Archive for the ‘Saints of 1810-1819’ Category

Feast of Gabriel Richard (October 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Detroit in 1800

Image in the Public Domain

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GABRIEL JACQUES RICHARD (OCTOBER 15, 1767-SEPTEMBER 13, 1832)

French-American Roman Catholic Missionary Priest in Michigan

Father Gabriel Richard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763-1850), under whom he served.

Gabriel Jacques Richard was French.  He, born in La Ville de Saintes on October 15, 1767, matriculated at the theological seminary in Angers in 1784.  Ordained to the priesthood on October 15, 1790, our saint sailed for the United States of America in 1792.  He arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, and began to teach mathematics at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore.

John Carroll (1735-1815), the Bishop of Baltimore (1789-1807) then the Archbishop of Baltimore (1807-1815), appointed Richard to perform missionary work in Michigan in 1798.  The 31-year-old priest arrived in Detroit on June 16, 1798 (the Feast of Corpus Christi), to begin serving at St. Anne’s Church as assistant priest.   He served as the parish’s pastor from 1802 to 1832.

Detroit was a small town in 1798; the population was about 1,200.  About half of that population was French-born.  Forests and a lack of good roads cut Detroit off from the rest of the world, by land.  The streets were muddy, there were no schools, and the main business was trading liquor for furs from Native Americans.

Richard set about improving the community.  He started schools that taught the “three R’s,” as well as dressmaking, sewing, and weaving.  He helped to organize relief efforts after the great fire of 1805.  Our saint appointed a town crier, who announced the news from the steps of St. Anne’s Church every Sunday.  The priest also posted news for the literate people every week.  Richard founded and published The Michigan Essay, the first newspaper in Michigan, in 1809.  The town crier had a greater audience than the newspaper.  Our saint also published many books, including The Child’s Spelling Book.

Richard accumulated a private library of 240 volumes.  Topics ranged from theology to science, and included navigation, surveying, teaching methods for the deaf and the mute, and mathematics.

About half of the population consisted of Protestants, who had no pastor of their own.  In 1807, Richard accepted their invitation to fill this vacancy.  He served as their pastor (while also serving at St. Anne’s Church) until 1816, when Presbyterian John Monteith (1788-1868) arrived.  Monteith went on to serve as the pastor of the First Protestant Society of Detroit (founded in 1818) then of the First Presbyterian Church, one of its successors.  Richard and Monteith, friends, worked together to improve education in Detroit.  They were two of the founders of the Catholepistemiad (1817-1832), forerunner of the University of Michigan.

Richard, under the authority of Bishop Flaget after the latter’s consecration, functioned as a missionary to local indigenous people.  He won their respect.  During the War of 1812, our saint was a prisoner of war of the British.  The priest, who ministered to indigenous allies of the British Empire, had sworn allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America.  Chief Tecumseh (c. 1768-1813) helped to secure Richard’s release.  The chief promised not to fight for the British unless they freed the priest.

Richard served a term (1823-1825) as the non-voting delegate of the Territory of Michigan (modern-day Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota) in the United States Congress.  Our saint, despite having no vote, helped to get the funds for the Detroit-Chicago road.

Richard nearly became the first Bishop of Detroit.  He had excommunicated a parishioner.  The excommunication had damaged the man’s business, so he sued our saint.  The court sided with the businessman and fined the priest $1,117 (between $31,000 and $35,000 in 2021 currency).  The priest could not pay the fine.  Our saint was, therefore, an involuntary guest in the sheriff’s home until some parishioners arranged for Richard’s release.  Our saint, chosen to be the first Bishop of Detroit before news of the legal matter reached Rome, remained a priest.  The first Bishop of Detroit assumed office in 1833, after Richard had died.

Cholera swept through Detroit in 1832.  Our saint ministered to victims until he contracted the disease.  He, aged 64 years, died on September 13, 1832.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND RELIGIOUS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF JAMES EDWARD WALSH, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY BISHOP AND POLITICAL PRISONER IN CHINA

THE FEAST OF SIMON B. PARKER, UNITED METHODIST BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, WELSH ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Father Gabriel Richard,

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

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

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Guy Ignatius Chabrat and Pierre Joseph Lavialle (November 21)   1 comment

Above:  The Old Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Image in the Public Domain

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GUY IGNATIUS CHABRAT (DECEMBER 27, 1787-NOVEMBER 21, 1868)

Roman Catholic Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown then of Louisville, Kentucky

cousin of

PIERRE JOSEPH LAVIALLE (JULY 15, 1820-MAY 11, 1867)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Louisville, Kentucky

Also known as Peter Joseph Lavialle

Bishop Guy Ignatius Chabrat comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763-1850)Bishop Pierre (Peter) Joseph Lavialle comes here via his cousin, Bishop Chabrat.

