Archive for the ‘Saints of 1570-1579’ Category

Feast of Alessandro Valignano (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Alessandro Valignano

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ALESSANDRO VALIGNANO (FEBRUARY 15, 1539-JANUARY 20, 1606)

Italian Jesuit Missionary Priest in the Far East

INTRODUCTION

Father Alessandro Valignano comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:   Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

I, as a Christian, respect properly-done missionary work.  On the other hand, improperly-done missionary work makes me cringe and proves to be counter-productive.  It turns people off.  The historical record of Christianity is replete with examples of missionaries whose cultural and political imperialism hindered their effectiveness for God.  I recall easily, for example, that, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), rejecting Christianity became part of the struggle for political independence.  (Christianity was the religion of the Dutch imperial overlords.)

Some of the many holy people I have added to this Ecumenical Calendar have been culturally-sensitive missionaries.  They respected the people to whom they went.  These missionaries’ effectiveness (or lack thereof) depended largely on how much ecclesiastical support they had.  Their cultural sensitivity aided their effectiveness by not alienating the people they were trying to convert.

Now I add another great missionary, a man ahead of his time.

BIOGRAPHY

Alessandro Valignano, born in Chieti, Kingdom of Naples, on February 15, 1539, came from nobility.  Our saint studied at the University of Padua, from which he graduated with a doctorate in law when only 19 years old.  He spent a few years in Rome then studied theology in Padua.  Valignano, who joined the Society of Jesus in 1566, rose to become the Visitor of Missions in the Indies in 1573.  Macao was his base of operations when he was not traveling.

Valignano had much in common with a more famous missionary and a contemporary, Matteo Ricci (1552-1610).  Valignano and Ricci practiced adaptionism, a missionary method that caused much controversy.  As long as nobody violated any matter crucial to Christianity–Roman Catholicism, in particular–adapting to the local culture was necessary and proper.  Adaptionism proved to be controversial; many European purists condemned it.

Valignano became a scholar and a master of Chinese language and culture; he was fluent in both.  This was crucial to the intended success of the Jesuit mission in China, he understood.

Our saint visited Japan (1579-1583, 1590-1592, and 1598-1603).  He brought the message of adaptionism to the Jesuit mission in those islands.  Valignano condemned the racism certain missionaries exhibited.  He also criticized the poor Japanese language skills some Jesuit missionaries had, even after spending years in Japan.  Offending Japanese people was no way to convert any of them, our saint understood.  He imposed strict rules regarding linguistic study for Jesuits in Japan.  Valignano also required that Jesuit missionaries in Japan learn Japanese customs.  Furthermore, he founded seminaries.  Valignano’s reform of the Jesuit mission in Japan coincided with official persecution during the Tokugawa Shogunate.  The government associated Christianity with European imperialism.

Valignano never got to make the mission to China.  Ricci did that.  Ecclesiastical infighting undercut their work.  The Vatican suppressed adaptionism in the 1600s.

Valignano, aged 66 years, died in Macao on January 20, 1606.  At the time, he was planning to visit Ricci in China.

CONCLUSION

The Tokugawa Shogunate martyred hundreds of missionaries and Japanese converts from 1597 to 1639.  Yet Christianity survived underground until the late 1800s, when more missionaries arrived.  Valignano had much to do with the survival of Christianity in Japan.

Eventually, the Vatican realized that Valignano had been wise.

My late grandmother Taylor, a Presbyterian, told me a story about Southern Presbyterian missionaries in a remote part of Peru earlier in the twentieth century.  They were translating the New Testament into the local dialect.  The missionaries encountered a minor difficulty when they got to the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; nobody in the area had ever seen a donkey.  Remaining consistent with the theme of Jesus riding a beast of burden, the missionaries translated “donkey” as “llama.”

Back in northwestern Georgia, opinion regarding this translation choice was divided.  My grandmother and many others understood and approved of the adaptation to the local culture.  Purists, however, disapproved.  Jesus had to ride a donkey, not a llama.  Period.  End of discussion.

