Archive for the ‘Saints of 1780-1799’ Category

Feast of Elias Boudinot, IV (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Elias Boudinot, IV, 1798

Image Creator = Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin (1770-1852)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-13207

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ELIAS BOUDINOT, IV (MAY 2, 1740-OCTOBER 24, 1821)

U.S. Statesman, Philanthropist, and Witness for Social Justice

Elias Boudinot, IV, 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).

Elias Boudinot, IV, was an attorney.  He, a son of Mary Catherine Williams (Boudinot) and Elias Boudinot, III (a silversmith and a merchant), debuted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1740.  Our saint, who had eight siblings, read law under his Richard Stockton (1730-1781), husband of one of our saint’s sisters, in Princeton, New Jersey.  (Stockton went on to sign the Declaration of Independence.)  Boudinot became an attorney in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1760.  He married Hannah Stockton (1736-1808), sister of Richard, in 1762.  The couple had two children.

Boudinot, a friend of George Washington, affiliated with the pro-independence cause relatively early.  He became a member of the Essex County Committee of Correspondence in 1774.  Three years later, our saint became the Commissary General of Prisoners (Continental Army) and joined the Second Continental Congress.  He resigned from Congress the following year.  Boudinot served in the Confederation Congress from 1781 to 1784, under the Articles of Confederation.  He also served a year (1782-1783) as President of the United States in Congress Assembled.  In that capacity, our saint signed the Treaty of Paris of 1783, by which the British Empire recognized that the United States (still plural) were no longer part of that empire.

Boudinot also helped to transform the United States from a confederation of thirteen countries into one country, then to build it up.  He advocated for the ratification of the proposed Constitution of the United States (1787) and helped to secure New Jersey’s ratification (1787) of that document.  Boudinot served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1795.  National political parties formed at the end of his tenure in the U.S. Congress.  Boudinot, initially part of the pro-Administration faction, passed logically into the new Federalist Party in 1794.  He served as the Director of the U.S. Mint from 1795 to 1805.

Boudinot was a devout Presbyterian.  He served as a trustee of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1772 to 1821.  Our saint, drawing from Reformed theology, wrote The Age of Revelation (1801), a rebuttal of Thomas Paine‘s The Age of Reason, Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (1794).  Boudinot argued against Paine’s Deism.  Our saint, from a theological tradition that taught that the two books of God are the Bible and nature, accepted science and sound theology as being mutually compatible.

Boudinot, like many people of the time, wondered about the origins of the First Nations.  He thought that they descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.  Our saint explained this in A Star in the West (1816), years prior to Joseph Smith‘s alleged revelation in western New York.

One may suppose credibly that, given Boudinot’s acceptance of science, he would, if he were alive in 2020, accept the genetic evidence discrediting his proposal from 1816.  Contrast Boudinot’s pro-science approach, O reader, with Mormon epistomology, which boils down to ignoring evidence that contradicts a conclusion, and seeking to know that an objectively false proposition is true by having enough faith.

Boudinot’s interest in indigenous peoples combined with his faith to lead him to defend the rights of First Nations against his fellow white people and the federal government.  He sponsored some indigenous youth, students in New England.  One of these youths was a Cherokee named Galagina (circa 1803-1839).  Galagina, with permission, took the name “Elias Boudinot,” after his benefactor.

Boudinot also opposed slavery.  He wrote to defenders of the Peculiar Institution:

How will you answer, in the great day of inquisition for blood, for the share you have had in that horrid traffic in the souls of men, called the Guinea trade?  How will you account for the contradiction between your national declarations in the day of distress and humiliation, and your political conduct, under the smiles of divine Providence, since your deliverance has been effected?

Boudinot also helped to found the American Bible Society in 1816.  He served as its first president, until 1821.  The Society distributed nearly 100,000 Bibles by 1820.

Boudinot, generous in life, was generous in his will.  Our saint made bequests to various charitable causes.  For example, he gave 13,000 acres to the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to provide wood at low cost to poor people.  Another bequest was $200 (the equivalent of $4,720.40 in 2020) to buy eyeglasses for poor people with bad vision, so they could read the Bible.