Guy Ignatius Chabrat was French.  He, born in La Chambre, Savoie, on December 28, 1787, was a son of Pierre Chabrat and Louise (Lavialle) Chabrat.  Our saint matriculated at the Sulpician seminary in Clermont.  Ordained a subdeacon in 1809, Chabrat accepted the newly-appointed Bishop Flaget‘s invitation to come to the new Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky.  Chabrat sailed with Flaget in 1810 and arrived with him in Bardstown on June 9, 1811.  Flaget ordained him a priest on Christmas Day, 11, making Chabrat the first Roman Catholic priest ordained west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Chabrat ministered in Kentucky.  He served at, in order:

  1. St. Michael’s Church, Fairfield;
  2. St. Clare’s Church, Colesburg; and
  3. St. Pius Church, Georgetown.

In 1824, Father Charles Nerinckx (b. 1761), founder of the Sisters of Loretto, a teaching order, died.  Chabrat succeeded him as the superior of that order.

Pope Gregory XVI appointed Chabrat the Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown and the Titular Bishop of Bolina on March 21, 1834.  Consecrated on July 20, our saint served for more than a decade.  He functioned as the chief administrator in lieu of the aged Flaget.  The Diocese of Bardstown became the Diocese of Louisville in 1837, so Chabrat became the Bishop Coadjutor of Louisville.

In 1842, Chabrat invited his maternal cousin, Pierre (Peter) Joseph Lavialle, to join the Diocese of Louisville.  Lavialle, born in Mauriac, Cantal, on July 15, 1820, was a Sulpician seminarian in 1842.  He completed his theological education at St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown, Kentucky.  Lavialle, ordained to the priesthood on February 2, 1844, served as the Curate of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, until 1849.

Meanwhile, Chabrat’s eyesight was failing.  He resigned in 1847, returned to France, and lived on a generous pension.

Above:  The Basilica of St. Joseph and the Former St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown, Kentucky

Image Source = Google Earth

Lavialle remained in the United States of America.  He taught theology at St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown (next to the Basilica of St. Joseph) from 1849 to 1856,  Then our saint was the President of St. Mary’s College, St. Mary, Kentucky (1856f).  He refused an appointment as Archbishop of New Orleans in 1860.

Above:  The Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, Kentucky (Completed in 1852)

Image Source = Google Earth

However, on September 24, 1865, Lavialle received consecration as the Bishop of Louisville.  He succeeded Martin John Spalding (1810-1872), who had transferred to become the Archbishop of Baltimore (1864-1872).  Lavialle’s tenure as the Bishop of Louisville was brief yet fruitful.  He did much to build up the diocese before he, aged 46 years, died on May 11, 1867,

Chabrat, aged 80 years, died in Mauriac, Cantal, France, on November 21, 1868.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND RELIGIOUS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF JAMES EDWARD WALSH, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY BISHOP AND POLITICAL PRISONER IN CHINA

THE FEAST OF SIMON B. PARKER, UNITED METHODIST BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, WELSH ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops and leaders of your Church.

May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve you and confess your name before the world;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Benedict Joseph Flaget (November 7)   4 comments

Above:  Benedict Joseph Flaget

Image in the Public Domain

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BENEDICT JOSEPH FLAGET (NOVEMBER 7, 1763-FEBRUARY 11, 1850)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Bardstown then of Louisville, Kentucky

Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget 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).

Flaget was French.  He, born at Contournat, near Billom, Auvergne, on November 7, 1763, became an orphan when two years old.  Our saint and his two brothers grew up in the household of an uncle (Canon Benoît Flaget) and an aunt at Billom.  At the age of seventeen years, our saint matriculated at the Sulpician seminary in Clermont.

Flaget became a priest.  He, ordained on All Saints’ Day, 1783, at Issy, taught for years.  Our saint taught theology at Nantes for two years then did the same at Angers.  The anti-clericalism of the French Revolution led to the closing of the seminary at Angers.  Flaget, after returning briefly to Billom in 1791, sailed for the United States of America in January 1792.  He sailed with Étienne (Stephen) Theodore Badin (1768-1853), then a subdeacon, but destined to become the first Roman Catholic priest ordained in the United States of America, on May 25, 1793.  Flaget also sailed with Jean-Baptiste-Marie (John Baptist Mary) David (1761-1841), whom he had recruited to the seminary.

The three future missionaries landed in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 29, 1792.  They proceeded to study English and prepare for their tasks in the New World.  John Carroll (1735-1815), the Bishop of Baltimore (1789-1808) then the Archbishop of Baltimore (1808-1815), assigned Flaget to minister to indigenous people at Fort Vincennes, Northwest Territory (now Indiana).  Our saint arrived on December 21, 1792.  Recalled after two years, he taught at Georgetown College (now University) until 1798.  Then, transferred to Havana, Cuba, in 1798, Flaget eventually returned to Baltimore, in the company of twenty-three students.

Pope Pius VII created the Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky (out of the Archdiocese of Baltimore), and appointed Flaget the first bishop thereof on April 8, 1808.  Flaget, back in France, initially refused.  Yet he accepted the appointment.  Our saint returned to the United States of America in 1810.  He sailed with friend and colleague Father Simon William Bruté (1779-1839), later the first Bishop of Vincennes.  Another passenger on that vessel was Subdeacon Guy Ignatius Chabrat (1787-1868).  Flaget, consecrated by Archbishop John Carroll in Baltimore on November 4, 1810, arrived in Bardstown on June 9, 1811.

