Archive for the ‘Saints of 1950-1959’ Category

Feast of Blessed Ndoc Suma (April 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ndoc Suma

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NDOC SUMA (JULY 31, 1887-APRIL 22, 1958)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1958

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

Suma, born in Nënphat, Lezhë, Albania, on July 31, 1887, was a subject of the Ottoman Empire until Albanian independence (1912).  he studied theology at Skrodrë, Albania, then at the Jesuit Collegium Canisianum, Innsbruck, Austria, Austria-Hungary.  Our saint returned to Albania, whwere he joined the ranks of priests in the Archdiocese of Skrodrë-Pult on September 21, 1911.

During the subsequent political changes and stages of his homeland, Suma served as a parish priest in seven towns.  After the fascist occupation ended in 1944, the communist government came to power.  That government cracked down on religion.  Albanian authorities arrested Suma while he was saying Mass in Laçu on December 8, 1946.  The charge was being a spy.

The verdict was guilty, of course.  Our saint, sentenced to thirty years in prison, as well as hard labor, was near death when freed on November 25, 1957.  He, aged seventy years, died in the village of Pistull on April 22, 1958.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Suma.  Pope Francis declared him a Venerable in 2016 then a beatus later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HONORIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF MARY RAMABAI, PROPHETIC WITNESS AND EVANGELIST IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD CHALLONER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, RELIGIOUS WRITER, TRANSLATOR, CONTROVERSIALIST, PRIEST, AND TITULAR BISHOP OF DOBERUS

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Ndoc Suma boldness

to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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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 Frank von Christierson (April 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Calvary Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California

Image Source = Google Earth

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FRANK VON CHRISTIERSON (DECEMBER 25, 1900-APRIL 24, 1996)

Finnish-American Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Friedrich von Christierson

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In gratitude and humble trust,

We bring our best today,

To serve your cause and share your love

With all along life’s way.

O God, who gave yourself to us

In Christ, your only Son,

Teach us to give ourselves each day

Until life’s work is done.

–Frank von Christierson, from As Men of Old Their Firstfruits Brought (1960, 1972); quoted in The Worshipbook:  Services and Hymns (1972)

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Frank von Christierson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via various denominational hymnals, mainly The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966).  (The United Methodist Hymnal of 1989 lacks any texts by our saint.)

Friedrich von Christierson was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born at Lovisa, near Helsinki, Finland, on December 25, 1900, left for the United States with his parents and five brothers in 1905.

Christierson (B.A., psychology, Stanford University, 1923), went into church work.  He spent a few years as the youth director at First Presbyterian Church, San Luis Obispo, California.  During this time, Christierson married Frances May Lockhart in 1925.  The couple had two children.  Our saint matriculated at San Francisco Theological Seminary (B.D., 1929; M.A., 1930).  Christierson, ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1929, continued his clergy status in the PCUSA’s successors, The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  He served in the following congregations from 1929 to 1966:

  1. Calvary Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California (1929-1944);
  2. Trinity Community Presbyterian Church, North Hollywood, California, a church plant (1944-1961); and
  3. Celtic Cross United Presbyterian Church (now Celtic Cross Presbyterian Church), Citrus Heights, California, a church plant (1961-1966).

Christierson was also active beyond the congregational level.  He served as the Moderator of the San Francisco Presbytery and the Los Angeles Presbytery.  For three years in the early 1960s, he served as the chairman of the radio and television ministries of the Sacramento Area Council of Churches.  In this capacity, our saint created a television program, Capital and Clergy, in 1962.

Christierson remained active in retirement.  He filled various pulpits, as an interim pastor, in California and Nevada through 1970.  Then, from 1970 to 1982, our saint was a part-time associate minister at First Presbyterian Church (now Centerpoint Community Church), Roseville, California.  He focused on the elderly and the ill.

Our saint, a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada since 1983, published Make a Joyful Noise (1987), a volume of his hymns.

Christierson, aged 95 years, died in Roseville, California, on April 24, 1996.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Frank von Christierson 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 Blessed Ndue Serreqi (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NDUE SERREQI (FEBRUARY 26, 1911-APRIL 4, 1954)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1954

Also known as Blessed Karl Serreqi

Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Our saint, born Ndue Serreqi in Shkodrë, Albania, on February 26, 1911, studied under Franciscan friars.  He joined that order as a young man.  Our saint, ordained a priest, as Father Karl, in Brescia, Italy, in June 1936, served as a parish priest in the mountains of Albania.