Some people had not learned what Valignano knew well, centuries prior.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEDEDIAH WEISS, U.S. MORAVIAN CRAFTSMAN, MERCHANT, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR CARL LICHTENBERGER, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF F. CRAWFORD BURKITT, ANGLICAN SCHOLAR, THEOLOGIAN, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JAMES BOLAN LAWRENCE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSONARY IN SOUTHWESTERN GEORGIA, U.S.A.

THE FEAST OF SUNDAR SINGH, INDIAN CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raised up your servant Alessandro Valignano to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Lancelot Andrewes (September 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lancelot Andrewes

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LANCELOT ANDREWES (1555-SEPTEMBER 26, 1626)

Anglican Bishop of Chichester then of Ely then of Winchester

+++++++++++++++++++++

Two things I recognize, O Lord, in myself:  nature, which Thou hast made; and sin, which I have added.

–Lancelot Andrewes

+++++++++++++++++++++

Bishop Lancelot Andrewes comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Anglican Communion.

Lancelot Andrewes, born in London in 1555, became one of the leading Anglican divines, as well as a fine scholar and a Biblical translator.  He mastered fifteen languages.  Our saint, educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge (matriculated, 1571; B. A.; Fellow, 1576; M.A., 1578; Master, 1589f) joined the ranks of Anglican clergy.  He became a deacon in 1579 then a priest in 1580.  After serving as the chaplain to Henry Hastings, the Third Earl of Huntingdon, Andrewes became the Vicar of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, in 1588.  The following year, our saint added other portfolios to that one:

  1. Chaplain to John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury;
  2. Prebendary of St. Pancras, Cathedral of St. Paul, London;
  3. Prebendary of Southwell; and
  4. Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.

Andrewes, a chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I in 1570, turned down two offers of bishoprics (Ely and Salisbury) from her in 1598.  Yet our saint eventually accepted promotion.  He was:

  1. the Dean of Winchester (1601-1605),
  2. the Bishop of Chichester (1605-1609),
  3. the Lord Almoner (1605-1619),
  4. the Bishop of Ely (1609-1619),
  5. the Dean of the Chapel Royal (1618-1626), and
  6. the Bishop of Winchester (1619-1626).

Andrewes, a skilled preacher and a conscientious hearer of confessions, was also a Patristic scholar who made lasting contributions to theology and English-speaking Christianity.  Our saint, who applied the highest standards of personal behavior to himself and others, served as the head of the committee that revised the Bishop’s Bible (1568, 1572, 1602) into the Authorized (King James, as we call it on this side of the Pond) Version (1611).  Our saint was a defender of the Anglican Via Media against critics from both Roman Catholicism and Calvinism.   Andrewes, with Richard Hooker (1554-1600), was one of the architects of Anglican theology.  Our saint defended the catholicity of The Church of England, affirmed that the body of blood of Christ were present in the Eucharist, and used incense.  His aversion to Calvinism was impossible to miss.

Andrewes, who brought intellect to his piety, died at Southwark on September 26, 1626.  He was about 71 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES HENRY BRENT, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP; BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINES; BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK; AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NICHOLAS OWEN, THOMAS GARNET, MARK BARKWORTH, EDWARD OLDCORNE, AND RALPH ASHLEY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1601-1608

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HALL BAYNES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF MADAGASCAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT RUPERT OF SALZBURG, APOSTLE OF BAVARIA AND AUSTRIA

THE FEAST OF STANLEY ROTHER, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR IN GUATEMALA, 1981

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you gave your servant Lancelot Andrewes

the gift of your Holy Spirit and made him a man of prayer

and a faithful pastor of your people:

Perfect in us what is lacking in your gifts,

of faith, to increase it;

of hope, to kindle it;

that we may live in the life of your grace and glory:

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 11:1-5

Psalm 63:1-8

1 Timothy 2:1-7a

Luke 11:1-4

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 603

+++++

Everlasting God,

you guided your servant Lancelot Andrewes

in preaching and prayer

to bring forth ancient treasures

for renewing the English Church.

Grant us to share his conformity to Christ,

that our hearts may love you, our minds may serve you

and our lips may proclaim the greatness of your mercy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God now and for ever.  Amen.

