Archive for the ‘Saints of 1830-1839’ Category

Feast of Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani (May 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA CATALINA TROIANI (JANUARY 19, 1813-MAY 6, 1887)

Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also known as Blessed Maria Teresa of Saint Rose

Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani, a missionary in Egypt, educated impoverished girls.

Our saint came from an Italian Roman Catholic family.  She born in Guiliano di Roma on January 19, 1813, was one of four children of Tommaso Troiani and Teresa Panici (Troiani).  Teresa died when Blessed Maria Catalina was six years old.

Our saint, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, became a Francican tertiary.  On December 8, 1829, she made her vows as Sister Maria Teresa of Saint Rose, after St. Rose of Viterbo (1234-1252).  Blessed Maria Catalina spent much time educating girls.  On September 14, 1859, she, four other nuns, and Father Giuseppe Moden arrived in Cairo, Egypt, on a mission that had received person Papal approval.  They established a school for poor girls in that city.

From this undertaking arose the Third Order Franciscan Sisters of Cairo, official as of July 5, 1868.  The order later became the Franciscan Sisters of Cairo then the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our saint served as its first Mother Superior, until she died.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1982 then beatified her in 1985.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT DEOGRATIAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CARTHAGE

THE FEAST OF EMMANUEL MOURNIER, PERSONALIST PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF JAMES DE KOVEN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HUGHES, BRITISH SOCIAL REFORMER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM EDWARD HICKSON, ENGLISH MUSIC EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL REFORMER

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

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

inspired by the example of your servant Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani,

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 Blessed Caterina Cittadini (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sanctuary of St. Jerome Emiliani, Somasca, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED CATERINA CITTADINI (SEPTEMBER 28, 1801-MAY 5, 1857)

Foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca

Blessed Caterina Cittadini devoted her adult life to the service of God in girls and young women, especially orphans.

Blessed Caterina came from a devout family.  She, born in Bergamo, Kingdom of Italy, on September 28, 1801, was a daughter of Giovanni Battista Cittadini and Magherita Lanzani (Cittadini).  Magherita died when our saint was seven years old.  Then Giovanni left our saint and her younger sister, Giuditta (1803-1840), in the care of nuns at Bergamo.  The nuns taught young Caterina devotion to St. Mary of Nazareth and St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537).  The Cittadini Sisters left the care of the nuns in 1823; they went to live with their cousins, Antonio (d. 1841) and Giovanni Cittadini, priests.

Blessed Caterina began her teaching career in 1824.  That year she became a teacher at a public school for girls.  Our saint earned her reputation as a fine educator.  Blessed Caterina and Giuditta opened three private boarding schools, one each in 1826, 1832, and 1836.  Our saint directed the first school; Giuditta directed the other two.  A few female helpers worked with the Cittadini sisters, to keep the schools operational.  These women were the core of what became the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca.  A series of deaths (sister Giuditta, cousin Antonio, et cetera) caused stress that damaged Blessed Caterina’s health.  She credited the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani for her recovery.  Our saint also assumed the management of all three schools in 1845.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca became an official religious order, with the approval of Pietro Luigi Speranza, Bishop of Bergamo, on December 14, 1857.  Our saint had applied for ecclesiastical recognition of her nascent order in 1851.  Three years later, Speranza, the new bishop, had encouraged Blessed Caterina to write a rule then had approved her second draft.  Then our saint had died in Somasca on May 5, 1857.

