Archive for the ‘October 21’ Category

Feast of Walter and Albertina Sisulu (October 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Walter and Albertina Sisulu with their Wedding Party, Including Nelson Mandela

Image in the Public Domain



Anti-Apartheid Activist and Political Prisoner in South Africa

husband of


Anti-Apartheid Activist and Political Prisoner in South Africa

“Mother of the Nation”

Born Nontsikelelo Thethiwe


[The South African government] call themselves Christians, but I fail to understand, because in the very Bible they are carrying it says, “Thou shalt not kill.”  But they are busy killing the children, busy killing the people in jail.

–Albertina Sisulu, April 1988; quoted in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses, 2nd. ed. (2005), 36


To share the sacrament as part of the tradition of my Church was important for me.  It gave me a sense of inner quiet and calm.  I used to come away from these services feeling a new man.

–Walter Sisulu, in a letter from prison, May 10, 1979


I have never abandoned my Christian beliefs.

–Walter Sisulu, 1993




Albertina Sisulu comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Wallis and Hollyday, Cloud of Witnesses (2005).  Walter Sisulu joins her here because he was her husband and fellow activist for social justice, in the name of God.  One cannot properly tell the story of one Sisulu alone.  One can, however, properly tell the story of the couple.




Walter Sisulu, born in Qutubeni, a village in the Engcobo district of Transkei, Eastern Cape, on May 18, 1912, was the son of Albert of Victor Dickenson and Alice Mase Sisulu.  Dickenson, an assistant magistrate, was White.  The mother was African.  The couple was not married.  Young Walter grew up with his grandmother and uncle until he was six years old.  Then he began to live in his mother’s household.  Our saint, baptized a Methodist, studied at an Anglican missionary school until he was 15 years old, when his uncle died.  Walter had to leave school and work in a dairy in Johannesburg to help support his family financially.

Walter, who worked in a gold mine, starting in 1929, eventually moved to East London, Eastern Cape, to rejoin his mother, who had become a domestic worker there.  In East London, our saint met Clements Kadalie, the leader of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU).  In 1933, Walter and his mother settled in Johannesburg.  He worked at the Premier Biscuit factory and attended the Bantu Men’s Social Centre’s night school.   Our saint also helped to organize a strike for higher wages at the bakery.  So, he got fired in 1940.  That year, he also joined the African National Congress (ANC).

Throughout the 1940s, Walter worked in a succession of jobs, departing from one for the next one in a disagreement.  Finally, our saint went into real estate.  First he was a partner with a White man.  Then Walter branched out on his own.




Nontsikelelo Thethiwe, born in the Tsomo district of Transkei, Eastern Cape, on October 21, 1918, was the second of five children of Bonizwe and Monikazi Thethiwe.  Nontsikelelo arrived at a perilous time, that of the Spanish Influenza, which her mother had while pregnant wtih her.  Bonilizwe, the father, was away, working in the mines.  Monkazi, the mother, suffered aftereffects of the Spanish Influenza.  Therefore, our saint and her immediate family (except for her father) lived with Monkazi’s relatives in Xolobe.  There our saint attended a Presbyterian missionary school.  According to the custom at the school, she selected a Christian name for herself.  Nontsikelelo chose to become Albertina.

Albertina was a good student, but domestic demands held her back academically.  Her mother being ill constantly, our saint had to keep leaving school to take care of her younger siblings.  This situation, combined with her age, disqualified Albertina for a four-year scholarship for which she had competed and which she had won.  Given that the competition call had not stated an age limit, this predicament was unfair.  Albertina’s teachers advocated for her.  Some local Roman Catholic priests took up this case and arranged for a four-year scholarship for Albertina to attend the high school at Mariazell College, Mataliele, Eastern Cape.  She graduated in 1939.

Albertina, who had converted to Roman Catholicism while a student at Mariazell College, pondered becoming a nun.  Yet doing this would not have enabled our saint to work to support her family financially.  Therefore, a priest advised Albertina to consider nursing instead.  She started training to become a nurse in Johannesburg in January 1940.

