Archive for the ‘Saints of 1880-1889’ Category

Feast of Blessed Chiara Bosatta (April 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Pianello del Lario, Italy

Image Source = Google Earth

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BLESSED CHIARA BOSATTA (MAY 27, 1858-APRIL 20, 1887)

Co-Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence

Also known as Dina Bosatta

Dina Bosatta, born in Pianello del Lario, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, on May 27, 1858, was a daughter of silk producer Alessandro Bosatta and Rosa Mazzucchi.  Our saint, whose father died when she was young, went to the Gravedona house of the Daughters of Charity (the Canossians) in 1871.  She remained with them for seven years and worked as an attendant.  Bosatta perceived a vocation to the religious life.  Her first choice was to join the Daughters of Charity, but they rejected her request.  Our saint’s contemplative nature suited her for a different order, they said.

Dina, back home, reunited with her sister, Marcellina.  They joined the Pious Union of the Daughters of Saint Mayr, dedicated to helping elderly people and abandoned children.  The sisters taught children.  Father Carlo Cappini, founder of the Pious Union, passed the torch to St. (Father) Luigi Guanella (1842-1915) in late 1881.  Guanella and the two sisters transformed the Pious Union into the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence.  Dina took the name Chiara.  She assumed responsibility for the spiritual formation of the members of the order.

Bosatta, aged not quite 29 years, died in Painello del Lario, Kingdom of Italy, on April 20, 1887.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Bosatta.  Pope John Paul II declared her a Venerable in 1988.  Then, in 1991, he added her to the beati.

Bosatta died young.  Yet she accomplished much for God and for her brother and sister human beings during the relatively little time she had.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCES DE SALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GENEVA; SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL, “THE APOSTLE OF CHARITY;” SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC, CO-FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL; AND CHARLES FUGE LOWDER, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF EDWARD MCGLYNN, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SOCIAL REFORMER, AND ALLEGED HERETIC

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOANNA P. MOORE, U.S. BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF MELANESIA, 1864-2003

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TRAHERNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Chiara Bosatta,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

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

and walk before you as children of light;

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

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

Acts 2:42-47a

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

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

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

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Feast of St. Gaetano Catanoso (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Gaetano Catanoso

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT GAETANO CATANOSO (FEBRUARY 14, 1879-APRIL 14, 1953)

Founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Veronica (the Missionaries of the Holy Face)

Alternative feast day = September 20

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The Holy Face is my life.  He is my strength.

–St. Gaetano Catanoso

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

Catanoso came from a large, devout, and wealthy family of Chioro di San Lorenzo, Reggio Calabra, Italy.  He, born on February 14, 1879, was one of eight children of Antonio and Antonia Catanoso.  Our saint, who started his theological studies in October 1889, joined the ranks of priests on September 20, 1902, when he was twenty-three years old.

Catanoso spent most of his priestly career in parishes, with ministries in communities.  After spending 1902-1904 as a prefect of seminarians, our saint became a parish priest.  He encouraged priestly vocations, improved catechesis, revived Marian and Eucharistic devotions, encouraged the observance of liturgical feasts, and worked with other local priests to arrange for priests to hear confessions in each other’s parishes.  Catanoso also served as a spiritual director at a seminary (1922-1949) and hospitals (1922-1933).  Furthermore, he founded an orphanage for war orphans in 1943.  In 1935, our saint founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Veronica (the Missionaries of the Holy Face) to work with the poor and to offer perpetual prayers.  The congregation received diocesan approval in 1958.

When Catanoso died, aged seventy-four years, on April 4, 1953, he was ill and blind.  He was also justifiably beloved.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Catanoso.  Pope John Paul II declared him a Venerable in 1990 then a beatus in 1997.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized our saint in 2005.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF HENRY HART MILMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUVENAL OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN ALASKA, AND FIRST ORTHODOX MARTYR IN THE AMERICAS, 1796

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER THE ALEUT, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1815

THE FEAST OF SAINT SILOUAN OF MOUNT ATHOS, EASTERN ORTHODOX MONK AND POET

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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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Feast of Peter Lutkin (March 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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PETER CHRISTIAN LUTKIN (JR.) (MARCH 27, 1858-DECEMBER 27, 1931)

Episcopal Composer, Liturgist, and Music Educator

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Dean Lutkin’s attitude to music was that of a high priest in the temple of a divine revealing art.  He considered himself a steward of the mysteries of God and communicated to his pupils that high sense of a spiritual vocation which alone gives dignity and nobility to life.

