Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1590s’ Category

Feast of Richard Hooker (November 3)   1 comment

Above:  Richard Hooker

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD HOOKER (MARCH 25, 1554-NOVEMBER 2, 1600)

Anglican Priest and Theologian

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…sorrow conceived for sins committed, with hope and trust to obtain remission by Christ, with a firm and effectual promise of amendment, and to alter the things that have been done amiss.

–Richard Hooker’s definition of repentance, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (1597)

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Richard Hooker was one of the most important Anglican theologians and a great intellectual.

Hooker, born in Heavitree, near Exeter, on March 25, 1554, manifested his brilliance at an early age.  He, a fine student at Exeter, benefited from the patronage of the schoolmaster, John Jewel (1552-1571), the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 to 1571.  In 1568 our saint matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  One of his tutors was John Rainoldes, who became a life-long friend.  Hooker, still a student, became a tutor.  He tutored George Cranmer (1563-1600) and (Sir) Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Cranmer’s uncle was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555.  Sandys (Jr.) was a son of Edwin Sandys (Sr.) (1519-1588), the Bishop of Worcester (1559-1570), the Bishop of London (1570-1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576-1588).  Sandys (Jr.) went on to serve in the House of Commons, help to found the Virginia Company, and become a critic of King James VI of Scotland/I of Great Britain (reigned 1567-1625 in Scotland and 1603-1625 in England, Wales, and Ireland).  Hooker graduated with his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577.  He, a fellow since 1579, taught Hebrew and logic at Corpus Christi College.

Hooker joined the clerks of the clergy.  He, ordained a deacon in 1579 and a priest in 1581, was the absentee Vicar of Drayton-Beauchamp, Buckingham.  Our saint left for London in 1584.  There he was, off-and-on, a member of the household of merchant John Churchman from 1584 to 1595.  Hooker married Joan Churchman in 1588.  His literary assistants were George Cranmer, (Sir) Edwin Sandys, and Benjamin Pullen, a Churchman family servant.

The Travers Controversy prompted Hooker to begin to write his influential treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  In 1585 Queen Elizabeth I appointed our saint to the Temple Church, London.  His new position made him the chief pastor of the Inns of Court, a prominent legal center in the city.  Hooker preached in the morning, but Walter Travers regularly preached to overflow crowds in the afternoon, despite his silencing by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1584.  Travers, a Puritan, condemned priestly vestments, the sign of the cross, the practice of kneeling for communion, the episcopacy, and the status of the Sovereign as the Head of the Church.  Hooker, needing more time to write his treatise, left the Temple Church in 1591.  From 1591 to 1595, he, residing in London, was the absentee Vicar of Boscombe, Whitshire, near Salisbury.  During this time our saint visited Salisbury.  In 1595 Hooker and his family became resident in his new cure; he became the Vicar of Bishopsbourne, Kent, near Canterbury.

In an age of religious extremism and rampant intolerance, Hooker was relatively tolerant and irenic.  He, critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism, considered the Roman Catholic Church to be Christian.  Our saint reserved his most pointed barbs for the margins of pages.  In his copy of A Christian Letter to Certaine English Protestants (1599), a Puritan text, Hooker wrote,

How this arse runneth kicking up his heels as if a summerfly had stung him.

Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Books I-IV published in 1593, Book V published in 1597, Books VI and VIII published in 1648, and Book VII published in 1662) was the first important work of philosophy, theology, and political theory in the English language.

  1. Hooker defended the Elizabethan Settlement.
  2. Hooker argued against the Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship.
  3. Hooker argued against the Papacy and for national churches, with the Sovereigns as heads of national churches.
  4. Hooker accepted the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the idea that nothing outside scripture is necessary for salvation.
  5. Hooker defended the episcopacy.
  6. Hooker rejected the Divine Right of Kings.  He did, however, accept that God may give some kings commissions to govern, and that monarchs are accountable both to God and the consent of the governed.
  7. Hooker gave the world the Three-Legged Stool:  scripture, tradition, and reason.

