Archive for the ‘Saints of 1660-1669’ Category

Feast of Juana Ines de la Cruz (November 12)   1 comment

Above:  Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz

Image in the Public Domain

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JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ (NOVEMBER 1648/1651-APRIL 17, 1694/1695)

Mexican Roman Catholic Nun, Composer, Writer, Philosopher, Feminist, and Alleged Heretic

Born Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramirez de Santillana

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Well-behaved women seldom make history.

–Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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You foolish men, accusing women for lacking reason when you yourselves are the reason for the lack.

–Juana Inés de la Cruz, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 493

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Juana Inés de la Cruz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Ellsberg, All Saints (1997).

Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramirez de Santillana made history and was not by the standards of her time and place, well-behaved.  She was an intellectual, a scientist, a mathematician, a philosopher, a musical composer, a poet, and a playwright.  Our saint was also a theologian.  She was the first great Latin American poet, too.  Our saint challenged the patriarchy and earned her bona fides as a feminist.  She was ahead of her time.

Juana was a Criolla, a mixed-race person mostly of Spanish ancestry.  She entered the world at San Miguel, Nepantia, near Mexico City, on November 12, 1648 or 1651.  Our saint’s father was Captain Pedro Manuel de Asbaje, a Spaniard.  Her mother was Isabel Ramirez, a Criolla.  The couple was unmarried.  Juana and Isabel lied on Isabel’s father’s hacienda.  Juana’s grandfather had a profound influence on her.  Our saint grew up devout and bookish.  She had an insatiable appetite for knowledge at a very young age.  Given that Juana’s culture forbade the formal education of girls and women, her education was entirely informal.  It began with her grandfather’s library.

Juana was an intelligent and well-educated young woman.  She read and wrote Latin when three years old.  She wrote a poem about the Eucharist when eight years old.  Our saint, who taught Latin at the tender age of thirteen years, also mastered Nahuati, the language of the Aztecs.  The sixteen-year-old Juana became a lady-in-waiting in the court of the Viceroy of New Spain.  When she was seventeen years old, she matched wits and intellects with the leading minds, theologians, and poets in New Spain, and astounded them.  Yet Juana, as a female, could not matriculate at the local university.

Juana needed to study, write, and think.  The prospect of marriage and motherhood did not appeal to her.  Therefore, the 19-year-old became a nun.  She left the Convent of Saint Joseph, of the Discaled Carmelites, after a few months.  Yet our saint found that she could maintain her library, keep her scientific instruments, and write to her content at the Convent of Saint Jerome, Mexico City.  She did, and the Viceroy and his wife ensured the publication of he writings in Spain.

Juana was not shy about expressing herself.  She confronted the patriarchy that denied women and girls access to formal education.  Neither was she reluctant to challenge male authority figures and question their orthodoxy.  In 1690. our saint critiqued a 40-year-old sermon by a famous preacher.  He was an idiot, she was certain.  So, she composed a scathing, detailed critique, probably the first theological work by a woman in the New World.  The Bishop of Puebla replied by affirming Juana’s orthodoxy yet arguing that theology was not women’s work.

Toward the end of her life, Juana went quiet in the face of the threat of the Inquisition.  In 1693, she ceased writing, sold her 4000-volume library and her scientific instruments, and gave the proceeds to the poor.  On April 17, 1694 or 1695, Juana died of plague at the convent.  She had contracted the plague while tending to other nuns, afflicted with it.

To keep a portion of the population “in its place” is to harm society.  Keeping others in “in their place” holds them back.  It also holds back those who keep them “in their place.”  Therefore, enlightened self-interest (if not the Golden Rule–imagine that!) leads to lifting up everyone and granting equality of access to formal education, et cetera.  Mutuality leads to each person having the opportunity to become the person God wants him or her to be.  This may not be the person social norms dictate him or her to become.  So be it.

Discrimination is insidious.  It harms everybody–the intended targets, these who commit it and consent to it passively, and all other members of society.  Where discrimination exists, there are only victims, some of whom double as victimizers.  Whatever one does to another, one does to oneself.