Boudinot died in Burlington, New York, on October 24, 1821.  He was 81 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 17, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATRICK, APOSTLE OF IRELAND

THE FEAST OF EBENEZER ELLIOTT, “THE CORN LAW RHYMER”

THE FEAST OF HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAN SARKANDER, SILESIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND “MARTYR OF THE CONFESSIONAL,” 1620

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA BARBARA MAIX, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Elias Boudinot, IV,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name,

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2016), 60

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Feast of John Gloucester (April 13)   1 comment

Above:  John Gloucester

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GLOUCESTER, SR. (1776-MAY 2, 1822)

First African-American Presbyterian Minister

The Reverend John Gloucester comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Samuel Eli Cornish (1795-1858), whom he mentored.  Gloucester’s feast day is April 13, the anniversary of his ordination.

Gloucester, born a slave, became the first ordained African-American Presbyterian minister.  He, born Jack in 1776, was a native of eastern Tennessee.  Jack was devout from a young age; he preached to other slaves.  He married Rhoda, with whom he had four children:  John, Jr.; Jeremiah; Stephen; and Mary.  Presbyterian minister Gideon Blackbury (1772-1838) purchased our saint then freed him in 1806.  Jack became John Gloucester.  Blackburn taught theology to Gloucester, who, in 1806-1807, became the first African-American student at Greeneville College (now Tusculum University, Tusculum, Tennessee).  Our saint, licensed to preach in 1807, traveled with Blackburn to Philadelphia that year.  Gloucester founded the First Colored (African, since 1966) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, in 1807.  The Presbytery of Philadelphia sent our saint to Charleston, South Carolina, then recalled him in 1809.  Gloucester’s ordination occurred at Baker’s Creek Presbyterian Church, Maryville, Tennessee, on April 13, 1810.

Gloucester purchased the freedom of his wife and four children in 1810.  He brought them to Philadelphia, where he served as the pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church.  The couple had a fourth son, James, born in the City of Brotherly Love.

Gloucester died of pneumonia on May 2, 1822.  He was about 46 years old.

All four sons became Presbyterian ministers.  Three of them founded congregations.

Jeremiah Gloucester founded the Second Colored (later African) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, an offshoot of First Colored Presbyterian Church., in 1824.

Stephen Gloucester (1802-1850) became a pioneer of the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania.  The he withdrew from civil rights activism, after a white mob burned down the edifice of the Second Colored Presbyterian Church in 1842.  In 1844, he led a faction that withdrew from the Second Colored Presbyterian Church and formed the Central Colored Presbyterian Church.  This congregation changed its name to the Lombard Street Central Presbyterian Church.  It has become the Lombard Central Presbyterian Church.

James Gloucester moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he founded the Siloam Presbyterian Church in 1849.

The legacy of John Gloucester, Sr., has continued via many people, some of whom he mentored.

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O God, you raised up John Gloucester, Sr., the first ordained African-American Presbyterian minister.

Thank you for his legacy of faithful service to you in the face of systematic and ubiquitous racism.

May we, inspired by his example, resist societal, individual, and institutional bigotry

and proclaim the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ to those you send to us and to those to whom you send us;

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

Ruth 1:9-18

Psalm 24

Galatians 3:23-29

Matthew 28:16-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Feast of Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa (March 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA (1730-MARCH 6 OR 7, 1797)

Foundress of the Daughters of the Divine Savior

Also known as Maria Antonia of Saint Joseph

Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa lived and served God in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru (now Argentina).  She, born in Silipica, Santiago del Estero, in 1730, grew up in a devout family.  Our saint, perceiving a vocation to religious life, began to live accordingly at age fifteen.  She and other women lived in an informal monastic community because of the absence of formal monastic communities for women in the area.  Father Gaspar Juarez, S.J., provided spiritual direction for the women.  Our saint cared for the sick and the poor, and taught children.  She also assisted Father Juarez at retreats, which he based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (of) Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

King Charles III of Spain (reigned as the King of Spain from 1759 to 1788; previously Charles I, Duke of Parma, from 1731 to 1738, then Charles IV, King of the Two Sicilies, from 1734 to 1759) opposed the Jesuits.  He was an absolutist monarch (therefore, a control freak) who distrusted the Society of Jesus, an international organization loyal to the Bishop of Rome.  Charles III also suspected that the Jesuits had instigated riots in 1766. In 1767 he expelled the Society of Jesus from the vast Spanish Empire.  Six years later, he helped to arrange for Papal suppression of the order.

