Archive for the ‘Saints of 1640-1649’ Category

Feast of John Clarke (October 4)   2 comments

Above:  United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial, Newport, Rhode Island

Image Source = Google Earth

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JOHN CLARKE (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 8, 1609-DIED APRIL 20, 1676)

English Baptist Minister and Champion of Religious Liberty in New England

The Reverend John Clarke comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), as well as his association with Obadiah Holmes, Sr. (1609-1682).

Many people accept a host of falsehoods about the history of the United States of America.  One of these lies is that most Puritans came to this country (when it was still a collection of British colonies) to practice religious freedom.  Shall I point to the numerous examples that prove the existence of Puritan theocracies in New England?  How about the four executed Quakers (link and link) in the Massachusetts Bay colony?  I point also to the cases of Roger Williams (1603?-1683) and Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) and company, exiled for dissenting.  To that list I add the case of John Clarke.

Clarke arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in November 1637 yet left soon thereafter.  The church in Boston was embroiled in the Antinomian Controversy.  Proponents of the Covenant of Grace argued against supporters of the Covenant of Works.  (I understand the three Calvinist covenants objectively and intellectually yet cannot muster enough theological interest to become either excited or offended by this dispute.)  The Antinomian Controversy did lead to expulsions from the colony and to voluntary relocation.  Many people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony cared deeply about this matter.

Clarke and his first wife, Elizabeth Harris Clarke, joined other dissidents (including Williams and the Hutchinsons) who had moved to Rhode Island.  He had left England to get away from religious restrictions.  Then he had found the Massachusetts Bay Colony to be a Puritan theocracy and not to his liking, either.  Rhode Island was not a theocracy, though.  The Clarkes settled at Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, in 1638.  By the end of the year, however, our saint had helped to establish a new settlement, Newport, and the First Baptist Church there.  This was the second Baptist congregation in America.

Clarke, who had legal training, too, helped to secure the charter for Rhode Island.  In 1641, he and Roger Williams traveled to England for this purpose in 1643.  Clarke remained in England for a few years, to function as colonial agent.  Our saint, back in Rhode Island, resumed his role as pastor of First Baptist Church.  In 1647, he was the main author of the colony’s new legal code.

Clarke’s life intersected with that of Obadiah Holmes in 1649.  Holmes and eight other members, excommunicated from the church in Reheboth, Massachusetts Bay Colony, had argued with the pastor over infant baptism.  The Reverend Samuel Newman was for it; Holmes and company were against it.  The excommunicated church members formed a house church, with Holmes as the pastor.  Clarke rebaptized the members of the house church in 1649.  With the local court declaring the house church illegal, the dissidents of Reheboth moved to Newport and joined First Baptist Church.

John Clarke and John Crandall (1618-1676) of First Baptist Church, Newport, visited William Witten, an old blind man, in Lynn, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in July 1651.  Obadiah traveled with Clarke and Crandall to visit Witten.  The three visitors conducted a church service.  They celebrated communion and baptized converts.  Authorities arrested the three visitors.  The court convicted and fined them:

  1. John Crandall–five pounds, or about $984.15 (2021);
  2. John Clarke–twenty pounds, or about $3,939.37 (2021); and
  3. Obadiah Holmes–thirty pounds, or about $4,270.15 (2021).

The alternative was a severe whipping.  Nevertheless, Governor John Endecott considered that punishment lax; he claimed that the three men deserved to die.

Allies offered to pay the fines of all three men.  Crandall and Clarke accepted and returned to Newport.  Our saint, however, refused.  Therefore, he endured 30 strokes on his back.  For weeks, he had to sleep on his knees and elbows.  For the rest of his life, he called his scars “the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Clarke returned to England again in 1651, to serve as colonial agent.  He remained there until 1664.  While in England, our saint wrote against religious persecution in New England and ruffled the feathers of New England Puritan authorities.  He also secured a royal charter for Rhode Island in 1663.  That charter guaranteed freedom of religion except when a person’s actions

disturb the civil peace of our said colony.

The Clarkes–John and Elizabeth–returned to Newport, Rhode Island, in early 1664.  Our saint returned to First Baptist Church, as co-pastor, with Obadiah Holmes.  Clarke continued to be active in colonial governance.  From 1664 to 1672, not all at once, he did he following:

  1. Clarke represented Newport in the General Assembly.
  2. Clarke served as the Deputy Governor.
  3. Clarke made a digest of the laws of Rhode Island.
  4. Clarke returned to England briefly as colonial agent in 1670.

First Baptist Church, Newport, experienced one major and two minor schisms while Clarke was alive.

  1. Second Baptist Church (somewhat Arminian) formed in 1656.  This congregation reunited with First Baptist Church in 1946.  The merged congregation took the name United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial.
  2. A few members broke away and organized the first Seventh Day Baptist church in America in late 1671.  This congregation closed in the middle of the nineteenth century.
  3. Some excommunicated members and their extended family became Quakers in 1673.

Clarke married three times and buried two wives.  Elizabeth Harris Clarke having died, our saint married a widow, Jane Fletcher, on February 1, 1671.  The couple had a daughter (February 14, 1672-May 18, 1673).  Jane died on April 19, 1672.  Clarke’s third wife was another widow, Sarah David (d. circa 1692).

Clarke, aged 66 years, died in Newport on April 20, 1676.  His will established the oldest educational trust in what became the United States of America.  That will specified

relief of the poor or bringing up of children unto learning from time to time forever.

