Archive for the ‘Saints of 1720-1729’ Category

Feast of Richard Challoner (September 30)   1 comment

Above:  Richard Challoner

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD CHALLONER (SEPTEMBER 29, 1691-JANUARY 12, 1781)

English Roman Catholic Scholar, Religious Writer, Translator, Controversialist, Priest, and Titular Bishop of Doberus

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INTRODUCTION

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Bishop Richard Challoner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his many works, mainly his 1749-1952 revision of the Douai-Rheims Version of the Bible (1582/1609).

Challoner lived during a time of official persecution of Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom.  Prior to the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), Roman Catholics could not participate fully in public life.  For decades after the Catholic Emancipation Act, they still could not participate fully in public life, either.  However, the Catholic Emancipation Act did permit Roman Catholics (except clergy) to sit in the Parliament and serve as members of lay corporations.  Roman Catholics could also hold most crown offices, with a handful of exceptions.  Furthermore, no Roman Catholic cleric was to wear clerical attire outside of church, religious orders were officially under a ban (an unenforced one), and no Roman Catholic prelate was to use a title any Anglican prelate used.  Nevertheless, the Catholic Emancipation Act was a huge step forward for British and Irish Roman Catholics.  The Universities Tests Act (1871) opened universities to Roman Catholics.

Understanding the political-religious climate in which Challoner lived is crucial to grasping his works and their tone.  If one understands why he gave as good as he got, one comprehends our saint and his works in context.

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CONVERT, PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND APOLOGIST

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Challoner, born in Lewes, England, on September 29, 1691, came from a Presbyterian family.  His father was a winecooper.  The father died when our father was a boy.  Then Challoner’s mother became the housekeeper to a Roman Catholic family at Gage, Firle, Sussex.  Our saint joined the Roman Catholic Church when he was about 13 years old, in the household of another Roman Catholic family–the Holmans, of Warkworth, Northamptonshire.  Father John Gother, the Holmans’ chaplain, was also a religious writer and a controversialist.  He taught Challoner Roman Catholic doctrine and helped him get into the English College, Douai, France.

Challoner spent 1705-1730 at the English College, Douai.  He matriculated in July 1705.  Our saint was such a good student that he completed the twelve-year-long course of study in eight years.  In 1708, the pupil committed to return to England on a mission, when required to do so.  Challoner, when twenty-five years old, began to teach the rhetoric and poetry courses.  The following year, he began an eight-year-long appointment as Professor of Philosophy.  Challoner, ordained to the priesthood on March 28, 1716, graduated with his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1719.  The following year, our saint became the Vice President, as well as Professor of Theology and Prefect of Studies.  Challoner received his Doctor in Divinity degree in 1727.  Before our saint left the English College, he published his first book, Think Well On’t; or, Reflections on the Great Truths of the Christian Religion, for Every Day in the Month (1728).

Challoner returned to England, on a mission, in 1730.  He settled in London and began his ministry.  Our saint initially did so disguised as a layman because of the political-religious climate in England.  Challoner said Masses secretly, visited prisons, and performed his priestly duties faithfully.  In his spare time, our saint wrote and translated.  He wrote or translated the following through 1737:

  1. The Grounds of Catholic Doctrine, as Contained in the Profession of Faith (translation, 1732);
  2. Unerring Authority of the Catholic Church (1732);
  3. A Short History of the First Beginning and Progress of the Protestant Religion, Gathered Out of the Best Protestant Writers, By Way of Question and Answer(1733);
  4. A Roman Catholic’s Reasons Why He Cannot Conform (1734);
  5. The Touchstone of the New Religion (1734);
  6. The Young Gentleman Instructed in the Grounds of the Christian Religion (1735);
  7. A Specimen of the Spirit of the Dissenting Teachers (1736); and
  8. The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, Sacrifice, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church; By Way of Question and Answer (1737).

The latter book got Challoner into legal trouble.  Our saint had criticized Anglican divine Dr. Conyers Middleton (1683-1750), a man whose sarcastic polemics got him in trouble with various people.  Middleton had condemned the Roman Catholic Church.  Then Challoner spared no words regarding Middleton in the preface to The Catholic Christian Instructed.  Next, the querulous Middleton pressed charges against our saint, who returned to Douai.