Albertina experienced racism for the first time in Johannesburg.  White nurses had higher status than Black nurses.  African patients could not receive treatment in European wards, even when the non-European ward was full and the European ward was not.  And racist restrictions on Black nurses prevented Albertina from attending her mother’s funeral in 1941.




Above:  The Flag of South Africa, 1928-1994

Image in the Public Domain

Albertina met Walter in 1941.  He was politically active; she was not.  Then she became politically active, too, under his influence.  In 1944, Albertina became a fully qualified nurse.  That July 15, she and Walter married in a ceremony held at the Bantu Men’s Social Club, Johannesburg.

The Sisulus’ household spanned three generations.  The couple had five children:  Max (b. 1945), Lungi (b. 1948), Zwelkhe (b. 1950), Lindiwe (b. 1954), and Nonkuleleko (b. 1958).  The household, at 7373, Orlando, Soweto, also included Walter’s mother (Alice), as well as younger members of the extended family.  Gerald (b. 1944) and Beryl (b. 1948), children of Walter’s sister, lived there, too.  So did Jongumzi (b. 1957), the son of Walter’s cousin.  Meanwhile, Albertina worked as a nurse.

The Sisulu house was also a hub of political activity.  ANC activists visited frequently.  In 1948, when the ANC formed its Women’s League, Albertina joined.  Walter became the first full-time Secretary-General of the ANC the following year.  He, having become increasingly militant during the 1940s, was prepared for the resistance struggle against full-blown Apartheid, imposed starting in 1948.

Albertina and Walter actively opposed that racially-defined form of tyranny.  They also went to jail repeatedly and endured official harassment at home.  The Sisulus opposed measures such as the pass laws.  They also operated an alternative school for a time.  Over the decades, both of them were also banned people.  Walter joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the early 1950s.  In 1956, he was one of a large group of activists accused of treason after having organized the Freedom Charter campaign and the Congress of the People.  The verdict in 1961 was an acquittal.  After the Sharpville Massacre (1960), the government imposed a state of emergency.  Walter was one of the ANC activists detained for several months during this time.  He, later placed under house arrest, continued to lead the militant struggle against Apartheid.

Walter, convicted of furthering the aims of the ANC and sentenced to six years of incarceration in March 1963, skipped bail and house arrest on April 20, 1963.  He went underground at the secret headquarters of the SACP.  Government security forces arrested Albertina and Zwelakhe.  Albertina spent two months in solitary confinement.  Interrogators made her believe that her husband had died.  She learned that he was alive after his arrest on July 11, 1963.

Walter and his fellow conspirators received life sentences on June 12, 1964.  They served their sentences at Robben Island.  For the next quarter of a century, Albertina continued the struggle and spent some time in prison, too.  In order to visit her husband, she had to humiliate herself by applying for a passbook.  And, for almost all of that that quarter of a century, she was a banned person.  Finally, finances were difficult, of course.  Fortunately, overseas donors and local Anglican priests helped.  Despite the many difficulties, Albertina kept mothering children from her extended family and adding on to the house, to accommodate them.

Other members of the Sisulu joined the anti-Apartheid struggle and faced the legal consequences of doing so.  Daughter Lindiwe, arrested in 1976, went to prison.  She remained in custody for more than a year, during which she endured repeated tortures.  After her release, she left the country.  Also, Max, after release from detention, went into exile, too.  And Zwelakhe spent two years in detention without a trial.

Meanwhile, Walter led from prison.  He taught younger members of the ANC the history of that organization.  He advised Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) on how to negotiate with the South African government in the 1980s, too.

Albertina, arrested in late 1983 for giving an illegal speech on behalf of the ANC while a banned person, received a sentence of four years in prison on February 24, 1984.  The court suspended two of those years for five years.  Allies paid our saint’s bail that day.  Yet Albertina, arrested again on February 19, 1985, on the charge of treason, went into solitary confinement.  The court permitted bail on the condition that Albertina curtail her political activity.  The state, acknowledging its weak legal hand, withdrew charges on December 9, 1985.