Clarke was a pioneer of religious freedom in what became the United States of America.  That part of his legacy has benefited more people than perhaps he could have imagined.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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O God, our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you:

May we ever strive to be faithful to your call, following the example of John Clarke,

that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow,

confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ;

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

–Adapted from A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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O God our light and salvation, we thank you for John Clarke,

whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ

made him a brave prophet of religious tolerance in the American colonies;

and we pray that we may follow paths of holiness and good conscience,

guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ;

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

1 Kings 17:1-16

Psalm 133

1 Peter 1:13-16

Luke 9:51-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 211

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This is post #2250 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of the Martyrs of North America, 1642-1649 (October 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, New York

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT RENÉ GOUPIL (MAY 16, 1608-SEPTEMBER 29, 1642)

French Roman Catholic Missionary and Martyr in New France, 1642

First Roman Catholic Martyr in North America

Solo feast day = September 29

lay assistant to

SAINT ISAAC JOGUES (JANUARY 10, 1607-OCTOBER 18, 1646)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in New France, 1646

Solo feast day = October 18

colleague of

SAINT JEAN DE LA LA LANDE (DIED OCTOBER 19, 1646)

French Roman Catholic Missionary and Martyr in New France, 1646

Also known as Saint Jean Lalande

Solo feast day = October 19

colleague of

SAINT ANTOINE DANIEL (MAY 27, 1601-JULY 4, 1648)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in New France, 1648

Solo feast day = July 4

colleague of

SAINT JEAN DE BRÉBEUF (MARCH 25, 1593-MARCH 16, 1649)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in New France, 1649

Solo feast day = March 16

colleague of

SAINT GABRIEL LALEMANT (OCTOBER 10, 1610-MARCH 17, 1649)

French Roman Catholic Missionary and Martyr in New France, 1649

Solo feast day = March 17

colleague of

SAINT CHARLES GARNIER (BAPTIZED MAY 25, 1606-DIED DECEMBER 7, 1649)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in New France, 1649

Solo feast day = December 7

lay colleague of

SAINT NOËL CHABANEL (FEBRUARY 2, 1613-DECEMBER 8, 1649)

French Roman Catholic Missionary and Martyr in New France, 1649

Solo feast day = December 8

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Missionaries and Martyrs in New France, 1642-1649

Also known as the Canadian Martyrs

Alternative feast days = March 16 and September 26

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I.  INTRODUCTION

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The Martyrs of North America, 1642-1649, come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church and The Anglican Church of Canada.  St. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646), by himself, is a profiled saint in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

The label “Canadian Martyrs,” accurate in 1642-1649, is a contemporary misnomer, for not all eight martyrs died in what we now call Canada.  Some died in what is now upstate New York.

With eight saints, we–you, O reader, and I, have some proverbial bouncing balls to follow.  Telling their stories together is logical, however.

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II.  ENTER THE “BLACK ROBES”

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GOUPIL

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St. René Goupil offered himself to the service of God.  Goupil, born in Saint-Martin-du-Bois, Anjou, France, was a son of Hippliite Goupil and Luce (Provost) Goupil.  Our saint, a surgeon, became a Jesuit novice in Paris on March 16, 1639.  However, deafness forced him to leave the Society of Jesus.  Nevertheless, Goupil volunteered as a lay missionary.  He, having arrived in New France in 1640, served at the Saint-Joseph de Sillery Mission, Québec.  There he worked in the hospital though 1642.

Goupil and about 40 other people visited Huron missions in 1642.  One of the other missionaries was St. Isaac Jogues.

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JOGUES (I)

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St. Isaac Jogues was a Jesuit priest.  He, born in Orléans, France, on January 10, 1607, was the fifth of nine children of Laurent Jogues and Françoise de Sainte-Mesmin.  Jogues, educated first at his bourgeois home then at Jesuit schools, became Jesuit novice at Rouen in 1624.  He was seventeen years old at the time.  The Jesuit missions to New France started in 1625.  Those early missionaries inspired Jogues, who decided to become a missionary to New France, too.  Our saint professed his vows in 1626, studied philosophy at La Flèche for a few years, taught humanities at a boys’s school in Rouen (1629-1633), studied theology at Paris (1633-1636), and joined the ranks of priests (1636).

In 1636, Jogues, not yet a priest, met three of his heroes.  They were St. Jean de Brébeuf, Charles Lalemant, and Ènemond Massé, missionaries who had recently returned from New France.

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BRÉBEUF

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St. Jean de Brébeuf was another Jesuit missionary priest.  He, born in Condé-sur-Vire, France, on March 25, 1593, joined he Society of Jesus in 1617, at the age of twenty-four years.  Brébeuf, a teacher at Rouen (1619-1621), joined the ranks of priests in February 1622.  Then he served three years as the Steward of the College of Rouen.  In 1625, our saint became a missionary to New France.  The group of five missionaries arrived in Québec in June 1625.

Brébeuf, who had a talent for learning languages, ministered mostly among Hurons.  Due to international politics (Anglo-French) tensions, the missionaries returned to France in 1629.  They returned in 1633.  Missionary work was challenging and not always successful.  The deaths of many indigenous people from European diseases complicated the matter.  But the missionaries were faithful.

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DANIEL (I)

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St. Antoine Daniel was one of the other Jesuit missionaries with Brébeuf in New France.  Daniel, born in Dieppe, Normandy, France, on May 27, 1601, studied philosophy for two years and law for for one year before joining the Society of Jesus at Rouen on October 1, 1621,  Our saint taught at Rouen (1623-1627), studied theology at Paris (1627-1630), joined the ranks of priests (1630) and taught at the College of Eu (1630-1632).

Daniel began to minister in New France in 1632.  At first, he tended to a flock of colonists at St. Anne’s Bay, Cape Breton (-1633).  Then he joined Brébeuf’s mission.  In 1634, Brébeuf and Daniel were two of the tree missionaries who traveled to Wendake.  Daniel learned the language of the Hurons.  He translated the Lord’s Prayer and the Nicene Creed, and set them to music.  For two yeas, Daniel also ran a school for indigenous boys.  In 1638, when Brébeuf moved onto a different assignment, and Daniel relieved him.

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JOGUES (II)

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In 1636, Brébeuf and company, back in France, told the other Jesuits of the great dangers of the mission in New France.  Jogues, not discouraged, became more determined to serve as a missionary in New France.  Shortly after ordination to the priesthood (1636), he and St. Charles Garnier sailed for New France.