Pope Pius XI approved the order on July 8, 1927.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca have continued the good work in Italy and beyond.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1996 then beatified her in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH, AND JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF JOHN S. STAMM, BISHOP OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH THEN THE EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF FLÜE AND HIS GRANDSON, SAINT CONRAD SCHEUBER, SWISS HERMITS

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF UMPHREY LEE, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND MINISTER OF SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Caterina Cittadini,

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

Grant that we also may 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 George Augustus Selwyn (April 11)   4 comments

Above:  George Augustus Selwyn

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE AUGUSTUS SELWYN (APRIL 5, 1809-APRIL 11, 1878)

Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, Primate of New Zealand, and Bishop of Lichfield; Missionary

Bishop George Augustus Selwyn comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England, The Episcopal Church, The Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Selwyn was English.  He, born in London on April 5, 1809, studied at Eton then at St. John’s College, Cambridge.  Selwyn, a fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, became an Anglican deacon in 1833 then a priest the following year.  Our saint, simultaneously a curate at Windsor and a tutor at Eton, married Sarah Richardson (d. 1907) in 1839.  During a time of political and societal upheaval, Selwyn advocated for the autonomy of The Church of England and for ecclesiastical responsibilities in society.  He spent much of his time working in education.

Selwyn became the first Bishop of New Zealand in October 1841, after his brother William had declined the offer.  Our saint arrived in New Zealand in 1842.  He organized the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Melanesia, as well as the Church Missionary Society work in Melanesia.  He founded schools, especially for the Maori.  One of these institutions was St. John’s School, which ultimately settled in Auckland, New Zealand.  Our saint also established ministries to miners, homeless people, and itinerant workers.  Furthermore, Selwyn forged the constitution of the Anglican Church in his missionary realm.  He modeled the ecclesiastical constitution after the constitutions of The Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church.  The constitution Selwyn crafted created a synod with three houses–bishops, clergy, and laity.  The empowerment of the laity was crucial.

Selwyn’s ministry overlapped with that of John Coleridge Patteson (1827-1871).  Selwyn created the first missionary system in Melanesia.  Indigenous youth spent summers at St. John’s School then returned to their communities as Christian influences.  Patteson, who arrived in 1855, inherited this system.  Patteson, whom Selwyn had consecrated the first Bishop of Melanesia on February 24, 1861, found that conducting missionary work directly in indigenous languages was more effective.

Selwyn oversaw the expansion of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Melanesia.  As the church expanded, the number of dioceses increased.  He went from being the Bishop of New Zealand to the Primate of New Zealand yet still based in Auckland.

Selwyn was, compared to many colonists, radically progressive regarding indigenous people.  He respected the dignity of the Maori and pled with colonists to treat them justly.  Many colonists ignored these pleas, however.  Maori uprisings resulted during the 1860s.  Selwyn’s position cost him the support of many settlers.  On the other hand, the bishop served as a Royal Army chaplain.  This cost him much Maori support.

Selwyn was, according to purist standards of 2020, defective; he was, to some extent, a cultural imperialist.  Yet, as I wrote in the previous paragraph, he was radically progressive, according to the standards of his time.

Without justifying the unjustifiable, I ask, why not focus on the positive?

The orthodoxy of cultural anthropology teaches that two opposite fallacies exist.  One is ethnocentrism, the idea that the observer’s culture sets the standards by which to evaluate all other cultures.  Ethnocentrism leads one to ignore faults in one’s culture and virtues in other cultures.  The other fallacy is cultural relativism, or the absence of standards.  Cultural relativism leads one to turn a blind eye to offenses against human dignity in the name of respecting diversity.  The truth is in the middle, of course.  Standards do exist, and every culture falls short of them in some ways.  Furthermore, members of different cultures can learn from each other.

Selwyn was somewhere in the middle, between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.

Selwyn served as the Bishop of Lichfield, in England, from 1868 to 1878.  He reluctantly accepted that offer at the Lambeth Conference of 1867.

Selwyn died in Lichfield on April 11, 1878.  He was 69 years old.