The Diocese of Bardstown was initially vast.  However, as time passed, the Church carved other dioceses out of it.  In 1811, the Diocese of Bardstown included the original Northwest Territory (1787), Kentucky, and Tennessee.  The new diocese was a daunting mission field.  In 1811, after a long and difficult overland journey, Flaget and his entourage arrived in Bardstown.  Shortly after arriving, the new bishop wrote in his journal:

In entering the town, I devoted myself to to all the guardian angels who reside therein, and I prayed to God, with all my heart, to make me an instrument of His glory in this new Diocese.  O my dear brother, have compassion on me, overloaded with so heavy a burden, and pray fervently to God that he would vouchsafe to lighten it.

–Quoted in Cady and Webber. A Year with American Saints (2006), 574

Above:  The Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, Kentucky

Image Source = Google Earth

Flaget was an effective and energetic missionary bishop.  He founded a seminary and parishes.  Construction of his first cathedral, the Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, finished in 1823.  Chabrat became one of Flaget’s missionary priests.  Flaget ordained him, the first Roman Catholic priest ordained west of the Allegheny Mountains, on Christmas Day, 1811.  Flaget also helped to select most of the Roman Catholic bishops consecrated in the United States of America in the 1810-1830s.  John Baptist Mary David (1761-1841), the Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown (1819-1832), succeeded as the Bishop of Bardstown when Flaget retired, in 1832.  Our saint’s age and health were catching up with him.

David served as the Bishop of Bardstown for less than a year (1832-1833).  Whatever and however great his virtues were, the majority of priests and lay people wanted Flaget back.  Therefore, David resigned and Flaget returned.  Our saint’s second tenure lasted from 1833 to 1850.  His next Bishop Coadjutor was Chabrat, consecrated on July 20, 1834.  By then, the diocese spanned only Kentucky and Tennessee.  Flaget and Chabrat continued to found institutions, build up the diocese, and lay the foundations for future dioceses.  And Flaget traveled in France and Italy (1835-1839).  In his absence, the Diocese of Bardstown became the Diocese of Louisville in 1837.  Chabrat, who had taken over most of the administrative work of the diocese, was going blind.  Therefore, he resigned in 1847 and returned to France.  Flaget needed a new Bishop Coadjutor.

Flaget’s third Bishop Coadjutor was Martin John Spalding, a priest in the diocese.  Spalding was a fine choice, for he was already one of the main administrators of the Diocese of Louisville.  Spalding was the effectively the Bishop of Louisville, starting in 1848, for the aged Flaget all-but officially retired while retaining the title “Bishop of Louisville.”

Flaget, aged 86 years, died in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 11, 1850.

His tomb is in the basement of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville.

Spalding served (officially) as the Bishop of Louisville from 1850 to 1864.  He, appointed the Archbishop of Baltimore (1864-1872), was an uncle of John Lancaster Spalding (1840-1816), the Bishop of Peoria (1877-1908).

Flaget, by the grace of God, functioned as an instrument of divine glory.

May you, O reader, do the same in your context.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAROSLAV VAJDA, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOZEF CEBULA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILIUS OF SULMONA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ALMSGIVER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER CHANEL, PROTOMARTYR OF OCEANIA, 1841

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW, EPISCOPAL ATTORNEY, THEOLOGIAN, AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

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Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raised up your servant Benedict Joseph Flaget to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

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Feast of Andreas Peter Berggreen (November 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Andreas Peter Berggreen

Image in the Public Domain

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ANDREAS PETER BERGGREEN (MARCH 2, 1801-NOVEMBER 9, 1880)

Danish Lutheran Musicologist, Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

Also known as Andreas Peter Berggren and Anton Peter Berggreen

Andreas Peter Berggreen comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).  That source lists his name as Anton Peter Berggreen.  This post relies primarily on various hymnal companion volumes.

Berggreen, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 2, 1801, had a predicament familiar to many people.  His parents wanted him to become an attorney, but he did not.  No, our saint’s passion was for music.  Berggreen’s parents forced him to study law at the University of Copenhagen, but he studied music, too.  His teachers of music included composer Christoph Ernest Friedrich (C.E.F.) Weyse (1774-1842).  Berggreen, once free to decide what to do, pursued a career in music, not law.

Above:  Trinitatis Church, Copenhagen, Denmark

Image Source = Google Earth

Berggreen composed songs, operas, cantatas, and incidental music in the 1820s and 1830s.  Most of those compositions have fallen into obscurity.  He had more success as a musicologist and a music educator.  Fourteen volumes (1834-1876) of songs for use in schools, as well as Folksange og Melodier (1842-1871)–all eleven volumes of it–contributed to Berggreen’s fame.  And the Danish Lutheran Church’s Melodier til Salmebog (1853) contained some of our saint’s hymn tunes.  Berggeen, the organist at Trinitatis Church, Copenhagen (1838-1880), started teaching at the Metropolitan School, Copenhagen, in 1843.  To thoe duties he added those of the Song Inspector (Superintendent) for public schools in Copenhagen in 1859.  Furthermore, Berggreen organized the musical associations for members of the working class.  And he taught composer Niels Gade (1817-1890).