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GARNIER

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St. Charles Garnier was a priest.  He, baptized in Paris, France, as an infant on May 25, 1606, was a son of of a secretary to King Henry III.  Garnier became a Jesuit novice in September 1624.  In time, our saint served as the Prefect of the College of Clermont, completed his studies in philosophy and rhetoric, and taught at the College of Eu for two years.  Next, Garnier finished his studies in theology, culture, and language.  Then, in 1635, he joined the ranks of priests.

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BRÉBEUF, GARNIER, AND JOGUES

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Garnier, Jogues, and company arrived in New France in June 1636.  Immediately, he traveled to the Huron mission.  Brébeuf was a strong influence on our saint.

Jogues arrived at his assigned mission station in Québec in September 1636.  He joined Brébeuf, the Superior of that Jesuit mission, at Saint-Joseph, on Lake Huron.  Immediately, an epidemic struck the Jesuits and the Hurons.  (This happened repeatedly.)  Fearful natives accused the “Black Robes” of trying to kill them.  Jogues caught a fever, but recovered.  He ministered to the Hurons at Saint-Joseph for six years.

In the winter of 1639-1640, Jogues and Garnier visited the Petun, a tribe in what is now southern Ontario.  That mission proved fruitless.  For two months, the Jesuit missionaries traveled from village to village, to a chilly reception.

In September 1641, however, Jogues and Charles Raymbaut found a receptive population of Ojibwe.  Jogues ministered at the new Saint-Marie Mission for a while.

Garnier worked at the Saint-Joseph Mission from 1641 to 1646.

Brébeuf also wrote hymns.  Perhaps the most popular one was the Huron Carol, which Jesse Edgar Middleton (1872-1960) translated into English as “Twas the Moon of Winter Time.”

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III.  GOUPIL AND JOGUES, 1642

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Goupil and about 40 other people visited Huron missions in 1642,  Jogues was part of this team, which included Christian Hurons.  On August 3, some Mohawk warriors attacked these Christians near present-day Auriesville, New York.  The Mohawk warriors tortured their victims.  Goupil, by this time a Jesuit lay brother, taught a Mohawk boy the sign of the cross.  For this, Goupil died via tomahawk to the head.  Jogues gave him last rites on September 29, 1642.

The Mohawk warriors also slowly tortured then killed the Huron converts.  (Hurons and Mohawks were traditional enemies.)

The Anglican Church of Canada, in its brief summary of this feast, states that Brébeuf, in 1649, suffered

atrocities which defy description.

Applying this statement to Jogues (in 1642) and Brebeuf and St. Gabriel Lalemant (in 1649), that statement is objectively inaccurate.  Finding descriptions is as easy as using Google.  I choose do describe the sufferings of these saints in general terms only.

Jogues emerged his captivity a mutilated man.  He returned to France for medical treatment.  Pope Urban VIII called Jogues a “living martyr.”  That “living martyr” returned to New France voluntarily in 1644.

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IV.  TO 1646

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CHABANEL AND GARNIER (I)

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St. Noël Chabanel was a Jesuit missionary.  He, born in Saughes, France, on February 2, 1613, became a Jesuit novice when he was 17 years old.  Chabanel taught at Jesuit colleges and earned a sterling reputation.  Our saint arrived in New France in 1643.  What he lacked in Algonquin linguistic acumen for a while he made up for with piety.  Chabanel, assigned to Sainte-Marie Mission, worked with Garnier.

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LALEMANT

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St. Gabriel Lalemant was a priest.  He came from an extended family (including Charles Lalemant) deeply involved in the Society of Jesus and the mission to New France.  Our saint, born in Paris, France, on October 31, 1610, was the third of six children of an attorney.  Lalemant joined the Society of Jesus in 1630.  He tried to get sent to New France years before he succeeded; ill health stood in the way for years.  Finally, in 1646, uncle Jerome Lalemant, the Vicar-General of Québec, interceded.  In the meantime, our saint had taught at the college in Moulins (1632-1635), studied theology at Bourges (1635-1639), became a priest (1638), and taught at various schools (1639-1646).

Lalemant arrived in Québec in September 1646.  He spent months studying the languages and customs of the Hurons.

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LA LANDE

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St. Jean de la Lande (a.k.a. St. Jean Lalande) was a Jesuit lay brother.  He, a native of Dieppe, Normandy, France, was just 19 years old when he arrived in New France.

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V.  1646:  JOGUES AND LA LANDE

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St. Isaac Jogues became the French envoy to the Mohawk Nation in the Spring of 1646.  (The Huron and Mohawk Nations had forged a fragile peace the previous year.)  Jogues arrived with de la Lande and other members of the diplomatic party in September 1646.  Mohawk warriors captured the Jesuits and took them to the village of Ossermenon (the site of Auriesville, New York, today).  Jogues died of a tomahawk to the head on October 18, 1646.  The following day, la Lande attempted to recover the corpse.  He also died of a tomahawk to the head.

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VI.  TO 1649

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DANIEL (II)

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St. Antonie Daniel returned to the main Huron town, Teanaostaye, on July 4, 1648.  While the majority of Huron men were away, trading in Quêbec, Iroquois warriors attacked the town.  Daniel tended to his flock in the chapel as best he could.  Then he absolved them of their sins, baptized catechumens, and confronted the attackers.  The priest, vested, carried a cross toward the Iroquois warriors.  They killed him, placed his body in the chapel, and burned the chapel.  By then, many of the Hurons who had been in the chapel had escaped.

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BRÉBEUF, LALEMANT, AND CHABANEL

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St. Jean de Brébeuf, master of languages, had done much to help the Jesuit mission in New France.  His translated works included a catechism and a collection of Biblical prayers, proved invaluable for a long time.  Yet he met a gory end, too.