The monarch’s action of 1767 deprived our saint of her spiritual adviser.  She, therefore, led the retreats in various cities.  These retreats proved to be controversial because she grounded them in the Spiritual Exercises.  Sebastian Malivar y Pinto, O.F.M., the Archbishop of Buenos Aires (1777-1783), supported our saint, however.  The popular retreats continued.  More than 150,000 people attended over the years.

Blessed Maria Antonia founded the Daughters of the Divine Savior in 1795. She became Maria Antonia of Saint Joseph.

Our saint died in Buenos Aires on March 6 or 7, 1799.  She was 69 years old.

She became one of the more recent additions to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.  Pope Benedict XVI declared her a Venerable in 2010.  Pope Francis, who had been one of Malivar’s successors as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, beatified her in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND FATHER OF WESTERN MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF JAMES WOODROW, SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, NATURALIST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS THE GREAT, FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNAL MONASTICISM

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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

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

inspired by the devotion of your servant Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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

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

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

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

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

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Feast of Joseph Badger, Sr. (February 28)   1 comment

Above:  Joseph Badger, Sr.

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEPH BADGER, SR. (FEBRUARY 28, 1757-APRIL 5, 1846)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister

First Missionary to the Western Reserve

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There are false teachers now, who hold and preach a doctrine of falling from grace; for a final apostasy, after the renewing of the Holy Spirit; and perish in their sins.  There are many who profess to be Christians, who fall away from their profession, but not from grace.  But to return to the subject.  Let anyone read with an honest, unprejudiced mind the seventh chapter of Romans from the ninth verse to the end; he will see that St. Paul did not teach the doctrine of perfectionism.  There must be a great deal of twisting and perverting from the most obvious meaning of words and phrases to make scriptures referred to above, speak subversive to their true meaning.

–Joseph Badger, Sr., A Memoir of Joseph Badger (1853); quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 331

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Joseph Badger, Sr., was, obviously, a Calvinist, not an Arminian.

The Western Reserve is in northeastern Ohio.  The Reserve’s nearly 3.3 million acres are south of Lake Erie and west of Pennsylvania.  The southern border is a line south of Youngstown, Akron, and Willard.  This area occupies land one part of the land claim of Connecticut.

Joseph Badger, Sr., once a weaver, became a minister and a missionary.  He, born Wilbraham, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1757, was a son of Henry Badger and Mary Langdon.  Our saint served in the Continental Army during the U.S. War for Independence.  In 1781 he matriculated at Yale College, to prepare for ordained ministry.  Badger graduated in 1785.  While at Yale, Badger married Lois Noble, in 1784.  The couple had six children:  Lucius, Joseph Jr., Henry, Sarah, Juliana, and Lucia.  Badger taught in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1785-1786.  Our saint, whom the (Congregationalist) New Haven Association licensed to preach in 1786, served as a pastor in Northbury (now Plymouth), Connecticut, for a few months in 1786-1787.  Badger, ordained in Blandford, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1787, was a pastor there until October 1800.

When the Badgers left New England, they went to the Western Reserve of Ohio; our saint was the first missionary to the region.  He labored for God for about 36 years.  In 1801, when the Congregationalist-Presbyterian (Presbygationalist, actually) Plan of Union to evangelize the frontier went into effect, Badger became a Presbyterian minister, despite retaining his preference for Congregationalism.  He and his family lived in frontier conditions as he founded churches, some Congregationalist and others Presbyterian.  Our saint also founded schools.  Furthermore, Badger served as a brigade chaplain and as a guide for General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812.

Lois Noble died in 1818.  Badger remarried the following year; he wedded Abigail Ely.

