Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1200s’ Category

Feast of St. Hugh of Lincoln (November 17)   1 comment

Above:  St. Hugh of Lincoln

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT HUGH OF LINCOLN (1135-NOVEMBER 16, 1200)

Roman Catholic Bishop and Abbot

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If all bishops were like my Lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could lift up his head against them.

–King Richard I

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St. Hugh of Lincoln, a reluctant abbot then a reluctant bishop, served God, confronted his king, and left a fine legacy.

St. Hugh was noble in two senses of that word.  His father was William, Lord of Avalon.  Our saint, born in Avalon Castle, Burgundy, France, in 1135, was eight years old when his mother, Anna, died.  St. Hugh, educated at a monastery in Villard-Benoit, France, became a monk at the age of 15 years and a deacon four years later.  Our saint, a Carthusian since 1160, became a priest five years later, having already been the Prior of Saint-Maxim since 1159.

St. Hugh reluctantly became the abbot of the new monastery (the first Carthusian abbey in England) at Witham, Somerset, in 1175.  King Henry II (reigned 1154-1189), penitent over the murder of St. Thomas Becket (December 29, 1170), had ordered the construction of that monastery.  St. Hugh, renowned for his piety, actively cared for the poor and attracted many recruits to the Carthusian order.

St. Hugh was an even more reluctant Bishop of Lincoln (1186-1200).  He was no less faithful, though.  After an earthquake destroyed the cathedral, St. Hugh presided over the reconstruction of the structure.  He also helped to transform the cathedral school into one of the greatest institutions of learning in England.  St. Hugh fearlessly confronted King Richard I (reigned 1189-1199), criticizing him for mistreating subjects.  Our saint also refused to raise funds for foreign wars.  Furthermore, St. Hugh criticized the monarch for leaving certain sees vacant, for the sake of collecting income.  Our saint also risked his life to resist the persecution of Jews (1190-1191); he confronted mobs and forced the release of captives.

St. Hugh died in London on November 16, 1200.  His health had been failing since the previous year, after a diplomatic mission for King John (reigned 1199-1216) to France.

The Church recognized St. Hugh in 1220, when Pope Honorius III made him the first canonized Carthusian.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 31, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA SKOBTSOVA, ORTHODOX MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ERNEST TRICE THOMPSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF JOHN DONNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN MARRIOTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, our greatest treasure, you blessed Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln,

with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of your Word to rich and poor alike;

Grant that all who minister in your Name may serve with diligence, discipline, and humility,

fearing nothing but the loss of you and drawing all to you through Jesus Christ our Savior;

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

Micah 4:1-4

Psalm 61

Titus 2:7-8, 11-14

Luke 12:35-44

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 685

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Feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus (November 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed John Duns Scotus

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS (1266-NOVEMBER 8, 1308)

Scottish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian 

Born John Duns

Also known as the Subtle Doctor

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In paying homage to Christ I would rather go too far than not far enough to give him the praise that is due him.

–John Duns Scotus, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 487

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I am of the opinion that God wished to redeem us in the fashion [the Incarnation] primarily in order to draw us to his love.

–Blessed John Duns Scotus, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 487

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Blessed John Duns Scotus was a Scholastic theologian whose influence remains evident in Roman Catholic theology.  John Duns, born in Duns, Berwick, Scotland, in 1206, was a son of a wealthy farmer.  Our saint received his early education from the Franciscans at Dumfries, where his uncle, Elias Duns, was the superior.  Our saint, a Franciscan from the age of 15 years, studied theology in Oxford and Paris.  He, ordained to the priesthood at the age of 25 years, on March 17, 1291, in Northampton, was a lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge (1297-1301).  Duns Scotus, called “Scotus” because he was Scottish, began doctoral work in Paris in 1301.  He had to leave Paris in 1303, for he sided with Pope Benedict VIII against King Philip the Fair in a dispute over taxation of ecclesiastical property.  Duns Scotus, back in Paris in 1305, completed his doctorate and taught.  He transferred to a teaching post in Cologne in 1307.  There he, aged 42 years, died on November 8, 1308.

Duns Scotus, an Aristotelean, founded Scotism, a somewhat mystical version of Scholasticism.  He argued for a distinction between rational knowledge of proof for the existence of God and saving faith in God.  Duns Scotus thought that one could prove the existence of God rationally–a dubious proposition, although a pious one.

Duns Scotus also argued against the Anselmian understanding of the atonement–Penal Substitutionary Atonement.  (I am glad Duns Scotus argued against it.)  Duns Scotus defined God as infinite Love.  The Incarnation, he insisted, was an expression of divine love, and therefore an act of union with creation, not as the necessary antecedent of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.  The proper human response to the Incarnation, Duns Scotus argued, is love for God.