St. Gabriel Lalemant ministered in the area of the Three Rivers trading center through September 1648.  He, having been Brébeuf’s assistant at Wendake (September 1648-Feburary 1649), had gone to Saint-Louis Mission.  Lalemant replaced Chabanel.  Meanwhile, Brébeuf had transferred to Saint-Ignace Mission, near Saint-Louis Mission.

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VII. 1649

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BRÉBEUF AND LALEMANT

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In March 1649, when most of the Huron warriors were away, Iroquois warriors attacked Saint-Ignace.  Huron warriors from Saint-Louis delayed the attackers, thereby allowing women, children, and elderly people to escape Saint-Ignace.  Iroquois warriors captured Brébeuf and Lalemant.  Both saints suffered terrible tortures.  They received the crown of martyrdom–Brébeuf on March 16 and Lalemant on the following day.

The Society of Jesus closed and burned Sainte-Marie Mission, rather than permit the Iroquois to desecrate the site.

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CHABANEL AND GARNIER (II)

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St. Noël Chabanel, transferred from Saint-Louis Mission, went to Saint-Joseph Mission.

St. Charles Garnier, living in a Petun village, died during an Iroquois raid on December 7, 1649.

The following day, a “renegade Huron” killed Chabanel, apparently for being French.  According to “alternative facts”–lies–the French had betrayed the Hurons and entered into an alliance with the Iroquois.

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VIII. CONCLUSION

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Pope Pius XI declared these martyrs Beati in 1925 then full saints five years later.

Writing hagiographies can lead to a sense of spiritual inadequacy.  One may think of oneself as a good person.  Perhaps one is a good person.  But is one as good as, for example, these eight martyrs?  I am not.

Consider St. Isaac Jogues, for example, O reader.  Imagine yourself in his position.  Knowing the risks, would you have done what he did?  And having suffered as he did, would you have remained so dedicated?

The North American Martyrs acted out of the love of Christ.  Each one took up his cross and followed Jesus to his individual Golgotha.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 21, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ADAME ROSALES, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

THE FEAST OF SAINT CONRAD OF PARZHAM, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF GEORGE B. CAIRD, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST THEN UNITED REFORMED MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF GEORGIA HARKNESS, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, ETHICIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON BARSABAE, BISHOP; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 341

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Eternal God, you consecrated the first-fruits of faith

in the forests of North America by preaching and blood

of Jean de Brébeuf and his holy companions.

In your mercy send forth many to labour in every corner of this nation,

that your gospel may yield in our day a rich and bountiful harvest

by the increase of a true Christian people;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Romans 8:28-39

Psalm 116:10-16

Luke 12:8-12

–The Anglican Church of Canada

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Feast of Obadiah Homes (October 15)   2 comments

Above:  United Baptist Church, Newport, Rhode Island

Image Source = Google Earth

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OBADIAH HOLMES, SR. (BAPTIZED MARCH 18, 1609 OR 1610-DIED OCTOBER 15, 1682)

English Baptist Minister and Champion of Religious Liberty in New England

Born Obadiah Hulme

The Reverend Obadiah Holmes, Sr., comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Many people accept a host of falsehoods about the history of the United States of America.  One of these lies is that most Puritans came to this country (when it was still a collection of British colonies) to practice religious freedom.  Shall I point to the numerous examples that prove the existence of Puritan theocracies in New England?  How about the four executed Quakers (link and link) in the Massachusetts Bay colony?  I point also to the cases of Roger Williams (1603?-1683) and Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) and company, exiled for dissenting.  To that list I add the case of Obadiah Holmes, Sr.

Obadiah Hulme grew up in a devout Anglican family.  He, baptized on March 18, 1609 or 1610, in Didsbury, Lancashire, England, was a son of Katherine Johnson Hulme (d. 1630) and Robert Hulme (d. 1640).  Obadiah led a rebellious, wild youth.  After his spiritual awakening, his blamed himself for his mother’s death.  Our saint was, by profession, a weaver and a glass maker.  On November 20, 1630, at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, St. Denys and St. George, Manchester (now Manchester Cathedral), he married Katherine Hyde.  The couple had nine children, starting with John, who died in 1633.  The other eight children (four sons and four daughters) were:

  1. Jonathan;
  2. Mary;
  3. Martha;
  4. Samuel;
  5. Obadiah, Jr.;
  6. Lydia;
  7. John (II); and
  8. Hopestill.

The growing Holmes family immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638.  They settled in Salem and joined the church there.  Obadiah worked as a glass maker.  He, finding the church in Salem too rigid, left and moved the family to Reheboth in 1645.  Reheboth proved unsatisfactory, too.  Obadiah and the eight other members of the church there split away (during a dispute over infant baptism) and formed a house church in 1649.  He became the minister of the new congregation.  According to the local court, the house church was illegal.  In 1650, Obadiah and the rest of his congregation moved to Newport, Rhode Island.  They affiliated with the First Baptist Church in that city.  This made sense; pastor John Clarke (1609-1676), of Newport, had rebaptized the members of the house church in 1649.

Rhode Island was rare in British North America; it had a policy of religious toleration.  First Baptist Church, Newport, was the second Baptist congregation in what became the United States of America.  John Clarke founded it in 1638, shortly after Roger Williams had founded the First Baptist Church, Providence.

John Clarke and John Crandall (1618-1676) of First Baptist Church, Newport, visited William Witten, an old blind man, in Lynn, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in July 1651.  Obadiah traveled with Clarke and Crandall to visit Witten.  The three visitors conducted a church service.  They celebrated communion and baptized converts.  Authorities arrested the three visitors.  The court convicted and fined them:

  1. John Crandall–five pounds, or about $984.15 (2021);
  2. John Clarke–twenty pounds, or about $3,939.37 (2021); and
  3. Obadiah Holmes–thirty pounds, or about $4,270.15 (2021).

The alternative was a severe whipping.  Nevertheless, Governor John Endecott considered that punishment lax; he claimed that the three men deserved to die.