Albania, formerly under Italian fascist occupation, came under communist control in 1944.  The government began to suppress religion in 1946; it focused particular ire on Roman Catholics, who had enjoyed official favor during the fascist occupation.  This stereotyping labeled all Albanian Roman Catholics as fascists.

Consider the following, O reader:

Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him.  He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents’ lives.  This secret, which admits of no exceptions, is called the “sacramental seal,” because what the penitent has made known to the priest remains “sealed” by the sacrament.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (1997), paragraph #1467

Albanian authorities arrested Serreqi on October 9, 1946.  They demanded that Father Karl reveal details of the confessions of anti-communist rebels.  The priest, incarcerated and tortured, refused to break the sacramental seal of confession.  The court sentenced our saint to death on January 18, 1947.  However, the sentence became life in prison.  The priest, having suffered greatly in prison, died behind bars on April 4, 1954.  He was 43 years old.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Father Karl.  Pope Francis declared Serreqi a Venerable then a beatus in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022 COMMON ERA

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

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

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

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Gracious Lord, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Blessed Ndue (Karl) Serreqi]

whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 28:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

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

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Feast of Blessed Hanna Helena Chrzanowska (April 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Hanna Helena Chrzanowska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED HANNA HELENA CHRZANOWSKA (OCTOBER 7, 1902-APRIL 29, 1973)

Polish Roman Catholic Nurse

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

Our saint was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  She, born in Warsaw on October 7, 1902, came from a family of mixed religious heritage.  One side of the family was Roman Catholic; the other side was Protestant.  Her parents were Wanda Szlenkier (from a landowning family) and industrialist Ignacy Chrzanowski (1866-1940).  The family earned its reputation for committing charitable deeds.

Young Hanna, suffering from immune and respiratory system deficiencies, spent much time in hospitals and sanitariums.  She started her life’s work of humanitarianism while a child, in a hospital.  A boy, another patient, had arrived in extremely ragged clothing.  The staff had had to dispose of these clothes.  Therefore, our saint arranged for new clothes for the boy to wear home.

Our saint’s family moved to Kraków in 1910.  Blessed Hanna graduated with honors from an Ursuline high school.  After tending to soldiers’ injuries during Russia’s revolutionary period, she commenced formal nursing studies in Warsaw in 1920.  Blessed Hanna worked for a time under another nurse, Sister Magdalena Maria Epstein (1875-1947), designated a Servant of God as of the writing of this post.  Our saint’s formal education in nursing continued in France (1925f).  She also worked as a Red Cross nurse and observed nursing in Belgium.

Blessed Hanna rose in esteem and prominence in her profession.  She taught at Kraków (1926-1929), edited Nurse Poland (1929-1939), and helped to form the Catholic Association of Polish Nurses (1937).  She, fusing faith and profession, became a Benedictine oblate.

World War II presented our saint with many challenges.  Her father died in a concentration camp.  A brother, Bogdon, perished in a Stalinist massacre.  Blessed Hanna, stuck between Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, organized nurses to provide home health care (when possible) and worked to resettle and feed refugees.  She also administered a nursing home and mentored nursing students.

Other challenges awaited Blessed Hanna after the war.  She worked as the Director of the School of Psychiatric Nursing, Kobierzyn, until the communist government closed it.  Next, she tended to the poor and neglected in her parish.  Our saint, diagnosed with cancer in 1966, underwent operations.  Yet the cancer spread.  She died in Kraków on April 29, 1973.  Blessed Hanna was seventy years old.  Cardinal Karol Wojtyla–later Pope John Paul II–presided at the funeral Mass.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Blessed Hanna.  Pope Francis declared her a Venerable in 2015 then one of the beati in 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE, BISHOP AND MARTYR, 258; AND SAINTS CORNELIUS I, LUCIUS I, AND STEPHEN I, BISHOPS OF ROME

THE FEAST OF JAMES FRANCIS CARNEY, U.S.-HONDURAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, REVOLUTIONARY, AND MARTYR, 1983

THE FEAST OF MARTIN BEHM, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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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 joy.