Starting in 1984, Albertina worked for Dr. Abu Asvat, who operated a mobile clinic that served poor people.  He paid her even when she was in custody.  The two anti-Apartheid activists of different political stripes tended effectively to essential problems of the very poor.  For example, they installed 20 toilets for 150 people who lived in their vehicles at McDonald’s Farm.  Also, the two instituted a daily feeding program for the approximately 80 children at the farm.

Albertina, a banned person again in the late 1980s, granted an interview with Joyce Hollyday of Sojourners magazine.  In that interview, Albertina spoke of her faith, family, and anti-Apartheid struggle.  She expressed the hope that Apartheid would end during her lifetime.  And our saint correctly diagnosed why the South African government perpetuated Apartheid and operated a police state:  fear.

By 1989, the foundations of Apartheid were cracking.  That much was obvious.  The government released Walter from prison on October 26.  Mandela (a prisoner until February 11, 1990) insisted on this as a condition for continuing to negotiate with the government.  The following year, the government lifted the ban on the ANC, banned since 1963.  Albertina helped to reestablish the ANC Women’s League in 1990.  In 1991, she won election to the ANC’s National Executive Committee and Walter won election as the ANC’s Deputy President.

The Flag of South Africa, 1994-

Image in the Public Domain

Apartheid ended in 1994.  Nelson Mandela, elected President, served until 1999.  Both Albertina and Walter served in the new parliament until 1999, too.

The Sisulus moved into a new house in Linden, Johannesburg, in 1999.  Walter died there, in Albertina’s arms, on May 5, 2003.  He died thirteen days prior to his ninety-first birthday.  Albertina died in Johannesburg on June 2, 2011.  She was ninety-two years old.  Each Sisulu received a state funeral.

God Bless Africa.




Meister Eckhart (c. 1268-1327/1328), the great Dominican theologian and mystic, offered timeless spiritual counsel.  One gem of his sagacity was:

Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure.

People frequently harm, hate, and discriminate against others out of fear and insecurity.  Those who hate, harm, and discriminate against may know that they are in the wrong yet have too much fear and insecurity to cease doing that.  They may ask themselves what those they have been hating, harming, and discriminating against will do to them, given the opportunity.  Therefore, the cycle of oppression and injustice continues unbroken.  Love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice break that cycle.









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 Walter and Albertina Sisulu]

to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37


Feast of St. Laura of St. Catherine of Siena (October 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena

Image in the Public Domain



Foundress of the Works of the Indians and the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and Saint Catherine of Siena

St. Laura of St. Catherine of Siena loved God, whose image she recognized in the indigenous people of Colombia.

Laura Montoya y Upegui overcame difficulties.  She, born in Jerico, Colombia, on May 26, 1874, was a daughter of Juan de la Cruz Montoya and Dolores Upegui, grew up poor and feeling lonely and unwanted.  Juan died in the Colombian War of 1876, when our saint was two years old.  The family, subsequently impoverished, sent her to live with her grandmother.  Our saint, in her anguish, found comfort in Jesus.

St. Laura became a teacher.  She made that decision at the age of 16 years.  Our saint, educated at Amalfi and Medellin, Colombia, taught indigenous Colombians.  At a time when many in her culture considered the natives subhuman, St. Laura had the opposite opinion.  During this period she founded the Works of the Indians.

St. Laura’s work teaching indigenous people led her to religious life.  She, who respected natives, became a Discaled Carmelite nun and continued to advocate for indigenous people in a racist society.  On May 14, 1914, she founded the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena.  St. Laura served as the first Mother of the order, devoted to the teaching and evangelizing of native people.

St. Laura died in Medellin on October 21, 1949.

Pope John Paul II declared St. Laura a Venerable in 1991 and beatified her in 2004.  Pope Francis canonized her in 2013.









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,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Feast of David Moritz Michael (October 21)   2 comments

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Above:  View of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1832

Image in the Public Domain



German-American Moravian Musician and Composer

David Moritz Michael (1751-1827), a native of Kuhnhausen, in Germany, received his musical training in Europe.  He became a virtuoso on instruments including the violin, the clarinet, and the French horn.  He brought his musical talents to the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum), which he joined when he was thirty years old.  Our saint taught music at the Moravian school at Niesky prior to transferring to the Bethlehem-Nazareth area of Pennsylvania in 1795 to work with young men there.  He lived in Nazareth from 1795 to 1808 and at Bethlehem from 1808 to 1815.  He led the collegium musicum of Nazareth from 1795 to  1804.  Michael assumed leadership of the collegium musicum of Bethlehem in 1808, revitalizing the ensemble musically and financially.  In 1811, at Bethlehem, he conducted an early (if not the first) American performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation.