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 51:13-22

Psalm 78:1-6

Matthew 13:44-52

–The Anglican Church of Canada

+++++

Holy and loving God,

from you Lancelot Andrewes received

gifts of scholarship

and a singular power in prayer;

teach us to pray

not only for ourselves

but for your struggling world,

through him who showed us how to pray,

Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or

Blessed are you, God of beauty and order,

in Lancelot the preacher and devoted scholar;

may we too strive for wisdom to serve the church.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-8

Psalm 63:1-9 or 119:97-104

1 Peter 5:1-4

Matthew 13:44-46, 52

–The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Stephen Rowsham (August 11)   2 comments

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED THOMAS ROWSHAM (CIRCA 1555-APRIL 3, 1587)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1587

Alternative feast day = April 3

December 1 = Feast of the Martyrs of Oxford University

November 22 = Feast of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales

October 29 = Feast of the Martyrs of Douai

Blessed Thomas Rowsham comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.  His main feast day is August 11.

Rowsham went from being an Anglican priest to a Roman Catholic priest and martyr.  Our saint, born in Oxfordshire, England, circa 1555, matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, in 1572.  He, ordained in The Church of England, served as the Vicar of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin about 1578.  However, he became convinced that the Roman Catholic Church was the true church .  Therefore, Rowsham matriculated at the English College, Rheims, France, in May 1582.  He, ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on September 29, 1581.  The Church dispatched our saint to England, on a perilous mission, in late April 1582.  Rowsham, as a Roman Catholic priest, was legally an enemy of the state.  Our saint, arrested in May 1582, was a prisoner in the Tower of London (1582-1584) then at Marshalsea (1584-1585).  Rowsham, exiled to France, returned to England in February 1586.  He worked as an underground priest for about a year before authorities arrested him again, in Gloucester.  Tried and convicted of treason, Rowsham died by hanging at Gloucester on April 3, 1587.

Pope John Paul II declared Rowsham a Venerable in 1986 then beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JULIANA OF NORWICH, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ACACIUS OF BYZANTIUM, MARTYR, 303

THE FEAST OF HENRI DUMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC COMPOSER AND ORGANIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Thomas Rowsham

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blesseds Humphrey Pritchard, George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, and Thomas Belson (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED GEORGE NICHOLS (1550-JULY 5, 1589)

BLESSED RICHARD YAXLEY (CIRCA 1560-JULY 5, 1589)

English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1589

+++++++++++

BLESSED HUMPHREY PRITCHARD (DIED JULY 5, 1589)

Welsh Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

+++++++++++

BLESSED THOMAS BELSON (CIRCA 1564-JULY 5, 1589)

English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Nichols, Yaxley, Pritchard, and Belson = Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales (November 22)

Nichols, Yaxley, Pritchard, and Belson = Martyrs of Oxford University (December 1)

Nichols, Yaxley, and Belson = Martyrs of Douai (October 29)

+++++++++++++++++++++++

What I cannot say in words I will seal with my blood.

–Blessed Humphrey Pritchard, July 5, 1589

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Once upon a time, being a Roman Catholic priest in England was, by law, committing treason.  The verdict was always guilty.  Torture preceded execution.  The sentence was always hanging, drawing, and quartering.  Lay members who assisted priests risked arrest, torture, and execution via hanging.

Blessed George Nichols, born in Oxford, England, in 1550, graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford University, in 1573 then taught at St. Paul’s School, London.  After our saint converted to Roman Catholicism, he matriculated at Douai College, Rheims, France, in 1581.  Nichols joined the ranks of priests in September 1583.

Blessed Richard Yaxley also became a priest.  He, born circa 1560 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, was a son of William Yaxley and Rose Langton (Yaxley).  Our saint studied at Oxford University and Douai College.  He received the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood on September 21, 1585.

Nichols and Yaxley returned to their homeland as underground priests.  Nichols arrived in late 1584.  Yaxley returned in 1586.  Two of their helpers were Blessed Thomas Belson and Blessed Humphrey Pritchard.  Belson, arrested for taking information to a Roman Catholic priest, spent time in the Tower of London.  He, released and banished, returned to England.