Duns Scotus also made a convincing case for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The case he made in 1307 won the day in the fourteenth century; the Sorbonne adopted his position.  Furthermore, Pope Pius IX quoted Duns Scotus in 1854, when the Holy Father defined the Immaculate Conception.

Pope John Paul II beatified Duns Scotus in 1991.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Blessed John Duns Scotus

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God,

and Jesus Christ whom you have sent;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 721

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Feast of St. Hedwig of Andechs and Blessed Gertrude of Trzebnica (October 16)   2 comments

Above:  Family Tree of St. Hedwig of Andechs

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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SAINT HEDWIG OF ANDECHS (1174-OCTOBER 15, 1243)

Silesian Roman Catholic Princess of and Nun

Also known as Saint Hedwig of Silesia

Alternative feast day = October 15

mother of

BLESSED GERTRUDE OF TRZEBNICA (CIRCA 1200-DECEMBER 1268)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from March 17

One of my goals in the continuing process of renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships.  That is my rationale for merging the feasts of St. Hedwig of Andechs and Blessed Gertrude of Trzebnica, not that I need one, given that the Ecumenical Calendar is my project.

These saints came from nobility.  St. Hedwig was a daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania (reigned 1185-1204)St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) was on her nieces.  St. Hedwig, born in Castle Andechs, Bavaria (now Germany), married Prince Henry I “the Bearded,” Duke of Silesia (r. 1201-1238) and the Duke of Greater Poland (r. 1231-1238) when she was 12 years old.  The couple had seven children, including Blessed Gertrude of Trzebnica (c. 1200-December 1268).  Blessed Gertrude, betrothed to Count Palatine Otto of Wittelsbach, who died prior to the wedding day, became a nun instead.  St. Hedwig, a widow from 1238, founded hospitals, helped orphans, and cared for the sick.  She gave away her fortune before becoming a nun in the convent at Trzebnica, where Blessed Gertrude was the abbess.

St. Hedwig died at the abbey at Trzebnica, Silesia (now Poland), on October 15, 1243.

Pope Clement IV canonized her in 1267.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETIUS OF TRIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP; AND SAINT AREDIUS OF LIMOGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF KRATIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF HENRY USTICK ONDERDONK, EPISCOPAL BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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O God, by whose grace your servants Saint Hedwig of Andechs and Blessed Gertrude of Trzebnica,

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

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

and walk before you as children of light;

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

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

Acts 2:42-47a

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

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

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

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Feast of Robert Grosseteste (October 9)   1 comment

Above:  Robert Grosseteste 

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT GROSSETESTE (CIRCA 1168-OCTOBER 9, 1253)

English Roman Catholic Scholar, Philosopher, and Bishop of Lincoln

This project, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is an exercise in the Great Man (and Woman) School of History.  I make no apology for this.  Social History and Cultural History have their vital roles to fill in historical analysis, but I remain a devotee of the emphasis on the great people–those who have made their marks on the world.

Grosseteste, born circa 1168, was a Christian intellectual and a bishop.  He, educated at Oxford and perhaps at Paris, also, taught at Oxford prior to 1209.  Our saint, a priest, held various ecclesiastical position through 1232.  He resigned all but one–Prebendary of Lincoln–that year.  The former Chancellor of Oxford University (circa 1215-1221) taught at the Franciscan house of studies, Oxford, from 1224 to 1235.  Then he became the Bishop of Lincoln.

Grosseteste had a fine mind.  He, an Aristotelian with Neoplatonist influences, translated works of Aristotle and some ancient saints, wrote commentaries on the Bible and works of Aristotle.  Our saint, whose life ended as the worst outbreak of the Black Death was ending and the Renaissance was about to begin, was an active encourager of the spread of knowledge–philosophy, science, mathematics, and the Bible.  He accepted truth, as he recognized it, regardless of its source or manner of transmission.

Grosseteste, author of theological and devotional works, was a pious bishop who took his spiritual responsibilities seriously.  He was a man of his time, for he affirmed the supremacy of the Church over the state.  This opinion caused some political problems for him.  Grosseteste also had political conflicts with various bishops and at least one Pope; our saint was an uncompromising critic and opponent of ecclesiastical corruption.

Grosseteste died in Buckdon, Buckinghamshire, England, on October 9, 1253.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Robert Grosseteste 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 St. Francis of Assisi (October 4)   10 comments

Above:  St. Francis Beneath a Tree, Praying, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-102921

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GIOVANNI FRANCESCO PIETRO DI BENRADONE (1181/1182-OCTOBER 3, 1226)

Founder of the Order of Friars Minor

Beatified in 1228

I have done my part.  May Christ teach you to do yours.

–St. Francis of Assisi, as he lay dying

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most popular saints.  Statues of him populate many gardens and other public places.  St. Francis seems harmless, friendly, and inoffensive in the imaginations of many people.  Yet the testimony of his life is revolutionary.