The hymn tunes Berggreen composed included:

  1. ALDRIG ER JEG UDEN VAADE;
  2. AMEN, JESUS HAN SKAL RAADE;
  3. AMEN, SJUNGE HVARJE TUNGA (a.k.a. DANA);
  4. BERGGREEN;
  5. MILLARD;
  6. SALVATOR;
  7. UNDERBAR EN SJÄRNA BLID; and
  8. VITA.

Berggreen, aged 79 years, died in Copenhagen on November 9, 1880.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation

in the work of your servant Andreas Peter Berggreen.

Teach us to drive from the world the ugliness of chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may not be blind to your glory,

and that at length everyone may know the inexhaustible riches

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord.  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 the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Levi and Catherine Coffin (October 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Coffin House, Fountain City, Indiana

Image in the Public Domain

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LEVI COFFIN, JR. (OCTOBER 28, 1798-SEPTEMBER 16, 1877)

U.S. Quaker Abolitionist and “President of the Underground Railroad”

husband of

CATHERINE WHITE COFFIN (SEPTEMBER 10, 1803-MAY 22, 1881)

U.S. Quaker Abolitionist and “Aunt Katie” of the Underground Railroad

Levi Coffin 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).  Catherine Coffin joins her husband by virtue of having been his wife and his colleague in the struggle for social justice.  One cannot properly tell the story of one Coffin without telling the story of the other Coffin.

Above:  Levi Coffin

Image in the Public Domain

Levi Coffin, born in Guilford County, North Carolina, on October 28, 1798, was a son of Levi and Prudence Williams Coffin.  The Quaker family of abolitionists helped runaway slaves.

Above:  Catherine Coffin

Image in the Public Domain

Catherine White, born in Guilford County, North Carolina, on September 10, 1803, was a daughter of Stanton and Mary White.  That Quaker family of abolitionists was also involved in helping runaway slaves.

Levi and Catherine fell in love.  They married on October 28, 1824.  There in North Carolina, they made their home a station of the Underground Railroad.  Levi became known to slave-hunters as the “President” of the local Underground Railroad.

In 1826, the Coffins moved to Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana.  Levi opened a general store, which became a profitable enterprise.  He and Catherine made their home a station of the Underground Railroad.  They usually had a full house.  The couple raised six children.  Also, about 20,000 slaves passed through the house in twenty-one years.  Slave-hunters knew where to find the Coffins, and threatened them repeatedly.  Yet the Coffins had many local allies.  Levi handled the financial side of the local Underground Railroad operation.  Catherine (“Aunt Katie”) helped to host her guests, cooked for them, and organized a sewing society to make clothes for the escaped slaves.  Many local people contributed financially to the Coffins’ efforts, too.

The Coffins and other conductors of the Underground Railroad were criminals, technically.  They were, according to the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (then of 1850), committing a property crime.  These conductors of the Underground Railroad were helping property escape to freedom.

By the 1840s, Quakers participating in the Underground Railroad were coming under pressure from their church to cease and desist.  The Coffins persisted, however.  They persisted after their expulsion from their meeting house in 1843.

Levi eventually realized his moral responsibility as a merchant.  He had been selling items that were products of slavery.  Therefore, he joined the Free Produce movement in the 1840s.  After the couple moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1847, he opened a new store and continued in the Free Produce movement.  The couple also continued as conductors of the Underground Railroad.

Eventually, the need for the Underground Railroad ended.  The Coffins visited wounded soldiers in the local military hospital and helped runaway slaves in refugee camps during the Civil War.  After the war, Levi raised funds to help African Americans start businesses and farms.  Also, the couple worked with the Western Freedmen’s Aid Society.

Levi wrote his autobiography, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad (1876), at the end of his life.  He, aged 78 years, died in Cincinnati on September 16, 1877.

Catherine, aged 77 years, died in Cincinnati on May 22, 1881.

Levi and Catherine had the courage of their nonviolent, moral convictions.  They risked criminal convictions by acting morally to help slaves live as free people.

May you, O reader, and I have the moral courage to behave morally, even when doing so may be criminal.  When the law is unjust, may people act justly.  May they follow the higher law–the highest law, the Golden Rule.

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God of compassion, justice, and freedom, we thank you for the

faithful and courageous lives and legacies of Levi and Catherine Coffin.

May we, who live in a different time and set of circumstances,

derive from their examples inspiration to live according to the Golden Rule,

regardless of the risks to ourselves, in the name of Christ.

May we recognize your image in all other people and treat them accordingly.