–The Right Reverend George Craig Stewart, Bishop of Chicago, on Peter Lutkin; quoted in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody:  A Manual to The Methodist Church, 2nd. ed. (1937), 167

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Peter Lutkin comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via a plethora of hymnals.

Peter Christian Lutkin (Jr.), born in Thompsonville, Wisconsin, on March 27, 1858, came from a Danish-American family.  The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1869.  Shortly thereafter, both parents–Peter Christian Lutkin (Sr.) and Hannah (Olivarious) Lutkin–died.

Our young saint made his way to fulfilling his potential with the help of many people, some of them related to him.  Lutkin attended public schools in Chicago as well as the choir school at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.  At the age of 14 years, he became the first boy contralto soloist in the Midwest.  Lutkin worked as an instructor in piano at Northwestern University, which lacked a music department, in 1879-1881.  He spent 1881-1884 studying music in Europe; a group of Chicago musicians had raised the funds to make those studies possible.

Lutkin, back in Chicago, made the most of his talents.  He held overlapping portfolios:

  1. Organist and choirmaster, St. Clement’s Episcopal Church (1884-1891);
  2. Director of the Department of Theory, the American Conservatory of Music (1885-1895);
  3. Organist and choirmaster, St. James’s Episcopal Church (1891-1896);
  4. Founder and first Dean of the School of Music, Northwestern University (1896-1928);
  5. Musical Editor, The Methodist Hymnal (1905);
  6. Founder and Director of the North Shore Festivals (1908-1930);
  7. President, the Music Teachers’ National Association (1911, 1920); and
  8. Musical Editor, The (Episcopal) Hymnal 1916 (1918).

Our saint, a pioneer in college music education in the United States and a champion of choral a cappella music, also helped to found the American Guild of Organists in 1896.  Syracuse University awarded Lutkin the Mus.D. degree in 1900.

Lutkin composed canticles, anthems, hymn tunes, and instrumental works.  His hymn tunes included LANIER, THEODORE, PATTEN, and CARMAN.  Perhaps his most anthem was The Lord Bless You and Keep You.

Lutkin, aged 73 years, died in Evanston, Illinois, on December 27, 1931.  His widow was Nancy Leiah Carmen Lutkin (1861-1949), whom he married on October 27, 1885.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS EXIGUUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND REFORMER OF THE CALENDAR

THE FEAST OF DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER, CHEYENNE WARRIOR, CHIEF, HOLY MAN, AND EPISCOPAL DEACON AND MISSIONARY IN OKLAHOMA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIACRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF FRANÇOIS MAURIAC, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST, CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, AND SOCIAL CRITIC

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

thank you for those (especially Peter Lutkin)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

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

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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

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Feast of Josef Rheinberger (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  Josef Rheinberger

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEF GABRIEL RHEINBERGER (MARCH 17, 1839-NOVEMBER 25, 1901)

Germanic Roman Catholic Composer

Josef Rheinberger comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his sacred music.

Rheinberger, born in Liechtenstein on March 17, 1839, was a musical prodigy.  He worked as the parish organist in Vaduz when seven years old.  A year later, our saint became a composer.  Rheinberger’s father, the treasurer for Prince Aloys III of Liechtenstein (r. 1836-1858), nurtured this talent.  Yet the father remained reluctant until 1851 to permit his son to become a professional musician.  Rheinberger began to study at the conservatory in Munich.