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 Blessed Mykolai Charnetskyi (April 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Mykolai Charnetskyi

Fair Use

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BLESSED MYKOLAI CHARNETSKYI (SEPTEMBER 14, 1884-APRIL 2, 1959)

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Titular Bishop of Lebed, and Martyr, 1959

Also known as Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Ukraine) = January 6

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe) = June 27

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

Charnetskyi was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Semakivitsia, Ukraine, on September 14, 1884, came from a large family; Alexander and Parasceva Charnetskyi had nine children.  The family belonged to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in communion with the Bishop of Rome.  Our saint, when eighteen years old, commenced his theological studies at the Ukrainian College, Rome.  He, ordained a priest in 1909, completed his doctorate in theology, in Rome, in 1910.

Charnetskyi lived during revolutionary and tumultuous times.  Empires fell, new countries came into existence, and borders shifted more than once.  He taught philosophy and dogmatic theology at the Seminary in Stanislavov (now Ivan-Frankivsk), Ukraine, as well as provided spiritual direction to students, from 1910 to 1919.

Yet Charnetskyi discerned a change in his vocation.  He became a Redemptorist novice in 1919 then made his first profession the following year.  From 1920 to 1926, our saint served as a teacher at a minor seminary as well as a parish priest.  The Redemptorist order opened a mission to Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox reconciliation in 1926.  Charnetskyi, as part of that mission, became the Apostolic Visitor in the Volhynia region of Poland (now Ukraine) that year.  In 1931, our saint received a more elevated title–Titular Bishop of Lebed.

World War II disrupted Chanetskyi’s work.  He fled to Lviv in 1939, after the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland.  Germany occupied the area of Lviv in 1941-1944.  Our saint taught at the Lviv Theological Academy from 1941 to 1945.

After World War II, the Soviet government persecuted the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.  The Soviet government arrested all bishops and turned church property over to the Russian Orthodox Church.  Agents of the NKVD arrested Charnetskyi, sixty years old, on April 11, 1945, on the charge of treason.  The verdict was guilty, of course.  Our saint spent the next eleven years suffering tortures and performing hard labor in thirty prisons.  Upon release in 1956, he seemed to be near death.  Our saint’s health was broken.

Nevertheless, Charnetskyi rallied.  He spent the rest of this life ministering to the underground Ukrainian Greek Catholic community.  Our saint, aged seventy-four years, died in Lviv, Ukraine, on April 2, 1959.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized our saint.  Pope John Paul II declared him a Venerable in 2001.  Later that year, the same Supreme Pontiff made our saint one of the beati.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 14, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY CROSS

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power

your holy martyr Blessed Mykolai Charnetskyi

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with him 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 2:2-12

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

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Feast of Ruth Youngdahl Nelson (April 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Logo of the Augustana Synod

Image in the Public Domain

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RUTH YOUNGDAHL NELSON (1904-APRIL 6, 1984)

U.S. Lutheran Renewer of Society

Ruth Youngdahl Nelson 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).  A remembrance by daughter Mary Nelson rounds out the available information significantly.  A YouTube video of our saint addressing students at Augsburg College (now University), Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 28, 1969, is worth your attention, O reader.  And a few other websites fill in other corners with information.

Ruth Youngdahl, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1904, was a child of John Carl Youngdahl and Elizabeth (Johnson) Youngdahl.  One brother, Luther Youngdahl (1896-1978), served as the Governor of Minnesota (1947-1951).

Our saint spent her life obeying her conscience, following Jesus, and challenging social conventions.  As a student at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, the athletic Youngdahl helped to organize then led the college’s chapter of the National Women’s Athletic Association.  She also made national headlines in 1923 by playing on a co-educational football team.

Our saint married Clarence T. Nelson, a minister in the old Augustana Synod.  The couple had four children and fostered three others.  The Nelsons served in churches in Minnesota, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.  In addition, they served in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.  (Clarence spent four years in the kingdom as a chaplain to oil workers.)

Nelson spoke out and wrote boldly about a variety of issues.

  1. The arms race during the Cold War alarmed our saint.  She advocated making peace.
  2. Racial and economic justice were also priorities for Nelson.
  3. She and her husband welcomed former inmates into their home.
  4. Our saint led a weekly Bible study in a women’s prison and lobbied for halfway homes for women emerging from prison.
  5. In 1982, Nelson and son Jonathan participated in an armada that attempted to block a nuclear Trident submarine headed for a naval base in Bangor, Washington.  The protesters, arrested for this act of civil disobedience, never went to trial; the court dismissed the charges.
  6. During her final months, the wheelchair-bound saint, 80 years old and recovering from cancer surgery, participated in a demonstration against weapons of mass destruction in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Nelson wrote ten books, including the following:

  1. The Christian Woman (1951),
  2. The Woman Beautiful (1954),
  3. God’s Song in My Heart (1957),
  4. Where Jesus Walks (1966),
  5. You Can Make a Difference (1974),
  6. Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters (1976),
  7. God’s Joy in My Heart (1980), and
  8. A Grandmother’s Letters to God (1983).