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

Leviticus 19:17-18 and Deuteronomy 6:1-8

Psalm 27

2 John 4-6

Matthew 22:34-40

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 14, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD THOMAS DEMBY AND HENRY BEARD DELANY, EPISCOPAL SUFFRAGAN BISHOPS FOR COLORED WORK

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTHONY, JOHN, AND EUSTATHIUS OF VILNIUS, MARTYRS IN LITHUANIA, 1347 

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT WANDREGISILUS OF NORMANDY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT LAMBERT OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZENAIDA OF TARSUS AND HER SISTER, SAINT PHILONELLA OF TARSUS; AND SAINT HERMOINE OF EPHESUS; UNMERCENARY PHYSICIANS

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Feast of Elizabeth Fry (October 12)   2 comments

Above:  Elizabeth Fry

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH GURNEY FRY (MAY 21, 1780-OCTOBER 12, 1845)

English Quaker Social Reformer and “Angel of Prisons”

Elizabeth Fry comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via four sources.  The first is Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  The other three sources are The Church of England; the Scottish Episcopal Church; and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Elizabeth Gurney, born in Norwich, England, on May 31 1780, grew up in a prosperous Quaker family.  Both parents, John Gurney and Catherine Barclay Gurney, had ties to banking.  John was a partner in Gurney’s Bank.  Catherine belonged to the family that founded Barclays Bank.  Our saint’s family was relatively lax, by Quaker standards.  They (gasp!) sang and danced.  The family also (horrors!) wore bright clothing to the meeting house.  Catherine died when Elizabeth was 12 years old.  Therefore, our saint subsequently helped to raise her younger siblings.  She also felt the calling to godly social service and greater personal austerity.

Elizabeth married Joseph Fry, a banker and a Quaker of Bristol, on August 19, 1800, when she was 20 years old.  The couple moved to London.  They raised twelve children (ten of whom lived to adulthood), born between August 1801 and October 1822.  Our saint eventually felt that her life, full of domestic duties, was distracting her from a higher calling.  Twelve years into married life, she wrote in her diary:

I feel that my life is slipping away to little purpose.

In 1813, our saint began her efforts in prison reform.  She visited Newgate Prison, where the inhumane conditions appalled her.  Women and their children shared cells and wore rags.  Some slept on old straw.  Others did not have even straw on which to sleep.  The next day, Fry returned with clothing and fresh straw for inmates.  Guards told her that the prisoners and children were savages who did not deserve such alleged luxuries.  After helping female prisoners and their children in these ways for years, Fry began to help them in another way in 1816; she founded a prison school for the mostly illiterate prisoners and their children.

Above:  Newgate Prison

Image in the Public Domain

Fry’s prison reforms were controversial at the time.  Many conservatives accused her of being soft on crime.  If conditions in prisons were humane, what deterrent value would prisons have?  Our saint founded the Association for the Reformation of Female Prisoners in Newgate in 1817.  Female inmates learned skills they could use to support themselves and their children financially in the outside world.  This approach led to the founding of the British Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners in 1821.  Our saint’s emphasis on rehabilitation was allegedly soft on crime.  Fry, who visited various prisons, worked to provide jailers and provide sufficient food as well as Bibles and care packages for long transport journeys on ships.  She also visited prisoner transport vessels, in use even after they became illegal in 1837.  Fry also lobbied for human conditions for prisoners throughout the realm.

Fry engaged in other humanitarian work, too.  In 1824, she founded the Brighton District Visiting Society.  Volunteers visited the homes of the poor, to assist them.  Across the island, this model of social work duplicated.  Our saint also campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade.  The school for nurses Fry founded in 1840 provided nurses to Florence Nightingale’s humanitarian effort during the Crimean War.

Despite much criticism from the right, our saint had prominent admirers and supporters.  Among these were King Frederick William IV of Prussia (reigned 1840-1861) and Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901).  Queen Victoria contributed financially, too.  Also, Fry’s work inspired prison reform legislation in Europe.

Fry cared deeply about the poor and sought to address that perpetual poverty.  She started a nightly homeless shelter in London in 1820.  She and brother Joseph John Gurney (her business manager, and her financial benefactor after husband Joseph Fry went bankrupt in 1828) studied systemic and widespread poverty in Ireland.  Brother and sister wrote a report then published it.

Fry helped other populations, too.  Mental asylums have long been cruel and notorious places.  Fry worked to reform and improve the treatment of the insane and the mentally ill in Britain, too.  Our saint also helped seamen.  In 1836, she helped to provide libraries in Coast Guard stations and some naval hospitals.

Fry’s main literary legacy may be her Texts for Every Day in the Year, Principally Practical and Devotional (1831).

Our saint, aged 65 years, died in Ramsgate, England, on October 12, 1845.  Seamen at Ramsgate flew their flag at half-staff in her honor.  This showed great respect, for, to that point, they had only honored deceased British sovereigns in this way.

For further reading, I refer you, O reader, to archive.org, from which books about Fry are available for free.

Do we see the image of God in the poor, vulnerable, and despised?  Elizabeth Gurney Fry did.  Do we care enough about others to reach out to them?  Elizabeth Gurney Fry did.  Her faith found expression in her actions.  She, being a Quaker, affirmed that the “Inner Light” of God exists in each human being.

