Archive for the ‘Saints of 1950-1959’ Category

Feast of John MacLeod Campbell Crum (December 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN MACLEOD CAMPBELL CRUM (OCTOBER 12, 1872-DECEMBER 19, 1958)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Also known as John M. C. Crum

John MacLeod Campbell Crum comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Above:  St. Andrew’s Church, Farnham, England, UK

Image Source = Google Earth

Crum was a priest in The Church of England.  He, born in Mere Old Hall, Cheshire, on October 12, 1872, attended Eton then New College, Oxford (B.A., 1895; M.A., 1901).  Our saint, ordained deacon (1897) then priest (1900), was the Curate of St. John the Evangelist, Darlington (1897-1901), then the Domestic Chaplain (1901-1907) to Francis Paget, the Bishop of Oxford (1901-1911).  Our saint was subsequently the Curate of Windsor (1907-1910), the Vicar of Mentmore with Ledburn (1910-1912), the Rector of Farnham (1913-1928), and the Canon of Canterbury (1928-1943).

Crum’s published works included hymns, a book about the Gospel of Mark, and a biography of Francis Paget.  Our saint’s most enduring hymn has been “Now the Green Blade Riseth,” an Easter text.

Crum, aged 86 years, died in Farnham, Surrey, on December 19, 1958.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 2, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLANDINA AND HER COMPANIONS, THE MARTYRS OF LYONS, 177

THE FEAST OF ANDERS CHRISTENSEN ARREBO, “THE FATHER OF DANISH POETRY”

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPH HOMBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARGARET ELIZABETH SANGSTER, HYMN WRITER, NOVELIST, AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN OF SWEDEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY, BISHOP, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 1075

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

John MacLeod Campbell Crum 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 George Wallace Briggs (December 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE WALLACE BRIGGS (DECEMBER 15, 1875-DECEMBER 30, 1959)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Also known as G. W. Briggs

George Wallace Briggs comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Briggs, an Anglican priest, left a fine legacy in hymnody.  He, born in Kirkby, Nottingham County, England, on December 15, 1875, studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.  After graduating with honors in 1897, he became a priest in The Church of England.  Our saint’s first assignment was to a poor congregation in Wakefield, Yorkshire.  Briggs left that post to become a chaplain in the Royal Navy (1902-1909).  His naval background was evident in a hymn, “Christ is the World’s True Light,” in which he described Jesus as the world’s

Captain of salvation.

Briggs, who married Constance Emily Barrow in 1909, had five children with her.  He served as the Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Norwich (1909-1918), the Rector of Loughsborough (1918-1927), the Canon of Leicester (1927-1934), and the Canon of Worcester (1934-1956).  Then Briggs retired.

Briggs wrote.  He composed books of prayers for children.  Our saint wrote at least 22 hymns and helped to found the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  Constance reported that Briggs wrote hymns and never dated them.  He contributed hymns for hymnals, thus establishing the date of publication, but not of composition.

Briggs, aged 84 years, died in Hindhead, Surrey, on December 30, 1959.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PERCY DEARMER, ANGLICAN CANON AND TRANSLATOR AND AUTHOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONA OF PISA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND PILGRIM

THE FEAST OF JIRI TRANOVSKY, LUTHER OF THE SLAVS AND FATHER OF SLOVAK HYMNODY

THE FEAST OF RUBY MIDDLETON FORSYTHE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY THERESA LEDÓCHOWSKA, FOUNDRESS OF THE MISSIONARY SISTERS OF SAINT PETER CLAVER, AND “MOTHER OF THE AFRICAN MISSIONS;” AND HER SISTER, SAINT URSULA LEDÓCHOWSKA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE URSULINES OF THE AGONIZING HEART OF JESUS (GRAY URSULINES)

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

George Wallace Briggs 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 James Arnold Blaisdell (December 16)   1 comment

Above:  James A. Blaisdell Park, Claremont, California

Image Source = Google Earth

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JAMES ARNOLD BLAISDELL (DECEMBER 15, 1867-JANUARY 29, 1957)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Scholar, and Hymn Writer

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Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep,

The storms are raging on God’s deep,–

God’s deep, not thine,

Be still and sleep.

–James Arnold Blaisdell

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The Reverend James Arnold Blaisdell comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Above:  First Congregational Church, Waukesha, Wisconsin

Image Source = Google Earth

Blaisdell was a minister and a scholar.  He, born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on December 15, 1867, studied at Beloit College (B.A., 1889) and Hartford Theological Seminary (B.D., 1892).  Our saint, ordained a Congregationalist minister in 1892, served as pastor of First Congregational Church, Waukesha, Wisconsin, from 1892 to 1896.  He married his first wife, Florence Lena Carrier (1867-1940) in December 1892.  The couple had two children, James Brooks (1893-1953) and Florence “Barbara” (1904-1990).