Our saint seems to have composed only during his two decades in the United States of America.  A major work was Psalm 103, which he debuted at Nazareth on November 8, 1805.  He scored the composition, which he intended as a concert piece, for SATB choir, two flutes, two clarinets, bassoon, clarini, string, and organ.  Karl Kroeger wrote in 1976 that Psalm 103 was

the first extended, cantata-like work written by an American Moravian composer, and quite possibly the earliest work for these performing forces written in America.

Kroeger wrote of our saint that Psalm 103 

shows Michael to have been a capable composer of considerable craftsmanship, and perhaps the only Moravian composer in America during his time who could have successfully handled a large-scale, lyrico-dramatic choral form.  On the basis of Psalm 103 alone one must rank Michael as a major figure in American Moravian music.

Michael also composed fourteen Parthien for woodwind ensembles, many solos for vocalists, many motets for church choirs, and two suites for Whitmonday (the Monday after Pentecost).  The structure of each of the Parthien was three to five movements, with forms similar to early classical symphonies.  His motets, all of whom musicologists might not have identified, included “Hearken! Stay Close to Jesus Christ,” “Hearken, For I Bring You Great Joy,” and “Hail, Newborn Infant.”  Whitmonday was an occasion for a music festival along the banks of the Lehigh River at Bethlehem.  Michael’s two suites for Whitmonday were Water Journey (1809) and Suites to Play by a Spring (probably 1810).  The ensemble performed the fifteen movements and two unnumbered sections of Water Journey on a piloted boat on the river.  Each movement was consistent with the condition of the river (from quiet to the whirlpool in the middle to quiet again) when the musicians performed it.  This work, according to many, was Michael’s masterpiece.  Suites to Play by a Spring had fourteen movements–an introduction and three sections.

Our saint returned to Germany in 1815.  He died at Neuweid on February 26, 1827.  His music has survived him, fortunately.






Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring David Michael Moritz

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728


Feast of George McGovern and Eleanor McGovern (October 21)   1 comment


Above:  Senator George McGovern, June 30, 1972

Photographer = Warren K. Leffler

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-U9- 26137-21



United States Senator and Statesman

husband of 




George McGovern (1922-2012) entered the world in Avon, South Dakota.  His mother was Frances Maclean McGovern.  His father was the Reverend Joseph C. McGovern, a minister of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  The family upbringing was strict (even no movies) and financially strapped during the Great Depression.  Young George rebelled against his struct upbringing by watching movies anyway.  More importantly, he developed a lifelong empathy for the underpaid working people and the poor more broadly speaking.

Eleanor Stegeberg (1921-2007) entered the world at Woonsocket, South Dakota.  She and her twin sister Ila grew up during the Great Depression also.  The death of their mother when they were twelve years old forced greater responsibilities upon them at that young age.

Both saints graduated from high school in 1940–George from Mitchell, South Dakota, and Eleanor from Woonsocket.  Both of them matriculated at Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota, in Fall 1940.  There they met and fell in love.  Eleanor had to leave school after one year for financial reasons.  So she went to work as a legal secretary at Mitchell.  George remained at Dakota Wesleyan until he joined the military, flying thirty-five combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross.   Then he returned to Dakota Wesleyan, completing his undergraduate degree.  He had already married Eleanor on October 31, 1943  They raised five children.

George thought that maybe he should be a minister, so he, influenced more by the Social Gospel than by his father’s theology, pursued that track in The Methodist Church (1939-1968), a forerunner of The United Methodist Church.  He attended Garrett Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, for a year and served as a student supply minister at Diamond Lake Methodist Church, Mundelein, Illinois, in 1946-1947.  The experience convinced George that his destiny was not as a minister.  So he transferred to Northwestern University and started graduate studies in history instead.  In 1950 George joined the faculty of Dakota Wesleyan University.

