Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1660s’ Category

Feast of Thomas Bray (February 15)   Leave a comment

bray

Above:  Thomas Bray

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS BRAY (1656-FEBRUARY 15, 1730)

Anglican Priest and Missionary

Thomas Bray did much to help The Church of England in North America.  The native of Marton, Shropshire, England, graduated from Oxford University then became a priest in Warwickshire.  In 1696 the Bishop of London selected Bray to supervise church work in Maryland.  Our saint sailed for the colony three years later.  During two and a half months in 1700 Bray became concerned about the neglect of the Anglican Church in the North American colonies, as well as about the realities of life for Native Americans and for African-American slaves.  Back in England he spent the rest of his life working for the welfare of slaves, founding schools and libraries, raising funds for missionary work, and recruiting priests to serve in North America.  Bray also lobbied for the appointment of a bishop for North America.  He was not alone in this cause.  Unfortunately, the Church of England did not consecrate a bishop for North America until 1787, when Charles Inglis (1734-1816) became the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, with a sprawling diocese.  (Scottish non-juring bishops consecrated Samuel Seabury in 1784.)

Bray’s final charge was St. Botolph Without, Aldgate, London, from 1706 until his death, in 1730.  Aside from the North America-related efforts I have listed, our saint, deeply involved in domestic prison reform, suggested that General James Edward Oglethorpe found a colony and include debtors as settlers in it.  In 1732 Oglethorpe secured the charter for Georgia.  The boats arrived the following year.

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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O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant

Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World,

and led him to found societies to meet those needs:

Make the Church in this land diligent at all times

to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it,

and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 102:15-22

Philippians 2:1-5

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 225

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Feast of George Fox (January 11)   Leave a comment

fox

Above:  Memorial of George Fox

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE FOX (JULY 1624-JANUARY 13, 1691)

Founder of the Religious Society of Friends

I refer you, O reader to this biography of George Fox.

I am an Episcopalian, not a Quaker; my spiritual type is somewhere between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism–increasingly closer to the former than the latter.  Nevertheless, I have great respect for the Religious Society of Friends.  The world needs more people like them, I am convinced.  This respect extends to George Fox, of course.

The Quakers have been subject to persecution in various lands over time.  In New England, for example, Puritan authorities persecuted Quakers, hanging some of them in the late 1600s.  Religious persecution has always been wrong.  Furthermore, the violent treatment of pacifists has been especially inexcusable.  I, for one, have always thought ill of those who have engaged in such activities.

Although my conscience will not permit me to become a pacifist, I thank God for the witness of people such as the Quakers, especially of their founder, George Fox.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that forgiven and forgiving,

we may ever be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever,

one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), page A68

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Feast of Arcangelo Corelli (January 8)   Leave a comment

corelli

Above:  Arcangelo Corelli

Image in the Public Domain

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ARCANGELO CORELLI (FEBRUARY 17, 1653-JANUARY 8, 1713)

Roman Catholic Musician and Composer

Arcangelo Corelli glorified God with his God-given talents.

Corelli, a native of Fusignano, near Imola, the Papal States, lived in Rome for most of his life.  He moved around, but, for the majority of the time from 1675 to 1713, he was a resident of the Eternal City.  The composer, who came from a prosperous family, was among the most respected violin virtuosos of his time.  He also composed sonatas and concerti grossi (one of which was the Christmas Concerto).  His compositions influenced some other great composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach.  Our saint, a collector of violins and fine art, won the favor and patronage of monarchs, dukes, Cardinals, and Pope Alexander VIII (reigned 1689-1691).

Corelli also left a musical legacy that continues to add beauty to the world and enrich the lives of people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, 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 Arcangelo Corelli 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 Blessed Severin Ott (December 11)   Leave a comment

shield_of_the_premonstratensians-svg

Above:  Premonstratensian Shield

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED SEVERIN OTT (1627-DECEMBER 11, 1708)

Roman Catholic Monk

We know little about the life of Blessed Severin Ott.  We do know, however, that he was German.  At some point Ott became Premonstratensian monk at Roggenburg, Swabia, Bavaria.  Our saint had a reputation as a man of prayer, personal penances, and one devoted to St. Mary of Nazareth.  He also promoted pilgrimages to a shrine at Scheissen, nearby.  During his later years Ott became a hermit and devoted most of his time prayer.