Some accused Juana Inés de la Cruz of being uppity and presumptuous.  They were wrong.  She was bold.  She was of her time and ahead of it.  And she deserved encouragement, not intimidation.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JAKOB BÖHME, GERMAN LUTHERAN MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF MARTIN RINCKART, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA MARIA OF THE CROSS, FOUNDRESS OF THE CARMELITE SISTERS OF SAINT TERESA OF FLORENCE

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Juana Inés de la Cruz and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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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 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 Petter Dass (August 18)   Leave a comment

Above:   Flag of the Kingdom of Denmark

Image in the Public Domain

(Historical Note:  By marriage, the dynasties of Norway and Sweden merged in the 1300s.  King Magnus II of Sweden (reigned 1319-1364) was also King Magnus VII of Norway (reigned 1319-1355).  His son, King Haakon VI (of Sweden, 1362-1363, and of Norway, 1355-1380), married Queen Margrethe I of Denmark and Norway (reigned 1387-1412), who reigned also as the Queen of Sweden (1389-1397).  The crowns of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden remained united until Sweden broke away in the middle 1400s.  The crowns of Denmark and Norway remained united until 1814, when Norway came under Swedish control.  Norway became independent in 1905.)

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PETTER PETTERSON DASS (CIRCA 1647-AUGUST 17, 1707)

Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

Petter Dass comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymns.

Our saint was of Scottish and Norwegian ancestry.  Peter Dundas (died in 1653), from Scotland, was a trader in the coastal region of northern Norway.  Maren Falch (1629-1709) came from a Norwegian family.  Petter Dass, born in Nord-Herø, in the parish of Alstahaug, Norway, was one of six children in the family.  His father died when our saint was six years old.  Maren distributed her children among relatives.  Peter lived with a maternal aunt and her husband, a Lutheran minister, at Nerøy, for a few years.  Then, in 1660, Petter moved to the home of an uncle in Bergen.  Our saint attended the cathedral school there.

Above:  The Petter Daas Museum, Next to the Medieval Alstahaug Church, Alstahaug, Norway

Image Source = Google Earth

Petter matriculated at the University of Copenhagen in 1666.  He was unhappy there.  Our saint was impoverished, lonely, and among strangers.  He left after three years.

Above:  The Medieval Alstahaug Church, Alstahaug, Norway

Image in the Public Domain

Petter made his life elsewhere.  Immediately after leaving Copenhagen, our saint became a tutor to Jacob Wirthmond, the resident chaplain in Vefson.  After a few years, Petter applied to become the house chaplain to the resident chaplain of a neighboring parish.  Our saint, ordained in 1673, married Margrethe Andersdatter that year.  In 1689, he became the senior pastor of the parish of Alstahaug.  This parish, with its coastal villages, was large.  Our saint’s duties required him to made dangerous trips in the open sea.  He found time to become a successful fish dealer, too.  In that capacity, Petter assisted the farmers of Helgeland during the difficult years of 1696-1698.  Failing health forced our saint to retire in 1704.

Above:  Alstahaug, Norway

Image Source = Google Earth

Petter composed much verse, most of it published posthumously.  His secular poetry included folklore-based ballads and verse complete with references to the daily lives of fishermen.  Our saint’s religious verse (all of it published posthumously) included hymns and poetic setting of Martin Luther’s catechism.  One of these hymns, translated into English as “Lord, Our God, with Praise We Come,” became hymn #467 in The Worshipbook:  Services and Hymns (1972), hymn #244 in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and hymn #730 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

Our saint, aged 60 years, died in Alstahaug, Norway, on August 17, 1707.

Petter, the first congregational Norwegian poet, made his mark in the literature and folk music of Norway.  He has also become a figure in Norwegian folklore.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN NIEMOLLER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND PEACE ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER CLARK, U.S. METHODIST PROTESTANT MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT JORDAN OF PISA, DOMINICAN EVANGELIST

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BRIGHT, ANGLICAN CANON, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Petter Dass and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

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

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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Feast of Henry Aldrich (December 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Henry Aldrich

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY ALDRICH (JANUARY 15, 1648-DECEMBER 14, 1710)

Anglican Priest, Composer, Theologian, Mathematician, and Architect

Henry Aldrich comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Aldrich was a polymath.  He, born in Westminster, England, on January 15, 1648, was a son of navy captain Henry Aldrich (d. 1683) and Judith Francis Aldrich.  Our saint studied at Westminster then at Christ Church, Oxford (B.A., 1668; M.A., 1669).  He, a fine mathematician, published works in logic and mathematics.  Aldrich was also an architect, as in the case of All Saints’ Church, Oxford.  Our saint was also a composer of chants, including “O Be Joyful in the Lord,” a setting of Psalm 100.  He was, without doubt, an expert in punning.  (I have found a soulmate on this, my Ecumenical Calendar!)

