragette and Educator; her sister, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, African-American Physician; and her second husband, Theophilus Gould Steward, U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, Army Chaplain, and Professor
  • Michael Weisse, German Moravian Minister and Hymn Writer and Translator; and Jan Roh, Bohemian Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer
  • Orange Scott, U.S. Methodist Minister, Abolitionist, and first President of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection

13 (AQUILA, PRISCILLA, AND APOLLOS, CO-WORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

14 (Abraham of Carrhae, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs
  • Francis Harold Rowley, Northern Baptist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Johann Michael Altenburg, German Lutheran Pastor, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Victor Olof Petersen, Swedish-American Lutheran Hymn Translator

15 (New Martyrs of Libya, 2015)

  • Ben Salmon, U.S. Roman Catholic Pacifist and Conscientious Objector
  • Henry B. Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota
  • John Tietjen, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Ecumenist, and Bishop
  • Michael Praetorius, German Lutheran Composer and Musicologist
  • Thomas Bray, Anglican Priest and Missionary

16 (Philipp Melanchthon, German Lutheran Theologian and Scribe of the Reformation)

  • Charles Todd Quintard, Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee
  • Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., and Charles Augustus Zoebisch, German-American Instrument Makers
  • Louis (Lewis) F. Kampmann, U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator
  • Nicholas Kasatkin, Orthodox Archbishop of All Japan

17 (August Crull, German-American Lutheran Minister, Poet, Professor, Hymnodist, and Hymn Translator)

  • Antoni Leszczewicz, Polish Roman Catholic Priest, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1943
  • Edward Hopper, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Janini Luwum, Ugandan Anglican Archbishop and Martyr, 1977
  • Johann Heermann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • John Meyendorff, Russian-French-American Orthodox Priest, Scholar, and Ecumenist

18 (Colman of Lindisfarne, Agilbert, and Wilfrid, Bishops)

  • Barbasymas, Sadoth of Seleucia, and Their Companions, Martyrs, 342
  • Guido di Pietro, a.k.a. Fra Angelico, Roman Catholic Monk and Artist
  • James Drummond Burns, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

19 (Nerses I the Great, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church; and Mesrop, Bible Translator)

  • Agnes Tsao Kou Ying, Agatha Lin Zhao, and Lucy Yi Zhenmei, Chinese Roman Catholic Catechists and Martyrs, 1856, 1858, and 1862; Auguste Chapdelaine, French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr, 1856; and Laurentius Bai Xiaoman, Chinese Roman Catholic Convert and Martyr, 1856
  • Bernard Barton, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Elizabeth C. Clephane, Scottish Presbyterian Humanitarian and Hymn Writer
  • Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist; Dean of American Liturgists

20 (Henri de Lucac, French Roman Catholic Priest, Cardinal, and Theologian)

  • Stanislawa Rodzinska, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945
  • Wulfric of Haselbury, Roman Catholic Hermit

21 (John Henry Newman, English Roman Catholic Priest-Cardinal)

  • Arnulf of Metz, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Germanus of Granfel, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 677
  • Robert Southwell, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1595
  • Thomas Pormort, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1592

22 (Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, Anti-Nazi Martyrs at Munich, Germany, 1943)

  • Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer of Cortona, Penitent and Founder of the Poor Ones
  • Praetextatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rouen
  • Thomas Binney, English Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and “Archbishop of Nonconformity”

23 (Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishops and Martyrs, 107/115, 155/156, and Circa 202)

  • Alexander Akimetes, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Austin Carroll (Margaret Anne Carroll), Irish-American Roman Catholic Nun, Author, and Educator
  • Samuel Wolcott, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Writer
  • Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • Willigis, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mainz; and Bernward, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim

24 (MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder, Nonna, and Their ChildrenGregory of Nazianzus the Younger, Caesarius of Nazianzus, and Gorgonia of Nazianzus)

  • Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer
  • Felix Varela, Cuban Roman Catholic Priest and Patriot
  • John Roberts, Episcopal Missionary to the Shoshone and Arapahoe
  • Karl Friedrich Lochner, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Theodor Fliedner, Renewer of the Female Diaconate; and Elizabeth Fedde, Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess

26 (Antonio Valdivieso, Roman Catholic Bishop of Leon, and Martyr, 1495)

  • Andrew Reed, English Congregationalist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Charles Sheldon, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian
  • Emily Malbone Morgan, Founder of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross
  • Jakob Hutter, Founder of the Hutterities, and Anabaptist Martyr, 1536; and his wife, Katharina Hutter, Anabaptist Martyr, 1538
  • Paula of Saint Joseph of Calasanz, Founder of the Daughters of Mary

27 (Nicholas Ferrar, Anglican Deacon and Founder of Little Gidding; George Herbert, Anglican Priest and Metaphysical Poet; and All Saintly Parish Priests)

  • Anne Line and Roger Filcock, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1601
  • Fred Rogers, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • Gabriel Possenti, Roman Catholic Penitent
  • Marian Anderson, African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist
  • Raphael of Brooklyn, Syrian-American Russian Orthodox Bishop of Brooklyn

28 (Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, African-American Educators)

  • Mary Lyon, U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator
  • Joseph Badger, Sr., U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister; First Missionary to the Western Reserve
  • Samuel Simon Schmucker, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

29 (John Cassian and John Climacus, Roman Catholic Monks and Spiritual Writers)

  • Luis de Leon, Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • Patrick Hamilton, First Scottish Protestant Martyr, 1528

 

Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Feast of St. Jane (Joan) of Valois (February 5)   Leave a comment

Map of France in 1453

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS (APRIL 23, 1464-FEBRUARY 4, 1505)

Cofounder of the Sisters of the Annunciation

Her feast transferred from February 4

Joan of France was a daughter of King Louis XI of France (reigned 1461-1483).  He was a schemer who enhanced royal authority.  These plots entailed the arranged marriage of Joan to the king’s second cousin, Louis, the Duke of Orleans.  It was a loveless marriage between the pious child bride Joan (aged nine years), who wanted to devote her life to God, and the Duke, who preferred a life of pleasure.  They were married in name only.

Joan’s brother became King Charles VIII in 1483, reigning until 1498.  Since Charles VIII died childless, the throne passed to the Duke of Orleans, who became Louis XII (reigned 1498-1515).  The new king asked Pope Alexander VI to annul the marriage to Joan, based on false and salacious rumors about details ranging from a spinal deformity to alleged witchcraft and sexual problems.  The Holy Father consented to the annulment for political reasons in 1498, and Joan entered exile at Bourges as Duchess of Berry.  She prayed for her former husband and devoted herself to social, educational, and monastic work.

The Duchess founded a college, established scholarships for the poor, worked to reform prostitutes, cared for the sick, and helped the needy.  And, in 1502, with the help of her confessor, Father Gabriel Mary, a Fransiscan priest, she founded the Sisters of the Annunciation, a Franciscan order devoted to encouraging living according the virtues manifested the life of St. Mary of Nazareth.

Joan died in 1505, aged forty years.  Beatified in 1742, she became St. Jane of Valois in 1950.

The life of St. Jane of Valois demonstrates the value of living according to the standards of compassion and forgiveness.  Compassion is far more than a warm, fuzzy feeling; it is active and observable in deeds.

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God our sovereign, we thank you for the holy example of St. Jane of Valois, who overcame difficult circumstances and maintained her faith and compassion.  May we, in our trials, remain close to you and find our difficult circumstances nothing less than opportunities to serve you and help others.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 70

Hebrews 13:1-16

Luke 1:46-56

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 22, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SISTERS OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

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Revised on November 27 2016

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