Some people with whom I have usually agreed and others with whom I have frequently differed have characterized saints such as Blessed Severin Ott as useless.  This has long puzzled me, for these individuals who have made such statements have affirmed the efficacy of prayer.  They have therefore contradicted themselves.

The existence of people who devote their lives to prayer comforts me.  They stand in succession with great saints, such as Blessed Severin Ott.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Blessed Severin Ott,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of Giovanni Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz (November 6)   3 comments

Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Above:  Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI GABRIELI (1557-AUGUST 12, 1612)

Composer and Organist

teacher of

HANS LEO HASSLER (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 26, 1564-AUGUST 19, 1612)

Composer and Organist

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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (BAPTIZED MAY 15, 1567-NOVEMBER 29, 1643)

Composer and Musician

teacher of

HEINRICH SCHUTZ (OCTOBER 8/18, 1585-NOVEMBER 6, 1672)

Composer and Musician

Lutheran Feast Day = July 28

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With this post I add four composers of church music to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Classical music is my favorite genre of audio input.  For most of my life I have derived much spiritual benefit from classical church music, including certain works by some of these four composers.

Giovanni Gabrieli, born in Venice, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, in 1557, was a nephew of Andrea Gabrieli (circa 1520-1586), a composer and organist.  Andrea, famous for his madrigals and sacred works, served as the second organist (1566-1585) then primary composer (1585-1586) at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  Giovanni, who studied music under the direction of his uncle, succeeded him as the second organist (in 1585) and as primary composer (in 1586), holding both posts for the rest of his life.  In 1584 and 1585 Giovanni and his uncle taught Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612).  The younger Gabrieli also befriended Hassler.  Giovanni, whose major works include the Sacre Symphoniae, composed the first truly orchestral sacred music, with spatially separated choirs, intended for performance at St. Mark’s Basilica.  He also edited and preserved many of his uncle’s compositions.  Giovanni, ill for the last six years of his life, died at Venice on August 12, 1612.  He was 54 or 55 years old.

Hans Leo Hassler, baptized at Nuremberg, on October 26, 1564, became the most German composer of his time.  His father and first music teacher was Isaak Hassler (died in 1591), an organist.  Hans studied music with the Gabrielis in Venice in 1584 and 1585.  Back in Germany, Hans became the organist to the Fugger family, bankers in Augsburg.  Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612) made the composer a nobleman in 1591.  Nine years later Hassler became the director of music for the city of Augsburg.  The following year he transferred to Nuremberg, to fill a similar position.  Finally, in 1608, Hassler became the organist to Christian II (reigned 1591-1611), the Elector of Saxony.  The composer stayed on in that capacity in the service of Elector Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  Our saint, a Lutheran, composed madrigals as well as sacred music in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.  He died of tuberculosis at Frankfurt on August 19, 1612.  He was 47 years old.

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized on May 15, 1567, at Cremona, Duchy of Milan (now Cremona, Lombardy, Italy), became an influential composer.  He studied music under Mark Antonio Ingegneri (circa 1545-1592), choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 1590 Monteverdi became a string player in the service of Vincenzo I (reigned 1587-1612), Duke of Mantua.  The composer and the duke traveled to Hungary in 1595 and the Low Countries in 1599.  Also in 1599, Monteverdi married Claudia Cattaneo (died in 1607), a singer.  They had two sons and a daughter.  One son became a Carmelite friar and a chorister at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  The other son, a doctor, became a target of the Inquisition in 1627.  Fortunately, the Inquisition acquitted him of charges of heresy the following year.  Duke Vincenzo I promoted Monteverdi to the post of director of music at the ducal court.  In 1612, however, Duke Francesco IV (reigned in 1612), citing the necessity of budget cuts, terminated Monteverdi’s employment.  The composer served as choir master at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, from 1613 to 1643 (his death), becoming a priest in 1632.

