Archive for the ‘Saints of 1580-1599’ Category

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

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BLESSED GEORGE NICHOLS (1550-JULY 5, 1589)

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

English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1589

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BLESSED HUMPHREY PRITCHARD (DIED JULY 5, 1589)

Welsh Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

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

English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

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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)

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

–Blessed Humphrey Pritchard, July 5, 1589

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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

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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

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Feast of Orlando Gibbons (June 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Orlando Gibbons

Image in the Public Domain

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ORLANDO GIBBONS (BAPTIZED DECEMBER 25, 1583-JUNE 5, 1625)

Anglican Organist and Composer; the “English Palestrina”

Orlando Gibbons comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via sacred music and my unapologetic Western classicism.  I state without reservation that the quality of church music in the global West has, with few exceptions, declined since the 1500s and 1600s.  It peaked with Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, Gregorio Allegri, Orlando Gibbons, and company.

Gibbons, baptized in Oxford, England, on Christmas Day, 1583, was a great musician from a musical family.  His father was William Gibbons (circa 1540-1595), a vocalist in Cambridge, starting in 1567.  William Gibbons was, in English terms, a wait, a public musician.  Our saint’s siblings included:

  1. Edward (1568-circa 1650), an Anglican priest and a composer; most of his compositions have not survived the ravages of time;
  2. Ellis (1573-1603), a composer; most of his compositions have also gone the way of all flesh;
  3. Ferdinando (born 1581), a vocalist/wait in Lincoln.

Above:  The Music Lesson, by Johannes Vermeer

Image in the Public Domain

The woman is playing a virginal.

Gibbons had a fine musical education.  In 1596, at the age of 12 years, he joined the choir of King’s College, Cambridge.  He became the greatest organist and virginalist in England.  (A virginal was a rectangular harpsichord with strings stretched parallel to the keyboard.)  x  From 1605 to his death, Gibbons served as the organist at the Chapel Royal.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Cambridge in 1606.  Our saint became the court virginalist in 1619 then the organist of Westminster Abbey in 1623.

Gibbons composed both sacred and secular music.  His oeuvre contained motets, madrigals, and 40 sacred anthems and services.  He composed sacred music for The Church of England.  His sacred anthems included O Clap Your Hands Together and Drop, Drop, Slow Tears.

Gibbons was a favorite of the Stuart Kings of Great Britain.  He played the organ at the funeral of King James VI/I in 1625.  On the Day of Pentecost, June 5, 1625, our saint accompanied King Charles I to Dover to greet the future queen, Henrietta Maria, arriving from France.  Later that day, on the way back, Gibbons suffered a stroke in Canterbury and died.  He was 41 years old.

Gibbons had seven children.  One son, Christopher (1615-1676), composed keyboard and incidental music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

We bless your name for inspiring Orlando Gibbons 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 Women:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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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

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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

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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

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Feast of Martin Rinckart (April 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Martin Rinckart

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTIN RINCKART (APRIL 23, 1586-DECEMBER 8, 1649)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Also known as Martin Rinckart

Martin Rinckart comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Rinckart became a Lutheran minister.  He, born in Eilenburg, Saxony, on April 23, 1586, was a son of Georg Rinckart, a cooper.  Our saint studied at the Latin school in Eilenburg.  Next, he studied (on scholarship) at St. Thomas’s School, Leipzig, and sang in the church choir, starting in November 1601.  Rinckart also became a theological student at the University of Leipzig in 1602.  He remained in that city until he completed this degree.  Our saint served as the schoolmaster in Eisleben and the cantor at St. Nicholas’s Church from June 1610 to May 1611.  Then he served as the deacon of St. Anne’s Church, Eisleben, from May 1611 to December 1613.  Next, Rinckart became the pastor at Erdeborn and Lyttichendorf, near Eisleben, in December 1613.  Finally, in November 1617, he became the Archdeacon of Eilenburg.

Rinckart also composed drams and hymn texts.  He wrote plays for the centennial of the Protestant Reformation in 1617.  Some of his hymns have, via translators, become part of English-language hymnody.  The most enduring of these texts has been Nun danket alle Gott (1636), which Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) rendered as “Now Thank We All Our God” in 1858.  Some of the less popular English translations of hymn texts by Rinckart have included “Where Shall the Weary Find,” “Let All Men Praise the Lord,” and “Grant Majesty Above, of Prayer None Else.”