Upon graduating, Rheinberger joined the piano and composition faculty at the conservatory in Munch.  After the dissolution of that institution, our saint became a vocal coach and an accompanist at the Court Theater.  He resigned in 1867, and married a former pupil, the poet and socialite Franziska “Fanny” von Hoffnaass.  She became one of her husband’s librettists.  Rheinberger, appointed the court conductor in Munich in 1877, eventually joined the faculty of the second Munich conservatory, while retaining duties as court conductor.  Horatio William Parker (1863-1919) was one of Rheinberger’s students at the conservatory from 1882 to 1885.  Franciska died after a long illness on December 31, 1892.  Our saint’s failing health forced his resignation as court conductor two years later.

Rheinberger composed many works.  These included twelve Masses, a Requiem, a Stabat Mater, two concerti, twenty sonatas, and thirty-six solo pieces for the organ, plus choral works, symphonies, operas, and chamber music.

One can easily listen to many of our saint’s compositions on YouTube.

Rheinberger, aged 62 years, died in Munich, German Empire, on November 25, 1901.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 31, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Josef Rheinberger

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Julius Ewald Kockritz (March 29)   1 comment

Above:  The Logo of the Evangelical Synod of North America

Image Source = The Yearbook and Almanac of the Evangelical and Reformed Church 1938 (1939), 2

Available at archive.org

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JULIUS EWALD KOCKRITZ (JANUARY 3, 1876-MARCH 28, 1931)

German Evangelical Minister, Hymn Writer, and Christian Educator

Also known as Ewald Kockritz

Julius Ewald Kockritz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

In this context, “Evangelical” means Protestant–specifically, the union of the Prussian Lutheran and Reformed traditions.

Kockritz was a minister in the old Evangelical Synod of North America (ESNA), founded by Prussian immigrants to the United States.  The ESNA (1877-1934) had organizational roots dating to 1840.  The founders of the ESNA’s American predecessors, in the old country, had belonged to the Prussian Union of Churches (1817-2003), the result of the marriage of the Lutheran and Reformed churches that King Frederick William III (1770-1740; r. 1797-1840) had forced.  The heritage of the ESNA passed first to the old Evangelical and Reformed Church (a union with the old German Reformed Church in the United States) then to the United Church of Christ (a union with the old Congregational Christian Churches).

Kockritz, born in Napoleonville, Louisiana, on January 3, 1876, came from a large family.  He was one of ten children of Herman Kockritz and Emma (Winkler) Kockritz.  Our saint, who grew up in Henderson, Kentucky, went to work as the private secretary to John Young Brown (1835-1904), the Governor of Kentucky (1891-1895) in 1892.  Three years later, Kockritz left that position.  He worked for a grain company, as a newspaper reporter, and as a telegram operator for several years before deciding to become a minister in the ESNA.  He matriculated at Eden Theological Seminary in 1898.

Kockritz graduated in 1901 and embarked on his life’s work.  The newly ordained minister married Clare Elizabeth Hartmann (1879-1955) on November 6, 1901.  The couple had five children, three of whom survived our saint.  Kockritz’s first pastorate was in Clarington, Ohio (1901-1905).

Kockritz served at St. Luke’s Evangelical Church, Cincinnati, Ohio (1905-1910).  During this tenure, he began to edit Sunday School publications for the ESNA, a role he filled through 1915.

Kockritz served at Salem Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), New Orleans, Louisiana (1910-1917); then at Bethel Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Evansville, Indiana (1917-1931).  Denominational roles during these years included:

  1. service on the Board of Religious Education (1913-1929), with a tenure as the Chairman;
  2. service on the War Welfare Commission (1917-1918);
  3. service translating the ESNA constitution into English;
  4. service writing a brief history of the ESNA;
  5. service as the ESNA Moderator (1929); and
  6. service as the ESNA General Secretary (1930-1931).

In Evansville our saint found time to serve on the local Interracial Commission and on the Board of Trustees of the Protestant Deaconess Hospital.

