Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1580s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Tommaso Acerbis (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Tommaso Acerbis

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED TOMMASO ACERBIS (1563-MAY 3, 1631)

Capuchin Friar

Also known as Blessed Tommaso of Olera

Blessed Tommaso Acerbis, once an illiterate shepherd, became an influential speaker and writer whose influence has never ceased to exist.  The ranks of those inspired by his writings have included recent Popes.  Blessed Tommaso, born at Olera, Italy, in 1563, came from an impoverished family.  At the age of 17 years he, a shepherd, joined the Capuchin Friars at Verona on September 12, 1580.  Then he learned to read and write.  On July 5, 1584, Acerbis made his final profession.  He remained at the abbey at Verona until 1605, when he departed for Vicenza, where he lived until 1617.  Then our saint served as clerk at Rovereto for about a year before transferring to Padua, where he was porter in 1618-1619.  Acerbis spent the rest of his life at Innsbruck, Austria.  Throughout his life our saint helped the poor, visited the sick, and strengthened people in their faith.  Our saint also extolled the virtues of Roman Catholicism and thereby held off an encroachment of Lutheranism at Innsbruck.

Pope John Paul II declared Acerbis a Venerable in 1987.  Pope Francis made our saint a Blessed in 2013.

The aspect of the life of Acerbis that appeals to me most is his gentleness.  I detect a pastoral spirit and a concern for the most vulnerable people.  Yes, I have some strong theological differences with him, but so what?  I still respect the man.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Tommaso Acerbis,

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

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

and walk before you as children of light;

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

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  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), page 723

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Feast of John Donne (March 31)   1 comment

john-donne

Above:  John Donne

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN DONNE (JANUARY 21, 1572-MARCH 31, 1631)

Anglican Priest and Poet

John Donne–Anglican priest, popular preacher, and metaphysical poet–was a complicated character who sought after God and struggled with ambition.

Our saint, born in London, England, on January 21, 1572, was a son of John Donne and Elizabeth Heywood.  (Aside:  The English tradition of naming sons after fathers without using suffixes can prove quite confusing.)  John Donne the Elder, a wealthy merchant, died in 1576.  Elizabeth Heywood Donne was a daughter of John Heywood, a playwright.  John Heywood’s wife was a daughter of the sister of St. Thomas More.  Both of our saint’s parents were devout Roman Catholics.  Furthermore, two of his maternal uncles were Jesuits who died in exile and Henry, his younger brother, died of fever in prison at the age of 19 years in 1593.  Henry’s crime was to shelter a Roman Catholic priest.

Our saint, young “Jack” Donne, was also a Roman Catholic.  In 1584 he began his studies at Hart Hall, Oxford.  He never formally graduated because a requirement for doing so was to take the oath of supremacy.  Donne, as a Roman Catholic, could not do that.  Next he studied at Cambridge.  In 1591-1592 he was a law student at Thavies Inn, L0ndon.  From 1592 too 1596 he studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, London.  By the 1590s Donne had begun to compose poetry.  He was also undecided about whether to remain a Roman Catholic or to convert to The Church of England.

Donne nurtured political connections.  In 1596 and 1597 he participated in the Earl of Essex’s expeditions to Cadiz and to the Azore Islands.  By 1597, when our saint had become an Anglican, he was the secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, soon to become Lord Chancellor Ellesmere.  Love interfered with Donne’s career, though.  In December 1601 he married Ann More, the niece of Egerton, without her guardians’ consent.  This led to a term of incarceration, the loss of employment, and the denial of Ann’s dowry.  This reality led Donne to become more spiritual.

The couple struggled for years.  From 1602 to 1615 they had twelve children, seven of whom survived their mother.  Eventually Donne found work writing criticisms of Roman Catholicism; he worked with Thomas Morton (later the Bishop of Durham) in this regard.  In 1607 Morton, the new Dean of Gloucester, encouraged Donne to take Holy Orders.  Our saint declined, citing a sense of worthiness.  Or perhaps he still had secular ambitions.  Eventually Sir George More, his father-in-law, paid Ann’s dowry.  Next Donne became the lawyer of Lucy, Countess of Bedford, through whom he came into contact with influential people.

Donne’s fortunes improved in 1610.  That year he published Pseudo-Martyr, a work designed to persuade Roman Catholics to take the oath of allegiance.  For this work he received an honorary M.A. from Oxford as well as favorable notice from King James VI/I.  Additional works in the field of religious controversy flowed from his pen during the next few years.  Also in 1610, Donne found a new patron, Sir Robert Drury, with whom he traveled from November 1611 to August 1612.  Afterward Donne courted Viscount Rochester (later the Earl of Somerset), a favorite of King James.  Our saint won election to the House of Commons in 1614.  The following year royal pressure ended his refusal to take Holy Orders.  His ordination occurred on January 23; he was 43 years old.

