Archive for the ‘Saints of 1910-1919’ Category

Feast of Marian Anderson (February 29)   3 comments

Above:  Marian Anderson Performing at the Lincoln Memorial, 1939

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIAN ANDERSON FISHER (FEBRUARY 27, 1897-APRIL 8, 1993)

African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist

Marian Anderson 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).

Anderson grew up in a devout Christian home.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 1897, was one of three daughters of Annie Delilah Rucker (1874-1964) and John Berkeley Anderson (c. 1872-1910).  Annie, who did not have a college degree, had taught in Virginia.  She could not teach in Pennsylvania, however; a state law barred African Americans (yet not whites) without a college degree from teaching.  So Annie took care of children for a living.  John sold coal and ice at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.  Eventually, he added another source of revenue–selling liquor.  The Andersons were active in Union Baptist Church, South Philadelphia.  All three daughters sang.  Our saint joined the church’s junior choir when she was six years old.  She joined the People’s Chorus in the city four years later.  Marian performed solos in both choirs.

Church and family helped Anderson achieve her potential.  Her father died when she was 12 years old.  Annie and the three daughters moved in with John’s parents.  In 1912 our saint graduated from Stanton Grammar School, but her family could not afford to send her to high school and to take music lessons.  Anderson’s church eventually paid for her to take music lessons and to attend South Philadelphia High School.  Our saint graduated in 1921.

Racism proved to be a professional obstacle for Anderson in the United States.  She, rejected from the Philadelphia Music Academy because of her skin color, studied music privately.  In 1925 our saint won a contest in New York Philharmonic sponsored.  The prize was a concert, at which she performed with the orchestra.  The date of that concert was August 26, 1925.  Anderson continued to study music privately.  She performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1928.  Our saint’s career outside her native country was more successful than in the United States.  In 1937 she was in Princeton, New Jersey, to perform in Princeton, New Jersey.  When a hotel turned Anderson away because of her race, Professor Albert Einstein invited her to be his guest.  This was not the last time Anderson spent time with the Einstein family.

Perhaps Anderson’s most famous concert was her performance at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1939.  The Daughters of the American Revolution had denied our saint the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for a larger, better venue instead.  Anderson finally sang at Constitution Hall in 1943.

Anderson was a trailblazer.  She performed the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City.  In so doing, our saint became the first African American to perform for that opera company.  The intensely patriotic vocalist, who entertained military personnel during World War II and the Korean War, also performed at President Dwight Eisenhower’s second inauguration (1957) and President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration (1961).  Eisenhower appointed Anderson to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1958f).  Furthermore, our saint, active in the Civil Rights Movement, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Anderson married architect Orpheus H. Fisher (1900-1986) on July 17, 1943.  She thereby became the stepmother of Fisher’s son, James.  Our saint, who lived on a farm near Danbury, Connecticut, from 1940 to 1992, retired on April 10, 1965, the date of her last performance at Carnegie Hall.

Anderson moved to Portland, Oregon, to reside with her nephew, James DePriest, a conductor in 1992.  She died in that city on April 8, 1993.  Our saint was 96 years old.

Anderson had a simple, non-judgmental faith she learned from her mother.  She trusted in God without condemning people whose theology differed from hers.  God, as our saint understood God, was loving and providential.

Marian Anderson’s life spanned decades of much cultural and legal change, especially regarding matters of race.  She helped to create some of that change; our saint did her part to leave the world and the United States of America better than they had been.  Events of the last few years have proven (as if anyone needed evidence) that any talk of the “death of racism” is ridiculous.

The work of fighting racism has fallen to those of us who still have pulses.  May we do our parts, so that those who follow us chronologically will have less work to do in this arena than they would otherwise.