Above:  The Flag of Wales

Image in the Public Domain

The Catherine Wheel Inn, Oxford, was a meeting-place for Roman Catholics.  Pritchard was a pot-boy there for 12 years.  During that time, he helped many priests evade authorities.  A false convert betrayed our four saints in early 1589.  Authorities arrested the four saints together.  Belson, apprehended with Father Nichols, his confessor, joioned the priests and Pritchard in prison.  All four saints endured tortures.  Father Nichols, approaching his martyrdom, heard the confessions of a highwayman named Harcot and reconciled him to God and Holy Mother Church.  All five died in Oxford on July 5, 1589.  The priests were the first to receive the crown of martyrdom.

The Church has officially recognized these four saints.  Pope John Paul II declared them Venerables in 1986.  The following year, he beatified them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN OLAF WALLIN, ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENNARO MARIA SARNELLI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE VULNERABLE AND EXPLOITED PEOPLE OF NAPLES

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH LONAS, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PAUL HANLY FURFEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SOCIOLOGIST, AND SOCIAL RADICAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP POWEL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1646

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blessed Humphrey Pritchard,

Blessed George Nichols,

Blessed Richard Yaxley, and

Blessed Thomas Belson

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. Felix of Cantalice (May 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint Felix of Cantalice, by Peter Paul Rubens

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT FELIX OF CANTALICE (MAY 18, 1515-MAY 18, 1587)

Italian Roman Catholic Friar

Also known as Brother Deo Gratias

St. Felix of Cantalice used his spiritual gifts faithfully.

St. Felix, of peasant origin, was illiterate.  He, born in Cantalice, on the Italian peninsula, debuted on May 18, 1515.  Our saint worked as a shepherd and a farmhand at Cotta Ducale, starting from the age of nine years, for more than twenty years.  He, pious, spent much of his spare time in prayer.  St. Felix also listened to a friend read lives of Desert Fathers to him.  This audio study of the lives of Desert Fathers inculcated in our saint a desire to become a hermit.  Yet he knew that he needed the discipline that came from having a superior.

St. Felix became a Capuchin lay brother.  He did this at Anticoli (near Rome) in 1543.  He was in Rome from 1547 until his death, four decades later.  Our saint’s main job was to hear confessions and pronounce forgiveness of sins.  He earned his reputation for holiness.  St. Felix also preached against vice and political corruption.  Theologians sought his counsel.  St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), the “Apostle of Rome” and the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, also sought St. Felix’s advice.  Neri, who worked with our saint, considered him the greatest living saint.  Children, to whom St. Felix taught simple canticles as tools of learning the catechism, adored him.  He adored them.  Then many adults asked to hear him sing the canticles, too.  St. Felix became known as Brother Deo Gratias, after his standard greeting, “Deo gratias.”  Our saint, humble and self-deprecating, referred to himself as the “Ass of the Capuchins.”

St. Felix, aged 72 years, died in Rome on May 18, 1587.  As for many people were concerned, his beatification in 1625 and canonization in 1712 were mere formalities.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LUTHER D. REED, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BURGENDOFARA AND SADALBERGA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESSES, AND THEIR RELATIVES

THE FEAST OF MARC SANGNIER, FOUNDER OF THE SILLON MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY OF EGYPT, HERMIT AND PENITENT

THE FEAST OF REGINALD HEBER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CALCUTTA, AND HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Felix of Cantalice,

may serve you with singleness of heart,

and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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

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

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 722

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. Robert Southwell (February 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL (1561-FEBRUARY 21, 1595)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1595

Alternative feast day (as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales) = October 25

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

++++++++++++++++++++++++

They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,

And his love made them strong;

And they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,

The whole of their good lives long.

And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,

And one was slain by a fierce wild beast;

And there’s not any reason–no, not the least–

Why I shouldn’t be one too.

–Lesbia Scott (1898-1986), 1929

++++++++++++++++++++++++

St. Robert Southwell led a pious and relatively brief life.  He, born in Horsham Saint Faith, Norfolk, England, in 1561, grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  He studied in Douai (1576f) and Paris, joined the Society of Jesus (1580), served as the Prefect of Studies at the English College in Rome, and became a priest (1584).