Hooker, aged 46 years, died on November 2, 1600.  He, hardly obscure in life, became more renowned posthumously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C:  THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST” AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

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O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy

to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion:

Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace,

but as a comprehension for the sake of truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:10-15

Psalm 19:1-11

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 667

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Feast of Philipp Nicolai (October 25)   1 comment

Above:  Philipp Nicolai

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIPP NICOLAI (AUGUST 10, 1556-OCTOBER 26, 1608)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Philipp Rafflenboel

His feast transferred from October 26

Philipp Nicolai was one of the greatest German Lutheran hymn writers.  One hymn, translated as “How Bright Appears the Morning Star,” has become known as “the Queen of Chorales.”  Another, “Wake, O Wake!  With Tidings Thrilling,” has become known as “the King of Chorales.”

Philipp Rafflenboel, who changed his surname to “Nicolai,” or “son of Nicoalus,” was a son of Lutheran minister Nicolaus Dietrich Rafflenboel.  Our saint seemed destined for a devout life.  As a child, he presided at funerals for pets and preached at funerals for pets and preached to children in the neighborhood.  He studied at the Universities of Erfurt and Wittenberg before, at the age of 20 years, became a Lutheran minister.  Our saint’s first parish was in his hometown, Mengeringhausen, Waldeck, Hesse.

Nicolai was a man of strong opinions.  He, pastor at Herbecke (in the Ruhr area) from 1583 to 1586, had to leave.  During the age of the Religious Wars in Europe, when the separation of church and state was not the rule, (Roman Catholic) Spanish and Bavarian forces neared Herdecke.  In that context Lutheran pastor Johann Tacke, a former priest, dressed in priestly vestments and presided over a mass.  Nicolai criticized Tacke in strong terms.  This led to a politically difficult situation for our saint.

Political difficulties continued for Nicolai.  In 1586-1587 he was a pastor in Cologne, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.  At Niederwildungen, Waldeck, as pastor (1587-1596), our saint also tutored the young Count Wilhelm Ernst, son of the dowager Countess Margarethe.  There were, however, prominent Calvinists in the court; Nicolai clashed with them.

From 1596 to 1601 Nicolai was pastor in Unna, Westphalia.  A plague struck the town in 1597-1598; more than 1,300 people died in less than a year.  Our saint ministered faithfully to his flock during that difficult time.  On a happier note, he published Mirror of Joy of Eternal Life, including his hymns and hymn tunes, in 1599.  Nicolai also married Catherine von der Recke, a widow with two children, in 1600.

Nicolai was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church, Hamburg, in 1601-1608.  He, renowned for his eloquent preaching, wrote and published his systematic theology, On God’s Mystical Temple.  Our saint died in Hamburg on October 26, 1608.  He was 56 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C:  THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN THAILAND

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF RALPH ADAMS CRAM AND RICHARD UPJOHN, ARCHITECTS; AND JOHN LAFARGE, SR., PAINTER AND STAINED GLASS WINDOW MAKER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Philipp Nicolai 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 Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Peter Claver (September 9)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA (OCTOBER 28, 1510-SEPTEMBER 30, 1572)

“Second Founder of the Society of Jesus”

Also known as Francisco de Borja y Aragon

His feast transferred from September 30, October 3, and October 10

worked with

SAINT PETER FABER (APRIL 13, 1506-AUGUST 1, 1546)

Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus

His feast transferred from August 1

taught

SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ (JULY 25, 1532-OCTOBER 31, 1617)

Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother

His feast transferred from October 31

counseled

SAINT PETER CLAVER (1580/1581-SEPTEMBER 8, 1654)

“Apostle to the Negroes”

His feast day = September 9

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One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That goal is germane to this post.

I began by taking notes about St. Peter Claver.  During that process I noticed the link to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez.  While I took notes on him, I saw the name of St. Peter Faber.  I took notes about him and noticed the link to St. Francis Borgia, so I added Borgia to the post too.

Above:  St. Francis Borgia, S.J.

Image in the Public Domain

St. Francis Borgia, born in Gandia, Valencia, Aragon, on October 28, 1510, was a nobleman.  He, related to Aragonese royalty, was a great-grandson of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, who, in 1492, bribed his way into the Papacy and became Alexander VI.  Our saint, raised in the court of King Charles I of Spain/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, married Eleanor de Castro (d. 1546) in 1529.  The couple had eight children.  From 1539 to 1543 Borgia was the Viceroy of Catalonia.  Then, in 1543, he became the Duke of Gandia.