I remember the casual racism around which I grew up.  My parents raised me to reject racism, but many people around me had a different attitude.  Seldom did any of these racists–classmates or some of my father’s parishioners, usually–bother to use code words in lieu of slurs.  I recall know that this language and the bias behind it were wrong.  Yet I also know that some of that racism rubbed off on me, as if by osmosis.  Some thoughts I know to be immoral occur sometimes.  Only God and I know when this happens, for I never express these thoughts.  No, I confess them to God and seek forgiveness.  I entertain the better angels of my nature.

The beginning of resisting racism in society, an institution, a community, et cetera, is choosing not to cave into it as it manifests withing oneself, unless one is a rare person who lacks any trace of racism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILHELM WEXELS, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; HIS NIECE, MARIE WEXELSEN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER; LUDWIG LINDEMAN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND MUSICOLOGIST; AND MAGNUS LANDSTAD, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, FOLKLORIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF BRADFORD TORREY, U.S. ORNITHOLOGIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN GOTTFRIED WEBER, GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WOOLMAN, QUAKER ABOLITIONIST

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

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

Help us, like your servant Marian Anderson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Chris, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Pedro Arrupe (February 28)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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PEDRO ARRUPE GONDRA (NOVEMBER 14, 1907-FEBRUARY 5, 1991)

Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Pedro Arrupe comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Father Joe Nangle, OFM, writing in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Pedro Arrupe Gondra, born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, was a Basque, like St. Ignatius (of) Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Arrupe, who joined the Jesuits in 1927, studied medicine in Madrid.  He continued his studies overseas, starting in 1932, when the Spanish Republican government expelled members of the Society of Jesus.  Our saint arrived in Japan, as a missionary, in 1938.  He, ordained to the priesthood in St. Marys, Kansas, in 1936, held a doctorate in medical ethics.

Arrupe understood the relationship between the Gospel and societal responsibility; he absorbed the message of various Hebrew prophets regarding exploitation of the poor and the marginalized.  Our saint, arrested as an alleged spy in December 1941, spent 33 days in prison.  Then he returned to his duties as master of novices for the Jesuit mission to Japan.  He, living on the outskirts of Hiroshima, joined his colleagues in serving as first responders after the U.S. nuclear bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.  Of the 150 people to which Arrupe and company tended, 149 survived.  Arrupe, regardless of where he was, recognized Jesus in “the least of these.”  This attitude helped him in his work, regardless of his title and duties.  Our saint became the Superior of the Jesuit Japanese Province in 1958.  From 1965 to 1983, he served as the Superior General of the order.

Vatican II was reshaping the Roman Catholic Church.  That Council coincided within a movement within Roman Catholicism in Latin America to defend the poor and the exploited, not military dictatorships that preyed on civilians.  The teaching of the divine preference for the poor informed this shift.  Arrupe challenged Christians, including his brother Jesuits, to defend “the least of these,” as Jesus would have had them do.  In a revolutionary age in the Church, our saint supported Liberation Theology, but only to a point.  Arrupe insisted on the primacy of the Gospel over political revolution.  He also shielded the Society of Jesus from attacks from more conservative quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.  As Jesuit priests and bishops, including Father Rutilio Grande (1928-1977) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), joined the ranks of martyrs at the hands of brutal dictatorships, Arrupe continued to support he cause for which they died.

Arrupe, being an intellectually and spiritually honest Christian, also defended the rights of refugees.  He, affected by the plight of Vietnamese boat people, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.  Our saint insisted,

Saint Ignatius called us to go anywhere where we are most needed for the greater glory of God.  The spiritual as well as the material need of more than 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater.  God is calling us through these helpless people.

Arrupe, who said that

the love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce,

resigned as Superior General in 1983.  He had suffered a stroke in late 1981, and a Papal appointee had served as interim Superior General.  Our saint, forced to use a wheelchair, died in Rome on February 15, 1991.  He was 83 years old.

The cause for Arrupe’s beatification and canonization opened officially on February 5, 2019.