George might have had tenure and a long career as a university professor had he not chosen politics instead.  In 1948 he, raised a Republican, volunteered for the campaign of Henry A. Wallace.  George became disenchanted with many of the people around the former Secretary of Agriculture, Vice President, and Secretary of Commerce, though.  Four years later George worked on behalf of Adlai Stevenson‘s Presidential campaign.  In 1955 George left his faculty post to work full-time in South Dakota Democratic Party politics.  He served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1957-1961).  He, defeated in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, became the first Director of the Food and Peace Program and a Special Assistant to the President in 1961.  Thus George oversaw the distribution of much food to hungry people in developing nations.  He served as a U.S. Senator (1963-1981), losing his bid for a fourth term.

George was a dedicated public servant.  In Congress he, advised by Eleanor, took special interest in food and nutrition programs.  He also worked on peace and war issues.  George’s opposition to the Vietnam War pertained to the facts of that conflict, not war itself; he was not a pacifist.  Such opposition caused many jingoists to question his patriotism and to vote for President Richard Nixon instead in 1972, but at least the Senator from South Dakota was an honest man.  Presidents Gerald Ford (in 1976) and Jimmy Carter (in 1978) appointed him a delegate to the United Nations.  From 1991 to 1998 George served as President of the Middle East Policy Council.  In 1998 President Bill Clinton appointed him the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.  Clinton awarded the former Senator the Presidential Medal of Freedom in August 2000.

After the Clinton Administration ended the good works continued.  The World Food Programme appointed George the United Nations Global Ambassador on World Hunger in 2001.  Two years later he began to work with former Senator and 1996 Republican Presidential Nominee Robert J. “Bob” Dole on the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.  They helped many of the world’s poorest children, especially girls and young women, gain access to good food.  The two former Senators shared the World Food Prize in 2008 for this accomplishment.  And George spoke out against the Second Iraq War, for many of the same reasons he had opposed the Vietnam War.

George and Eleanor worked together and separately on issues which affected people.  The Senator had food and world peace on his mind.  Eleanor focused on family issues, such as women’s roles and child development, for a while.  She served on various boards, including those of the Psychiatric Institute Foundation and the Child Study Association.  In 1994 their daughter Terry died; alcoholism had contributed to her demise.  So both of them worked on raising funds for research into alcoholism.

 Eleanor died at Mitchell, South Dakota, on January 25, 2007.

George died at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on October 21, 2012.  Politicians and public figures of various stripes offered their appreciation and admiration for him.  On the Cable News Network (CNN) website I found positive comments from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Senator (as I write this, Secretary of State) John Kerry, former Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich, who had little in common politically with George McGovern, described him as:

Just a great guy.

Last October, shortly after the former Senator’s death, I clipped a Cal Thomas column–a tribute to his good friend and debating partner, George McGovern.  The former Senator, Thomas wrote, was a gentleman and

…a fellow American, a patriot and an example


practiced “family values” better than some conservatives who merely talk about them

and who

understood war better than some conservatives who have never fought in one

and who

believed America should only put American lives at risk when supreme national interests and security are at stake and diplomacy has completely failed.

This position, Thomas wrote, was

Honorable and principled.

George and Eleanor McGovern left their planet better than they found it.  The impact of their actions was–and is–domestic and international.  They did all this for the glory of God and the benefit of others.  Thus I honor them as saints gladly.





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,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


For Further Reading:


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for October   1 comment


Image Source = Alvesgaspar

1 (Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, British Humanitarian and Social Reformer)

  • Chuck Matthei, Founder and Director of the Equity Trust, Inc.
  • Marie-Joseph Aubert, Founder of the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion
  • Ralph W. Sockman, United Methodist Minister and Spiritual Writer
  • Romanus the Melodist, Deacon and Hymnodist
  • Thérèse of Lisieux, Roman Catholic Nun and Mystic

2 (Petrus Herbert, German Moravian Bishop and Hymnodist)