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BISHOP AND VICAR APOSTOLIC CHALLONER

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What would Challoner’s next promotion be?  Some favored him becoming the President of the English College, Douai.  The previous President had died in 1738, and our saint was qualified for the position.

However, Benjamin Petre (1672-1758) had a different job in mind for Challoner.  Petre, the Titular Bishop of Prusa and the Vicar Apostolic of the London District (March 12, 1734-December 22, 1758), wanted Challoner to serve as the Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of the London District instead.  (The Apostolic Vicarate of the London District existed from 1688 to 1850.)  Petre prevailed; Challoner received his appointment on September 12, 1739.  Challoner was insufficiently Roman Catholic for critics who pointed out that he was a convert from Presbyterianism.  Finally, after a long delay, our saint became the Titular Bishop of Doberus and the Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic of the London District on January 29, 1741,

Challoner kept writing in 1738-1740.  His works included:

  1. Rheims Testament (1738), edited with F. Blyth;
  2. a translation of the Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo (1740); and
  3. The Garden of the Soul:  A Manual of Spiritual Exercises and Instructions for Christians, Who, Living in the World; Aspire to Devotion; With an Explanation of the Mass (1740).

Challoner had a rigorous travel schedule to maintain in his new position.  He had oversight over ten English counties, the Channel Islands, British North America (mainly Maryland and Pennsylvania), and parts of the West Indies.  Going to the Western Hemisphere was impossible, for practical reasons.  Visiting the ten home counties took three years.

While traveling, Challoner had time to write.  He wrote or translated the following works, among others, from 1741 to 1758:

  1. The Ground of the Old Religion (1742);
  2. A Letter to a Friend Concerning the Infallibility of the Church (1743);
  3. Memoirs of Missionary Priests, as Well Secular as Regular and of Other Catholics of Both Sexes, That Have Suffered Death in England on Religious Accounts from the Year of Our Lord 1577 to 1684 (174_);
  4. Britannia Sancta (1745), with help from Alban Butler;
  5. the revised, modernized version of the Douai-Rheims translation (1582/1609) of the Bible (in stages, 1749-1752);
  6. A Papist Misrepresented and Represented (17__), abridged from Gother;
  7. Remarks on Two Letters Against Popery (1751);
  8. Instructions for the Jubilee (1751);
  9. Meditations for Every Day of the Year (1753);
  10. The Wonders of God in the Wilderness; or, the Lives of the Most Celebrated Saints of the Oriental Deserts (1755);
  11. The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus (1757), abridged from Abraham Woodhead; and
  12. Manual of Prayers (1758).

Challoner succeeded as the Vicar Apostolic of the London District on December 22, 1758, upon the death of Bishop Petre.  Our saint, being 67 years old, immediately applied for a Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic.  James Robert Talbot (1726-1790) received his appointment on March 10, 1759.  Talbot became the Titular Bishop of Birtha and the Coadjutor Vicar Apostolic on August 14, 1759.  Neither Challoner nor Talbot knew how long our saint had left–decades, actually.  Challoner remained in London, mostly and his health recovered.  Meanwhile, Talbot traveled.

Challoner tended to his administrative duties well.  These duties included opening two schools for boys, founding a school for poor girls, starting conferences among priests in London, and helping to found the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Poor.  He did all of this in hiding, evading arrest for being a Roman Catholic cleric.  After the passage of the Catholic Relief Act (1778), being a priest ceased to lead to a sentence of life imprisonment.

Challoner’s final batch of writings and translations included:

  1. A Caveat Against the Methodists (1760);
  2. The City of God of the New Testament (1760);
  3. A Memorial of Ancient British Piety; or, a British Martyrology (1761);
  4. An Abstract of the Old and New Testaments (17__);
  5. The Following of  Christ, in Four Books (17__), a translation of The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis;
  6. The Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation (17__);
  7. The Morality of the Bible (1762);
  8. Devotion of Catholics to the Blessed Virgin (1764); and
  9. Rules of Life for a Christian (1766).