Donne became, according to reputation, the greatest preacher in England.  Like other prominent clergymen of the time, he frequently received income from two livings and was resident in only one of them.  In 1621 he became the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Four years later Donne preached the first sermon of the reign of King Charles I.  Our saint would have become a bishop in 1630, except for reasons of health.  He died, aged 59 years, on March 31, 1631.

Donne earned his place in the canon of literature with his metaphysical poetry, which remains in print.  Many of his sermons have also remained in print, for people to read.  His published works expressed, among other things, am awareness of his sins and of God’s mercy.

1.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun

which is my sin, though it were done before?

Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I run,

and do run still, though still I do deplore?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

2.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, by which I won

others to sin, and made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin I did shun

a year or two, but wallowed in a score?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

3.  I have a sin of fear that when I’ve spun

my last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore.

And having done that, thou hast done, I fear no more.

That is a theme worth pondering, is it not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN SCHMOLCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALTO OF ALTOMUNSTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF SAINT PORFIRIO, MARTYR

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Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being:

Open our eyes to see, with your servant John Donne,

that whatever has any being is a mirror in which we may behold you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Wisdom of Solomon 7:24-8:1

Psalm 27:5-11

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

John 5:19-24

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 299

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Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow (March 26)   Leave a comment

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Above:  St. Margaret Clitherow

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARGARET MIDDLETON CLITHEROW (1556- MARCH 25, 1586)

Roman Catholic Martyr in England

Her feast transferred from March 25

The Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow is March 25 in the Roman Catholic Church.  March 25, however, is also the Feast of the Annunciation.  My rule regarding biblical feasts on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is, with few exceptions, to reserve a date with a biblical feast for that biblical feast and to transfer other commemorations that might fall on that date to other dates.  I have decided during the ongoing renovation of the Ecumenical Calendar to follow Roman Catholic custom and retain March 25 as the Feast of St. Dismas also; he was a biblical saint, after all.  Clitherow, however, lived in the 1500s.  Therefore I have transferred Clitherow’s feast to March 26.

Margaret Middleton, born at York, England, in 1556, was a daughter of Thomas Middleton (a candle maker and, for two years, the Sheriff of York) and Jane Middleton.  Our saint grew up an Anglican and married John Clitherow.  She converted to Roman Catholicism circa 1574.  Our saint endured more than one term of imprisonment for being a Roman Catholic, for allowing clandestine Masses on her property, and for sheltering Roman Catholic priests (including her husband’s brother).  Her final trial (on March 14, 1586) resulted in a death sentence.  Clitherow refused to answer any charges and to incriminate family members and servants.  Her last words, during the fatal pressing on Good Friday, were

Jesus, Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me.

Both of her sons became priests and her daughter became a nun.

Pope Pius XI declared Clitherow a Venerable then a Blessed in 1929.  Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1970.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 4, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, WITNESS TO THE CRUCIFIXION

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

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of St. Margaret Clitherow,

whose faithfulness led to 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,

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

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Blessed Ion Costist (March 5)   Leave a comment

northern-romania

Above:  Northern Romania, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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BLESSED ION COSTIST (JUNE 29, 1556-MARCH 5, 1625)

Franciscan Lay Brother

Blessed Ion Costist entered the world at Zaxo, Moldavia (now Cornu Luncii, near Suceava, Romania), on June 29, 1556.  He also grew up in a pious family.  In 1574, at the age of 18 years, Costist went to Italy because he thought that the greatest Christians resided there.  Five years later he became Jeremiah, a Franciscan lay brother.  Starting in 1585 Costist worked as a medical assistant in Naples.  He cared for the crippled, the poor, and the lame.  Our saint also begged for alms, all of which he used to finance the care of that population.  Costist, who had the spiritual gift of encouragement and a reputation for charity, defined God as merciful love and people as the gift of divine love.  He died at Naples on March 5, 1625, aged 68 years.

Pope John XXIIII declared Costist a Venerable in 1959.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO LOTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENOVEVA TORRES MORALES, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE HOLY ANGELS

THE FEAST OF MARGARET MACKAY, SCOTTISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Ion Costist,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light 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 153 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), page 723

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Feast of Luis de Leon (February 27)   Leave a comment

spain-and-portugal-1584

Above:  Map of Spain and Portugal, 1584

Image in the Public Domain

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LUIS DE LEON (1527-AUGUST 23, 1591)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Luis de Leon expanded his horizons, much to the disapproval of the Inquisition.  Our saint, born in 1527 at Belmonte, Cuenea, Spain, was an Augustinian priest who taught the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Salamanca.  He chose to move beyond scholastic theology and studied Platonism, Arabic philosophy, Jewish mysticism, et cetera.  De Leon also mastered the Hebrew language so he could study the Hebrew Bible better.  During our saint’s study of the Old Testament he identified certain mistranslations in the Vulgate of St. Jerome.  News of this led to de Leon’s incarceration (without sacraments as well as knowledge of the charges against him) by the Valladolid Inquisition from March 1572 to December 1576.  Eventually the Inquisition cleared de Leon of all charges and released him.  His experience with the Inquisition influenced some of de Leon’s subsequent writings, as when he contrasted the arrogance of certain authority figures with the humility of Christ:

What can we say about kings and princes who not only lower and despise some of their subjects but think that this is the only way they themselves can feel important and try their best so that the groups they have lowered and despised will be held down and despised generation after generation?