Above:  Olivet Congregational Church, Olivet, Michigan

Image Source = Google Earth

Blaisdell was pastor of Olivet Congregational Church (now part of the United Church of Christ), Olivet, Michigan, from 1896 to 1903.

Above:  United Church of Beloit, Beloit, Wisconsin

Image Source = Google Earth

Then, from 1903 to 1910, our saint served as Professor of Biblical Literature and as Librarian at Beloit College.  He was also the pastor of Second Congregational Church during those years.  (As of 2020, First Presbyterian Church has merged with Second Congregational Church to form the United Church of Beloit and moved into the edifice of the former Second Congregational Church.)

Blaisdell spent 1910-1957 in California.  He was the President of Pomona College, Claremont, until 1927.  Afterward, our saint led the Clarement Colleges consortium until 1935.  He and Florence retired to La Jolla that year.  She died in 1940, and Blaisdell moved back to Claremont.  He eventually remarried; wife number two was Anne Grassie (1866-1957).  Our saint, aged 89 years, died in Claremont on January 29, 1957.

Blaisdell wrote at least three hymns:

  1. “Tonight, My Soul, Be Still and Sleep” (by 1897),
  2. “Christians, Lo, the Star Appeareth” (1900), and
  3. Beneath the Forms of Outward Rite” (published in 1928).

May the Church never be bereft of people with the pastoral, academic, and literary talents that James Arnold Blaisdell possessed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 28, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN H. W. STUCKENBERG, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND ACADEMIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNARD OF MENTHON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ARCHDEACON OF AOSTA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN POND PARKER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JEREMIAS DENCKE, SILESIAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND ORGANIST; AND SIMON PETER AND JOHANN FRIEDRICH PETER, GERMAN-AMERICAN COMPOSERS, EDUCATORS, MUSICIANS, AND MINISTERS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MCAFEE BROWN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN ACTIVIST, AND ECUMENIST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

James Arnold Blaisdell 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 Thomas Canning (December 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

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THOMAS CANNING (DECEMBER 12, 1911-OCTOBER 4, 1989)

U.S. Composer and Music Educator

Thomas Canning comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Canning was one of the best composers I had not heard of before I began work on this post.  He, born in Brookville, Pennsylvania, on December 12, 1911, was a son of James Scribner Canning.  Our saint studied at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio (B.M., 1936); then at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York (M.M., 1940).  He was a student of composer Howard Hanson (1896-1981) at Rochester.  Canning, on faculty at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa (1936-1942), went on to teach at Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Indiana, Pennsylvania (1945-1946).  Then he taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1946-1947).  Our saint was a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music (1947-1962) then at West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia (1963-1977).  He was composer in residence at West Virginia University.  Canning retired in 1977.

Canning wrote music rooted in church.  He composed instrumental music, often based on hymns, for church.  Our saint also wrote anthems for church choirs.  Furthermore, he composed All Aboard for Ararat (1957), a children’s opera in one act.  In 1961, the Board of Education of The Methodist Church commissioned Canning to set John Wesley’s Covenant Service to music.  The tune COVENANT HYMN (present in The Methodist Hymnal of 1966) came from that service setting.  And Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan (1944) has become one of my favorite works.

Canning, 78 years old, died on October 4, 1989.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BEDE OF JARROW, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND FATHER OF ENGLISH HISTORY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALDHELM OF SHERBORNE, POET, LITERARY SCHOLAR, ABBOT OF MALMESBURY, AND BISHOP OF SHERBORNE

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CRISTOBAL MAGOLLANES JARA AND AGUSTIN CALOCA CORTÉS, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SAINTS AND MARTYRS, 1927

THE FEAST OF SAINT MADELEINE-SOPHIE BARAT, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART; AND SAINT ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT MYKOLA TSEHELSKYI, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1951

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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 [Thomas Canning]

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 Paul Hanly Furfey (June 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Vincent’s Chapel, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Image Source = Google Earth

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PAUL HANLY FURFEY (JUNE 30, 1897-JUNE 8, 1992)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Sociologist, and Social Radical

Apostle for Social Justice

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Men are not won over to our faith by logic but by seeing the Church in action.