The challenge the legacy of Elizabeth Gurney Fry poses to the rest of us is great and morally proper.  This is the challenge to believe–really believe–that each human being bears the image of God and contains the divine Inner Light.  Those who really believe this act accordingly.  They make political enemies, create controversy, and improve lives.  They challenge exploitative social attitudes, structures, and institutions.  They live the Golden Rule.  How this looks varies according to circumstances, such as time and place.  The principle is constant, though.

The Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes the following text:

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May we–you, O reader, and I–do so, with God’s help.

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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Gracious and loving God,

you bring good tidings to the afflicted,

bind up the broken-hearted,

and proclaim liberty to the captives;

we thank you for sending Elizabeth Fry into the prisons

with words of comfort and deeds of care:

grant that all who minister to those in prison

may be filled with your compassion

and be bearers of your hope;

through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

Blessed are you, Jesus our good shepherd,

in Elizabeth your minister.

Year after year she visited women

in prisons and asylums.

May we too understand and care for people unconditionally.  Amen.

Genesis 39:20-23

Psalms 41 or 82

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 25:31-45

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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Feast of St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre (September 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre 

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JEAN-GABRIEL PERBOYRE (JANUARY 6, 1802-SEPTEMBER 11, 1840)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in China, 1840

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O my Divine Saviour,

Transform me into Yourself.

May my hands be the hands of Jesus.

Grant that every faculty of my body 

May serve only to glorify You.

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Above all,

Transform my soul and all its powers

So that my memory, will, and affections

May be the memory, will, and affections

Of Jesus.

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I pray you

To destroy in me 

All that is not of You.

Grant that I may life

But in You, and by You and for You,

So that I may truly say

With St. Paul,

“I live–now now I–

But Christ lives in me.”

–Prayer of St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre to Jesus

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St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Our saint, born in Le Puech, near Montgesty, France, on January 6, 1802, was one of eight children of farmers Marie Rigal Perboyre and Pierre Perboyre.  The family was devout and Roman Catholic; five of the children joined religious orders.  St. Jean-Gabriel, not especially brimming over with religious fervor until 1816, acquired that fervor when he accompanied Louis, a younger brother, to the Vincentian minor seminary the brothers’ uncle Jacques had founded in Montauban.  Our saint felt drawn to the religious life and perceived his priestly vocation.

St. Jean-Gabriel joined the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentian Fathers).  He became a novice at Montauban in December 1818, at the age of 16 years.  Our saint made his vows on December 28, 1820.  Ordained a priest on September 23, 1825, St. Jean-Gabriel became the master of novices in Paris in 1832.

St. Jean-Gabriel had long wanted to serve as a missionary in China.  His health, however, had prevented that for years.  After Louis died en route to China, our saint volunteered to replace him.  St. Jean-Gabriel arrived in Macao in August 1835, and studied the Chinese language.  Our saint arrived at the Ho-Nan mission station in China in April 1836, after an extremely difficult journey that took five months.  St. Jean-Gabriel spent more months recovering from that journey.  Then he began to minister in that very poor region.  Next, in January 1839, our saint’s superiors transferred him to the Hubei mission station.

Popular Chinese resentment over Western imperialism was increasing, understandably.  The British Empire was, for example, selling opium to Chinese people and obstructing official Chinese efforts to cease the drug pushing.  Unfortunately, religious persecution was one way some Chinese authorities pushed back against Westerners.  Such persecution started in Hubei in September 1839.

Chinese soldiers in Hubei arrested Roman Catholic priests and catechists.  When soldiers came to arrest St. Jean-Gabriel, the other priests, and the catechists, our saint and other priests were away.  However, one catechist, tortured, revealed where our saint was hiding.  St. Jean-Gabriel arrested, suffered tortures.  Sentenced to die, he received the crown of martyrdom (via strangling on a cross) at Wuchang.  He was 38 years old.

Holy Mother Church formally recognized St. Jean-Gabriel.  Pope Leo XIII beatified him in 1889.  Pope John Paul II canonized our saint in 1996.

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Compassionate God of all nations,

we thank you for the dedicated service

of your servant St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, for your glory.

May our hands be Christ’s hands,

our memories be his memories, and

our wills and affections be his will and affections.

Destroy in us all that is not of Christ,

so that he may live in us.

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

2 Maccabees 6:18-31

Psalm 130

Galatians 2:15-21

Luke 6:20-23

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 31, 2021 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA SKOBTSOVA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF ERNEST TRICE THOMPSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN AND HIS BROTHER, MICHAEL HAYDN, COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOAN OF TOULOUSE, CARMELITE NUN; AND SAINT SIMON STOCK, CARMELITE FRIAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN DONNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

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Feast of Judith Lomax (September 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Virginia

Image in the Public Domain

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JUDITH LOMAX (SEPTEMBER 25, 1774-JANUARY 19, 1928)

Episcopal Mystic and Poet

Judith Lomax 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).