The final blow to Challoner came from the infamous Gordon Riots (1780).  For three days, an anti-Roman Catholic mob attacked Roman Catholic chapels and the homes of Roman Catholic families in London.  Some members of the mob sought the aged Challoner, to drag him into the street and kill him.  Our saint heard the mob from his hiding place.  He escaped, with help, during the riots.

Challoner never recovered from the shock of this violence.  He, aged 89 years, died in London on January 12, 1781.

Talbot succeeded him as the Vicar Apostolic of the London District and served until 1790.

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CONCLUSION

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Challoner’s greatest literary legacies may be his meditations, hagiographies, and the revision of the Douai-Rheims Version of the Bible.  These have achieved the status of classics.  The Douai-Rheims-Challoner Version of the Bible was the standard Roman Catholic English-language translation of the Bible well into the twentieth century.  It was also the basis of the Confraternity Version (in its stages, 1941-1969), itself the basis of The New American Bible (1970, 1986, 1991), revised into The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011).

I am an Episcopalian.  To be precise, I am an Anglican-Lutheran-Catholic, in that order.  When I hear Roman Catholics speak of an infallible Church, I roll my eyes, at least metaphorically.  I reject the concept of an infallible Church.  I also reject the concepts of an infallible Bible and an infallible Pope.

I respect and admire Challoner while disagreeing with him much of the time.  I recognize him as a member of the Christian family.  I also condemn all those who persecuted Challoner and other Roman Catholics or consented to that persecution.  Furthermore, I deplore the bigotry and violence of those who participated in the Gordon Riots (1780).

Challoner should have been able to operate openly while in England.

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Lord God of love and justice,

thank you for the tireless efforts, faithful witness, and

devout writings of your servant, Richard Challoner.

May we, inspired by his love for you,

rededicate our lives to your service,

and remain faithful despite all obstacles.

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

Jeremiah 38:1-13

Psalm 70

2 Timothy 4:1-8

Luke 9:21-27

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 9, 2021 COMMON ERA

FRIDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CRUGER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN SAMUEL BEWLEY MONSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET; AND RICHARD MANT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

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Feast of Alban Butler (October 13)   1 comment

Above:  Father Alban Butler

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBAN BUTLER (OCTOBER 13, 1710-MAY 15, 1773)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Hagiographer

Father Alban Butler comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saint’s Days and Holy Days, via having been a hagiographer.

Butler was either the greatest hagiographer or one of the greatest hagiographers in the English-speaking Church.  He, born in Appletree, Northamptonshire, England, on October 13, 1710, was a son of Simon Butler (d. 1712).  Our young saint studied at the famous Dame Alice’s School, Fernyhalgh, Lancashire.  [Dame Alice was Dame Alice Harrison (1680-1765).]  Then Butler studied at the English College, Douai, France.  There he joined the ranks of priests in 1735.

Butler made such an impression as a student at the English College that he became a professor immediately after graduating.  He taught philosophy then theology.  While at Douai, our saint began the three decades of work required to complete his magnum opus, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, often abbreviated as The Lives of the Saints.  This was his only work published during his lifetime.   

Or was it?  Butler may have written A Short Account of the Life and Virtues of the Venerable and Religious Mother, Mary of the Holy Cross, Abbefs of the Englifh Poor Clares at Rouen; Who Died There in the Sweet Odour of Sanctity, March 21, Anno 1735 (1767).

Anyway, Lives has proven to be an influential work.  Subsequent writers have revised, condensed, and expanded this originally multi-volume work.  Links to one edition follow:

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September 
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Butler also assisted Richard Challoner (1691-1781) in Britannia Sancta, a hagiography of saints in British Isles.

In 1745 and 1746, Butler traveled in Europe.  He wrote about his journeys in the posthumously published Travels Through France and Italy, and Part of Austrian, French, and Dutch Netherlands During the Years 1745 and 1746 (1803).

Butler lived and worked in England, starting in the middle 1740s.  First, he was a missionary priest in the Midlands.  Later, our saint was acting chaplain to Edward Howard (1686-1777), the Duke of Norfolk.  Butler was a chaplain when he published the first edition (1756-1759) of The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints.