The Church of the Province of New Zealand reorganized in 1992.  It became The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The reorganized church respects cultural differences and has three primates.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia became a separate province of the Anglican Communion in 1975.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRI DE LUCAC, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, CARDINAL, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF CHARLES SHELDON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, AUTHOR, CHRISTIAN SOCIALIST, AND SOCIAL GOSPEL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF GREGORIO ALLEGRI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, COMPOSER, AND SINGER; AND HIS BROTHER, DOMENICO ALLEGRI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC COMPOSER AND SINGER

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAWA RODZINSKA, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF SAINT WULFRIC OF HASELBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

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Almighty God, you called George Augustus Selwyn

to be bishop of the church in New Zealand

and to lay a firm foundation for its life;

grant that, building on his labours

and encouraged by his gifts of heart, hand, and mind,

we too may extend your kingdom,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

or

Jesus, Jewish Saviour, served by George, the English bishop in Aotearoa,

give us grace to build on his foundations.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-6, 13

Psalm 16 or 126

1 Corinthians 3:7-13

John 4:31-38

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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Almighty God, hear our prayers and supplications

as we remember your servant George Augustus Selwyn

and enrich your Church in every land with the manifold gifts of service,

that by constant witness and selfless devotion we may share with one another,

and with all the world, the immeasurable wealth of your salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

1 Corinthians 12:4-13

Psalm 96:1-7

Matthew 10:7-16

–The Anglican Church of Canada

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant George Augustus Selwyn,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of New Zealand and Melanesia,

and to lay a firm foundation for the growth of your Church in many nations.

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.

Genesis 12:1-4

Ephesians 2:11-18

Psalm 28:7-11

Matthew 10:7-16

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 323

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Feast of James Rendel Harris, Robert Lubbock Bensly, Agnes Smith Lewis, Samuel Savage Lewis, Margaret Smith Gibson, and James Young Gibson (March 26)   1 comment

Above:  St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai Desert, Egypt, 1898

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-09674

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JAMES RENDEL HARRIS (JANUARY 27, 1852-MARCH 1, 1941)

Anglo-American Congregationalist then Quaker Biblical Scholar and Orientalist

Also known as J. Rendel Harris

worked with

ROBERT LUBBOCK BENSLY (AUGUST 24, 1831-APRIL 23, 1893)

English Biblical Translator and Orientalist

worked with

AGNES SMITH LEWIS (JANUARY 11, 1843-MARCH 26, 1926)

English Biblical Scholar and Linguist

wife of

SAMUEL SAVAGE LEWIS (JULY 13, 1836-MARCH 31, 1891)

Anglican Priest and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England

brother-in-law of

MARGARET DUNLOP SMITH GIBSON (JANUARY 11, 1843-JANUARY 11, 1920)

English Biblical Scholar and Linguist

wife of

JAMES YOUNG GIBSON (FEBRUARY 19, 1826-OCTOBER 2, 1886)

Scottish Literary Translator and United Presbyterian Minister

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INTRODUCTION

Ecclesiastical history–especially early ecclesiastical history–is a topic of little or no interest to many Low Church Protestants.  Common gaps in knowledge and interest include the time between the Apostles and the Crusades, as well as the centuries between the Crusades and the Reformation.  I recall, as a youth in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the 1980s, hearing elders refer to “old songs.”  I also remember checking the dates of those “old songs” and frequently learning that they were from the early twentieth century.  Sixty or seventy years are nothing compared to two millennia.  Historical perspective is useful.

This cluster of six saints had a firm grasp of historical perspective, however.

They come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via their connection to F. Crawford Burkitt (1864-1935), an Anglican scholar, theologian, hymn writer, and hymn translator.

THE WESTMINSTER SISTERS AND THEIR HUSBANDS

The central figures were twin sisters, Agnes Smith and Margaret Dunlop Smith, born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, on January 11, 1843.  Our saints never knew their mother, who died two weeks after their birth.  The father was John Smith, a solicitor who studied languages.  He raised his daughters to be linguists and sent them to private schools.  The family also traveled throughout England.  The sisters eventually settled in London and joined the Presbyterian Church at Clapham Road.  They traveled in Europe and the Middle East, and expanded their linguistic range.  Eventually the two sisters mastered at least twelve languages, including German, Italian, Greek, Arabic, and Syraic.

Agnes and Margaret, known as the Westminster Sisters, had a positive relationship with Greek Orthodoxy.  This relationship helped them to complete the main work that has brought them to this Ecumenical Calendar, in the 1890s.