Judith, born on her father’s plantation at Portobago, Virginia, on September 25, 1774, was a poet and a fervent Evangelical Episcopalian.  Her father was Thomas Lomax.  Our saint’s mother was Ann Lomax.  Judith’s faith was a conventional form of piety for her time and place.  She kept a Sabbath journal, published in 1999.  Our saint never married; she wrote of her “Heavenly Bridegroom.”  Judith also wrote poetry about a wide range of subjects, including nature, friendship, and death.  She made history by becoming the first woman in Virginia to publish a volume of poetry.  The Notes of an American Lyre debuted in 1813.  Our saint, who left her father’s plantation after his death in 1816, lived in Port Royal, Virginia, until 1827.  That year, with her health failing, Judith moved into the home of a sister in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Judith, aged 53 years, died there on January 19, 1828.

History–the of the past, with interpretation–teaches me to contextualize everything and to excuse nothing that is inexcusable.  I chafe against the relativistic notion that X may be wrong–today, at least–but that I ought to excuse it in the past because X was ubiquitous back then.  Societal and social norms and mores change, but right is always right and wrong is always wrong.  “Many people were doing it” does not excuse sin.

Judith supported the American Colonization Society.  The colonization antislavery movement was inherently racist; it affirmed that the United States of America was properly a country of White people.  Therefore, operating within that racism schema, many people, such as Judith Lomax, favored freeing slaves and shipping them out of the country.  Yet many African Americans, such as pioneers in Liberia, welcomed the opportunity the colonization movement provided for them.  

For a period of her life, Judith could not easily get to an Episcopal church.  Yet she had easy access to Baptist and Methodist churches.  She corresponded with missionaries in Africa, read tracts in French, communed ecumenically, and hoped for a post-denominational future.  Judith tended scrupulously to her spiritual life.

May you, O reader, tend scrupulously to your spiritual life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 31, 2021 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA SKOBTSOVA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF ERNEST TRICE THOMPSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN AND HIS BROTHER, MICHAEL HAYDN, COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOAN OF TOULOUSE, CARMELITE NUN; AND SAINT SIMON STOCK, CARMELITE FRIAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN DONNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Judith Lomax.

Teach us to drive from the world the ugliness of chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may not be blind to your glory,

and that at length everyone may know the inexhaustible riches

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord.  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 the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

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Feast of Hannah More (September 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Portrait of Hannah More, by Henry William Pickersgill

Image in the Public Domain

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HANNAH MORE (FEBRUARY 2, 1745-SEPTEMBER 7, 1833)

Anglican Poet, Playwright, Religious Writer, and Philanthropist

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I see, by more than Fancy’s mirrow shewn,

The burning village, and the blazing town:

See the dire victim torn from social life,

The shrieking babe, the agonizing wife!

She, wretch forlorn! is dragged by hostile hands,

To distant tyrants sold, in distant lands!

Transmitted miseries, and successive chains,

The sole sad heritage her child obtains!

Ev’n this last wretched boon their foes deny,

To weep together, or together die.

By felon hands, by one relentless stroke,

See the fond links of feeling nature broke!

The fibres twisting round a parent’s heart,

Torn from their grasp, and bleeding as they part.

Hold, murderers, hold! not aggravate distress;

Respect the passions you yourselves possess.

–From “Slavery” (1788), by Hannah More

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INTRODUCTION

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Hannah More comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  Her feast day in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 is September 6.

More was simultaneously of her time and ahead of it.  She was simultaneously a conservative, a social reformer, and a revolutionary.

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BIOGRAPHY

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Our saint, born in Fishponds, Bristol, England, on February 2, 1745, grew up in The Church of England.  Her father, Jacob More, was the master of Fishponds Free School.  He taught his five daughters, and elder daughters taught younger daughters.  The More sisters emerged as young women well-educated in mathematics, Latin, French, and literature, among other topics.  Young Hannah, as a girl, began writing poems.  As a young adult, she taught (1758f) at the girls’ boarding school her father had founded in Bristol.

Like many other well-educated English women of the time, our saint was a literary figure.  She, engaged to William Turner of Belmont Estate, Wraxall Somerset, from 1767 to 1773, never married.  Her fiancé’s unwillingness to commit to a wedding date ended that engagement.  Immediately afterward, More suffered a nervous breakdown.  After she recovered, our saint devoted herself to literary, moral, and social causes.

More wrote plays from 1762 to 1779.  Her earliest plays, for girls at the boarding school to perform, came from her pen while she was a teacher.  Her last play written (yet not published) was The Fatal Falsehood (1779).  When our saint complimented Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) the first time, he dismissed her kind words.  He replied:

Madam, before you flatter a man so grossly to his face, you should consider whether or not your flattery is worth having.

Nevertheless, the Great Moralist eventually changed his mind regarding our saint.  He came to think of her as

the finest versafatrix in the English language.

More, an active member of the female Bluestocking Group, devoted to pursuits of the literary and intellectual variety, became a religious writer, moral activist, and social reformer in the 1780s.  She befriended General James Oglethorpe (1696-1785), the founder of Georgia.  Our saint also befriended William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and other abolitionists.  More became more active in the abolitionist movement; she wrote antislavery prose and poetry.  Our saint, a member of the Evangelical wing of The Church of England, applied her faith to the world around her.  As the decades wore on, subsequent works included Practical Piety (1811), Christian Morals (1813), and The Character of St. Paul (1815).  She also composed pamphlets.  One was Village Politics (1792), a rebuttal of Thomas Paine‘s Rights of Man (1791).  Another anti-French Revolution tract from our saint’s pen was Remarks on the Speech of M. Dumont (1793), which condemned atheism, in particular.  In 1795-1798, More composed tracts for the Association of the Discountenancing of Vice.