Badger finally retired in 1836, at the age of 79 years; his heath was failing.  Our saint, aged 89 years, died in Perrysburg, Ohio, on April 5, 1846.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

 THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM SCARLETT, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MISSOURI, AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Joseph Badger, Sr.,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of the Western Reserve.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of James Nicholas Joubert and Mary Elizabeth Lange (February 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Baltimore (1837)

Image Creators = Moses Swett and Philip Haas

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-04182

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JACQUES MARIE HECTOR NICOLAS JOUBERT DE LA MURAILLE (SEPTEMBER 6, 1777-1843)

French-American Roman Catholic Priest

worked with

MARIE ELIZABETH LANGE (1784?-FEBRUARY 3, 1882)

Haitian-American Roman Catholic Nun

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FOUNDERS OF THE OBLATE SISTERS OF PROVIDENCE

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Mary Elizabeth Lange 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).  James Nicholas Joubert joins Lange and shares a feast day with her because they founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1829.  The Roman Catholic Church is considering taking Lange through steps that may culminate in canonization.  I choose, however, not to wait for Holy Mother Church to act.

Jacques Marie Hector Nicolas Joubert de la Muraille was one of the priests who proved invaluable in making Lange’s accomplishments possible.  He, born to Suzanne Claire Cathering Guimbaut and attorney Jean Joseph Marie Joubert in Saint Jean d’Angely, France, on September 6, 1777, worked as a soldier then as a tax agent.  The Napoleonic government assigned Joubert to Saint-Dominigue (now Haiti).  The tax agent fled in 1803, during the Haitian Revolution.  He arrived first in Cuba then immigrated to the United States.  Joubert matriculated at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1805.  He, ordained a priest five years later, joined the Society of Saint-Sulpice and taught geology and French at the seminary.  Starting in 1827, our saint taught the catechism (in French) to Haitian-American children at the Lower Chapel of the seminary.  He met Mary Elizabeth Lange at the Lower Chapel.

Marie Elizabeth Lange obeyed her calling from God.  She, born into a well-to-do Haitian family in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, circa 1784, received a fine education.  Lange immigrated to the United States in the early 1800s.  She, having settled in Baltimore by 1813, recognized the need for more schools for free African Americans in the city.  Church-run schools existed yet did not meet all needs collectively.  Furthermore, no public schools for African Americans existed.  Lange opened a school for Haitian immigrant youth in her home.  Marie Balas helped our saint teach the otherwise underserved population.

James Whitfield, the Archbishop of Baltimore, asked Father Joubert to open a girls’ school.  The priest recruited Lange and Balas.  Joubert also learned of the vocations of Lange, Balas, and two other African-American women to religious life.  Given the lack of any order to accept them, the women became the first members of a new order, which Joubert and Lange founded.  The Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first order for African-American women in the Roman Catholic Church, came into existence on July 2, 1829, with four sisters.  Lange became Sister (later Mother) Mary and served as the first Superior General.  The order, which received papal approval in 1831, operated St. Frances Academy, Baltimore.  As time passed, the Sisters grew in numbers and in social services, such as classes for women, career and vocational training, and homes for orphans and widows.  In 1832, Sisters (including Lange) risked their lives to minister to victims of an outbreak of cholera in the city.  This work required financing, of course.  Joubert, Lange, and the other Sisters raised funds.

Archbishop Samuel Eccleston (in office 1834-1851, succeeding Whitfield) attempted to disband the new religious order.  Regarding the Oblate Sisters of Providence, he asked,

What’s the use?

After Father Joubert died in 1843, the position of spiritual director of the order remained vacant for years.  Finally, in 1847, Father Thaddeus Anwander persuaded Eccleston to appoint him to fill the vacancy, and the fortunes and prospects of the Sisters improved.

Lange, the mistress of novices (1850-1860), laid down her burdens on February 3, 1882.

The Oblate Sisters of Providence minister in the United States and Costa Rica.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAPHNUTIUS THE GREAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF UPPER THEBAID

THE FEAST OF ANNE HOULDITCH, ANGLICAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATIENS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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O God, by whose grace your servants James Nicholas Joubert and Mary Elizabeth Lange,

kindled with the flame of your love, became burning and shining lights in your Church:

Grant that we may also be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

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

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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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 Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber (December 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Stille Nacht

Scanned from The Pilgrim Hymnal (1912) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Notice that the translation is not the one we usually sing these days.