Allies offered to pay the fines of all three men.  Crandall and Clarke accepted and returned to Newport.  Our saint, however, refused.  Therefore, he endured 30 strokes on his back.  For weeks, he had to sleep on his knees and elbows.  For the rest of his life, he called his scars “the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Later in 1651, Clarke traveled to England, to serve as Rhode Island’s colonial agent.  Obadiah began to serve as pastor of First Baptist Church, Newport.  After Clarke returned, in 1664, the two men served as co-pastors (1664-1667, 1671-1676).  Our saint was pastor at Newport until he died, on October 15, 1682.

First Baptist Church, Newport, has become the United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial, Newport.

No freedoms are absolute in any society.  Mutuality requires that people be responsible to and for each other.  And it does not license trampling the rights of anyone.  Therefore, in the case of freedom of religion, some restrictions are necessary, in extreme cases.  When, for example, someone’s religion endangers public health, public health properly takes precedence.  Most circumstances are not extreme, though.  Living in a free society requires much mutual toleration, if not acceptance.  So be it.

All of the legal troubles Obadiah Holmes, Sr., endured in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were indefensible.  He was not endangering public health and safety.  He was not endangering anyone in any way.  No, he was defying a theocracy.  He refused to conform.

“Conform” and “conformity” are, by the way, the most profane words in the English language.  Mutuality embraces mutual responsibility and tolerates all dissent and individuality that does not endanger the common good.

I write in a politically divided society.  Labels such as “liberal” and “conservative” function as weapons to use against members of the other tribe.  Actually, many people who weaponize these terms strip these words of their real meanings, inherently relative to the center.  A better way (NOT original to me) is to ask whether one prioritizes order or justice.  Properly, of course, justice establishes a morally defensible order.  Likewise, order is necessary for justice, which cannot exist in the midst of anarchy.  Nevertheless, not all order is just.  In fact, much order is unjust.  And many people favor an unjust order over justice.  I favor justice every day.  Whenever a given order is unjust, I support tearing it down and replacing it with a just order.  Call me a revolutionary if you wish, O reader.

Obadiah Holmes, Sr., favored justice.  He worked for a just order.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS NEPHEW, WILLIAM SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID URIBE-VELASCO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

THE FEAST OF GODFREY DIEKMANN, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, PRIEST, ECUMENIST, THEOLOGIAN, AND LITURGICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIUS I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZENO OF VERONA, BISHOP

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O God, our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you:

May we ever strive to be faithful to your call, following the example of Obadiah Holmes, Sr.,

that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow,

confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ;

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

–Adapted from A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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O God our light and salvation, we thank you for Obadiah Holmes, Sr.,

whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ

made him a brave prophet of religious tolerance in the American colonies;

and we pray that we may follow paths of holiness and good conscience,

guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ;

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

1 Kings 17:1-16

Psalm 133

1 Peter 1:13-16

Luke 9:51-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 211

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Feast of Thomas Traherne (September 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS TRAHERNE (CIRCA 1637-SEPTEMBER 27, 1674)

Anglican Priest, Poet, and Spiritual Writer

Also known as Thomas Trahern

Feast Day in The Episcopal Church = September 27

Feast Day in The Church of England = October 10

Thomas Traherne comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England and The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church, my chosen denomination, has two calendars of saints, oddly.  The main one is Lesser Feasts and Fasts, most recently updated in 2018.  Traherne is not on that calendar.  Or is it?  My copy of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 is a PDF.  It lists Traherne on the calendar at the front of the document yet omits his profile, collects, and assigned readings.  These are present, however, on the side calendar, created at the General Convention of 2009, present in Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), expanded at the General Convention of 2015, and published in the revised A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).

Traherne was one of the metaphysical poets, along with George Herbert (1593-1633), also an Anglican priest.  However, his poetry remained unpublished until 1903.  His prose was in print, starting in 1673, though.

Traherne, born circa 1637 in Hereford, England, was apparently a son of a shoemaker.  A wealthy and generous relative financed our saint’s education at Brasenose College, Oxford (B.A., 1656; M.A., 1661; B.D., 1669).  Traherne, ordained to the diaconate in The Church of England in 1656 and to the priesthood in 1660, served as the Rector of Credenhill, December 1657-1667).  He became the private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the First Baronet of Great Lever, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, in 1667.  Our saint held this position until he died in Teddington, Middlesex, England, on September 27, 1674.  He was about 37 years old.  The date of his burial was October 10, 1674.

Traherne was, by all accounts, a devout and bookish man who had a pleasant disposition and led a simple lifestyle.  The largest category of his possessions was books.  He was a minor figure and a relatively obscure man during his lifetime.  Only one of his books, Roman Forgeries (1673), was in print before he died.  Christian Ethics (1675) appeared posthumously.  A Serious and Patheticall Contemplation of the Mercies of God (1699) listed the author as anonymous.

Traherne’s literary legacy nearly wound up (literally) on the scrap heap of history.  Yet The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne (1903) and Centuries of Meditation (1908) started a period of republication, reconsideration, and discovery.  Identification of other works by Traherns continued through the late 1990s.

Traherne, being a metaphysical poet, had a way of writing in a less-than-direct manner.  Many intelligent and well-educated people have read texts from these poets, understood every word of a passage and not understood what that passage meant.  Others have argued about the meanings of selected passages.

Traherne was an Anglican.  As one, he affirmed the compatibility of faith and reason.  In his case, Christian Neoplatonism fed a particular variety of mysticism.  And, in the wake of the Restoration (1660), he was sharply critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism.  Traherne also affirmed the will of God as the proper basis of human ethics, Hell as the loss of love for God, and Heaven as the “sight and possession” of love for God.  Furthermore, our saint delighted in nature and retained childlike joy regarding it.