  • Carl Doving, Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • James Allen, English Inghamite then Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer; and his great-nephew, Oswald Allen, English Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer
  • Maria Anna Kratochwil, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1942

3 (George Kennedy Allen Bell, Anglican Bishop of Chichester)

  • Alberto Ramento, Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church
  • Gerard of Brogne, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • John Raleigh Mott, U.S. Methodist Lay Evangelist, and Ecumenical Pioneer
  • William Scarlett, Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, and Advocate for Social Justice

4 (Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Friars Minor)

  • Agneta Chang, Maryknoll Sister and Martyr in Korea, 1950
  • H. H. Rowley, English Baptist Minister and Biblical Scholar

5 (David Nitschmann, Sr., “Father Nitschmann,” Moravian Missionary; Melchior Nitschmann, Moravian Missionary and Martyr, 1729; Johann Nitschmann, Jr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; Anna Nitschman, Moravian Eldress; and David Nitschmann, Missionary and First Bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church)

  • Cyriacus Schneegass, German Lutheran Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer
  • Francis Xavier Seelos, German-American Roman Catholic Priest
  • Harry Emerson Fosdick, U.S. Northern Baptist Minister and Opponent of Fundamentalism

6 (George Edward Lynch Cotton, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta)

  • Ernest William Olson, Swedish-American Lutheran Poet, Editor, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • Heinrich Albert, German Lutheran Composer and Poet
  • John Ernest Bode, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Lowery, African-American United Methodist Minister and Civil Rights Leader; “The Dean of the Civil Rights Movement”
  • William Tyndale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Martyr, 1536; and Miles Coverdale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Exeter

7 (Wilhelm Wexels, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; his niece, Marie Wexelsen, Norwegian Lutheran Novelist and Hymn Writer; Ludwig Lindeman, Norwegian Lutheran Organist and Musicologist; and Magnus Landstad, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Folklorist, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor)

  • Bradford Torrey, U.S. Ornithologist and Hymn Writer
  • Claus Westermann, German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Translator
  • Herbert G. May, U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • Johann Gottfried Weber, German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Minister
  • John Woolman, Quaker Abolitionist

8 (Erik Routley, English Congregationalist Hymnodist)

  • Abraham Ritter, U.S. Moravian Merchant, Historian, Musician, and Composer
  • Alexander Penrose Forbes, Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Brechin; Church Historian; and Renewer of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • John Clarke, English Baptist Minister and Champion of Religious Liberty in New England
  • Richard Whately, Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland
  • William Dwight Porter Bliss, Episcopal Priest; and Richard Theodore Ely; Economists

9 (Denis, Bishop of Paris, and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs)

  • John Leonardi, Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca; and Joseph Calasanctius, Founder of the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools
  • Penny Lernoux, U.S. Roman Catholic Journalist and Moral Critic
  • Robert Grosseteste, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Philosopher, and Bishop of Lincoln
  • Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Medical Missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

10 (Johann Nitschmann, Sr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr, Moravian Missionary and Martyr, 1729)

  • Christian Ludwig Brau, Norwegian Moravian Teacher and Poet
  • Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamy, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Louis FitzGerald Benson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist
  • Vida Dutton Scudder, Episcopal Professor, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Reformer


12 (Martin Dober, Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer; Johann Leonhard Dober, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and Anna Schindler Dober, Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer)

  • Cecil Frances Alexander, Irish Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Edith Cavell, English Nurse and Martyr, 1915
  • Elizabeth Fry, English Quaker Social Reformer and “Angel of the Prisons”
  • João Bosco Burnier, Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1976
  • Nectarius of Constantinople, Archbishop

13 (Christian David, Moravian Missionary)

  • Alban Butler, English Roman Catholic Priest and Hagiographer
  • Henry Stephen Cutler, Episcopal Organist, Choirmaster, and Composer
  • Vincent Taylor, British Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

14 (Callixtus I, Anterus, and Pontian, Bishops of Rome; and Hippolytus, Antipope)

  • Roman Lysko, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1949
  • Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai, and Biblical Translator
  • Thomas Hansen Kingo, Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and “Poet of Eastertide”

15 (Teresa of Avila, Spanish Roman Catholic Nun, Mystic, and Reformer)