Attempting to read the minds of dead people can easily become an act of great folly.  In this case, however, I know what Arrupe would say about the global refugee crisis in 2019.  I do not have to guess what he would think about Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Neither do I have to guess what our saint would say about Trump’s recommendation to shoot asylum seekers in the legs.  I do not have to guess what Arrupe would say about government policies that enrich the wealthy and keep the impoverished poor.

Pedro Arrupe was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR., “FATHER NITSCHMANN,” MORAVIAN MISSIONARY; MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729; JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; ANNA NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN ELDRESS; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, MISSIONARY AND FIRST BISHOP OF THE RENEWED MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF CYRIACUS SCHNEEGASS, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BLESSED FRANCIS XAVIER SEELOS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, U.S. NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND OPPONENT OF FUNDAMENTALISM

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn (February 27)   7 comments

Above:  St. Raphael of Brooklyn

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT RAPHAEL OF BROOKLYN (NOVEMBER 20, 1860-FEBRUARY 27, 1915)

Syrian-American Russian Orthodox Bishop of Brooklyn

Born Rufā īl Hawāwīnī (Raphael Hawaweeny)

St. Raphael of Brooklyn comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Orthodox Church in America (OCA).  The Holy Synod of the OCA canonized him in 2000.

Categories of saints exist.  St. Raphael of Brooklyn falls into the category of First–in this case, the first Eastern Orthodox bishop consecrated on American soil, in 1904.

St. Raphael came from Arabic Christian stock.  He, born in Beirut, Syria, on November 20, 1860, was, through his mother (Mariam), a grandson of a priest.  Our saint’s father was Michael Hawaweeny.  Persecution of Christians in Syria was underway in 1860; the family priest, St. Joseph of Damascus (Joseph George Haddad Firzli, 1793-1860), had become a martyr in July.  St. Raphael’s parents fled to Beirut shortly prior to his birth.  Eventually, the family returned to Damascus.

St. Raphael, a good student, was on track to become a priest in the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.  He, made a monk on March 28, 1879, served as the assistant of Hierotheus, the Patriarch of Antioch.  St. Raphael went to the School of Theology at Halki, via the patronage of the Patriarch Hierotheus and at the invitation of Joachim III, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.  At Halki, on December 8, 1885, our saint became a deacon.  The following July, St. Raphael received his Certificate of Theology then went home.  Gerasimus, the new Patriarch of Antioch, favored our saint and granted him opportunities to preach and to study.  Gerasimus permitted St. Raphael to study at the Theological Academy, Kiev, with the condition that our saint return and become the Patriarch’s Russian-language secretary.

St. Raphael did well under the patronage of Patriarch Gerasimus.  Our saint, appointed to the Antiochian church in Moscow, became a priest by the hand of Sylvester, the Rector of the Academy, at the request of Gerasimus.  A month later, Ioannikii, the Metropolitan of Moscow, promoted St. Raphael to the rank of archimandrite (a senior priest one level below bishop).  Our saint also arranged for 24 Syrian students to study theology in Russia.

Then Gerasimus resigned from the See of Antioch to become the Patriarch of Jerusalem.  St. Raphael campaigned for the next Patriarch of Antioch to be a Syrian, not a foreigner, as many had been for a long time.  The next Patriarch, elected in 1891, was Spyridon, a Greek Cypriot.  Spyridon suspended St. Raphael, who also found himself on the bad sides of the Patriarch of Jerusalem (yes, Gerasimus), the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.  Czar Alexander III granted their request that he forbid the publication of St. Raphael’s articles for Russian newspapers.  So our saint started writing books instead.

Eventually, St. Raphael reconciled with Spyridon, who lifted the suspension.  Our saint transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church.  He taught Arabic studies at the theological academy, Kazan, until 1895.  That year, St. Raphael accepted an invitation from the Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Society of New York to minister to the Arab Orthodox Christians there.  He arrived on November 2, 1895.