Kockritz wrote three hymns included in The Evangelical Hymnal (1917):

  1. In Thy Service, Lord of Mercy;
  2. Lord, I Would Praise Thee; and
  3. As Fades the Daylight Splendor.

Kockritz, aged 55 years, died in Evansville, Indiana, on March 28, 1931.  One of his hymns summarized our saint’s life:

In Thy service, Lord of mercy,

We would find our chief delight;

Show us then some place to labor

In Thy kingdom, Lord of light.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEANNE JUGAN, FOUNDER OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR

THE FEAST OF CARLTON C. BUCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDMOND L. BUDRY, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF GERALD KENNEDY, U.S. METHODIST BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN LEARY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED

THE FEAST OF KARL OTTO EBERHARDT, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Julius Ewald Kockritz and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

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

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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Feast of Rudolph A. John (March 26)   1 comment

Above:  Rudolph A. John

Image Source = Yearbook and Almanac of the Evangelical and Reformed Church 1939 (1938), 42

Available at archive.org

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RUDOLPH A. JOHN (JR.) (MARCH 26, 1859-JULY 17, 1938)

German Evangelical Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

Rudolph A. John comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Our saint grew up in the old Evangelical Synod of North America (ESNA).  In this context, “Evangelical” meant “Protestant”–Lutheran-Reformed, specifically.  Prussian immigrants–members of the merged Lutheran-Reformed church there–created a counterpart in the United States of America.  Our saint’s father was the Reverend Rudolph A. John (Sr.), who served at St. Peter’s Evangelical Church, Washington, Missouri.  Later, John (Sr.) taught at Eden Theological Seminary.  Our saint, born at Washington, Missouri, on March 26, 1859, was also a son of Christine (Kopf) John.  Our saint had a brother, Samuel A. John, who grew up to become a prominent minister and an expert in Sunday School work in the ESNA.

John (Jr.) joined the ranks of ESNA ministers, too.  He studied at Washington University then at Eden Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained on June 26, 1878, embarked on his life’s work, first at a cluster of mission churches in southern Illinois.  Next, he served at Immanuel Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Sedalia, Missouri.  During this time, John was the Secretary of the ESNA’s West Missouri District.  A tenure at St. John’s Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Richmond, Virginia (-1886) followed.  Prior to 1886, our saint edited Christliche Kinderzeitung, a Sunday School paper for intermediates and youth.  He also married Emilie (W.) John and started a family.  The couple had a daughter (who survived our saint) and a son (who predeceased our saint).

John spent four decades at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Chicago, Illinois, starting in 1886.  After retiring, he held the title Pastor Emeritus.  Our saint, during his time in Chicago, served a term as the President of the ESNA’s North Illinois District.  He also founded St. Paul’s Church Home, for elderly people.  In retirement, John served as its superintendent.

John found time to compose poems, write hymns, and translate other hymns from German.  He wrote hymns in both English and German.  The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church, a successor to the ESNA, included three of our saint’s translations:

  1. I Will Sing the Praise of Love Unbounded,
  2. I Will Ever Sing Thy Praises, and
  3. Take Thou My Hand and Lead Me.

John, aged 79 years, died in Richmond, Virginia, on July 17, 1938.  Survivors included his widow and daughter.

The final verse of our saint’s translation (1912) of a hymn (form 1757) by Gerhard Tersteegen constitues a fitting epitaph for John:

While life shall last, I’ll sing the glory

Of Christ the Saviour and His love;

With angel hosts I’ll tell the story

Of Christ, in Zion’s home above;

God’s love is mine, death cannot sever

Me from that heart that loves forever.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 28, 2022 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:   THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT AMBROSE OF MILAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT MONICA OF HIPPO, MOTHER OF SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO; AND SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF HIPPO REGIUS

THE FEAST OF DENIS WORTMAN, U.S. DUTCH REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE THOMAS COSTER, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF LAURA S. COPENHAVER, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND MISSIONARY LEADER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES THE BLACK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Rudolph A. John and others, who have composed and translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

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

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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Feast of William Henry Sheppard, Lucy Gantt Sheppard, and Samuel Lapsley (March 8)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of the Congo Free State and Belgian Congo

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM HENRY SHEPPARD, JR. (MARCH 8, 1865-NOVEMBER 25, 1927)

LUCY GANTT SHEPPARD (1867-MAY 27, 1955)