Margaret married James Young Gibson on September 11, 1883, in Germany.  He, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, was a son of merchant William Gibson.  James, educated at the University of Edinburgh (1842-1846), pursued divinity studies (1847-1852) for the United Presbyterian Church.  After working for the Henry Birkbeck family as a tutor at Keswick Hall, Gibson served as a parish minister at Melrose (1853-1859).  Failing health forced him to leave that post.  Gibson traveled and studied in Europe and the Middle East.  He also translated Spanish masterworks, including Don Quixote, into English.  The marriage to Margaret was brief; he died at Ramsgate on October 2, 1886.  He was 60 years old.

Agnes married Samuel Savage Lewis on December 12, 1887.  Lewis, born in Bishopsgate, London, on July 13, 1836, was a son of surgeon William Jonas Lewis.  Poor eyesight complicated and delayed Samuel’s education at St. John’s College, Cambridge.  Surgeries improved his eyesight, however, so Lewis completed his formal education.  He, ordained a deacon (1872) then a priest (1873) in The Church of England, was the Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from 1870 to 1891, when he died.  Lewis, a classicist, traveled in Europe and the Middle East, mastered many languages, and collected ancient seals and coins.  He, Agnes, and Margaret formed a household.  Lewis died of heart failure on a train near Oxford on March 31, 1891.  He was 54 years old.

JAMES RENDEL HARRIS

The twin sisters, widows living in Cambridge, read J. Rendel Harris‘s account of his discovery of the Syraic text of the Apology of Aristides at St. Catherine’s Monastery, in the Sinai Desert, Egypt.  This inspired them them to visit the monastery in 1892.

James Rendel Harris opened the floodgates for the Westminster Sisters.  His story was interesting in its own right.  Harris, born in Plymouth, Devon, England, on January 27, 1852, grew up with ten siblings.  The father, Henry Marmaduke Harris, decorated houses.  The mother, Elizabeth Corker (Harris), operated a shop selling baby clothes.  Harris, who grew up a Congregationalist, studied at Plymouth Grammar School then at Clare College, Cambridge.

Harris’s life changed in 1880, when he married Helen Balkwell (d. 1914), a Quaker from Plymouth.  She influenced him to convert in 1885, three years after he had come to the United States, where she was working as a missionary.  From 1882 to 1885 Harris was Professor of New Testament Greek at Johns Hopkins University.  His criticism of vivisection at the university created a backlash that prompted him to resign.  Then the couple spent some time in 1885-1886 in England.

Harris was Professor in Biblical Studies at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1886 to 1891.  In 1888 and 1889 he bought 47 codices in various ancient languages in Egypt and Palestine.  He donated these codices to Haverford College.  One of these texts, which he discovered at St. Catherine’s Monastery, was the Syraic text of the Apology of Aristides.

ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY, 1892 AND 1893

The Westminster Sisters visited St. Catherine’s Monastery in 1892.  They discovered the earliest Syraic version of the Gospels known to exist at the time.  The sisters were just getting started.  The following year they returned with F. Crawford Burkitt, Robert Lubbock Bensly, and J. Rendel Harris.  By then Harris had become Lecturer in Palaeography at Cambridge.

Robert Lubbock Bensly was an Orientalist and a Biblical translator.  He, born in Eaton, Norwich England, on August 24, 1831, was a son of Robert Bensly and Harriet Reeve (Bensly).  Young Robert studied at King’s College, London, then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, as well as in Germany.  He was, in order, Lecturer in Hebrew and Syraic at Gonville and Caius College then, in 1887, Lord Almoner’s Professor of Arabic.  Bensly helped to translate the Old Testament (1885) of the Revised Version of the Bible.  On the personal side, Bensly married Agnes Dorothee von Blomberg in Halle on August 14, 1860.  She and their three children outlived him.

At St. Catherine’s Monastery in 1893 the Westminster Sisters et al transcribed the Syraic version of the Gospels.  Agnes and Margaret also cataloged the monastery’s collection of Arabic and Syraic texts.  They began to collect about 1,700 fragments of manuscripts, now called the Lewis-Gibson Collection.