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 93

De Leon’s academic and ecclesiastical career advanced post-Inquisition.  In his masterpiece, The Names of God (1583), he meditated on the titles of Christ.  Our saint received academic promotions and, in 1591, shortly before his death, became the provincial for the Augustinian order in Castille.  He died at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain, on August 23, 1591.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have enlightened your Church by the teachings of your servant Luis de Leon;

enrich it evermore with your heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses, who by their life and teaching

may proclaim to all people the truth of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-10

Psalm 34:11-17 or 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Matthew 5:13-19

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), page 684

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Feast of Michael Praetorius (February 15)   Leave a comment

michael-praetorius

Above:  Michael Praetorius

Image in the Public Domain

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MICHAEL PRAETORIUS (FEBRUARY 15, 1571-FEBRUARY 15, 1621)

German Lutheran Composer and Musicologist

Michael Praetorius, whose German surname was Schultz, was a native of Kreuzberg, Thuringia.  He, born on February 15, 1571, worked as the choirmaster at Luneberg.  Then, in 1604, our saint relocated to Wolfenbuttel to become the organist, choirmaster, and secretary to the Duke of Brunswick.  Over time he also worked with Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) at the court of the Elector of Saxony in Dresden and served as the Prior of the monastery of Ringelheim, near Golsar, without having to reside there.  Praetorius wrote much music for the Church.  His compositions included the following:

  1. Terpsichore Musarum;
  2. Magnificat;
  3. Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming;
  4. Puer Natus in Bethlehem;
  5. Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland;
  6. Allein Gott in der Sei Ehr;
  7. In Dulce Jubilo; and
  8. Mass for Christmas Morning.

One might recognize some of these tunes from worship; I do.

Praetorius also wrote the Treatise on Music (1614-1620), in three volumes plus a fourth volume left incomplete due to the author’s death.  The wide-ranging treatise covered a variety of sacred music as well as secular music.

Praetorius died at Wolfenbuttel on February 15, 1621, his fiftieth birthday.

His music continues to enrich the lives of many people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP IN CHINA AND JAPAN

THE FEAST OF ALICE FREEMAN PALMER, U.S. EDUCATOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRIOC, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT TUDWAL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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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 Michael Praetorius

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), page 728

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Feast of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (February 1)   Leave a comment

palestrina

Above:  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA (1525-FEBRUARY 2, 1594)

Roman Catholic Composer and Musician

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (Latinized name = Ioanes Petraloysius Praenestinus), was a native of Palestrina, near Rome.  His musical training started at a young age; he was a choir boy at St. Maria Maggiore, Palestrina, by the age of 12 years.  By 1544 he was both an organist and a singer at the church.  Giammaria Ciocchi del Monte, Bishop of Palestrina (1543-1550), the future Pope Julius III (reigned 1550-1555), noticed the musician’s talents.  Our saint married Lucrezia Gori in 1547; the couple had three sons:  Rodolfo, Angelo, and Iginio.  The family was in Rome as the maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  In the Eternal City the composer published his first book of Masses and dedicated it to Pope Julius III.  Our saint also sang in the pontifical choir (until Pope Paul IV forbade married men to do so), became the composer to the papal chapel, and, in 1555, became the choir director at St. John Lateran.  That choir, unfortunately, was small in both number an ability.

The composer left Rome in 1560.  He returned to St. Maria Maggiore.  However, our saint returned to the Eternal City six years later.  From 1567 to 1571 he was in charge of the music at the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, under Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.  Then, from 1571 to 1594, our saint held his old job, maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  From 1572 to 1581 he buried his first wife and his first two sons.  Eventually the composer remarried; his second wife was Virginia Dormiti, widow of a wealthy merchant.

The composer died at Rome on February 2, 1594.  He was about 69 years old.

Our saint composed many madrigals, motets, and Masses.  His masterpieces included the following:

  1. O Magnum Mysterium,
  2. Pope Marcellus Mass,
  3. Missarum Liber Primus,
  4. Canticum Canticorum,
  5. Exsultate Deo,
  6. Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae,
  7. Missa Brevis,
  8. Missa Assumpta est Marie in Caelum, and
  9. Missa Nigra Sum.

The compositions of our saint have enriched the lives of many people (including me) during the centuries since the 1500s.  He praised and glorified God with his God-given abilities and added much beauty to the world in the process.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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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 Giovanni Palestrina da Palestrina

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), page 728

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