SAMUEL N. LAPSLEY (APRIL 14, 1866-MARCH 26, 1892)

Southern Presbyterian Missionaries to the Congo

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INTRODUCTION

When one surveys the names of presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one notices that most names are geographical or historical-cultural.  In Georgia, where I live, for example, the PC(USA) has five presbyteries.  The Flint River Presbytery–named for the Flint River–is in the southwestern part of the state.  The Savannah Presbytery is to the east of the Flint River Presbytery.  The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta requires no explanation for its name.  Northwest of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta sits the Cherokee Presbytery, named after the tribe that used to live there.  The Northeast Georgia Presbytery is the other presbytery in the state.

Next door, in Alabama, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has three presbyteries–South Alabama, the Sheppards and Lapsley, and North Alabama.

The Presbytery of the Sheppards and Lapsley?  Why not?  I will explain in this post.

I have already added two other missionaries to the Congo to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy DaysLouise Cecilia Fleming (1862-1899) was a medical missionary.  Althea Brown Edmiston (1875-1937) served with the Sheppards.

BEGINNINGS

William Henry Sheppard, Jr., entered the world at Waynesboro, Virginia, on March 8, 1865.  His father, William Henry Sheppard, Sr., was a barber.  Our saint’s mother, Fannie Francis Martin Sheppard, was a maid and a free person of color.  Young William attended local schools worked as a stable hand for a white family.  Eventually, he moved to Staunton, Virginia, where he lived with his aunt and worked for a white dentist, S. Homer Henkel.

William matriculated at the Hampton Normal and Industrial School (now Hampton University), Hampton, Virginia, in 1880.  There he studied under Booker T. Washington and, with the help of chaplain Hollis B. Frissel, founded a mission in the poor African-American community in nearby Slabtown.

Our saint, having graduated from Hampton in 1883, matriculated at the Tuscaloosa Theological Institute (now Stillman College), Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  There he met Lucy Gantt, a student at Talladega College.  The couple became engaged to marry in 1886, the year Lucy graduated.  William (Class of 1884) worked in a church in Montgomery through 1887.

The engagement was long.  In the meantime, the old (Southern) Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) ordained William in 1887.  He spent two years as pastor of Zion Presbyterian Church, Atlanta.  His dream, however, was to serve as a missionary in Africa.  The PCUS policy regarding African-American missionaries required sending a white missionary as a supervisor.

The corresponding white missionary was Samuel N. Lapsley, commissioned with William in 1889.  While the two missionaries departed for the Congo Free State, Lucy taught school.  She also sang with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Lapsley entered the world at Selma, Alabama, on April 14, 1866.  He grew up in the First Presbyterian Church in that city; Lapsley, Sr., was a judge in Selma, as well as an elder in First Presbyterian Church, and eventually the Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly.  Lapsley, Sr., had built a church for African Americans in Vine Hill.  Samuel served as the Sunday School superintendent of that African-American congregation.  He also played the piano and organ there.  Samuel, a graduate of The University of Alabama, turned down a promising academic career to become a minister.  While a student at McCormick Theological Seminary, he applied for the new PCUS mission field in the Congo, opened in 1889.  The field was open, but the laborers were few.

IN THE CONGO

Above:  Congo Free State

Image in the Public Domain

Sheppard and Lapsley arrived in the Congo on May 10, 1890.  They arrived at their chosen site–Luebo–on April 22.  The American Presbyterian Congo Mission had begun.  Lapsley handled financial and diplomatic matters.  Sheppard learned local languages, preached, hunted for food, and negotiated with local leaders.  Lapsley, only 25 years old, died of fever in Leopoldville on March 26, 1892.

The First Presbyterian Church of Selma raised funds for the S. N. Lapsley, a steamer, completed at Richmond, Virginia, in June 1900.  This vessel arrived at the American Presbyterian Congo Mission in July 1901.  Unfortunately, it sank on November 16, 1903.  However, the second S. N. Lapsley, also a steamer, built in Scotland and dedicated on December 15, 1906, served the mission for a quarter of a century.