I have decided not to write a biography of St. Francis.  I have reasoned that (1) those are easy to find, and (2) most of them are superior to any biography I might compose.  (Here is one.)  I have decided, however, to reflect on some lessons from his life for modern people and societies.

St. Francis renounced the idol of materialism.  In so doing, he found liberation to follow God, whom he found liberation to follow, and whom he recognized in the poor and in nature.

Economies depend on materialism.  They do so because (1) some people created economies this way, and (2) other people have retained these systems.  The industry of advertising tells people that they cannot live without that which they can live–and have lived.  Advertising often convinces people that material goods will solve their spiritual problems.  It also converts the Seven Deadly Sins into virtues.  Materialism is one of the most popular idols.

I think about this matter perhaps most often at the end of each year.  The commercialization of Christmas is the real “War on Christmas.”  Ironically, it is a campaign many U.S. Protestants favored in the 1800s, rather than celebrate a Roman Catholic feast day.  I seek few Christmas gifts, just as I give few.  I do most of my Christmas shopping at thrift stores, too.  I know that many jobs depend directly and indirectly on the orgy of materialism at the end of the year, and I manage to avoid most of that madness, but I also know that, if most people were to behave as I do, the consequences for many working people would be dire.  This is an example of what economists call the paradox of thrift.

Poverty, which St. Francis chose for himself, comes with a stigma in much of the world.  Many of the hardest working people are poor, contrary to much rhetoric.  In much of the world many of the poor are impoverished because the economic-political system is one rigged against them.  This is a truth as old as antiquity, as well as one against which certain Biblical prophets railed.  Whenever policy is to keep much of the population in poverty, government retards the progress and well-being of a society, to the common detriment.

We are part of nature, of which we have a divine mandate to be good stewards.  Science tells us that species have evolved in nature, and that they continue to do so.  Yet many of us seem not to have evolved spiritually in relation to nature, for evidence of disrespect for the created order is ubiquitous.  From littering to pollution to global warming to the driving of species to extinction, humanity’s record of damaging the planet and ecosystems is long and shameful.  It also harms us, for we are part of nature, too.

The legacy of St. Francis of Assisi should stand in the minds of more people as a call to moral, social, economic, and political revolution, for the glory of God and the common good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RALPH W. SOCKMAN, U.S. UNITED METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF CARL DOVING, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JAMES ALLEN, ENGLISH INGHAMITE THEN GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HIS GREAT-NEPHEW, OSWALD ALLEN, ENGLISH GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PETRUS HERBERT, GERMAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMNODIST

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Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world;

that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you,

delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit;

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 22:13-16

Psalm 148:7-14

Galatians 6:14-18

Matthew 11:25-30

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 623

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O God, you ever delight to reveal yourself to the childlike and lowly of heart;

grant that, following the example of the blessed Francis,

we may count the wisdom of this world as foolishness and know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,

who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Common Worship:  Daily Prayer (2005), 505

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Gracious and merciful God, you kindled in the heart of Francis such a flame of love that he became wholly yours;

increase in us a whole-hearted trust in you and a humble love of all your creatures,

that we may know the joy the gospel brings; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

Holy Jesus, give us something of Francis’ simplicity,

something of his recklessness,

something of his obedience;

give us the courage to understand what you say and do it.  Amen.

Song of the Three Young Men 52-65

Psalm 119:145-152 or Psalm 148

Galatians 6:14-18

Matthew 11:25-30

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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God of creation, we thank you for all that you have made and called good:

Grant that we may rightly serve and conserve the earth, and live at peace with all your creatures;

through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

in whom you are reconciling the whole world to yourself.  Amen.

Job 14:7-9

Psalm 104:24-31

Romans 1:20-23

Mark 16:14-15

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 732

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Bountiful Creator, you open your hand to satisfy the needs of every living creature:

Make us always thankful for your loving providence,

and grant that we, remembering the account we must one day give,

may be faithful stewards of your abundance, for the benefit of the whole creation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom all things were made,

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

1 Kings 4:29-30, 33-34

Psalm 145:1-7, 22

Acts 17:24-31

John 1:1-5, 9-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 731

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Feast of St. Dominic (August 8)   1 comment

Above:  Saint Dominic, by Fra Angelico

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DOMINIC DE GUZMÁN (CIRCA 1170-AUGUST 6, 1221)

Founder of the Order of Preachers

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Fight the good fight against our ancient foe, fight him insistently with fasting, because no one will win the crown of victory without engaging in the contest in the proper way.

–St. Dominic, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 339

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St. Dominic was one of four children of Felix de Guzmán (the lord of the manor at Caleruya, Castille) and Blessed Juana de Aza (d. circa 1190; beatified in 1828).  The noble family also included holy siblings of St Dominic.  Venerable Anthony de Guzmán was a priest.  Blessed Mamés de Guzmán (c. 1170-1234; beatified in 1834; feast day = July 30), was a prior of a monstery in Paris, the founder of a convent in that city, and one of the original Dominicans.