For the next nearly 20 years, St. Raphael was a missionary in America.  Our saint founded St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, New York City, almost immediately, in 1895.  He, as the head of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission in North America, made missionary journeys in North America.  St. Raphael also wrote an Arabic-language service book, The Book of True Consolation in the Divine Prayers (1898).  Furthermore, our saint recruited educated laymen as candidates for ordination.  In 1898, St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925) became the Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska.  St. Tikhon’s title became Bishop of the Aleutians two years later.  St. Tikhon worked with St. Raphael, first as his bishop then as his fellow bishop.  Our saint, who refused an offer to become the Auxiliary Bishop of Beirut in 1901, also declined to become the Bishop of Zahleh (now in Lebanon) that year.  Work in New York and elsewhere in North America mattered more to St. Raphael.  Finally, in 1904, when St. Tikhon needed to share his episcopal burden, our saint became the first Bishop of Brooklyn.

Bishop St. Raphael was active, serving with St. Tikhon through 1907, when the latter returned to Russia.  Our saint founded Al-Kalimat (The Word), the official publication of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission, in late 1904.  St. Raphael encouraged the use of English in worship; he recommended Isabel Florence Hapgood‘s Service Book of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic (Greco-Russian) Church (1906).  He chose to remain in America in 1908, rather than become the Metropolitan of Tripoli.  St. Raphael received the diagnosis of his fatal heart condition in 1912.  The bishop traveled across North America faithfully through 1915, when he, aged 54 years, died on February 27.

Faithfulness, humility, and dedication to duty defined the life and ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn.

May those qualities also define our lives and work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint Raphael of Brooklyn,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.

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

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

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

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

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Feast of Charles Sheldon (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Charles Sheldon

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES MONROE SHELDON (FEBRUARY 26, 1857-FEBRUARY 24, 1946)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian

The Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon 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).

Sheldon took to heart Christ’s command to be salt and light in the world.  Some efforts were more successful than others, but all of them shared one point of origin:  Christian faith.

Sheldon grew up in a Congregationalist family.  His father was a minister.  Our saint moved with his family from church to church.  Sheldon, born in Wellsville, New York, on February 26, 1857, grew up mostly in the Dakotas.  The family was not wealthy; it struggled financially.  That background and the socially and theologically background of nineteenth-century Congregationalism influenced Sheldon.

Sheldon became a socially-conscious minister.  After graduating from Brown University and Andover Theological Seminary, he served as a pastor, uin Waterbury, Vermont (1887-1889).  Typhoid was a frequent problem in town.  Our saint suggested that the proximity of the water supply to pig pens was the cause of the unsafe water.  The town corrected the issue and solved the problem.

Sheldon served in one other church; he was pastor of Central Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas,, from 1889 to his retirement in 1920.  Our saint left the congregation better off in every way after three decades of leadership.  Attendance and membership increased.  So did outreach in the community.  Sheldon, author of more than 30 Social Gospel novels, including In His Steps (1896), asked a crucial question:

What would Jesus do?

In 1893 the pastor, a Christian Socialist and a theologian of the Social Gospel, concluded that Jesus would approve of the Central Congregational Church sponsoring the first kindergarten for African Americans west of the Mississippi River.  The congregation did that.  Sheldon, who encouraged middle-class and upper-class Christians to sympathize and identify with the poor and the marginalized paired evangelism with faith-based activism.

Much less successful were Sheldon’s campaigns for the prohibition of alcohol (throughout his life) and for world peace (after the retired).  Prohibition proved to be a movement that perhaps only mobsters loved more than moralistic idealists did.  World peace has been elusive, of course.  In the aftermath of World War I, however, that quest was of its time, as well as admirable.

Sheldon, from 1920 to 1924 the editor of a periodical, Christian Herald, died in Topeka on February 24, 1946.  In two more days he would have celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday.