Southwell sealed his fate when he returned to England in 1586.  He was free for about six years–longer than the average, which was three years.  Our saint worked with Jesuit priest Henry Garnet (1555-1606) [Note:  Garnet’s opposition to violence did not prevent authorities from scapegoating him for the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I.  Garnet became a martyr in 1606.]  Southwell was also the chaplain to Anne Howard, wife of St. Philip Howard (1557-1595), another martyr.  Our saint, author of pamphlets about pious living, became a prisoner in 1592.  He spent three years enduring torture in the Tower of London.  Southwell’s family knew he was going to die; they preferred a swift trial and execution to a long, drawn-out torture.  Between tortures, Southwell studied the Bible and wrote religious poetry.

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat, which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe, all burning bright, did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such flood of tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench His flames, with which His tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth He, “but newly born, in fiery hearts I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel My fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns;
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorn;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metals in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in My Blood.”
With this He vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas Day.

Our saint, finally convicted of treason (of being a priest, and one who had administered sacraments), died via hanging, drawing, and quartering in London, on February 21, 1595.

Holy Mother Church recognized Southwell formally.  Pope Pius X declared our saint a Venerable and beatified him in 1929.  Pope Paul VI canonized Southwell in 1970.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANTHONY ASHLEY COOPER, LORD SHAFTESBURY, BRITISH HUMANITARIAN AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF MARIE-JOSEPH AUBERT, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF COMPASSION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMANUS THE MELODIST, DEACON AND HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT THÉRÊSE OF LISIEUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MYSTIC

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Saint Robert Southwell:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Thomas Pormort (February 21)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED THOMAS PORMORT (CIRCA 1560-FEBRUARY 20, 1592)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1592

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales) = November 22

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

I do not keep statistics regarding this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Given that my Ecumenical Calendar is, with a few breaks, frequently a work in progress, with more than one update per week, any statistics I would collect would become obsolete quickly.  However, I attest that martyrs constitute one of the major categories of saints on my Ecumenical Calendar.  Unfortunately, many of these martyrs’ biographies reveal that other professing Christians killed them or were complicit in their deaths.  As a bumper sticker reads,

JESUS, SAVE ME FROM YOUR FOLLOWERS.

Blessed Thomas Pormort lived dangerously; he was a Roman Catholic priest in Elizabethan England.  He, born in Little Limber, Lincolnshire, England, circa 1560, studied at Cambridge then at Douai (1581-1582) and Rome (1582f).  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1587, served in the Diocese of Cassano (in Italy) and as the Prefect of Studies at the Swiss College, Milan.  Then he returned to his homeland.  He arrived on April 25, 1590, under the pseudonym Thomas Whitgift.  (“Whitgift” was the surname of the Archbishop of Canterbury.)  Authorities arrested Pormort in London on July 25, 1591.  His crime was being a Roman Catholic priest–treason, officially.  He escaped, but became a prisoner again after about two months on the lam.  Authorities tortured Pormort in prison.  Our saint, convicted of treason (being a priest–in this case, of hearing the confession of a penitent), on February 8, 1592, died via hanging, in London, twelve days later.

Pope John Paul II declared Pormort a Venerable in 1986 then beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HONORIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Thomas Pormort

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. John of the Cross (December 14)   3 comments

Above:  St. John of the Cross

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS (JUNE 24, 1542-DECEMBER 14, 1591)

Spanish Roman Catholic Mystic and Carmelite Friar

Born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez

Also known as John of Saint Matthias

St. John of the Cross was a mystic, a Carmelite friar, a controversial reformer. and, for eight months, a prisoner of some of his fellow friars.

Juan de Yepes y Álvarez, born in Fontineros, Spain, on June 24, 1542, grew up in a poor family.  His father, Gonzago (d. 1545), was an accountant for wealthy relatives.  Our saint’s mother, Catalina, came from an impoverished family.  One of our saint’s brothers, Luis, died of malnutrition related to poverty.  Another brother, Francisco, survived, though.  Our saint attended a school for poor children in Medina (now Medina-Sidonia) then studied at a Jesuit school (1559-1563).

St. John was a friar for most of his life.  He became a Carmelite friar, John of Saint Matthias, in 1563.  The following year, he made his first profession and began theological studies at the University of Salamanca.  Our saint joined the ranks of priests in 1567.