Nun danket alle Gott, (Now thank we all our God,)

Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen, (With heart, and hands, and voices,)

Der grosse Dinge tut (Who wondrous things hath done,)

An uns und allen Enden; (In whom His world rejoices;)

Der uns von Mutterleib (Who from our mothers’ arms)

Und Kindesbeinen an (Hath blest us on our way)

Unzählig veil zu gut (With countless gifts of love,)

Bis hieher hat getan. (And still is ours today.)

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Der ewig reiche Gott (O may this bounteous God)

Woll’ uns bei unserm Leben (Through all our life be near us,)

Wein immer frölich Herz (With ever joyful hearts)

Und edlen Frieden geben, (And blessed peace to cheer us;)

Und uns in seiner Gnad’ (To keep us in His grace,)

Erhalten fort und fort (And guide us when perplexed,)

Und uns aus aller Not (And free us from all ills)

Erlösen hier und dort. (In this world and the next.)

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Lob, Ehr’ und Preis sei Gott, (All praise and thanks to God,)

Dem Vater und dem Sohne, (The Father, now be given,)

Und dem, der beiden gleich (The Son, and Him who reigns)

Im höchsten Himmelsthrone: (With them in highest heaven,)

Ihm, dem dreiein’ gen Gott, (The One Eternal God,)

Wie es im Anfang war, (Whom earth and heaven adore;)

Und ist und bleiben wird (For thus it was, is now,)

Jetzund und immerdar! (And shall be evermore.)

Eilenburg suffered greatly during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1848).  It was a walled city, so many wartime refugees sought shelter there.  Eilenburg became overcrowded.  Swedish forces captured the walled city and demanded a high ransom.  Rinckart negotiated with the Swedish commander.  After the first negotiation proved unsuccessful, our saint returned to his church and urged people to pray.  Then he negotiated again and saved the city.  The city’s leaders did not thank him.  The overcrowded walled city became the site of a pestilence in 1637.  About 8000 people, including our saint’s first wife, died.  Rinckart conducted 4,480 funerals.  The war broke our saint physically .

Rinckart died in Eilenburg on December 8, 1649.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF EDWARD KING, BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF FRED B. CRADDOCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND RENOWNED PREACHER

THE FEAST OF GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HAMPDEN GURNEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD, FOUNDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Martin Rinckart,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord Jesus Christ.  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 the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Jakob Bohme (April 23)   3 comments

Above:  Jakob Böhme

Image in the Public Domain

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JAKOB BÖHME (APRIL 24, 1575-NOVEMBER 17, 1624)

German Lutheran Mystic

Jakob Böhme comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via William Law (1686-1761), whom he influenced.

Böhme, born in Alteidenberg, near Görlitz, circa April 24, 1575, was a shoemaker-turned-mystic.  In 1600, he had a mystical experience.  He realized that

Yes and no, all things exist.

Böhme spent the rest of his life struggling with difficult questions.  He, always rooted in Christianity, wrote 29 books and tracts, some of which renamed incomplete when he died.  Our saint struggled with questions of sin, good and evil, yes and no, and darkness and light in the context of God and spiritual unity in God.  How, Böhme wondered, could the divided world become one in God?  Many of his early writings caused theological controversy.  Our saint disavowed some of the earliest writings as he matured theologically and spiritually.  Yet he never stopped wrestling with difficult matters of faith.  Some of his later works included On the Election of Grace (1623), Mysterium Magnum (1623), and The Way to Christ (1623).

Böhme died on November 17, 1624.  He was 49 years old.

His influence continued, however.  Aside from William Law, the diverse group of thinkers Böhme influenced included theologians and philosophers, such as:

  1. George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Religious Society of Friends;
  2. Paul Tillich (1886-1965), a prominent theologian;
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), a philosopher;
  4. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), a philosopher; and
  5. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), a philosopher.

May each of us, like Jakob Böhme, struggle with difficult questions faithfully.

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Loving God, you have granted us intellects

and a thirst to know you as well as we can.

Thank you for these gifts.