Butler became the President of the English College, Saint-Orme, France, in 1766.  He remained in that post until he died, on May 15, 1773.  Our saint was 62 years old.

The Moveable Feasts and Other Annual Observances of the Catholic Church (1774) debuted one year after our saint died.

Nephew and biographer Charles Butler (1750-1832) edited editions of our saint’s works, including volumes not published during the uncle’s lifetime.  One of these was Meditations and Discourses on the Sublime Truths and Important Duties of Christianity .

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God of Abraham, Elijah, Jesus, the Apostles, and all the saints,

thank you for the faithful work and enduring legacy of your servant, Alban Butler.

Whenever our faith flags, may we, emboldened by

the great cloud of witnesses that has preceded us in faith,

remember that we are not alone in our spiritual struggles,

and that many have endured far worse than we have.

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

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Psalm 1

Revelation 6:9-11

Luke 24:44-49

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 1, 2021 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT GIUSEPPE GIROTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JOHN GRAY, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, MYTHOLOGIST, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND SEMITIC LANGUAGES

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDOVICO PAVONI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SYRAGIUS OF AUTUN AND ANARCHIUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; AND SAINTS VALERY OF LEUCONE AND EUSTACE OF LUXEUIT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

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Feast of Ignaz Franz (August 19)   2 comments

Above:  Grosser Gott, Wir Loben Dich

Image in the Public Domain

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IGNAZ FRANZ (OCTOBER 12, 1719-AUGUST 19, 1790)

German Roman Catholic Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor

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

Franz wrote at least forty-seven hymn texts.  Yet his name has survived in the Christian Church and in hymnody via just one text, Grosser Gott, Wir Loben Dich (1771).  At least three English-speaking men have translated that text into English.  I have schedule these three men for consideration for inclusion on this Ecumenical Calendar.  For those of us who do not read or speak German, but do read and speak English, Franz’s great hymn was probably most often come down to us as “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”  This text, composed as the German Te Deum Laudamus, debuted in Franz’s major hymnal, Katholisches Gesangbuch, auf allerhoechsten Befehl ihrer k. k. apostl Majestaet Marien Theresiens zum Druck befoerert (1774).

Franz entered the world at Protzau, Silesia (now Zwrócona, Poland), on October 12, 1719.  He began his studies at Glaz (now Klodzka, Poland), when he was nine years old.  Our saint studied theology and philosophy at Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). He also mastered Italian and French there.  He, ordained to the priesthood in Olmütz (now Olomouc, Czech Republic) on September 22, 1742, became chaplain at Gross-Glogau (now Glogów, Poland).  After serving as the archpriest in Schlawa (now Slawa, Poland), our saint transferred to Breslau in 1766.  For the rest of his life, Franz worked as the Accessor at the office of the Apostolic Vicar.  He also edited catechisms.

Our saint published ten books, nine of them in Breslau.  Most of these ten volumes were hymnals.  His first hymnal, Allemeines und vollstaendiges katholishches Gesangbuch, debuted in 1768.  Our saint also published a prayer book for craftsmen and servants in 1776.  His book of tunes (1778) included Reformed and Lutheran chorale tunes.  The consensus among Protestant and Roman Catholic authorities in the area was that most of our saint’s hymns were light are, and that he was a better hymnal editor than hymn writer.

I cannot evaluate that last claim.  For all I know, some of Franz’s other hymns could be masterpieces, or merely good work, at least.

Ignaz Franz died, aged 70 years, in Breslau on August 19, 1790.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ABSALOM JONES, RICHARD ALLEN, AND JARENA LEE, EVANGELISTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN SCHMOLCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREER ANDREWS, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HENRY WILLIAMS BAKER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMNAL EDITOR, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MICHAEL WEISSE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR; AND JAN ROH, BOHEMIAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Ignaz Franz)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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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 David Brainerd (April 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Brainerd Preaching to the Indians

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID BRAINERD (APRIL 21, 1718-OCTOBER 9, 1747)

American Congregationalist then Presbyterian Missionary and Minister

David Brainerd 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).