Bensly died in Cambridge, England, on April 23, 1893.  He was 63 years old.

J. RENDEL HARRIS AND THE WESTMINSTER SISTERS

Harris became a mentor to Agnes and Margaret.  He, Lecturer in Palaeography at Cambridge (1893-1903), wrote about ancient texts, including the Didache, the Acts of Perpetua, the Odes of Solomon, the Psalms of Solomon, and the Gospel of Peter.  His course in palaeography helped Agnes to become an internationally-renowned Syraic scholar.

Agnes and Margaret, despite their accomplishments, held only honorary degrees.  The reason for this was sexism.  The University of Cambridge, for example, did not give degrees to women at the time.

Harris, also an author of devotional works, left Cambridge.  After teaching theology in Leiden (1903-1904), he became the first Principal and Director of Studies at the Friends’ Settlement for Social and Religious Study, Woodbrooke College, Selly Oak, Birmingham, England.  Then, from 1918 to 1925, Harris was the Curator of Eastern Manuscripts at the John Rylands Library, Manchester.  He, aged 89 years, died in Selly Oak, Birmingham, on March 1, 1941.

Agnes and Margaret remained active scholars into the 1910s.  One of their later achievements was to make possible the discovery of an ancient Hebrew manuscript of Sirach/Ecclesiasticus.  The sisters, members of St. Columba’s Presbyterian (now United Reformed) Church, Cambridge, constituted the core of a religious and intellectual circle.  The Westminster Sisters also endowed Westminster College, Cambridge, and assisted in the founding of the Presbyterian student chaplaincy at the University of Oxford.

Margaret Dunlop Smith Gibson died on January 11, 1920., her seventy-seventh birthday.

Agnes Smith Lewis died on March 26, 1926.  She was 83 years old.

CONCLUSION

These six saints stood in the spiritual lineage of St. Clement of Alexandria (died circa 210/215) and his protégé, Origen (185-254).  St. Clement was the “Pioneer of Christian Scholarship.  He and Origen wedded faith and intellect, not without controversy, then and subsequently.  Opponents and critics have included those infected with indifference or anti-intellectualism.

To honor God with one’s intellect is to act consistently with the commandment to love God fully with one’s being.

James Rendel Harris, Robert Lubbock Bensly, Agnes Smith Lewis, Samuel Savage Lewis, Margaret Dunlop Smith Gibson, and James Young Gibson did that.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of

[James Rendel Harris,

Robert Lubbock Bensly,

Agnes Smith Lewis,

Samuel Savage Lewis,

Margaret Dunlop Smith Gibson

James young Gibson. and all others]

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Blessed Maria Barbara Maix (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of Brazil (1822-1870)

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA BARBARA MAIX (JUNE 27, 1818-MARCH 17, 1873)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also known as Maria Barbara of the Most Holy Trinity

Blessed Maria Barbara Maix is one of the more recent additions to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

Maix was Austrian by birth.  She, born in Vienna on June 27, 1818, was a daughter of Joseph Maix and Rosalia Mauritz (Maix).  Our saint was physically frail, suffering from asthma.  She, as a youth, worked as a maid at the Schönbrunn Palace.  She, orphaned at the age of 15 years, went to work as a seamstress.  Several years later, in 1836, our saint and her sister Maria opened a home for poor people in Vienna.  Blessed Maria Barbara established a Marian order for women, the origin of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in 1843.  She had an appointment to meet with Pope Gregory XVI, to ask for papal approval of the order, in 1846, but he died one day prior to the appointment.

1848-1849 was a revolutionary time in much of Europe, including Austria.  In late 1848 the Austrian government expelled Maix and the other 21 members of her order.  Maix decided at the last minute to depart for Brazil, not the United States, from Hamburg.  The women arrived in Rio de Janeiro on November 8, 1848.  The Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary formally came into existence on May 8, 1849.