The question of what Jesus would do is always relevant in public and private life.  That issue, like the Law of Moses, requires one to consider the timeless principles and variable factors.  The Golden Rule is a constant factor, a timeless principle.  The proper application of it depends on variables, tough.  For example, who one is, how old one is, where one is, when one is, and other particulars of one’s context vary from person to person.  Variables add a degree of relativism to the mix.  We (individually and collectively) have a mandate to live according to the Golden Rule when and where we are.  May we succeed, by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEHU JONES, JR., AFRICAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH HOSKINS, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LORENZO RUIZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1637

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

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

Help us, like your servant Charles Sheldon,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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This is post #1800 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANISLAWA RODZINSKA (MARCH 16, 1899-FEBRUARY 20, 1945)

Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Giulia Rodzinska, the Mother of Orphans, Sister Maria Julia, and the Apostle of the Rosary

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska, from humble origins, became a nun.  She, one of five children of Marianna Sekuly and Michael Rodzinska, entered the world in Nawojowa (now in Poland) on March 16, 1899.  [Note:  Poland existed as parts of the Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian Empires in 1899.]  Michael, an employee of a bank, was also the parish organist and choir director.  The family was poor, and Marianna’s wealthy relatives refused to provide financial assistance.  Marianna died when our saint was eight years old.  About two years later, Michael died.  Stanislawa (ten years old) and her sister moved to an orphanage Dominican nuns operated.  Our saint joined that order, at Tarnobrzegu-Wielowsi, in 1916.  Sister Maria Julia, as Stanislawa became known, made her profession on August 5, 1924.

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska/Sister Maria Julia taught in Dominican orphanages for 22 years.  In 1934 she became the Superior of the orphanage in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Eventually, the regime of President Antanas Smetona (in office 1918-1920 and 1926-1940), a dictator, starting in 1929, seized the orphanage and convent.  Local Vincentian nuns opened their convent to the Dominican sisters.

Matters became worse after the German invasion of Lithuania (June 1941).  Nazi persecution of religious institutions that did disobeyed Adolf Hitler began.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested Rodzinska on July 12, 1943.  She spent a year of solitary confinement in a cell so small she had no room to stretch out.  In July 1944, German authorities transferred our saint from her cell near Vilnius to the concentration camp at Sztutowo, Poland.  There she formed a prayer group, shared her food, and nursed female Jewish prisoners.  Rodzinska contracted typhus, which caused her death, by caring for her sister prisoners.  She died, aged 45 years, on February 20, 1945.

Pope John Paul II declared Rodzinska a Venerable and beatified her in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

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

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

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF MELANESIA, 1864-2003

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with her the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Antoni Leszczewicz and His Companions (February 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Antoni Leszczewicz

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANTONI LESZCZEWICZ (SEPTEMBER 30, 1890-FEBRUARY 17, 1943)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Antoni Leszczewicz died because he followed Jesus.  Our saint, born in Abramovsk, Russian Empire (now Lithuania), on September 30, 1890, studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood in St. Petersburg, the imperial capital, from 1909 to 1914.  He graduated and became a priest in 1914.  As convulsions dismantled the old global order, Leszczewicz served as a missionary in the Far East for nearly a quarter of a century.  He served in Irkutsk and Chita until 1917, when he transferred to Manchuria.  Our saint, from 1924 a pastor in Harbin, China, oversaw the construction of a church, an orphanage, and a school.

Leszczewicz spent 1938-1943 in Europe.  In 1938, he joined the Congregation of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.  In August 1939, our saint became a missionary to Druya (now in Belarus), in the Soviet Union.  Later, he transferred to an area of Belorussia long devoid of Roman Catholic priests.  Leszczewicz was not alone; he worked with some Sisters of the Eucharist and Father Jerzy Kaszira in Rositsa.

Leszczewicz and company suffered during the German occupation, starting in 1941.  Nazis, in reaction against Soviet partisan activities, targeted civilians for harsh treatment.  On February 17, 1943, soldiers led our saint, coworkers, and members of the congregation into the church building.  There Leszczewicz heard confessions, baptized those who requested it, and said one final Mass before the soldiers set the building on fire.