More’s conservative streak was decidedly anti-feminist.  Her reaction to the French revolutionary government improving the education of women was telling:

They (women) run to study philosophy, and neglect their families to be present at lectures in anatomy.

When More and her sister Martha founded schools for poor girls, the sisters also established a narrow curriculum.  It included the Bible and the catechism yet not writing.  More opposed transforming her students into

scholars and philosophers.

Yet even these schools were too liberal and revolutionary for many conservatives.  The More sisters contended with allegations that they were, by teaching basic literary, doing too much and, thereby, lifting the girls above their proper station in society.  The More sisters were also allegedly advancing Methodism, according to one conservative Anglican cleric.

Our saint affirmed the “separate spheres” theory.  More accused Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), the author of Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), of possessing a

moral antipathy to reason.

According to our saint, women were not “fit” for government, on the grounds of being unstable.  She also refused an invitation to join the Royal Society of Literature, on the grounds that no woman should belong to it.

More, a philanthropist, donated money to help Bishop Philander Chase (1775-1852) found Kenyon College, which opened in 1825.  In her will, she bequeathed funds to various charities, mostly religious.

More, aged 88 years, died in Clifton, Bristol, on September 7, 1833.

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EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION

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My moral relativism is very limited.  I live in a moral universe with plenty of black, white, and gray.  Furthermore, I, as one trained in historical methodology, grasp the importance of interpreting people’s lives in context.  Nevertheless, I also state that wrong is wrong and right is right.  I ask:

What is wrong with educating poor girls to become scholars, philosophers, and policy-makers?  

I affirm the equality of the sexes, of course.  X chromosomes and Y chromosomes should never function as excuses for not granting social and legal equality.

Hannah More was right more often than she was wrong.  She was correct, for example, to oppose slavery.  She was right to draw attention to its immorality via her writing.  And she was correct when she donated to Kenyon College.  More was correct when she established Sunday schools, too.

Being right more often than one is wrong is good and wonderful.  At the end of your life, O reader, may an honest evaluation of you be that you were right more often than you were wrong.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 25, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT DISMAS, PENITENT BANDIT

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Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son led captivity captive:

Multiply among us faithful witnesses like your servant Hannah More,

who will fight for all who are oppressed or held in bondage;

and bring us all, we pray, into the glorious liberty

that you have promised to all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Exodus 3:1-12

Psalm 146:4-9

John 15:5-16

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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Feast of Blessed Emelie Tavernier Gamelin (September 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Émelie Tavernier Gamelin

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ÉMELIE TAVERNIER GAMELIN (FEBRUARY 19, 1800-SEPTEMBER 23, 1851)

Foundress of the Sisters of Providence

Blessed Émelie Tavernier Gamelin comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Émelie Tavernier, born in Montreal on February 19, 1800, spent her life helping poor people.  She, the youngest of fifteen children of Marie-Josephte Maurice and Antoine Tavernier, became an orphan at the age of six years.  Aunts raised her after that.  Our saint, educated by Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, perceived her vocation at an early age; she knew she would assist the poor.  Émelie, eighteen years old, moved in with an older brother, a widower.  She established the condition for doing so; their table would always be open to hungry people who knocked on their door.

On June 4, 1823, our twenty-three-year-old saint married Jean-Baptiste Gamelin. He was a prosperous farmer of apples.  The couple had a short and grief-filled marriage.  All three sons died very young.  Jean-Baptiste died on October 1, 1827.

The twenty-three-year-old widow, having turned to prayer, identified her new family, of a sort.  She identified impoverished people as her new family.  Gamelin transformed her home into a shelter for a wide range of disadvantaged people–the handicapped, the mentally ill, the impoverished, the homeless, orphaned children, runaway children, immigrants, et cetera.  Her home became known as the House of Providence.  Gamelin encouraged others who could to convert their homes into Houses of Providence.  Our saint also recruited relatives to join her in caring for the ill and the incarcerated.  She worked in this manner for fifteen years, under the guidance of her bishop and her priest.

In 1841, help from the Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul was unavailable.  Therefore, our saint, with assistance from certain lay women of her diocese, formed the core of the Sisters of Providence.  That order officially came into existence in Montreal on March 29, 1844.  Gamelin became the Mother Superior of the new order.

Gamelin died of cholera in Montreal on September 23, 1851.  She was 51 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1993 then beatified her in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR AND ISAAC THE GREAT, PATRIARCHS OF ARMENIA

THE FEAST OF MEISTER ECKHART, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN AND MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT METODEJ DOMINIK TRCKA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1959

THE FEAST OF SAINT VICTORIAN OF HADRUMETUM, MARTYR AT CARTHAGE, 484

THE FEAST OF SAINT WALTER OF PONTOISE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND ECCLESIASTICAL REFORMER

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Lord 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 your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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