Our saint and the other members of her order fulfilled their vocation.  They worked with street children, operated a school for orphaned girls, fought slavery (legal in Brazil until 1888), and tended to soldiers during the Paraguayan War/War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870).

Pope Benedict XVI declared our saint a Venerable in 2008 then beatified him in 2010.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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

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

inspired by the devotion of your servant Blessed Maria Barbara Maix,

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 Venerable Vincenzina Cusmano and Blessed Giacomo Cusmano (March 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of Italian Unification

Image in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE VINCENZINA CUSMANO (JANUARY 6, 1826-FEBRUARY 2, 1894)

Superior of the Sisters Servants of the Poor

Her feast day transferred from February 2

sister of

BLESSED GIACOMO CUSMANO (MARCH 15, 1834-MARCH 14, 1888)

Founder of the Sisters Servants of the Poor and the Missionary Servants of the Poor

His feast day = March 14

One of my purposes in expanding this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  Living faith is never properly a “Jesus-and-me” matter.  No, living faith is properly outward-focused, with a core of strong internal care.  One cannot give to others what one lacks.  Furthermore, all of us with faith owe that to other people, to a great extent.  We ought to strengthen each other as we walk with God.

Giacomo Cusmano (the elder) and Magdalena Patti, of Palermo, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, were a well-to-do couple.  They had five children.  The eldest was Vincenzina (born on January 6, 1826) and the fourth was Giacomo (born on March 15, 1834).  The family dynamic encouraged piety.  Young Vincenzina wanted to become a Carmelite nun.  Those plans ended when Magdalena died of cholera.  Vincenzina, eleven years old , became the substitute mother to her siblings.  The family was financially secure, but raising five children without his wife was very difficult.

Vincenzina, although the substitute mother, still had to grow up.  She, according to convention, studied music and literature at home.  Her spiritual director was Father Domenico Turano, later the Bishop of Agrigento.

Young Giacomo’s path in life seemed set; he would help the poor.  He, as a child, eagerly answered the front door when poor people asked for food.  Our saint, as a boy, gave them food from the family pantry until someone (presumably the father) put a lock on the pantry door. Young Giacomo studied under Jesuits in Palermo from 1841 to 1851.  During this time he became interested in missionary work.  In 1850 he almost ran away, to become a missionary to the Rocky Mountains.  His brother Pietro prevented this.  Giacomo (the younger) became a physician.  He studied medicine in Palermo from 1851 to 1855.  He, as a doctor, treated those he knew could not pay him, and he did not require that they do so.  Nevertheless, Dr. Cusmano perceived a vocation to do more for the poor.

He became a priest in December 22, 1860.  Italian unification was in progress.  One of the consequences of the founding of the united Kingdom of Italy was an increasing rate of poverty in the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, due to the loss of patronage.  Father Cusmano, serving in Palermo, derived inspiration from a social custom in the city.  At a meal, every member of a family placed some good from his or her plate on a plate in the middle of the table.  That food was for the poor.  Father Cusmano founded a charitable endeavor, Morsel to the Poor, in 1867.  It provided relief for many impoverished people.

Father Cusmano founded orders to care for the poor.  The Sisters Servants of the Poor came into existence on May 23, 1880; Vincenzina became the first Superior.  She earned her nickname, “Mother of the Poor,” and founded Houses of Mercy in Palermo.  The Missionary Servants of the Poor, a male order, came into existence on November 21, 1887.

The siblings died a few years apart.  Giacomo died of a pleurisy in Palermo on March 14, 1888.  If he had lived one day more, he would have observed his fifty-fourth birthday.  Vincenzina, aged sixty-eight years, died in Palermo on February 2, 1894.

The Roman Catholic Church has placed both siblings on the path to potential canonization.  Pope John Paul II declared Giacomo a Venerable in 1982 then beatified him the following year.  Pope Francis declared Vincenzina a Venerable in 2017.

Members of these orders continue to serve the poor around the world in parishes, schools, orphanages, and hospitals.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS, 1642

THE FEAST OF EDGAR J. GOODSPEED, U.S. BAPTIST BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN YI YON-ON, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN KOREA, 1867

W. SIBLEY TOWNER, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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Lord God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served.