Pope John Paul II declared Leszczewicz a Venerable and beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRI NOUWEN, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN COLERIDGE PATTESON, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF MELANESIA, AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 1871

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE THERESE OF SAINT JOSEPH, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE CARMELITE SISTERS OF THE DIVINE HEART OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF NELSON WESLEY TROUT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN BISHOP

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr, Blessed Antoni Leszczewicz:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Julia Williams Garnet, Henry Highland Garnet, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, and Theophilus Gould Steward (February 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JULIA WILLIAMS GARNET (JULY 1, 1811-JANUARY 7, 1870)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

first wife of

HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET (DECEMBER 23, 1815-FEBRUARY 13, 1882)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

second husband of

SARAH J. SMITH TOMPKINS GARNET (JULY 31, 1831-SEPTEMBER 17, 1911)

African-American Suffragette and Educator

sister of

SUSAN MARIA SMITH MCKINNEY STEWARD (MARCH 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

African-American Physician

second wife of

THEOPHILUS GOULD STEWARD (APRIL 17, 1843-JANUARY 11, 1924)

U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, U.S. Army Chaplain, and Professor

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The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that say to the people, “that they go forward.”  With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea.  Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men, and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our Democratic, Republican government.

–Henry Highland Garnet, addressing the United States House of Representatives, February 12, 1865; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 604

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This post began with one name, that of Henry Highland Garnet, which I found in A Year with American Saints (2006).  As I took notes, however, I added two wives, a sister-in-law, and her second husband to the post.  I have, after all, established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal of this project, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia Williams came from a free African-American family.  She, born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 1, 1811, moved with her family to Boston, Massachusetts, when she was a child.  At the age of 21 years, Williams began to study at Prudence Crandall‘s Female Boarding School (for African Americans), which opened in 1831.  After hostility in Canterbury, New Hampshire, forced the school to close, Williams continued her studies at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire (extant 1835).  There she met Henry Highland Garnet.

Henry Highland Garnet, born a slave, became an abolitionist.  He, born in New Market, Maryland, on December 23, 1815, fled with his family in 1824, first to Delaware, then to Pennsylvania.  The family had to keep moving, to evade slave-catchers.  Eventually, Garnet wound up in New York City, where, from 1826 to 1833, he studied at the African Free School then at Phoenix High School for Colored Youth.  Our saint helped to found the abolitionist Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association in 1835.  He and Julia Williams were students at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire, in 1835.  Local racists forced the school to close then destroyed the building.  Next, they founded a whites-only school.

Williams and Garnet studied at the Oneida Institute (1827-1843), Whitesboro, New York.  Garnet, who graduated in 1839, became a teacher in Troy, New York.  He also began to study theology.  Williams, having joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s, was a delegate to the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, New York City, in 1837.  Garnet suffered a severe sports-related injury in 1840; he lost one leg, amputated at the hip.  He and Williams married in 1841.  The couple had three children.  Only one child, a daughter, survived to adulthood.

Garnet, the first African-American graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, became a Presbyterian minister.  He served at Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York, from 1842 to 1848.  He had already become simultaneously revolutionary and conservative, by abolitionist standards.  Our saint had, in 1840, helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS), which broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  The AASS, with William Lloyd Garrison as a prominent member, opened leadership positions to women and made the connection between the rights of slaves and the rights of women.  The AFASS, however, focused narrowly on slavery and reserved all leadership positions for men.  Yet Garnet, an abolitionist journalist since 1842, proved too radical for William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass in one way in 1843.  That year, addressing the National Negro Convention, Buffalon, New York, Garnet called for a slave insurrection:

Brethren, arise, arise!  Strike for your lives and liberties.  Now is the day and the hour.  Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered.  You cannot be more oppressed than you have been–you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already.  Rather die freemen than live to be slaves.

Garrison and Douglass persuaded Garnet to to moderate his position.