–Paul Hanly Furfey

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Father Paul Hanly Furfey 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).

Furfey favored responding to social ills through a combination of collective and personal action.  He argued that the best collective action was faith-based, not secular and bourgeois.  Hence targets of his criticism included capitalism, Marxism, the New Deal, government interventionism, and Hull House.  Yet, later in life, he critiqued Liberation Theology from its left; it did not go far enough, he insisted.

Furfey was a priest and a sociologist.  He, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 30, 1896, studied in parochial schools in that city.  Then he studied at Boston College (A.B.).  Our saint continued his education at The Catholic University of America in 1917 and 1918.  A M.A. from St. Mary’s University, Baltimore, Maryland, followed.  Seminary followed.  Furfey, ordained in 1922, earned his Ph.D. in sociology from The Catholic University of America (1926) then studied medicine in Germany (1931-1932).  Early in his career, Furfey advocated for openly religious, scientific radicalism.  He was, therefore, critical of the New Deal while he affirmed the Catholic Worker Movement of Dorothy Day (1897-1980).  He also went on to associate himself with Personalism, the philosophy of Emmanuel Mournier (1905-1950).  Furthermore, Furfey rejected racism.  Our saint, who rote his doctoral dissertation on street gangs, taught sociology at The Catholic University of America.  He also helped to found Il Poverello (“the Poor One”), a settlement house, in Washington, D.C.  Il Poverello was a Roman Catholic counterpart to Hull House and Toynbee Hall.

Furfey, a recipient of many academic and ecclesiastical honors, was a leader in sociological discipline.  He led the Department of Sociology at The Catholic University of America, starting in the 1940s.  He also helmed the university’s Center for Research in Child Development.  Furthermore, our saint served as the President of the American Catholic Sociological Society.

Furfey became more radical as he aged.  Furfey, who had argued for obedience to the federal government during World War II, opposed the Vietnam War.  He helped to found the International Committee on Conscience on Vietnam in 1973.  His critique of the Great Society was that it was insufficient.  Wherever Furfey stood on an issue, he thought of the love of Christ, a revolutionary for the love of neighbors, as the role model.  Our saint was, as Nicholas Karl Rademacher called him in a his doctoral dissertation (2006) at The Catholic University of America, the “Apostle of Social Justice.”

Furfey, nearly 95 years old, died on June 8, 1992.

Looking up titles of Furfey’s books at Worldcat reveals the range of his output.  One finds titles about urban gangs, child development, morality, psychology, and the deaf, among other subjects.  Some titles are punchy.  How to Go to Hell (1937) sounds interesting, and The Respectable Murderers:  Social Evil and Christian Conscience (1966) is direct.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DE CHARGÉ AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS OF TIBHIRINE, ALGERIA, 1996

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUGENE DE MAZENOD, BISHOP OF MARSEILLES, AND FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE MISSIONARIES, OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANZ JÄGGERSTÄTTER, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR AND MARTYR, 1943

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ADDISON AND ALEXANDER POPE, ENGLISH POETS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MANUEL GÓMEZ GONZÁLEZ, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1924; AND SAINT ADILO DARONCH, BRAZILIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC ALTAR BOY AND MARTYR, 1924

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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 Theodore H. Robinson (June 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales

Image Source = Google Earth

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THEODORE HENRY ROBINSON (AUGUST 9, 1881-JUNE 26, 1964)

British Baptist Orientalist and Biblical Scholar

Theodore H. Robinson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the General Article, “The History of Israel,” published in Volume I (1951).

Robinson was one of the greatest Biblical scholars of the twentieth century.  He, born on August 9, 1881, in Edenbridge, England, was a son of Emily Jane Joseph Robinson and Baptist minister W. Venis Robinson.  Our saint, educated at Mill Hill School then at St. John’s College, Cambridge, then at the Baptist College, Regent’s Park, London, then at Göttingen University, was a Professor of Hebrew and Syraic at Serampore College, Bengal, India.  Then, in 1915, Robinson moved to Wales.  He joined the faculty of Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, as Lecturer in Semitic Studies.  Our saint became a professor there in 1927.  He, Dean of Theology (1937-1940), retired in 1944.  Robinson also served as the President (1928, 1946) and Secretary (1917-1946) of the Society for Old Testament Study.