Brainerd came from a Congregationalist background.  He, born in Haddam, Connecticut, on April 20, 1718, was a son of Hezekiah Brainerd (died in 1727) and Dorothy Brainerd (died in 1732).  Our saint, orphaned at 14 years of age, spent about a year in his pastor’s household.  Then the minister died.  Next, Brainerd joined the household of Jerusha, his older sister, who lived in East Haddam.  Our saint inherited a farm near Durham when he was 19 years old.  Agricultural life disagreed with Brainerd, though.  So he returned to East Haddam at age 20, to prepare to matriculate at Yale.  While waiting to start classes at Yale, he had a conversion experience on July 12, 1739.

Brainerd had a weak physical constitution.  It interfered with his studies at Yale, which began in the fall of 1739.  During one of our saint’s health-related absences from Yale, the (First) Great Awakening took hold on campus, much to the disapproval of the faculty, Old Lights Calvinists.  Brainerd, back on campus, joined the New Lights party.  After he spoke dismissively of one tutor as having

no more grace than a chair,

the administration expelled Brainerd in 1741.

The following year, New Lights Calvinists licensed Brainerd to preach.  This brought him to the attention of the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson (died in 1747), who tried to have our saint reinstated at Yale.  Brainerd was done at Yale, though; missionary work beckoned.

In 1743-1746, Brainerd worked under the auspices of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge.  He worked as a missionary to indigenous people on the frontier–to the Housatonic near Nassau, New York (1743-1744), then to the Delaware tribe in New Jersey.  His health suffered in the wilderness.  Nevertheless, our saint, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1744, founded a school for the Housatonic, began to translate the Psalms for them, and founded a Presbyterian congregation for the Delaware.

Brainerd, ill, left the mission field in late 1746.  He arrived at the home of Jonathan Dickinson in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in November 1746.  After a few months, he moved on to the home of Jonathan Edwards in Northampton, Massachusetts, in early 1747.  Our saint died of tuberculosis there on October 9, 1747.  He was 29 years old.

Edwards published An Account of the Life of the Late Reverend Mr. David Brainerd (1749).  The book became influential among certain prominent, subsequent missionaries.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 2, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHABBAZ BHATTI AND OTHER CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD

THE FEAST OF SAINT AIDAN OF LINDISFARNE, CELTIC MISSIONARY BISHOP; SAINT CAELIN, CELTIC PRIEST; CEDD OF LASTINGHAM, CELTIC AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BISHOP OF ESSEX, AND ABBOT OF LASTINGHAM; CYNIBIL OF LASTINGHAM, CELTIC AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MONK; SAINT CHAD OF MERCIA, CELTIC AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, ABBOT OF LASTINGHAM, BISHOP OF YORK/THE NORTHUMBRIANS AND OF LICHFIELD/THE MERCIANS AND THE LINDSEY PEOPLE; SAINT VITALIAN, BISHOP OF ROME; SAINT ADRIAN OF CANTERBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, CANTERBURY; AND SAINT CUTHBERT OF LINDISFARNE, CELTIC AND ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, HERMIT, PRIEST, AND BISHOP OF LINDISFARNE

THE FEAST OF DANIEL MARCH, SR., U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, POET, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHN STUART BLACKIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN SCHOLAR, LINGUIST, POET, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDMILLA OF BOHEMIA, DUCHESS OF BOHEMIA, AND MARTYR, 921; HER GRANDSON, SAINT WENCESLAUS I, DUKE OF BOHEMIA, AND MARTYR, 929; SAINT AGNES OF PRAGUE, BOHEMIAN PRINCESS AND NUN; HER PEN PAL, SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI, FOUNDRESS OF THE POOR CLARES; HER SISTER, SAINT AGNES OF ASSISI, ABBESS AT MONTICELLI; AND HER MOTHER, SAINT HORTULANA OF ASSISI, POOR CLARE NUN

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant David Brainerd,

who made the good news known to the Housatonic and the Delaware.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:1-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of William Law (April 10)   1 comment

Above:  Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM LAW (1686-APRIL 9, 1761)

Anglican Priest, Mystic, and Spiritual Writer

Feast Day (Anglican Church of Canada) = April 9

Feast Day (The Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) = April 10

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If we are to follow Christ, it must be in our common way of spending every day.  If we are to live unto God at any time or in any place, we are to live unto him in all times and in all places.  If we are to use anything as a gift of God, we are to use everything as his gift.