Monastic rigor appealed to St. John.  He pondered joining the Carthusians, a strict order.  St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) dissuaded him, though.  He became enamored of her reforms among Carmelite nuns.  With her support he introduced similar reforms into the lives of Carmelite friars.  St. John founded his first monastery in 1568, at Duruelo, and became St. John of the Cross.  These strict reforms caused controversy within the Carmelite friar order in 1575-1578.  Ecclesiastical and imperial protection of St. John expired in 1577, so our saint spent December 2, 1577-August 15, 1578 as a prisoner at the Carmelite monastery in Toledo.  After St. John escaped, he spent months recovering from the negative health effects of the poor conditions.  While in captivity, he wrote The Spiritual Canticle.

The Church recognized a new Carmelite order–a discaled one–in 1580.  St. John spent the rest of this life founding monasteries and building up the order.  Nevertheless, controversy followed him into the Discaled Carmelite order of friars.  He died in 1591, after losing his job as prior at Segovia.

St. John was a mystical poet.  His works included the Dark Night of the Soul, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and Living Flame of Love.

The Church recognized St. John.  Pope Clement X beatified him in 1675.  Pope Benedict XIII canonized our saint in 1726.  Pope Pius XI declared St. John a Doctor of the Church in 1926.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, you gave Juan de la Cruz

strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul:

Shed your light on all who love you, in unity with Jesus our Savior;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Song of Solomon 3:1-4

Psalm 121

Colossians 4:2-6

John 16:12-15, 25-28

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 117

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Richard Hooker (November 3)   2 comments

Above:  Richard Hooker

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RICHARD HOOKER (MARCH 25, 1554-NOVEMBER 2, 1600)

Anglican Priest and Theologian

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

…sorrow conceived for sins committed, with hope and trust to obtain remission by Christ, with a firm and effectual promise of amendment, and to alter the things that have been done amiss.

–Richard Hooker’s definition of repentance, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (1597)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Richard Hooker was one of the most important Anglican theologians and a great intellectual.

Hooker, born in Heavitree, near Exeter, on March 25, 1554, manifested his brilliance at an early age.  He, a fine student at Exeter, benefited from the patronage of the schoolmaster, John Jewel (1552-1571), the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 to 1571.  In 1568 our saint matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  One of his tutors was John Rainoldes, who became a life-long friend.  Hooker, still a student, became a tutor.  He tutored George Cranmer (1563-1600) and (Sir) Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Cranmer’s uncle was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555.  Sandys (Jr.) was a son of Edwin Sandys (Sr.) (1519-1588), the Bishop of Worcester (1559-1570), the Bishop of London (1570-1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576-1588).  Sandys (Jr.) went on to serve in the House of Commons, help to found the Virginia Company, and become a critic of King James VI of Scotland/I of Great Britain (reigned 1567-1625 in Scotland and 1603-1625 in England, Wales, and Ireland).  Hooker graduated with his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577.  He, a fellow since 1579, taught Hebrew and logic at Corpus Christi College.

Hooker joined the clerks of the clergy.  He, ordained a deacon in 1579 and a priest in 1581, was the absentee Vicar of Drayton-Beauchamp, Buckingham.  Our saint left for London in 1584.  There he was, off-and-on, a member of the household of merchant John Churchman from 1584 to 1595.  Hooker married Joan Churchman in 1588.  His literary assistants were George Cranmer, (Sir) Edwin Sandys, and Benjamin Pullen, a Churchman family servant.

The Travers Controversy prompted Hooker to begin to write his influential treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  In 1585 Queen Elizabeth I appointed our saint to the Temple Church, London.  His new position made him the chief pastor of the Inns of Court, a prominent legal center in the city.  Hooker preached in the morning, but Walter Travers regularly preached to overflow crowds in the afternoon, despite his silencing by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1584.  Travers, a Puritan, condemned priestly vestments, the sign of the cross, the practice of kneeling for communion, the episcopacy, and the status of the Sovereign as the Head of the Church.  Hooker, needing more time to write his treatise, left the Temple Church in 1591.  From 1591 to 1595, he, residing in London, was the absentee Vicar of Boscombe, Whitshire, near Salisbury.  During this time our saint visited Salisbury.  In 1595 Hooker and his family became resident in his new cure; he became the Vicar of Bishopsbourne, Kent, near Canterbury.