Robinson’s published works included:

  1. Paradigms and Exercises in Syraic Grammar (four editions, 1915-1962);
  2. St. Mark’s Life of Jesus (1922);
  3. Prophecy and Prophets in the Old Testament (1923);
  4. The Decline and Fall of the Hebrew Kingdoms:  Israel in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C. (1926);
  5. A Short Comparative History of Religions (1926);
  6. The Gospel of Matthew (1927);
  7. Palestine in General History (1929);
  8. Hebrew Religion:  Its Origin and Development (1930), with William Oscar Emil (W.O.E.) Oesterley (1886-1950);
  9. A History of Israel (1932);
  10. An Introduction to the Books of the Old Testament (1934), with W.O.E. Oesterley;
  11. The Poetry of the Old Testament (1947);
  12. An Introduction to the New Testament (1948);
  13. The Epistle to the Hebrews (1953);
  14. The Old Testament:  A Conspectus (1953); and
  15. Job and His Friends (1954).

Robinson retired to Ealing, England, in 1944.  He, 82 years old, died there on June 26, 1964.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT FELIX OF CANTALICE, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC FRIAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Theodore H. Robinson 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 Pearl S. Buck (June 25)   1 comment

Above:  Pearl S. Buck

Image in the Public Domain

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PEARL COMFORT SYDENSTRICKER BUCK (JUNE 26, 1892-MARCH 6, 1973)

U.S. Presbyterian Missionary, Novelist, and Social Activist

Buck spent most of the first half-century of her life in China.  She, born in Hillsborough, West Virginia, on June 26, 1892, was a daughter of Southern Presbyterian missionaries Absalom Sydenstricker (1852-1931) and Caroline Stulting Sydenstricker (1857-1921).  The couple was on furlough when Caroline gave birth to Pearl.  Our saint, raised in China (except during furloughs) from infancy, grew up learning both English and Chinese.  Pearl also learned respect for Chinese culture and rejection of racism, ethnocentrism, and cultural imperialism from her parents.  Our saint attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College), Lynchburg, Virginia, from 1910 to 1914.  She returned to China shortly after graduating; her mother’s health was failing.

Our saint became a missionary in her own right.  In 1915, she met John Lossing Buck (1890-1975), a missionary from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  The couple married in 1917.  They had one child, Caroline Grace Buck (1920-1992).  She had Phenylketonuria (PKU), which caused profound mental disabilities.  The Bucks adopted a daughter, Janice, in 1925.  The family lived and taught on the campus of Nanjing University from 1920 to 1933, except during furloughs.  During the furlough of 1924-1925, Pearl earned her M.A. from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.  The marriage, unhappy for a long time, ended in divorce in 1935.

Buck, who had become a published author in the 1920s, started with essays and stories published in major magazines.  He first novel, East Wind, West Wind, went to the presses in 1930.  Richard Walsh published that book.  Her second novel, The Good Earth (1931), made our saint a household name, a best-selling author, and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.  Buck wrote for the rest of her life.  She composed novels, short stories, biographies (including those of her parents), autobiographies, and nonfiction.  She also won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Two of Buck’s works of nonfiction got her into ecclesiastical trouble and caused the termination of her career as a missionary.  She wrote in opposition to racism, ethnocentrism, and culturally imperialistic missionaries.  Indeed, she had encountered many of them since her childhood.  The timing of our saint’s justifiable criticism was the fundamentalist-modernist controversy within the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1870-1958), the so-called “Northern Presbyterian Church.”  (That was an inaccurate label; the PCUSA was actually national.  The old Presbyterian Church in the United States lived up to its informal name, the Southern Presbyterian Church, however.)  Many prominent fundamentalist Presbyterians objected to Buck’s criticism.  She resigned under pressure in 1934.

Our saint returned to the United States and continued her writing and her revolutionary work.  She married Richard Walsh in 1935.  The couple remained married until he died in 1960. They resided on the Green Hills Farm, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Pearl was active in the civil rights movement.  She a trustee of Howard University, wrote for publications of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  She and Walsh promoted interracial adoption and modeled the practice.  They founded Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency, in 1949.  She founded the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in 1964 to help Amerasian children otherwise ineligible for adoption.

Buck, aged 80 years, died in Danby, Vermont, on March 6, 1973.  Her ten children (nine of them adopted) survived her.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 16, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANDREW FOURNET AND ELIZABETH BICHIER, COFOUNDERS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE CROSS; AND SAINT MICHAEL GARICOITS, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE SACRED HEART OF BETHARRAM

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE, BOHEMIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1393

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF THE SUDAN, 1983-2005

THE FEAST OF SAINT UBALDO BALDASSINI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GUBBIO

THE FEAST OF SAINT VLADIMIR GHIKA, ROMANIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1954

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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 Pearl S. Buck,

to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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