Twentieth-century saints who drew influence from Traherne included Thomas Merton (1915-1968), C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), and Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957).  Traherne’s renaissance, although delayed, was worthwhile.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD, COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND CONDUCTOR

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH RUNDLE CHARLES, ANGLICAN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 327

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Creator of wonder and mystery, you inspired your post Thomas Traherne

with mystical insight to see your glory

in the natural world and in the faces of men and women around us:

Help us to know you in your creation and in our neighbors,

and to understand our obligations to both,

that we may ever grow into the people you have created us to be;

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

lives and reigns, one God, in everlasting light.  Amen.

Jeremiah 20:7-9

Psalm 119:129-136

Revelation 19:1-5

John 3:1-8

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 609

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Feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12)   1 comment

Above:  St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL (JANUARY 28, 1572-DECEMBER 13, 1641)

Cofoundress of the Congregation of the Visitation 

Also known as Saint Jeanne de Chantal and Saint Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal

Alternative feast days = August 18 and December 13

Former feast days = August 21 and December 12

St. Jane Frances de Chantal comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

Our saint came from a prominent and wealthy family.  She, born in Dijon, France, on January 28, 1572, was a daughter of Margaret de Berbisey and Bénigne Frémyot, president of the Burgundian parliament.  St. Jane’s brother André grew up to become the Archbishop of Bourges, serving from 1602 to 1621.  Margaret died when our saint was 18 months old.  Bénigne, as a widower and a single father, raised his daughter to become a refined young woman.

At the age of twenty years, St. Jane married Baron Christophe de Rabutin.  The happy marriage produced seven children, three of whom died in infancy.  It was a brief marriage, though; the Baron died in a hunting accident in 1601, after eight years of marriage.  St. Jane, widowed at twenty-eight years of age and raising four children, struggled.  She depended on her family, made a personal vow of chastity, and spent much time in prayer.  Life in her father-in-law’s household was miserable for our saint.

In Lent 1604, St. Jane’s father invited her to visit Dijon and hear St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), the Bishop of Geneva, and the “Apostle of Charity,” speak.  Our saint accepted that invitation.  That address changed the course of St. Jane’s life.  She recognized him as the man in the vision she had received at her father-in-law’s house in Monthelon.  St. Francis advised St. Jane to spend less time with her father-in-law in Monthelon and more time with her father in Dijon.  Our saint obeyed that counsel and attended to both men.

The two saints and their families became close.  St. Jane considered joining a Carmelite convent in Dijon in 1605; St. Francis dissuaded her.  The two saints became part of the same extended family in 1610.  St. Jane’s daughter, Marie Aymée, married Bernard, the youngest brother of St. Francis.  After St. Jane’s youngest daughter, Charlotte, died, our saint, her son Celse-Bénigne, and her daughter Françoise relocated to Annecy, where Marie Aymée and Bernard lived.  Then St. Francis bought a house in the area.

Above:  Annecy, France

Image Source = Google Earth

Sts. Jane and Francis founded the Congregation of the Visitation on Trinity Sunday, June 6, 1610, in Annecy.  St. Jane’s 15-year-old son, Celse-Bénigne, opposed his mother’s plan to enter religious life.  He asked her not to leave, and he laid down in front of the door.  Our saint literally stepped over her son, out of the house, and into religious life.  The Congregation of the Visitation was controversial from the beginning.  The rule of the Congregation was relatively lenient.  The Congregation also accepted women whom other orders had rejected for being too ill or too old.  St. Jane, the Congregation’s first Superior, presided over its expansion to 86 convents.

St. Jane died, aged 69 years, in Moulins, France, on December 13, 1641.  

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized St. Jane.  Pope Benedict XIV beatified her in 1751.  Pope Clement XIII canonized our saint in 1767.

St. Jane’s patronage is for widows, for parents separated from children, against problems with in-laws, against the death of parents, against abandonment, and for abandoned or forgotten people.

Members of the Congregation of the Visitation continue to lead contemplative lives, run schools, and work with widows and ill women.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 4, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES SIMEON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND PROMOTER OF MISSIONS; HENRY MARTYN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, LINGUIST, TRANSLATOR, AND MISSIONARY; AND ABDUL MASIH, INDIAN CONVERT AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF HENRY SUSO, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, PREACHER, AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN EDGAR PARK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEN CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PAUL CUFFEE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO THE SHINNECOCK NATION

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HORNBLOWER GILL, ENGLISH UNITARIAN THEN ANGLICAN 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 Jane Frances de Chantal,

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 and 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 William Robinson, Mardaduke Stephenson, and Mary Dyer (June 1)   4 comments

Above:  Mary Dyer, June 1, 1660

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM ROBINSON (CIRCA 1620-OCTOBER 27, 1659)

MARMADUKE STEPHENSON (DIED OCTOBER 27, 1659)

MARY DYER (1611-JUNE 1, 1660)

English Quaker Martyrs in Boston, Massachusetts, 1659 and 1660

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Therefore, seeing my Request is hindered, I leave you to the Righteous Judge and Searcher of all Hearts, who, with the pure measure of Light he hath given to every Man to profit withal, will in his due time let you see whose Servants you really are, to of whom you have taken Counsel, which desire you search into….

–Mary Dyer, writing to the General Court from prison, 1659, after the execution of William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 247

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Those who claim that most Puritans who settled in what became the United States sought religious freedom either lie or labor under a misconception.

The majority of Puritans, whether in the old country or on this side of the Pond, created and maintained theocracies when they had the opportunity.  Religious toleration was not a dominant Puritan value; religious persecution was.

Quakers, with their pacifism, egalitarianism, and mysticism, threatened the hierarchical Puritan social order by merely existing.  Being a Quaker in Puritan colonies in New England was illegal, therefore.  In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, prior to 1659, penalties included:

  1. Expulsion,
  2. Lashing behind a cart,
  3. Abandonment deep in a forest,
  4. Branding with an “H” for “heretic,”
  5. Branding of the tongue, and
  6. Cutting off of the ears.