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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Feast of James Theodore Holly (March 13)   2 comments

Above:  Bishop James Theodore Holly

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES THEODORE AUGUSTUS HOLLY (OCTOBER 3, 1829-MARCH 13, 1911)

Episcopal Bishop of Haiti, and of the Dominican Republic

First African-American Bishop in The Episcopal Church

James Theodore Holly comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church used to have one calendar of saints.  Starting in the 1960s, the guide to it was Lesser Feasts and Fasts, revised and made thicker occasionally.  From 1989 to 2007, a new edition debuted every three years.  Then, in 2009, the General Convention authorized a side calendar, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010).  That volume’s successor debuted in late 2016.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations has enlarged the side calendar.

Some commemorations are present in both Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 and A Great Cloud of Witnesses; others are present only in one of them.  Some feasts new to The Episcopal Church debut on the side calendar and move into Lesser Feasts and Fasts, too.  Other feasts new to the denomination debut in Lesser Feasts and Fasts.  Bishop Holly’s feast is present in Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) and A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016), but not in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) lists two feast days–March 13 and November 8–for Bishop Holly.  However, A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016) lists only the March 13 feast day for him.

James Theodore Augustus Holly, born free in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 1829, became a vigorous champion for civil rights.  He, baptized and raised a Roman Catholic, eventually joined The Episcopal Church.  After moving with his family to Brooklyn, New York, in 1843, our saint trained as a shoemaker.  In 1848 he had begun to work with abolitionist Lewis Tappan.  Holly and his brother Joseph opened a boot-making shop in 1850.  By then our saint had developed strong interests in Haiti and emigration.  The Episcopal Church rejected his repeated requests to become a missionary to that country for years.

Holly became an ordained minister–a deacon in 1855 then a priest in 1856.  He, Rector of St. Luke’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut, from 1856 to 1861, traveled to Haiti before settling there in 1861.  In 1856 he also founded the Protestant Episcopal Society for Promoting the Extension of the Church among Colored People, a forerunner of the Union of Black Episcopalians.

Holly sought to build up the church in and the people of Haiti.  In 1861 he led a group of 110 African Americans and African Canadians to that country.  For a few years he received no support from The Episcopal Church for his missionary work, but it came through eventually.  Within the first year of living in Haiti, Holly’s wife and two of his children died.  He remained with his two young sons.  Holly, who doubled as the Liberian Consul to Haiti from 1864 to 1874, sought to stabilize the unstable societies on Hispaniola.  He, the founder of what he called L’Église Orthodoxe Apostolique Haitienne, became the first Bishop of Haiti and the first African-American Episcopal bishop.  The consecration occurred at Grace Episcopal Church, New York, New York, on November 8, 1874.  Although a member of the denominational House of Bishops, Holly had no vote in that body.  From 1897 to 1911 Holly doubled as the Bishop of the Dominican Republic.  In both countries he evangelized, built churches, founded schools, and started hospitals and other charitable institutions.  Holly, aged 81 years, died in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 13, 1911.

Michael Curry (an African American), the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, said of Deaconess Anna Alexander (1865?-1947), whose feast is in both Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 and A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016), that The Episcopal Church had to catch up to her.  The denomination had to catch up to Bishop Holly, whom it treated worse than a second-class member.

Racism is alive and well in society, unfortunately.  It also continues to exist within ecclesiastical institutions, including The Episcopal Church, my chosen denomination.  We are doing better in this regard than we did.  We need to do better than we do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA 

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD ROLLE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL WRITER

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Most gracious God, by the calling of your servant

you gave us our first bishop of African-American heritage.

In his quest for life and freedom, he led your people from bondage

into a new land and established the Church in Haiti.

Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice

and honor those whom you call from every family, language, people, and nation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Deuteronomy 6:20-25

Psalm 86:11-17

Acts 8:26-39

John 4:31-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 271

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