May we, like your servant Jakob Böhme,

use them to maximum effect,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

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

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Psalm 63

Ephesians 2:11-22

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI; AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DIVINE SAVIOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE, 203

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Feast of St. Jan Sarkander (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  St. Jan Sarkander

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JAN SARKANDER (DECEMBER 20, 1576-MARCH 17, 1620)

Silesian Roman Catholic Priest and “Martyr of the Confessional,” 1620

Protestant-Roman Catholic tensions have cooled since the lifetime of St. Jan Sarkander, but petty personal politics have remained constant.  Unfortunately, so has judicial murder.

St. Jan Sarkander, born in Skotschan, Silesia (now Skocjow, Poland), on December 20, 1576, was a son of Georg Mathias Sarkander and Helene Kornize (Sarkander).  Georg died when our saint was young.  Jan’s marriage ended with the death of his wife.  The couple had no children.  Then Sarkander turned to the Church.

Sarkander became a priest.  He studied under Jesuits in Prague, earning his master of philosophy degree in 1603.  Then he studied theology in Austria.  This led to his ordination to the priesthood in 1607, at Grozin.  Sarkander, curate at Boskowitz from 1613 to 1616, became a parish priest in Olmütz, Moravia (now Olomouc, Czech Republic).  Moravia was a strongly Protestant area.  Bitowsky von Bystritz, a wealthy landowner and a Protestant, opposed our saint.  Sarkander had a prominent supporter and parishioner, though; Baron von Labkowitz favored him.

Sarkander became a victim of Bystritz.  The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was, in part, a war of religion (Protestant versus Roman Catholic).  Our saint, briefly forced into exile during Protestant occupation of the area, returned to tend to his flock.  In 1620, when Roman Catholic forces approached the area, Sarkander prevented combat by taking a monstrance to the would-be battlefield.  Bystritz accused the priest of treason.  Bystritz was really seeking information to use against Labkowitz.  Sarkander never violated the seal of the confessional, despite tortures.  He died (by burning alive) at Olmütz on March 17, 1620.  He was 43 years old.

The Roman Catholic Church recognized Sarkander formally.  Pope Pius IX declared our saint a Venerable in 1859 then beatified him the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized Sarkander in 1995.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Saint Jan Sarkander] whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us the courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

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

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

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Feast of Blessed Thomas Pormort (February 21)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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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

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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

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Feast of Domenico and Gregorio Allegri (February 20)   1 comment

Above:  Floor Plan of the Church of San Luigi des Francesi (Saint Louis of France), Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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GREGORIO ALLEGRI (1582-FEBRUARY 7, 1652)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer

brother of

DOMENICO ALLEGRI (CIRCA 1585-SEPTEMBER 5, 1629)

Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via their work in church music and via my unapologetic musical snobbery.

Constantino Allegri, a coachman from Milan, lived with his family in Rome.  He sent his three sons–Gregorio (b. 1582), Domenico (b. circa 1585), and Bartholomeo–to study music and to sing in the choir at San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.  Gregorio and Domenico became composers and remained singers as adults.  Gregorio also joined the ranks of priests.

Domenico worked as a maestro di cappella in churches:

  1. Santa Maria, Spello (1606-1609);
  2. Santa Maria, Trastevero, Rome (1609-1610); and
  3. Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome (1610-1629).

Much of Domenico’s music has fallen victim to the ravages of time, unfortunately.  His Modi Quos Expositis in Choris (1617) has survived, though.

Domenico died in Rome on September 5, 1629.

Gregorio was a priest at the Cathedral Church of the Assumption of Saint Mary, Fermo, when he came to the attention of Pope Urban VIII (in office 1623-1644).  Our saint, having begun to compose music while in Fermo, continued to do so after he received the Papal appointment to sing contralto in the choir at the Sistine Chapel.  Gregorio composed sinfonia, masses (including Missa Vidi Turbam Magnam), instrumental music (including the earliest string quartet), and two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.  His most famous work was Miserere Mei, Deus (circa 1638), for the Tenebrae service during Holy Week, in the Sistine Chapel.

Gregorio died in Rome on February 7, 1652.

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri glorified God with their lives and their music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL VI, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BRIGHT, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

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

we bless your name for inspiring Domenico and Gregorio Allegri

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), 728

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

Above:  St. John of the Cross

Image in the Public Domain

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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

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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

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