St. Dominic, who studied at Palencia and became an Augustinian monk at Osma, became aware of the Albigensian heresy (revived Manicheanism of a sort) while traveling with Diego de Azevedo, the Bishop of Osma, on a royal mission abroad in 1203.  Pope Innocent III (in office 1198-1216) launched a campaign of preaching to combat the heresy in southern France.  This was both political and religious, for some local leaders were siding with the Cathars, and civil strife ensued.  St. Dominic was eager preach orthodoxy.  In 1206 he and the Bishop of Osma established rules for the preachers; they were to live austerely and in poverty.  The following year, at Prouille, our saint foun…ded a convent for nuns converted from heresy.

The Albigensian Crusade (1209-1218), a bloodbath and a land grab, was one of the most notorious scandals in Church history.  It began after the assassination of Peter Castelnau, the papal legate, in 1208.  St. Dominic argued against the crusade; he condemned the violence in the name of Christ and advocated for preaching instead.  From his preaching emerged the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans and the Black Friars, which received papal approval in 1216.

St. Dominic spent his final years technically based in Rome, but actually walking on long journeys, and organizing the Order of Preachers.  In 1221 he set out for Hungary, to preach against heresy, but failing health forced him to turn back.  He died at Bologna on August 6, 1221.  Biographer Jordan of Saxony wrote of our saint,

…he loved everyone, so everyone loved him.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Dominic in 1234.

Ironically, Dominicans helped to staff the Inquisition, founded in 1232.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of your truth

and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ:

Give to all your people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel,

that the whole world may come to know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ;

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

2 Samuel 22:22-29

Psalm 112:4-9

Romans 10:13-17

John 7:16-18

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 515

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Feast of St. Bonaventure (July 15)   4 comments

Above:  St. Bonaventure

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BONAVENTURE (1217-JULY 15, 1274)

Second Founder of the Order of Friars Minor

Born Giovanni di Fidanza

St. Bonaventure was one of the most influential Medieval Roman Catholic theologians.

The traditional birth year given for St. Bonaventure has been 1221.  However, Dr. Ewert Cousins, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, as well as translator and editor of the St. Bonaventure volume (1978) for the Paulist Press’s Classics of Western Spirituality series, cited scholars who insisted on 1217 instead.

Giovanni di Fidanza, a native of Bagnoregio (near Viterbo), Italy, was a son of Giovanni di Fidanza (Sr.), a wealthy physician, and Maria di Ritello.  Circa 1234 the 17-year old saint matriculated at the University of Paris, where he studied under the great Franciscan scholar Alexander of Hales.  Our saint joined the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) in 1243 and became Bonaventure.  His theological teachers until their deaths in 1245 were Alexander of Hales and John of La Rochelle.  Afterward St. Bonaventure’s theological teachers were Eudes Rigaud and William of Middleton.

St. Bonaventure embodied intellectual rigor, Roman Catholic piety, and Franciscan simplicity.  He, a Bachelor of Scripture in 1248 and a Master of Theology in 1253/1254, lectured on the Bible in 1248-1250 and led the Franciscan school in Paris from 1253/1254 to 1257.  Then our saint became the Minister General of the Order of Franciscans Minor, after Pope Alexander IV had ordered John of Parma, suspected of heterodoxy, to resign.  As the Minister General for 17 years St. Bonaventure became the “Second Founder” of the order, balancing foundational principles with the necessity of adaptation to changing circumstances.  Our saint never wanted to be a bishop, so he rejected offers until 1273, when Pope Gregory X ordered him to become the Cardinal Archbishop of Albano.  St. Bonaventure, a famously humble man, kept a papal representative bearing news of the appointment waiting; the Minister General was washing dishes.

St. Bonaventure also liked to think and write profoundly.  He wrote prolifically.  Works included biographies of St. Francis of Assisi, theological treatises. lectures, and Biblical commentaries.  Titles included The Soul’s Journey into God and The Tree of Life.  (Jesus was the Tree of Life.)  Elevation into the episcopate and the College of Cardinals greatly reduced the time St. Bonaventure had to write.

St. Bonaventure died on July 15, 1274, while attending the Second Council of Lyons, which dealt with the unification of the Eastern and Western Churches.  Prelates from across the Christian world mourned him.

The Roman Catholic Church has honored St. Bonaventure.  Pope Sixtus IV canonized him in 1482.  Pope Sixtus V declared our saint a Doctor of the Church in 1588.

The legacy of St. Bonaventure has continued to enrich the Church and the world.  One vehicle has been the Order of Friars Minor.  Furthermore, his writings have continued to be available, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

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

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Almighty God, you gave to hour servant Saint Bonaventure

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you,

the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 721

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