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JOSEPHUS FRANCISCUS MOHR (DECEMBER 11, 1792-DECEMBER 4, 1848)

Austrian Roman Catholic Priest

collaborated with

FRANZ XAVER GRUBER (NOVEMBER 25, 1787-JUNE 7, 1863)

Austrian Roman Catholic Teacher, Musician, and Composer

Father Mohr and Herr Gruber come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Stille Nacht, their famous Christmas carol, which they debuted at Midnight Mass at St. Nikolaus Church, Oberndorff, Austria, on December 24, 1818.  Accounts tell us that Mohr sang tenor and Gruber played guitar and sang bass, and that Gruber had composed the tune for Mohr’s text.

Franz Gruber, born into poverty, resisted his family’s intentions when he became a musician.  He, born at Unterweizberg, near Hochburg, Austria, on November 25, 1787, was a son of Josef and Maria Gruber.  Josef was a linen weaver.  Young Franz secretly studied violin and organ.  He openly worked as a weaver until he was 18 years old.  His parents, like many other well-meaning relatives of a host of people over time, encouraged their son to enter a lucrative profession.  Our saint understood his vocation, though.  He became a teacher at Arnsdorff, working there from 1807 to 1829.  In 1808 he married his first wife, Maria Elisabeth Fischinger Engelsberger (d. 1825), a widow.  They had two children, who died young.  In 1816 Gruber started to work as the organist at St. Nikolaus Church, Oberndorff.

Joseph Mohr was, according to conventional social standards, illegitimate–a bastard.  (Actually, no human being is illegitimate and the proper standard of being a bastard is having bad character.  Mohr was no bastard.)  Mohr, born in Salzburg, Austria, on December 11, 1792, was the son of Anna Schoiber and mercenary Franz Mohr.  Franz was away from home much of the time.  Father Johann Nepomuk Hiernle, on staff at Salzburg Cathedral, became young Joseph’s father-figure.  Father Hiernle guided the youth’s education and musical training.  Mohr studied violin and sang in the choir.  He sang in the choir at Salzburg Cathedral then in the choir at the University Church and the choir at the Monastery Church of St. Peter.  Our saint studied at the monastery of Knemsmünster in 1808-1810, resumed studies in Salzburg in 1810-1811, then attended seminary.  He graduated and became a priest in 1815.  He served in various parishes through 1828, before transferring to Hintersee (1828-1837) and Wagrein (1837-1848).

In 1817-1819 Mohr was the assistant priest at St. Nikolaus Church Oberndorff.  He and Gruber collaborated on Stille Nacht, of course, and on at least one other composition, a setting of the Te Deum.  The traditional story that Mohr wrote Stille Nacht on short notice may not be true; he probably had composed the text some time prior, and merely pulled it out of a drawer.

Gruber continued to teach, work as a musician, and marry.  In 1829 he began to teach at Berndorff.  Gruber, the headmaster, starting in 1833, also worked as a musician at Hallein, near Salzburg.  He sang, played the organ, and conducted the choir.  Maria Breitfuss, his second wife, died in 1841.  Four of their ten children lived to adulthood.  In 1842 he married Katherine Wimmer.

Gruber died on June 7, 1863.  He was 75 years old.

Mohr served as the village priest in Wagrein from 1837 to 1848.  In 1838 he founded the village school and created a scholarship program that allowed impoverished children to attend.  Our saint also turned his attention to the effective care of the elderly of the village; he helped both the young and the old.

Mohr died in Wagrein on December 4, 1848.  He was 55 years old.

Morh and Gruber contributed much to the world via their famous Christmas carol.  That was only a portion of their positive work, however.

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Loving God of the Incarnation, we thank you for your servants Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber,

who improved their corners of the world in practical ways and who left an enduring legacy with Stille Nacht.

May the examples of their holy lives inspire us to add beauty to the world and to care for those who need assistance,

to the glory of God and for the common good.  In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Leviticus 19:9-10

Psalm 84

1 Corinthians 13

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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