William, on furlough in the United States in 1893, married Lucy, then teaching in Birmingham, Alabama.  Lucy joined her husband as a missionary in the Congo; they served until 1910.  Lucy opened the first school in the Presbyterian mission at Ibanche and founded the mission’s first women’s society.  She also proved invaluable in the publication of a hymnal, the first book printed in the Tshiluba dialect.  Furthermore, Lucy directed the mission’s choir.

During a period when Lucy had returned to the United States, William began a series of extramarital affairs.  This matter returned to haunt him after he completed his missionary service.

Above:  The Congo Free State, 1905

Image in the Public Domain

William courageously helped to expose the brutality of the Congo Free State, the private colony of King Leopold II of Belgium.  The penalty for a man who failed to meet his quota in rubber sap collection was the severing of his right hand.  Official discouragement of agriculture led to mass starvation.  William, accepting the suggestion of fellow missionary William Morrison that he investigate one incident, photographed partially dismembered bodies, 81 severed hands, and human flesh cooking over a fire while a raider from the Zappo-Zaps boasted.  (That tribe committed atrocities on behalf of rubber companies.)  William’s article, with photographs, appeared in Morrison’s missionary newspaper, the Kasai Herald, in January 1908.  The Kasai Rubber Company sued the two missionaries for libel.  With charges against Morrison dropped, William went on trial.  Equipped with witnesses and the support of the William Howard Taft Administration, our saint won.  The Belgian parliament took control of the Congo.

William also explored the terrain in the Congo.  His adventures earned him the nickname “the Black Livingstone.”

BACK IN THE UNITED STATES

William, suffering from Malaria, returned to the United States in 1910.  The PCUS, citing affairs, suspended him for fifteen months and revoked his missionary appointment.  William founded Grace Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Kentucky, in 1912.  He served as its pastor until 1927.

The Sheppards also collected African art; they were some of the first African Americans to do so.  Their collection has become the property of the Hampton University Museum.

Willam Henry Sheppard, Jr., aged 62 years, died in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 25, 1927.

Lucy Gantt Sheppard, aged 88 years, died in Louisville on May 27, 1955, after a long illness.  Survivors included two children, Wilhemina Sheppard Brown and Max Sheppard.

William’s epitaph is,

He lived for others.

That epitaph also applies to Samuel N. Lapsley and to Lucy.

CONCLUSION

The Presbytery of the Sheppards and Lapsley bears a good and an honorable name.    This name indicates lives devoted to the service of Christ–specifically, to people, for the glory of God.  That is a standard worth emulating.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 27, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS GALLAUDET AND HENRY WINTER SYLE, EPISCOPAL PRIESTS AND EDUCATORS OF THE DEAF

THE FEAST OF SAINT AMADEUS OF CLERMONT, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND HIS SON, SAINT AMADEUS OF LAUSANNE, FRENCH-SWISS ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINIC BARBERI, ROMAN CATHOLIC APOSTLE TO ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF HENRIETTE LUISE VON HAYN, GERMAN MORAVIAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servants

William Henry Sheppard, Jr.;

Lucy Gantt Sheppard; and

Samuel N. Lapsley;

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of the Congo.

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 forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

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

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Feast of George Rawson (March 24)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE RAWSON (JUNE 5, 1807-MARCH 25, 1889)

English Congregationalist Hymn Writer

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By Christ redeemed, in Christ restored,

We keep the memory adored,

And show the death of our dear Lord

Until he come.

–George Rawson (1876), quoted in The Hymnal Revised (1911), #336

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George Rawson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Rawson, born in Leeds, England, on June 5, 1807, was an attorney–a solicitor, to be precise–in Leeds for many years.  On the side, he wrote hymns and compiled hymnals.  Our saint wrote hymns under the pseudonym “A Leeds Layman” until friends persuaded him to publish under his name.  He compiled at least three hymnals:

  1. Psalms, Hymns, and Passages of Scripture for Christian Worship; the Congregational Collection, a.k.a. The Leeds Hymn Book (1853);
  2. Psalms and Hymns for the Use of the Baptist Denomination (1858); and
  3. Hymns, Verses, and Chants (1876).