Borgia made his greatest contributors as a Jesuit.  He, a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), joined the Society of Jesus in 1548.  Three years later our saint became a priest.  His responsibilities increased as time passed.  Borgia had oversight of missions in the East Indies and the West Indies before become the superior in Spain in 1560.  Five years later Borgia became the Superior General of the order.  In a few years he revitalized the order and established missions in Peru, Florida, and elsewhere in the Spanish Empire in the Americas.  Our saint, convinced that Jesuits were working too much and praying too little, introduced the hour-long meditation.

Borgia died in Ferrara (now in Italy) on September 30, 1572, about a month prior to what would have been his sixty-second birthday.  Pope Gregory XV beatified him in 1624.  Pope Clement X canonized him in 1670.

Above:  St. Peter Faber

Image in the Public Domain

Borgia worked with St. Peter Faber, born in Villaret, Savoy, on April 13, 1506.  Faber, from a farm family, worked as a shepherd when he was young.  Our saint was devout from childhood; he even catechized other children when he was one.

Faber, educated at Saint-Barbe College, Paris, became a priest in 1534, the same year he and his friend, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founded the Society of Jesus.  Faber, also a friend of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), was an active participant–a preacher and theologian–in the Counter-Reformation.  He enabled St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany, to fulfill that function.

Faber, aged 40 years, died in Rome on August 1, 1546.  Toward the end he was too ill to attend the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and to become the Patriarch of Ethiopia.  Pope Leo XIII beatified Faber in 1872.  Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2013.

Faber prepared the 10-year-old St. Alphonsus Rodriguez for First Communion.

Above:  St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Image in the Public Domain

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, once a businessman, became a Jesuit lay brother and an influential spiritual advisor.  He, born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, was the third of eleven children of prosperous wool merchant Diego Rodriguez, who died when our saint was 15 years old.  That death ended the education of young Alphonsus by the Jesuits, for a time.  Our saint, back home, took over the family business.  Rodriguez married Maria Suarez when he was 26 years old.  The couple had three children, two of whom predeceased their mother.  Rodriguez buried his wife then his mother in his thirties.  Next he sold the business and moved in with his sisters, who helped to raise the young son and taught our saint prayerful meditation.

Rodriguez had a vocation to religious life.  After the death of his third (of three) child, he inquired about becoming a novice.  Our saint did not meet the educational requirement to become a novice.  Attempts to acquire that education ended in failure.  He could, however, become a lay brother and study with children.  After six months the order sent Rodriguez to the College of Montesión, Palma, Majorca/Mallorca.  There our saint was the porter for 46 years; he delivered packages, gave alms to the poor, and assisted travelers in search of lodging.  Rodriguez made his final vows in 1586/1587, when he was 54 years old.

Above:  St. Peter Claver

Image in the Public Domain

St. Peter Claver, born into a farming family in Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580/1581, grew up and became a great missionary.  His parents sent him to Barcelona, to study under Jesuits.  The Jesuit influence rubbed of on Claver, who became a novice at Tarragona.  The order sent him to Palma, Majorca/Mallorca, where he was unsure about what his future should be.  St. Adolphus Rodriguez convinced the novice to ask to become a missionary to the New World.  Claver arrived in Cartagena (now in Colombia) in 1610.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez continued to live at Palma until he died, aged 87 years, on October 31, 1617.  He was 87 years old.  Pope Urban VIII declared Rodriguez a Venerable in 1626.  Pope Leo XII beatified him in 1825.

Claver spent the rest of his life in Cartagena, where he was the “Apostle to the Negroes.”  He was initially the assistant to Father Alphonsus de Sandoval, S.J., who ministered to recently arrived African slaves, still in slave pens, prior to auction.  Sandoval was a dedicated minister to slaves; Claver was more so.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1815, catechized and baptized more than 300,000 African slaves through 1650.  Against strong opposition from powerful people and much indifference from his superiors in Cartagena, Claver labored faithfully.  He could not end slavery, but he did what he could; he advocated for improved conditions on plantations, and succeeded.  Mostly he was present with and sympathetic to slaves.  Claver described himself as

the slave of the Negroes forever.

Claver, ill and unable to leave his room during the last four years of his life, endured the company of just one servant, who beat him frequently.  Our saint died in Cartagena on September 8, 1654.  Surprisingly, the Church gave him a grand funeral.