Some Quakers, convinced that their Inner Light told them to preach the Friends gospel despite the risks, returned anyway.  From 1659 to 1661, in the Massachusetts Bay colony, the list of penalties expanded to include death by hanging.  Four Quakers became martyrs.

Mary Dyer had been a Puritan.  She and her husband, William Dyer, were Puritans when the married in England in 1633.  They moved to Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1635, and joined First Church.  The Dyers befriended Anne and William Hutchinson, whom they followed to Rhode Island.  The Dyers traveled with Roger Williams to England in 1643, when he went to secure a colonial charter (1644) for Rhode Island.  William Dyer returned to Rhode Island, to bring news of the charter.  Many remained in England for years.  She met George Fox and became a Quaker.

Dyer returned to New England in 1657.  Then her legal problems started.  The ship docked in Boston.  Our saint would have passed through the Massachusetts Bay colony to Rhode Island without incident except for her arrest for being a Quaker.  William, without consulting his wife, secured her release without consulting his wife; he promised on her behalf that she would return to Rhode Island immediately and never return to the Massachusetts Bay colony.  Dyer had other ideas.

Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson were English Quakers living in Rhode Island in 1659.  Stephenson was a former plowman from Yorkshire.  Robinson had been a merchant in London.  Stephenson, Robinson, and Dyer returned to Boston in 1659 to protest anti-Quaker laws.  Authorities arrested then banished them.  Stephenson and Robinson returned again.  Dyer returned to visit them in jail in Boston.  Authorities arrested her.  Governor John Endecott ordered the execution of the three Quakers in October 1659.

Stephenson and Robinson died by hanging in Boston on October 27, 1659.  Dyer, spared that day, received banishment instead.  On May 21, 1660, she returned to Boston, to preach.  She, arrested, met her fate on June 1, 1660.

William Leddra became the last of the four Quaker martyrs in Boston the following year.

In May 1661, Puritan authorities received new orders from King Charles II forbidding any more executions for alleged heresy.  This order arrived in time to prevent a fifth execution for being a Quaker in the Massachusetts Bay colony.

I use absolute terms, such as “never,” sparingly, so take note, O reader.

Freedom is never absolute; life in society requires the surrender of some individual freedom from everyone for the common good.  Consider a practical, generally non-controversial example, O reader; we must, for the sake of all, obey traffic laws.  Freedom of religion should be as broad as possible, with sensible restrictions.  One should never, for example, get away with child abuse or endangering public health on the grounds of freedom of religion.  And, if one’s religion mandates an honor killing, a court should define that act as murder.  Law is easy at the extremes.  On the opposite extreme, the mere refusal to conform to theocracy or a dominant form of faith should never constitute a crime, and law should bend over backward, so to speak, to allow for a wide variety of peaceful expressions of religion, within reasonable limits.  Life in a free society requires much mutual toleration.

Quakers, with their theology of the Inner Light, affirmed that God spoke to everyone.  The most germane question, from that perspective, was if one was listening.  This doctrine called into question the Puritan spiritual hierarchy, with the ministers at its heart.  Quakerism constituted an existential threat to the Puritan social order.

Authorities tend to go to great and frequently morally unjustifiable lengths to protect the social order.  If morally unjustifiable lengths prove necessary to preserve that social order, perhaps it should fall, so that a just society may emerge.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

SATURDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; AND ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIA CONNELLY, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANNA BLONDIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT ANNE

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MURIN OF FAHAN, LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, GOBAN OF PICARDIE, FOILLAN OF FOSSES, AND ULTAN OF PERONNE, ABBOTS; AND SAINTS FURSEY OF PERONNE AND BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ARCHUTOWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, and Mary Dyer

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 Henri Dumont (May 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Interior of the Chapel, Versailles, Circa 1879

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-stereo-1s24269

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HENRI DUMONT (1610-MAY 8, 1684)

Roman Catholic Composer and Organist

Also known as Henri de Thier and Henri du Mont

Henri Dumont comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via my Western classicism and unapologetic musical elitism.

Dumont was a native of the Southern Netherlands (now Belgium).  He debuted in Looz (now Bargloon) in 1610.  Our saint was a son of Henri de Thier (Sr.) and Elisabeth Orban (de Thier).  The family moved to Maastricht in 1613.  Henri and his brother, Lambert, sang in the choir of Notre Dame, Maastricht.

Henri was a church organist.  From 1630 to 1632 he held a position in Maastricht.  Nevertheless, our saint spent much time in Liége, studying under Léonard de Hodémont (1575-1639), a choirmaster, organist, and composer.  Henri resigned in 1632; Lambert succeeded him.  Our saint moved on to St. Paul’s Church, Paris, France.  He began to use the surname “Dumont” (alternatively, “du Mont”).

Dumont joined the ranks of royal servants.  He became a harpsichordist in the court of the Count of Anjou in 1652.  Eleven years later, our saint became the Master of the Chapel Royal, Versailles.  Ten years after that, he became the Master of the Queen’s Music.

On the personal side, Dumont married Mecthild Loyens in 1653.  Our saint lived long enough to become a widower.  He inherited her benifice, an abbey in Normandy.

Dumont resigned all his positions in 1683.  He died in Paris on May 8, 1684.

Dumont’s compositions were almost exclusively sacred works.  His sacred music included:

  1. Royal Mass;
  2. Magnificat;
  3. O, Mysterium;
  4. Sinfonia and Grant Motet; and
  5. various motets for the Chapel Royal.