–William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728)

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William Law changed his mind about certain major points throughout his life. He did, of course; he was a human being.  He was consistent in obeying his conscience, however.  He was simultaneously conservative and revolutionary.  Law was sui generis.

Law became an academic and a churchman.  He, born in King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England, in 1686, matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1705.  He, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1711, became a fellow of Emmanuel College later that year.  He had to leave four years later, though.

Law affirmed the divine right of the House of Stuart.  In 1714, when Georg, the Elector of Hanover, became George I, the King of Great Britain, our saint refused to swear loyalty to the new monarch.  Law lost his position at Emmanuel College in 1715.  The state and the church were far from separate.

Law spoke and wrote his mind freely; he was a controversialist.  On March 31, 1717, Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, preached before King George I on John 18:36.  Bishop Hoadly insisted that the Gospels provide no warrant for any visible ecclesiastical authority.  Law participated in the Bangorite Controversy; he wrote Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor (1717), defending High Church principles.  Likewise, Law vigorously opposed Deistic, rationalistic influence in The Church of England.  In The Case of Reason (1732), he argued against the Latitudinarian downplaying of dogma, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization.  Law also opposed wars of empire.

Law, although a High Church Anglican who affirmed the divine right of kings, became an influential figure among many Anglican Evangelicals.  Our saint, the tutor to the young Edward Gibbon (the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire decades later) from 1727 to 1737, had published The Absolute Unlawfulness of Stage Entertainment Fully Demonstrated (1726) and Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection (1726).  His screed against plays proved to be controversial.  (I refuse to defend anti-theater moralizing excesses.)  A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), a work of mysticism and moral discipline well within traditional bounds, became influential for a long time.

Law, ordained a priest in 1728, moved back to King’s Cliffe in 1740; he had inherited an estate.  Our saint spent the rest of his life praying, writing, living simply, and founding schools and almshouses.  He also moved deeper into mysticism, past the bounds many of his contemporaries considered acceptable.  Law read works by German mystic Jakob Böhme (1575-1624) then moved to the edge of the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light.  Our saint wrote The Spirit of Prayer (1749, 1752), The Way to Divine Knowledge (1752), and The Spirit of Love (1752-1754).  All of these works were controversial.  John Wesley, once an admirer of Law, disapproved of these works.

Law, aged about 75 years, died in King’s Cliffe on April 9, 1761.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES I THE GREAT, CATHOLICOS OF THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH; AND SAINT MESROP, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AGNES TSAO KOU YING, AGATHA LIN ZHAO, AND LUCY YI ZHENMEI, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHISTS AND MARTYRS, 1856, 1858, AND 1862; SAINT AUGUSTE CHAPDELAINE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR, 1856; AND SAINT LAURENTIUS BAI XIAOMAN, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CONVERT AND MARTYR, 1856

THE FEAST OF BERNARD BARTON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MASSEY H. SHEPHERD, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST, ECUMENIST, AND LITURGIST; DEAN OF AMERICAN LITURGISTS

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Almighty God, who called your servant William Law to a devout and holy life:

grant that by your spirit of love and through a faithfulness in prayer,

we may find the way to divine knowledge and so come to see the hidden things of God;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Common Worship:  Daily Prayer (2005), 462

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Holy and merciful God, you filled the heart of William Law

with devotion and zeal in your service;

set us afire with love and obedience, that,

encouraged by his teaching, we may grow in true holiness of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or 

God, you called us to hunger and thirst for what is right,

and to follow your servant William in his serious call to devout and holy living;

grant that we who preach to others may never find ourselves rejected.  Amen.

Tobit 1:16-18

Psalm 119:113-120 or 119:137-144

Romans 6:20-23

Luke 11:33-36

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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O God, you kindled the flame of your love in the heart of William Law

and made him a shining light and sure guide in calling many to a devout and holy life.