Garnet’s activism continued.  By 1849, he openly supported African-American immigration to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies.  This position led him to found the African Civilization Society in 1858.  He, associated with the free produce movement, which favored an economic boycott of slavery, traveled and lectured in the British Isles in 1850-1852.  The Garnets were missionaries of The Church of Scotland to Jamaica in 1852-1855; Julia led a female industrial school there.  Henry’s health required him to leave Jamaica after three years.  The couple returned to the United States.  Henry worked with Frederick Douglass to recruit African-American soldiers during the Civil War.  Garnet, pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., from 1864 to 1866, addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, 1865, after it passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution.  He became the President of Avery College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (extant 1849-1873), in 1868.  Garnet also served as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church, New York City, and favored Cuban independence from Spain.

Julia, who worked with former slaves in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, died on January 7, 1870.  She was 58 years old.

Henry remarried, to Sarah J. Smith Tompkins, in 1879.

Sarah J. Smith and her sister, Susan Maria Smith, made history.  Their parents were prosperous farmers, Sylvanus Smith and Ann Eliza Springsteel, of Brooklyn, New York.  Sarah debuted on July 31, 1831.  Susan followed in March 1847.  Sarah’s first husband was Samuel Tompkins, who died in 1852.  The couple had two children, who died young.

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins became an educator.  She taught at the African Free School before becoming the first female, African-American principal in New York City; she led Grammar School Number 4, starting on April 30, 1863.

Susan, a musician and a music educator in the District of Columbia, pursued a career in medicine after one of her brothers died of cholera during an outbreak in Brooklyn.  She studied at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867-1869, and graduated as the valedictorian.  She became the first African-American female physician in the State of New York and the third in the United States.  Our saint practiced medicine in Brooklyn from 1870 to 1895, cofounded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary, and practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.  In 1871, Susan married the Reverend William G. McKinney (d. 1894), a Methodist minister.

Sarah, owner of a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911, was also a suffragette.  She founded the Equal Suffrage League in Brooklyn in the late 1880s.  Starting in 1896, she served as the Superintendent of the National Association of Colored Women.

Henry Highland Garnet, briefly the U.S. Minister to Liberia, received his appointment in late 1881.  He, aged 58 years, died in Monrovia, on February 13, 1882.

Theophilus Gould Steward was a minister, an academic, and an activist.  He, from free African-American stock, was a child of James Steward and Rebecca Gould.  Our saint, born in Gouldtown, New Jersey, on April 17, 1843, became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863.  He planted churches in Georgia and South Carolina after the Civil War.  Our saint, from 1868 a pastor in Macon, Georgia, presided over the construction of a new edifice after the suspicious burning of the first one.  He, a graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was active in Haiti, and the eastern United States from 1872 to 1891.  Our saint, recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, in 1881, joined the United States Army as a chaplain in 1891.  He served in the 25th U.S. Colored Cavalry until 1907.  Steward spent time in the U.S. West, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines after that war.  His first wife, Elizabeth Gladden, died ini 1893.  The couple had eight children, from 1872 to 1883.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney married Theophilus Gould Steward in 1896.  They went to work at Wilberforce University in 1907.  Theophilus was a professor of French, history, and logic.  Susan was a physician.  In 1911, she and her sister, Sarah, attended the Universal Race Congress, New York City.  Susan presented a paper, “Colored American Women.”

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, aged 80 years, died on September 17, 1911.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, aged 71 years, died on March 17, 1918.

Theophilus Gould Steward, a cofounder (with Alexander Crummell) of the American Negro Academy (1897-1928), died on January 11, 1924.  He was 80 years old.

The United States of America is better than it would have been otherwise because these five saints made their contributions to society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED JUTTA OF DISIBODENBERG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND HER STUDENT, SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF GERARD MOULTRIE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW, TITULAR BISHOP OF TARSUS, AND FOUNDER OF RECOVERY OF THE POOR AND THE CONGREGATION OF THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE FAMILY OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SAJNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness and care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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