Rawson’s hymns included:

  1. In the Dark and Cloudy Day;
  2. Come to Our Poor Nature’s Night; and
  3. Holy Ghost, the Infinite.

Our saint, aged 81 years, died in Clifton, England, on March 25, 1889.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 26, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN PAUL I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM HERZBERGER, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEVKADIA HARASYMIV, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC NUN, AND MARTYR, 1952

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LUIGI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI AND MARIA CORSINI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC HUMANITARIANS

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF JESUS, JORNET Y IBARS, CATALAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE ABANDONED ELDERLY

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

thank you for those (especially George Rawson)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

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

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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

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This is post #2400 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Jean Baptiste Calkin (March 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JEAN BAPTISTE CALKIN (MARCH 16, 1827-MAY 15, 1905)

Anglican Organist and Composer

Jean Baptist Calkin comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Calkin, born in London, England, on March 16, 1827, was a church musician.  His first music teacher was his father, James Calkin (1786-1862), a composer.  Our saint distinguished himself, too.  He was the organist, precentor, and choirmaster at St. Columba’s College, Dublin, Ireland, before working as the organist at Woburn Chapel, London (1853-1857); Camden Road Chapel (11863-1868); and St. Thomas’s Church, Camden Town (1870-1874).  Calkin was also a member of the London Philharmonic Society, the Council of Trinity College, the faculty of the Guild School of Music, and the faculty of Croyden Conservatory.  Furthermore, our saint was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Calkin composed Anglican services, service music, anthems, songs, hymn tunes, and works for organ.  Two of his hymn tunes were DOANE and WALTHAM.

Calkin, aged 78 years, died in London on May 15, 1905.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 24, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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

thank you for those (especially Jean Baptiste Calkin)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

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

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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

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Feast of William Henry Monk (March 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  William Henry Monk

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM HENRY MONK (MARCH 16, 1823-MARCH 18, 1889)

Anglican Organist, Hymn Tune Composer, and Music Educator

William Henry Monk comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via a plethora of hymnals.

Monk became a leading light in hymnody in The Church of England.  Our saint, born in London on March 16, 1823, was a son of William Monk and Anna (Coleman) Monk.  Our saint excelled in his study of the organ.  He served as the organist and choirmaster at St. Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, London (1837-1841).  Later he fulfilled those roles at Eaton Chapel, Pimlico (1841-1843); St. George’s Chapel, Albemarle Street, London (1843-1845); Portman Chapel, Marylebone (1845-1847); and King’s College, London (1847f).  In 1874, Monk added Professor of Vocal Music to his duties at King’s College.  He started work as a professor at the National Training School for Music in 1876.  And, from 1852 to 1889, our saint served as the organist at St. Matthias Church, Stoke Newington, London, too.

Monk, a composer of anthems, service music, and hymn tunes, promoted hymn singing throughout his career.  He, part of the Oxford Movement, participated in the change from the Anglican metrical psalter to hymnody in the Anglican tradition.  Monk was also the music editor of numerous hymnals, chiefly the 1861, 1868, 1875, and 1889 editions of Hymns, Ancient and Modern, known informally as “Monk’s book.”  Ours saint’s superb contributions to the corpus of hymn tues included EVENTIDE (“Abide with Me”), ASCENSION (“Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise”), and UNDE ET MEMORES (“And Now, O Father, Mindful of the Love”).

Monk, whom the University of Durham awarded a well-deserved honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1882, died in London on March 18, 1889.  he was 76 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 22, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JACK LAYTON, CANADIAN ACTIVIST AND FEDERAL LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

THE FEAST OF JOHN DAVID CHAMBERS, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS HRYBORII KHOMYSHYN, SYMEON LUKACH, AND IVAN SLEZYUK, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND MARTYRS, 1947, 1964, AND 1973

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN KEMBLE AND JOHN WALL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYRS, 1679

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS PERCY, RICHARD KIRKMAN, AND WILLIAM LACEY, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1572 AND 1582

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

thank you for those (especially William Henry Monk)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

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

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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

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