Grant us so to practice the rule and discipline of faith,

that we walk in the ways of your love as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 103:1-5

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

–The Anglican Church of Canada

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Almighty God, whose servant William Law taught us to hear and follow your call to a holy life,

grant that we, loving you above all things and in all things,

may seek your purpose and shape our actions to your will,

that we may grow in all virtue and be diligent in prayer all the days of our lives,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Ghost

be all honor and glory now and forever.  Amen.

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 1

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 227

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Feast of Jean-Pierre de Caussade (March 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  Nancy, France, August 24, 1914

Image Creator = Bain News Service

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-16805

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JEAN-PIERRE DE CAUSSADE (MARCH 7, 1675-MARCH 6, 1751)

French Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Director

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The Holy Spirit writes no more Gospels except in our hearts.  All we do from moment to moment is live this new gospel of the Holy Spirit.  We, if we are holy, are the paper, our sufferings and our actions are the ink.  The workings of the Holy Spirit are his pen, and with it he writes a living gospel.

–Jean-Pierre de Caussade, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 104

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Little documentation of the life of Jean-Pierre de Caussade has survived.  His now-classic work, translated into English as The Abandonment to Divine Providence or as The Sacrament of the Present Moment, was a book he wrote for the Sisters of the Visitation at Nancy, France, whom he served as their spiritual director from 1733-1740.  Father de Caussade also wrote to the Sisters after he ceased to be their spiritual director.  His book remained unpublished until 1861.

For the record, I know that at least one scholar has questioned de Caussade’s authorship of this work.  However, the assumption in this post is that our saint wrote it.

We can be certain of some biographical dates.  De Caussade, born in Cahors, France, on March 7, 1675, died in Toulouse, France, on March 6, 1751, one day prior to what would have been his seventy-sixth birthday.

Theological controversy surrounded The Abandonment to Divine Providence.  Although de Caussade was not a Quietist, some ecclesiastical officials misinterpreted his book as being a Quietist text.  Quietism, which influenced some varieties of Protestantism, was a form of mysticism that minimized the role of the Church and its sacraments.  According to Quietism, if one were sufficiently quiet, blocking out distractions both internal and external, one could hear just one voice.  The assumption of Quietism was that this voice was that of the Holy Spirit.

De Caussade was an orthodox Roman Catholic and a mystic; his counsel fit in neatly with Roman Catholic monastic spirituality and mysticism.  He wrote that God was present in the ordinary details of daily life.  Our saint wrote of the “sacrament of the present moment” and encouraged the Sisters to progress spiritually until their lives became living sacred texts, contemporary gospels the Holy Spirit was writing.

De Caussade influenced certain notable saints, including St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) and Dorothy Day (1897-1980).

De Caussade’s counsel is consistent with advice from St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430).  The bumper sticker-length reduction of a portion of one of the sermons of the Bishop of Hippo Regius is,

Love God and do what you will.

The full germane text is longer, of course.  The core of the issue is:

Once for all, then, a short precept is given to you: Love, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.

In other words, if one is “in the zone” of divine love, one can do whatever one wants and honor God, for one will act out of love for God, by grace.  If one’s life has become a gospel the Holy Spirit is writing, one can love God and do what one will, by grace.  “If” is a crucial word in this scenario.

May you, O reader, live in such a manner as to be aware of the “sacrament of the present moment” in your daily life.  And may your life be another contemporary gospel the Holy Spirit is writing.  If your life is such a gospel, may it continue to be one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERTO DE NOBOLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN MOROCCO, 1220

THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, U.S. UNITARIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF GUSTAVE WEIGEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST; CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, COFOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AND BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC; AND CHARLES GORE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF WORCESTER, BIRMINGHAM, AND OXFORD; FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE RESURRECTION; THEOLOGIAN; AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND WORLD PEACE

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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 Jean-Pierre de Caussade

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and longing 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 Anthony Benezet (January 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  Anthony Benezet

Image in the Public Domain

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ANTOINE BÉNÉZET (JANUARY 31, 1713-MAY 3, 1784)

French-American Quaker Abolitionist

Anthony Benezet 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).