Pope Pius IX beatified Claver in 1851.

Pope Leo XIII canonized Claver and Rodriguez together in 1888.

Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, and Alphonsus Rodriguez enabled the productive ministry of St. Peter Claver.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Peter Faber, Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Saint Peter Claver,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis (July 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Camillus de Lellis

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CAMILLUS DE LELLIS (MAY 25, 1550-JULY 14, 1614)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Founder of the Ministers of the Sick

Alternative feast day = July 18

The life of St. Camillus de Lellis was an example of repentance–turning one’s back to one’s sins.  St. Camillus had been a mercenary, a gambler, and a con man.  He, born into nobility at Bocchiavico, Abruzzi, Kingdom of Naples, on May 25, 1550, was the only child of Giovanni and Camilla de Lellis.  Giovanni, a mercenary, was usually away from home.  Young Camillus was out of control.  He was impious, he skipped school, he got into fights frequently, and he intimidated his mother so much that she was terrified of him.  Camilla died when her son was 13 years old.  Relatives who raised St. Camillus for the next four years could not control him either.  For a few years father and son were a team of mercenaries.  St. Camillus drank too much, had a foul mouth, and was promiscuous.  He and his father, gamblers, conned their fellow mercenaries.

Giovanni’s deathbed conversion made a fleeting impression on St. Camillus, who had an uncle, a Franciscan friar at Aquila.  When St. Camillus petitioned to become a friar at Aquila, the friars rejected him, citing his immaturity.  They were perceptive; immediately he resumed gambling.  After St. Camillus suffered an injury that resulted in an ulcerated ankle and leg that did not heal for a while, he could not work as a mercenary, so he became a professional gambler.  The brothers who operated the Hospital of San Giacomo, Rome, permitted St. Camillus to work in the wards and receive room and board in exchange for medical care; it was a common arrangement.  Alas, he was still gambling, so the brothers expelled him from the hospital.  St. Camillus resumed work as a mercenary and a professional gambler until he lost everything.  He, 24 years old, was begging for alms at the church door in Manfredonia.

That was a turning point.  At the church door St. Camillus accepted an offer to work as an assistant to construction workers building the new local monastery.  There, in 1575, a monk converted St. Camillus.  After the completion of that construction project our saint returned to the Hospital of San Giacomo, Rome, where the brothers gave him a second chance.

At the hospital, where St. Camillus helped poor people, he arrived at another turning point.  He met St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), the “Apostle of Rome.”  Neri, who frequently heard as many as 40 confessions before dawn, became the spiritual director of St. Camillus.  Meanwhile, St. Camillus was formulating ideas about how to operate a hospital for poor people better.  With Neri’s help St. Camillus became a priest in 1584.  The relationship between the two saints ended because St. Camillus refused to follow Neri’s advice.  St. Camillus had moved into a rented home in a seedy neighborhood of Rome and opened a hospital there.  Neri, concerned that St. Camillus would relapse into sinful habits, thought this was a bad idea.  He urged St. Camillus to return to San Giacomo.  When St. Camillus rejected the counsel, Neri severed ties to him.  St. Camillus did not relapse, contrary to Neri’s concerns.

St. Camillus founded a new order, the Ministers of the Sick, made official in 1591.  Our saint and other members of the order, not content to give patients a comfortable and clean place to die, tried to cure them.  St. Camillus recognized Christ in those to whom he tended.  One day, while our saint was helping a patient, a Cardinal visited.  St. Camillus, informed of the Cardinal’s arrival, said,

For the moment I am with Our Lord; I will see His Eminence when I have done.

St. Camillus spent more than half his life serving Christ in poor, sick people.  Nevertheless, as he lay dying, St. Camillus was concerned about his abandoned sins.  He told a confessor,

Pray for me, for I have been a great sinner, a gambler, and a man of bad life.

St. Camillus, assured of divine pardon, died with his arms stretched out, his body in the form of a cross.  He died, aged 74 years, in Genoa, on July 14, 1614.

Pope Benedict XIV beatified St. Camillus in 1742 then canonized him four years later.