  • Gabriel Richard, French-American Roman Catholic Missionary Priest in Detroit, Michigan
  • Obadiah Holmes, English Baptist Minister and Champion of Religious Liberty in New England

16 (Albert E. R. Brauer, Australian Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator)

  • Augustine Thevarparampil, Indian Roman Catholic Priest and “Good Shepherd of the Dalits”
  • Gaspar Contarini, Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal and Agent of Reconciliation
  • Hedwig of Andechs, Roman Catholic Princess and Nun; and her daughter, Gertrude of Trzebnica, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Józef Jankowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941

17 (Charles Gounod, French Roman Catholic Composer)

  • Birgitte Katerine Boye, Danish Lutheran Poet, Playwright, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Bowring, English Unitarian Hymn Writer, Social Reformer, and Philanthropist
  • Richard McSorley, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Professor, and Peace Activist


19 (Martyrs of North America, 1642-1649)

  • Claudia Frances Ibotson Hernaman, Anglican Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1984
  • Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Congregation of Discaled Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion

20 (Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin, U.S. German Reformed Historians, Theologians, and Liturgists)

  • Friedrich Funcke, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • James W. C. Pennington, African-American Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Educator, and Abolitionist
  • John Harris Burt, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and Civil Rights Activist
  • Mary A. Lathbury, U.S. Methodist Hymn Writer

21 (George McGovern, U.S. Senator and Stateman; and his wife, Eleanor McGovern, Humanitarian)

  • David Moritz Michael, German-American Moravian Musician and Composer
  • Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena, Founder of the Works of the Indians and the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena
  • Walter Sisulu and Albertina Sisulu, Anti-Apartheid Activists and Political Prisoners in South Africa

22 (Paul Tillich, German-American Lutheran Theologian)

  • Emily Gardiner Neal, Episcopal Deacon, Religious Writer, and Leader of the Healing Movement in The Episcopal Church
  • Emily Huntington Miller, U.S. Methodist Author and Hymn Writer
  • Frederick Pratt Green, British Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Katharina von Schlegal, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of Heraclea, 304


24 (Rosa Parks, African-American Civil Rights Activist)

  • Fritz Eichenberg, German-American Quaker Wood Engraver
  • Henry Clay Shuttleworth, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Pavel Chesnokov, Russian Orthodox Composer
  • Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople; and Rusticus, Bishop of Narbonne

25 (Johann Daniel Grimm, German Moravian Musician)

26 (Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons)

  • Arthur Campbell Ainger, English Educator, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Eric Norelius, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister
  • Francis Pott, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Henry Stanley Oakeley, Composer
  • Philip Nicolai, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

27 (James A. Walsh and Thomas Price, Co-Founders of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers; and Mary Josephine Rogers, Founder of the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic)

  • Aedesius, Priest and Missionary; and Frumentius, First Bishop of Axum and Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
  • Dmitry Bortniansky, Russian Orthodox Composer
  • Harry Webb Farrington, U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Levi Coffin and Catherine Coffin, U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Conductors of the Underground Railroad


29 (Martyrs of Lien-Chou, China, October 28, 1905)

  • Bartholomaus Helder, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • James Hannington, Anglican Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Guinea; and His Companions, Martyrs
  • Joseph Grigg, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Paul Manz, Dean of Lutheran Church Music

30 (Hugh O’Flaherty, “Scarlet Pimperel of the Vatican”)

  • Elizabeth Comstock, Anglo-American Quaker Educator, Abolitionist, and Social Reformer
  • Marcellus the Centurion and Cassian of Tangiers, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 298
  • Oleksa Zarytsky, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1963
  • Walter John Mathams, British Baptist then Presbyterian Minister, Author, and Hymn Writer

31 (Reformation Day)

  • Daniel C. Roberts, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Gerhard Von Rad and Martin Noth, German Lutheran Biblical Scholars
  • Ivan Kochurov, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1917
  • Paul Shinji Sasaki, Anglican Bishop of Mid-Japan, Bishop of Tokyo, and Primate of Nippon Sei Ko Kei; and Philip Lendel Tsen, Anglican Bishop of Honan and Presiding Bishop of Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui


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