Dumont’s music retains its power to inspire spiritually.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT OSCAR ROMERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF SAN SALVADOR; AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR, 1980-1992

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, “FATHER OF MODERN CHRISTIAN MUSIC”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM LEDDRA, BRITISH QUAKER MARTYR IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY, 1661

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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 Henri Dumont 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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This is post #1950 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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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 Domenico and Gregorio Allegri (February 7)   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 Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Peter Claver (September 9)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA (OCTOBER 28, 1510-SEPTEMBER 30, 1572)

“Second Founder of the Society of Jesus”

Also known as Francisco de Borja y Aragon

His feast transferred from September 30, October 3, and October 10

worked with

SAINT PETER FABER (APRIL 13, 1506-AUGUST 1, 1546)

Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus

His feast transferred from August 1

taught

SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ (JULY 25, 1532-OCTOBER 31, 1617)

Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother

His feast transferred from October 31

counseled

SAINT PETER CLAVER (1580/1581-SEPTEMBER 8, 1654)

“Apostle to the Negroes”

His feast day = September 9

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One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That goal is germane to this post.

I began by taking notes about St. Peter Claver.  During that process I noticed the link to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez.  While I took notes on him, I saw the name of St. Peter Faber.  I took notes about him and noticed the link to St. Francis Borgia, so I added Borgia to the post too.

Above:  St. Francis Borgia, S.J.

Image in the Public Domain

St. Francis Borgia, born in Gandia, Valencia, Aragon, on October 28, 1510, was a nobleman.  He, related to Aragonese royalty, was a great-grandson of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, who, in 1492, bribed his way into the Papacy and became Alexander VI.  Our saint, raised in the court of King Charles I of Spain/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, married Eleanor de Castro (d. 1546) in 1529.  The couple had eight children.  From 1539 to 1543 Borgia was the Viceroy of Catalonia.  Then, in 1543, he became the Duke of Gandia.

Borgia made his greatest contributors as a Jesuit.  He, a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), joined the Society of Jesus in 1548.  Three years later our saint became a priest.  His responsibilities increased as time passed.  Borgia had oversight of missions in the East Indies and the West Indies before become the superior in Spain in 1560.  Five years later Borgia became the Superior General of the order.  In a few years he revitalized the order and established missions in Peru, Florida, and elsewhere in the Spanish Empire in the Americas.  Our saint, convinced that Jesuits were working too much and praying too little, introduced the hour-long meditation.

Borgia died in Ferrara (now in Italy) on September 30, 1572, about a month prior to what would have been his sixty-second birthday.  Pope Gregory XV beatified him in 1624.  Pope Clement X canonized him in 1670.

Above:  St. Peter Faber

Image in the Public Domain

Borgia worked with St. Peter Faber, born in Villaret, Savoy, on April 13, 1506.  Faber, from a farm family, worked as a shepherd when he was young.  Our saint was devout from childhood; he even catechized other children when he was one.

Faber, educated at Saint-Barbe College, Paris, became a priest in 1534, the same year he and his friend, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founded the Society of Jesus.  Faber, also a friend of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), was an active participant–a preacher and theologian–in the Counter-Reformation.  He enabled St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany, to fulfill that function.

Faber, aged 40 years, died in Rome on August 1, 1546.  Toward the end he was too ill to attend the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and to become the Patriarch of Ethiopia.  Pope Leo XIII beatified Faber in 1872.  Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2013.

Faber prepared the 10-year-old St. Alphonsus Rodriguez for First Communion.

Above:  St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Image in the Public Domain

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, once a businessman, became a Jesuit lay brother and an influential spiritual advisor.  He, born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, was the third of eleven children of prosperous wool merchant Diego Rodriguez, who died when our saint was 15 years old.  That death ended the education of young Alphonsus by the Jesuits, for a time.  Our saint, back home, took over the family business.  Rodriguez married Maria Suarez when he was 26 years old.  The couple had three children, two of whom predeceased their mother.  Rodriguez buried his wife then his mother in his thirties.  Next he sold the business and moved in with his sisters, who helped to raise the young son and taught our saint prayerful meditation.

Rodriguez had a vocation to religious life.  After the death of his third (of three) child, he inquired about becoming a novice.  Our saint did not meet the educational requirement to become a novice.  Attempts to acquire that education ended in failure.  He could, however, become a lay brother and study with children.  After six months the order sent Rodriguez to the College of Montesión, Palma, Majorca/Mallorca.  There our saint was the porter for 46 years; he delivered packages, gave alms to the poor, and assisted travelers in search of lodging.  Rodriguez made his final vows in 1586/1587, when he was 54 years old.

Above:  St. Peter Claver

Image in the Public Domain

St. Peter Claver, born into a farming family in Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580/1581, grew up and became a great missionary.  His parents sent him to Barcelona, to study under Jesuits.  The Jesuit influence rubbed of on Claver, who became a novice at Tarragona.  The order sent him to Palma, Majorca/Mallorca, where he was unsure about what his future should be.  St. Adolphus Rodriguez convinced the novice to ask to become a missionary to the New World.  Claver arrived in Cartagena (now in Colombia) in 1610.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez continued to live at Palma until he died, aged 87 years, on October 31, 1617.  He was 87 years old.  Pope Urban VIII declared Rodriguez a Venerable in 1626.  Pope Leo XII beatified him in 1825.

Claver spent the rest of his life in Cartagena, where he was the “Apostle to the Negroes.”  He was initially the assistant to Father Alphonsus de Sandoval, S.J., who ministered to recently arrived African slaves, still in slave pens, prior to auction.  Sandoval was a dedicated minister to slaves; Claver was more so.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1815, catechized and baptized more than 300,000 African slaves through 1650.  Against strong opposition from powerful people and much indifference from his superiors in Cartagena, Claver labored faithfully.  He could not end slavery, but he did what he could; he advocated for improved conditions on plantations, and succeeded.  Mostly he was present with and sympathetic to slaves.  Claver described himself as

the slave of the Negroes forever.

Claver, ill and unable to leave his room during the last four years of his life, endured the company of just one servant, who beat him frequently.  Our saint died in Cartagena on September 8, 1654.  Surprisingly, the Church gave him a grand funeral.

Pope Pius IX beatified Claver in 1851.

Pope Leo XIII canonized Claver and Rodriguez together in 1888.

Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, and Alphonsus Rodriguez enabled the productive ministry of St. Peter Claver.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Peter Faber, Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Saint Peter Claver,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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