Daughter Mary Nelson wrote:

My mother lived out her faith:  that we are all loved by God, created in the image of God, and a part of God’s family–no matter what word we use for God.

Our saint said of herself:

I am no theologian.  I can only speak and write about what Christ can do in my everyday life.

Ruth Youngdahl Nelson, who died on April 5, 1984, lived her generous Christian faith.  She, therefore, set an example–a formidable one, and a high bar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PETER OF CHELCIC, BOHEMIAN MORAVIAN REFORMER; AND GREGORY THE PATRIARCH, FOUNDER OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK J. MURPHY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNA, INDIAN PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELIST AND “APOSTLE TO THE MANGS”

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GUY MCCUTCHAN, U.S. METHODIST HYMNAL EDITOR AND HYMN TUNE COMPOSER

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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 Ruth Youngdahl Nelson]

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 the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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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 Austin C. Lovelace (March 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado

Image Source = Google Earth

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AUSTIN COLE LOVELACE (MARCH 26, 1919-APRIL 25, 2010)

United Methodist Organist, Composer, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

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I prefer music.  I do not think that entertainment music is appropriate for church.  The music should be the servant of the text.  And the text has to be of spiritual value.

–Austin C. Lovelace’s critique of contemporary Christian music and worship, in The Denver Post, October 2, 2009

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Austin C. Lovelace comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via three hymnals and their companion volumes.  The hymnals are, in chronological order, The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

Lovelace became one of the most influential figures in church music in the United States of America in the twentieth century.  His influence touched the hymnals of major Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.  Our saint also lectured and made presentations.  The title of one lecture was, “Hymns that Jesus Would Not Have Liked.”  One such hymn that Lovelace reviewed was, “When the Bells of Hell Go Ting-a-Ling for You and Not for Me.”  And our saint, a fan of jazz, hosted Dave Brubeck (and his band) and Duke Ellington (and his orchestra) at services (on separate occasions) at services at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado, while he served as the Minister of Music there (1964-1970).

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Lovelace entered the world at Rutherfordton, North Carolina, on March 26, 1919.  Our saint’s parents were Arsola Crawford Lovelace (1889-1956) and Maude Lee White Lovelace (1891-1974).  His brother was Marc Hoyle Lovelace (1920-2008).  The family was Southern Baptist.  Musical training started in childhood; our saint and his brother performed piano duets as boys.

Lovelace made his life in church music, starting in his youth.  He graduated with his A.B. degree from High Point College, High Point, North Carolina, in 1939.

The Big Apple beckoned next.  Lovelace studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (M.S.M., 1941).  There he fell in love with his page turner, Pauline Palmer (1918-2015).  The couple married on May 21, 1941.

Lovelace, who served as a chaplain’s assistant during World War II, resumed academic life.  He taught at The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska; Queens College, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina; through 1952.  He also earned his D.S.M. degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1950.  Furthermore, our saint served in congregations in Lincoln, Nebraska; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Lovelace spent 1952-1962 in Evanston, Illinois.  He served as the Minister of Music at First Methodist Church and taught at Garrett Theological Seminary.  During this time, our saint was the organist at the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Evanston (1954).  Lovelace also served as the first President of the National Fellowship of Methodist Musicians (1955-1957).  He also wrote Music and Worship in the Church (1960) with William C. Rice.

The Organist and Hymn Playing (First Edition, 1962; Second Edition, 1981) followed.

Above:  Christ Church, United Methodist, New York, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace returned to New York City in 1962.  He served as the Minister of Music at Christ Church, Methodist, from 1962 to 1964.  Our saint also wrote The Youth Choir (1964) and received his Mus.D. degree from High Point College (1963).

Lovelace moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1964.  Through 1970 he served as the Minister of Music at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church.  Our saint also taught at Iliff School of Theology (-1969) then at Temple Buell College (1969-1970).  Lovelace also wrote The Anatomy of Hymnody (1965).