St. Camillus is the patron saint of nurses, sick people, and Abruzzi, Italy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF HENRI DOMINIQUE LACORDAIRE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, DOMINICAN, AND ADVOCATE FOR THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

THE FEAST OF FRANCES PERKINS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF LABOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT GAMMA OF GORIAO SICOLI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SYLVESTER II, BISHOP OF ROME

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O 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,

and rest to the weary,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Blesseds Thomas Sprott and Thomas Hunt (July 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED THOMAS SPROTT (CIRCA 1571-EARLY JULY 1600)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales) = November 22

arrested with

BLESSED THOMAS HUNT (CIRCA 1573-JULY 11, 1600)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales) = November 22

Being a Roman Catholic priest in England used to be dangerous, sometimes to the point of death.  The charge in court was treason, the verdict was guilty, and the form of execution was hanging, drawing, and quartering.

Blessed Thomas Sprott, born in Skelsmergh, Cumbria, England, circa 1571, studied for the priesthood at Douai, France.  He, ordained in 1596, returned to his homeland.

Blessed Thomas Hunt, born in Norfolk, England, circa 1573, studied at the Royal College of St. Alban, Vallodolid, Spain, then the English College of St. Gregory, Seville, Spain.  He, ordained in 1599, returned to his homeland.

Hunt’s priesthood was brief.  Soon after he arrived in England authorities arrested him.  Hunt, apprehended with Sprott at Lincoln, escaped, enjoying freedom briefly, until authorities arrested him again.  Both priests died at Lincoln in early July 1600.

Pope John Paul II declared the priests Venerables in 1986 then Blesseds the following year.

Theological dissent does not equal treason, regardless of the theologies of the dissenters and the authorities.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ENRICO RUBUSCHINI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND SERVANT OF THE SICK; AND HIS MENTOR, SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT MARY OF PROVIDENCE, THE SERVANTS OF CHARITY, AND THE CONFRATERNITY OF SAINT JOSEPH

THE FEAST OF ANNA LAETITIA WARING, HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER; AND HER UNCLE, SAMUEL MILLER WARING, HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVAN MERZ, CROATIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL

THE FEAST OF JOHN GOSS, ANGLICAN CHURCH COMPOSER AND ORGANIST; AND WILLIAM MERCER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Blessed Thomas Sprott and Blessed Thomas Hunt

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 Blesseds Ralph Milner, Roger Dickinson, and Lawrence Humphrey (July 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED RALPH MILNER

BLESSED ROGER DICKINSON 

BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY

English Roman Catholic Martyrs, July 7, 1591

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), that great English conservative, debater, moralist, and linguist, was correct when he asserted,

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

National security has long been a justification scoundrels have cited when appealing to a perverted variety of patriotism to justify the morally unjustifiable.  In the process, so much for freedom!

Consider the aftermath of the failed Spanish attempt to invade and conquer the British Isles in 1688, O reader.  Also consider the then-recent religious politics of the English Reformation, with some Roman Catholics becoming martyrs during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I, and some Anglicans and Protestants experiencing persecution (sometimes to the point of martyrdom) during the reign of “Bloody” Mary I (1553-1558).

“Live and let live” would have been an appropriate religious policy for the English government to follow.  Alas, simply being caught being a Roman Catholic priest in England was, for a time, sufficient for a charge of treason, usually punishable by hanging, drawing, and quartering.

Ralph Milner had long been a conventional Anglican.  He, born in Flacsted, Hants, was a farmer, a husband, and the father of eight children.  Lives of Roman Catholics in his region convinced Milner to convert to Roman Catholicism.  That decision changed his life, for there was no policy of religious toleration.  On the day Milner was to make his first communion as a Catholic authorities arrested him.  Milner was a prisoner for the rest of his life.  Nevertheless, he became such a trusted prisoner that the spent much time on parole and held the keys to the jail.  Milner helped other Catholic inmates and aided priests.  For a time he escorted Father Thomas Stanney (1558-1617), who, after expulsion from England, transferred to Belgium.  Then Milner escorted Father Roger Dickinson, a native of Lincoln.

Father Dickinson, who studied at Rheims, risked his life for his faith.  He, sent to England in 1583, served in Hampshire until arrest and exile.  He returned to England anyway, and served in Worcestershire.  Authorities arrested Milner and Dickinson together.  Milner even rejected the pleas of his children and an offer to spare his life if he attended Anglican services.