In an age of religious extremism and rampant intolerance, Hooker was relatively tolerant and irenic.  He, critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism, considered the Roman Catholic Church to be Christian.  Our saint reserved his most pointed barbs for the margins of pages.  In his copy of A Christian Letter to Certaine English Protestants (1599), a Puritan text, Hooker wrote,

How this arse runneth kicking up his heels as if a summerfly had stung him.

Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Books I-IV published in 1593, Book V published in 1597, Books VI and VIII published in 1648, and Book VII published in 1662) was the first important work of philosophy, theology, and political theory in the English language.

  1. Hooker defended the Elizabethan Settlement.
  2. Hooker argued against the Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship.
  3. Hooker argued against the Papacy and for national churches, with the Sovereigns as heads of national churches.
  4. Hooker accepted the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the idea that nothing outside scripture is necessary for salvation.
  5. Hooker defended the episcopacy.
  6. Hooker rejected the Divine Right of Kings.  He did, however, accept that God may give some kings commissions to govern, and that monarchs are accountable both to God and the consent of the governed.
  7. Hooker gave the world the Three-Legged Stool:  scripture, tradition, and reason.

Hooker, aged 46 years, died on November 2, 1600.  He, hardly obscure in life, became more renowned posthumously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C:  THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST” AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy

to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion:

Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace,

but as a comprehension for the sake of truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:10-15

Psalm 19:1-11

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 667

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Philipp Nicolai (October 26)   1 comment

Above:  Philipp Nicolai

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PHILIPP NICOLAI (AUGUST 10, 1556-OCTOBER 26, 1608)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Philipp Rafflenboel

Philipp Nicolai was one of the greatest German Lutheran hymn writers.  One hymn, translated as “How Bright Appears the Morning Star,” has become known as “the Queen of Chorales.”  Another, “Wake, O Wake!  With Tidings Thrilling,” has become known as “the King of Chorales.”

Philipp Rafflenboel, who changed his surname to “Nicolai,” or “son of Nicoalus,” was a son of Lutheran minister Nicolaus Dietrich Rafflenboel.  Our saint seemed destined for a devout life.  As a child, he presided at funerals for pets and preached at funerals for pets and preached to children in the neighborhood.  He studied at the Universities of Erfurt and Wittenberg before, at the age of 20 years, became a Lutheran minister.  Our saint’s first parish was in his hometown, Mengeringhausen, Waldeck, Hesse.

Nicolai was a man of strong opinions.  He, pastor at Herbecke (in the Ruhr area) from 1583 to 1586, had to leave.  During the age of the Religious Wars in Europe, when the separation of church and state was not the rule, (Roman Catholic) Spanish and Bavarian forces neared Herdecke.  In that context Lutheran pastor Johann Tacke, a former priest, dressed in priestly vestments and presided over a mass.  Nicolai criticized Tacke in strong terms.  This led to a politically difficult situation for our saint.

Political difficulties continued for Nicolai.  In 1586-1587 he was a pastor in Cologne, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.  At Niederwildungen, Waldeck, as pastor (1587-1596), our saint also tutored the young Count Wilhelm Ernst, son of the dowager Countess Margarethe.  There were, however, prominent Calvinists in the court; Nicolai clashed with them.

From 1596 to 1601 Nicolai was pastor in Unna, Westphalia.  A plague struck the town in 1597-1598; more than 1,300 people died in less than a year.  Our saint ministered faithfully to his flock during that difficult time.  On a happier note, he published Mirror of Joy of Eternal Life, including his hymns and hymn tunes, in 1599.  Nicolai also married Catherine von der Recke, a widow with two children, in 1600.

Nicolai was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church, Hamburg, in 1601-1608.  He, renowned for his eloquent preaching, wrote and published his systematic theology, On God’s Mystical Temple.  Our saint died in Hamburg on October 26, 1608.  He was 56 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C:  THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN THAILAND

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF RALPH ADAMS CRAM AND RICHARD UPJOHN, ARCHITECTS; AND JOHN LAFARGE, SR., PAINTER AND STAINED GLASS WINDOW MAKER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Philipp Nicolai and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++