During the 1960s, Lovelace was active in the preparation of The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966).  He served on the committee and as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Tunes.  Our saint also composed one tune (HINMAN), wrote three pieces of service music (#783, 786, and 797), adapted one tune, altered two tunes, versified one text, and harmonized twenty-six hymn tunes for the hymnal.  Furthermore, Lovelace wrote for Companion to the Hymnal (1970).

Above:  Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace remained a full-time church musician through 1986.  He served as the Minister of Music at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas (1970-1977); then at Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado (1977-1986).  He retired in 1986.

Above:  Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace remained active in retirement.  He composed through 2010, bringing his catalog to more than 1000 works:  hymn tunes, works for organ, works for choirs, works for soloists, arrangements, harmonizations, et cetera.  Our saint ceased to work as a substitute organist when 87 years old.  Lovelace also contributed to The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), for which he prepared the Metrical Index.  That volume included an original hymn tune (MUSTARD SEED), five hymn tune harmonizations, and one hymn versification by our saint.  And he wrote a book, Hymn Notes for Church Bulletins (1987).

Lovelace, aged 91 years, died in Denver, Colorado, on April 25, 2010.  His survivors included Pauline, his wife; Barbara Lovelace Williams, his daughter; and a grandson.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

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

thank you for those (especially Austin C. Lovelace)

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 Healey Willan (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Canada, 1965-Present

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES HEALEY WILLAN (OCTOBER 12, 1880-FEBRUARY 16, 1968)

Canadian Anglican Organist and Composer

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A scholar with a musical background a thousand years deep.  One of the chief sources of his inspiration is Gregorian music….He is obviously well acquainted with the English school, and…the method and traditional music of the Eastern Church.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), 183

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(James) Healey Willan 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.

Willan was a son of James Burton Willan and Eleanor Healey Willan.  Our saint, born in London, England, on October 12, 1880, started his musical education when four years old.  He, a choirboy at St. Saviour’s Choir School when eight years old, went on to serve as organist and choirmaster of St. Saviour’s Church, St. Albans, from 1897 to 1900.  Our saint, steeped in Anglo-Catholic liturgical and musical traditions, served as the organist and choirmaster at Christ Church, Wanstead (1900-1903); then at St. John the Baptist Church, Kensington (1903-1913).  He married Gladys Ellen Hallin in 1905.  The couple had three sons and one daughter.

The Willan family moved to Canada in 1913.  He became the head of the theory department at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (1913-1920); the Vice President of that conservatory (1920-1936); the organist and choirmaster at the Anglican Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto (1921-death).  Our saint received his doctorate in music from the University of Toronto in 1921.  He, the Director of Music at Hart House, the University of Toronto (1919-1925), served on the music faculty at that university (1937-1950).  Furthermore, Willan served as the President of the Authors and Composers Association of Canada (1933f).  He also became a Companion of the Order of Canada (1967).

YouTube offers some interesting and informative videos regarding Willan.  There is an interview (parts 1 and 2).  I also refer you, O reader, to a recording of our saint playing the organ at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.  Furthermore, I recommend that you listen to recordings of some of his compositions:

  1. Piano Concerto in C Minor (1944);
  2. The Three Kings;
  3. Missa Brevis #2 in F Minor;
  4. Missa Brevis #5 in F Sharp Minor;
  5. Lo, in the Time Appointed;
  6. Rise Up, My Love;
  7. Hodie, Christus Natus Est; and
  8. Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue for Organ (1916).

Willan composed in a traditional style informed by his Anglo-Catholic roots, Tudor-era music, and German Romanticism.  His oeuvre encompassed about 800 compositions.  These included masses, motets, organ works, cantatas, symphonies, chamber music, and settings of poems.

Willan, aged 87 years, died in Toronto on February 16, 1968.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 19, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY, PRINCESS OF HUNGARY, AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF ALICE NEVIN, U.S. GERMAN REFORMED LITURGIST AND COMPOSER OF HYMN TEXTS

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR HENRY MANN, ANGLICAN ORGANIST, CHOIR DIRECTOR, HYMNODIST, AND HYMN TUNE COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN TILL, U.S. MORAVIAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND PIANO BUILDER; AND HIS SON, JACOB CHRISTIAN TILL, U.S. MORAVIAN PIANO BUILDER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN HERMANN SCHEIN, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHN STONE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Healey Willan 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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