Antoine Bénézet, born in Saint-Quentin, Aisne, France, on January 31, 1713, and raised in a Huguenot family, changed the world.  He and his family, part of a persecuted minority, moved to London, England, in 1715.  Sixteen years later, they immigrated to Pennsylvania.  Benezet worked with John Woolman (1720-1772) to persuade Quakers of the evils of slavery.  Our saint, one of the rare non-racist white people of the time, taught in a Quaker school for white and black children.  He worked in various schools (both day schools and night schools) in the Philadelphia area over the years; he even started a night class for poor black children in his home in 1750.  Furthermore, Benezet opened the first public school for girls in North America in 1754.  In 1770, after operating private classes for poor black youth at night for two decades, Benezet, with official Quaker support, opened a formal school for that population in Philadelphia.

Benezet wrote of the evils of slavery, an institution he had opposed strongly since the 1750s.  He wrote tracts, corresponded with other abolitionists (including John Wesley), and wrote to Queen Charlotte (consort of King George III).  Our saint and Woolman persuaded the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to denounce slavery.  Benezet also helped to form the Pennsylvania Abolition Society in 1775.  Furthermore, in 1780, Benezet helped to defeat a proposal in Pennsylvania to return many former slaves to servitude.

Benezet, aged 71 years, died in Philadelphia on May 3, 1784.  Others carried on his fight against chattel slavery for generations.

Slavery comes in many forms, all of them morally indefensible.  The legacy of Anthony Benezet challenges us to condemn all forms of slavery, to act, and to persuade others to create a more just society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

LABOR DAY (U.S.A.)

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

THE FEAST OF DAVID CHARLES, WELSH CALVINISTIC METHODIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF NEW GUINEA, 1942 AND 1943

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF ROSKILDE, ENGLISH-DANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Blessed Marie Poussepin (January 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Marie Poussepin

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIE POUSSEPIN (OCTOBER 14, 1653-JANUARY 24, 1744)

Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin

Alternative feast day = October 14

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Do your best and pray fervently to obtain the capacities you lack.

–Blessed Marie Poussepin

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Blessed Marie Poussepin spent most of her life serving God in the less fortunate.  She, born in Dourdan, Essone, France, on October 14, 1653, grew up in a devout family.  Claude, her father, was a stocking manufacturer.  Our saint’s mother was usually ill.  The mother died when Marie was 22 years old.  Our saint, accustomed to being a caregiver, began to run the household and to care for her ailing father, rather than join a contemplative religious order.  After Claude died in 1683, our saint assumed control of the family business, which she modernized.  After a few years, Marie gave the business to a brother and focused on religious life.

Our saint became a Dominican tertiary in 1690.  She, head of the local Confraternity of Charity in 1693-1694, began to care for people in her home.  At Sainville, in 1695, Poussepin founded the first house of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.  Our saint was responsible for educating many children and providing much health care in parts of rural France.

Poussepin, aged 90 years, died in Sainville on January 24, 1744.

Pope John Paul II declared Poussepin a Venerable in 1991 then beatified her in 1994.

The order continues its good works in 36 countries.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 31, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Francesco Antonio Bonporti (December 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Francesco Antonio Bonporti

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCESCO ANTONIO BONPORTI (JUNE 11, 1672-DECEMBER 19, 1749)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Composer

One of the delights of being a Western classicist is learning about composers who have fallen into obscurity.  Then another delight–listening to their music–ensues.

Francesco Antonio Bonporti, born in Trento, on the Italian peninsula, on June 11, 1672, was one of these composers.  He studied theology, composition, and violin at the Collegium Germanicum, Rome.  His composition teacher was Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni (1657-1743).  Bonporti, ordained a priest in 1695, moved to Padua in 1740.  There he died on December 19, 1749.

Bonporti composed instrumental music as a hobby.  One of the composers he influenced was Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

I encourage you, O reader, to seek, find, and listen to music Bonporti composed.  Much of it is available at YouTube.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

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

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

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

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of your creation in the work of your servant Francesco Antonio Bonporti.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may behold your glory, and that at last everyone may know

the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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