The third martyr on July 7, 1591, was Lawrence Humphrey, a convert to Roman Catholicism.  He, while in a fever-induced delirium, had denounced Queen Elizabeth I as a heretic.  Humphrey, when recovered, stated that he had no memory of making that statement.  Nevertheless, his offense was legally and politically sufficient to send him to a horrible death.

The fate of these three men at Winchester on July 7, 1591, was hanging, drawing, and quartering–certainly a Foucaultian form of execution, as well as excessive.  The men were innocent of treason, after all.  Besides, the form of execution was excessive, even for actual traitors.  Then there was the moral question of execution by any method.

Pope Pius XI beatified these martyrs, killed because of religious bigotry and fears related to national security, in 1929.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS STEFAN AND KAZIMIERZ GRELEWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS,  1941 AND 1942

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE, LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY DAY AND PETER LAURIN, COFOUNDERS OF THE CATHOLIC WORKER MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TOKE LYNCH, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blessed Ralph Milner,

Blessed Roger Dickinson, 

and Blessed Lawrence Humphrey,

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

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

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Feast of John Gerard and Mary Ward (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GERARD (OCTOBER 4, 1564-JULY 27, 1637)

English Jesuit Priest

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MARY WARD (JANUARY 23, 1586-JUNE 23, 1645)

Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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John Gerard and Mary Ward come to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), where they have separate feast days.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

John Gerard was a Jesuit priest.  He, born in Derbyshire, England, on October 4, 1564, joined the Society of Jesus in August 1588, at the at the age of 23 years.  The young priest returned to his homeland later that year.  For years, due to his knowledge of hunting and falconry, Gerard passed as a country gentleman.  Meanwhile he worked as an underground priest, saying Masses for Roman Catholic members of the gentry and those who worshiped in their homes.  Our saint did this while evading priest hunters until 1594, when authorities arrested him.  Our saint, treated harshly–even tortured–then became a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1597.  Later that year he escaped from that prison and went on the lam until 1606.

The Gunpowder Plot (1605) backfired on a few guilty and a host of innocent Roman Catholics.  It was a failed conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Gerard was a friend and a priest to some of the conspirators, but none of them told him of the plot.  Nevertheless, there was an arrest warrant with his name on it.  Also, authorities doubled down on the persecution of Roman Catholics.  On orders of his superiors Gerard escaped in 1606.  On May 3 of that year our saint left England when he posed as a retainer of the Spanish Ambassador.

Gerard landed in Flanders, where he became the Jesuit superior.  By 1620 he had become the novice-master at Liege.  He lost that position that year due to his advocacy for Mary Ward.

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MARY WARD

Mary Ward was a woman who suffered for her faith at the hands of both the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.  She, born on January 23, 1586, came from Roman Catholic gentry.  Her family hosted underground priests and illegal Masses.  Ward, discerning a vocation to become a nun, rejected all opportunities to marry.  She, smuggled out of England, made her way to Belgium.  There, in 1606, she reluctantly obey a bishop’s order to become a lay sister (servant) to a Poor Clares community instead.

Conventional methods were not for Ward, however.  She discerned a vocation to found a new order of nuns–the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Before Ward could do that, however, she visited England clandestinely.  Our saint assisted priests saying illegal Masses in homes.  She also visited incarcerated priests.  Eventually authorities captured, imprisoned, and sentenced Ward to death, before exiling her instead.

Ward, back in Europe, founded her new order, with papal permission.  The free schools for girls were not controversial, but the lack of episcopal supervision was.  Were women not supposed to be under male supervision?  In 1631 the Church suppressed the order, which had yet to receive papal recognition.  Ward spent a brief term as a prisoner of Holy Mother Church; she was allegedly a heretic and a schismatic.

Ward, her health broken and her vocation destroyed, returned to England, despite the great risks (such as incarceration, torture, and death) of doing so.  She died, aged 59 years, at York on June 23, 1645.

Pope Clement XI confirmed the rule of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1703.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

Gerard, a confessor at the Jesuit college in Rome, died in the Eternal City on July 27, 1637.  He was 72 years old.

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John Gerard and Mary Ward deserve recognition on multiple calendars of saints.  Robert Ellsberg has done a fine job by adding them to his calendar in All Saints.  I follow his example (except by merging the feasts) gladly here.  Hopefully ecclesiastical organizations will formally recognize Gerard and Ward in years to come.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

John Gerard and Mary Ward,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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