Aldrich, a tutor at Christ Church, Oxford, sang in the cathedral choir.  He became the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1689, after the Glorious Revolution.  Aldrich would have become the Dean a few years prior, but King James II/VII (reigned 1685-1688) appointed John Massey, a Roman Catholic.  Massey fled to the continent after James II/VII did.  Our saint, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford (1692-1695), served as the Rector of Wem, near Shropshire, starting in 1702.

Aldrich, his health failing, was in London when he died on December 14, 1710.  He was 62 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 27, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL GERHARDT, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ALFRED ROOKER, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST PHILANTHROPIST AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS SISTER, ELIZABETH ROOKER PARSON, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF AMELIA BLOOMER, U.S. SUFFRAGETTE

THE FEAST OF JOHN CHARLES ROPER, ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF OTTAWA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LOJZE GROZDE, SLOVENIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1943

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Aldrich and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Michel-Richard Delalande (June 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Michel-Richard Delalande

Image in the Public Domain

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MICHEL-RICHARD DELALANDE (DECEMBER 15, 1657-JUNE 18, 1726)

French Roman Catholic Composer

Also known as Michel-Richard de Lalande

Michel-Richard Delalande comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via my Western classicism and his sacred music.

Our saint, born on December 15, 1657, was a native of Paris.  He, the fifteenth child in his family, was a son of Michel, a master tailor.  The young man sang in the choir of the Church of St. Germain l’Auxerrois, Paris.  Our saint also studied the organ and the harpsichord.  He, organist at the Church of St. Jean-en-Grève, the Church of St. Germain l’Auxerrois, the Church of St. Louis, and Petit St. Antoine, Paris, went on to work in the court of Kings Louis XIV (reigned 1643-1715) and Louis XV (reigned 1715-1774) at the Palace of Versailles.  Delalande taught music to two princesses.  He also served as the director of the royal chapel from 1714 to 1726.

Delalande, of the Baroque school, composed both sacred and secular music.  His secular music included:

  1. Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roy, and
  2. Les Fontaines de Versailles; and
  3. Concert de Trompettes.

Our saint’s sacred music included:

  1. Miserere Mei, Deus;
  2. Dies Irae;
  3. Venite, Exultemus Domino;
  4. De Profundis;
  5. Te Deum;
  6. Confitebor tibi Domine;
  7. Exaltabo te Domine;
  8. Super Flumina Babylonis.

Delalande, aged 68 years, died in Versailles, France, on June 18, 1726.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 11, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY KNOX SHERRILL, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF BARBARA ANDREWS, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH, 1970

THE FEAST OF JOHN JAMES MOMENT, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MATTEO RICCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF MATTHÊÔ LÊ VAN GAM, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1847

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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 Michel-Richard Delalande

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 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 William Leddra (March 14)   6 comments

Above:  The Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM LEDDRA (DIED MARCH 14 OR 24, 1661)

British Quaker Martyr in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1661

For bearing my testimony for the Lord against deceivers and the deceived, I am brought here to suffer.

–William Leddra, on the day he died

People who execute pacifists do not impress me.

William Leddra 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).  Their source lists March 24, 1661, as the date of Leddra’s judicial murder.  Nevertheless, most other sources I consulted list the date as March 14, 1661.

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.  Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson died on October 27, 1659.  Mary Dyer received the crown of martyrdom on June 1, 1660.   

Leddra, who was married, was a native of Cornwall, England, who had moved to Barbados then to New England.  He converted to the Religious Society of Friends.  Our saint, a clothier, arrived in Rhode Island in 1658.  He would have been safe there, with the greatest risk being Roger Williams arguing with him and accusing him of heresy.  Leddra, however, went to Connecticut, the government of which banished him.  Then our saint traveled to Salem, Massachusetts Bay.  Authorities arrested Leddra and transported him to Boston.  Our saint, banished from the colony, returned to it.  Authorities arrested him again in April 1659.  Our saint, incarcerated again in October 1659, went on trial before Governor John Endecott in March 1661.  The sentence was death by hanging.

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

JANUARY 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Gracious Lord, 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 William Leddra] whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

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

your Son’s victory over sin and death; 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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