Monteverdi was an influential composer during his lifetime and afterward.  He composed madrigals, motets, operas, and sacred music.  L’Orfeo (1607) has become the oldest opera still performed.  The music to some of his operas has not survived, unfortunately.  Monteverdi also wrote settings of the Mass and of vespers.  Especially notable was Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), dedicated to Pope Paul V (reigned 1605-1621).

Monteverdi led a frequently unhappy life yet he composed much fairly light music.  That life, the last few years of which he spent in illness, ended at Venice on November 29, 1643.  He was 76 years old.

The birth date of Heinrich Schutz was October 8, 1585 on the Julian Calendar and October 18, 1585, on the Gregorian Calendar.  The site of that debut was Kostritz, Thuringia.  He became the greatest German composer prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  The son of Euphrosyne Bieger and Christoph Schutz (the manager of an inn) became a chorister at Kassel, under the patronage of Maurice the Learned (reigned 1592-1627), the Landgrave of Hesse-Kessel.  Schutz studied law at the University of Marburg in 1608 and 1609.  Then, in 1609-1612, he, financed by Maurice the Learned, studied music at Venice, where Giovanni Gabrieli was his teacher.  Schutz studied law at Leipzig, starting in 1613, but accepted Maurice’s offer to become the second organist at the court at Hesse.

Starting in 1614, Schutz began to work primarily for the Electors of Saxony, starting with Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  The composer began by supervising the music of the baptism of Johann Georg’s son.  Next Schutz went to work in the electoral chapel at Dresden.  In 1619 he married Magdalene Wildeck.  The couple had two daughters.  In 1628 Schutz visited Venice, where he studied under Claudio Monteverdi.  Then he returned to Dresden and the electoral court, but left after three years, due to the combination of plague and the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  In 1633-1635 Schutz served as the kappelmeister at the Danish royal court when Christian IV (reigned 1588-1648) was the sovereign.  Then the composer returned to the electoral court at Dresden, where he remained for the rest of his life, despite his expressed wishes to leave.  Schutz died after a stroke, on November 6, 1672.  He was 87 years old.

Schutz left and impressive musical legacy, including madrigals, sacred works, and operas.  Daphne (1627) was the first German opera.  The score has become lost to history, unfortunately.  He also composed a German requiem mass, Musikalische Exequien (1636).  Other sacred works included a Christmas oratorio (1664) and settings of the Passion narratives from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

These composers left a living legacy, one which a person can access via technology easily and legally.  Doing so will prove spiritually beneficial to he or she who really listens to those works and inwardly digests them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants

Giovanni Gabrielli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of our new creation in Jesus Christ

our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of St. Francis de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and Charles Fuge Lowder (September 27)   Leave a comment

Parable of the Good Samaritan

Above:  The Parable of the Good Samaritan, by Jan Winjants

Image in the Public Domain

But a Samaritan, as he journey, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

–Luke 10:33-34, Revised Standard Version (1946/1952)

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SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES (AUGUST 21, 1567-DECEMBER 28, 1622)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva

His feast transferred from January 24

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SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL (APRIL 24, 1581-SEPTEMBER 27, 1660)

“The Apostle of Charity”

confessor of

SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC (AUGUST 12, 1591-MARCH 15, 1660)

Cofounder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul

Her feast transferred from March 15

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CHARLES FUGE LOWDER (JUNE 22, 1820-SEPTEMBER 9, 1880)

Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross

His feast transferred from September 9

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INTRODUCTION

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This is a post about how people, living or dead, can influence each other positively.  The central figure is St. Francis de Sales, who spent much of his life tending to the spiritual and physical needs of others.

What good is it, my friends, for someone to say he has faith when his actions do nothing to show it?  Can his faith save him?  Suppose a fellow-Christian, whether man or woman, is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, “Goodbye, keep warm, and have a good meal,” but does nothing to supply his or her bodily needs, what good is that?  So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is by itself a lifeless thing.

–James 2:14-17, The Revised English Bible (1989), corrected to avoid the singular “their,” which offends my sense of making the distinction between singular and plural clear

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SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES

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Nothing makes us so prosperous in this world as giving alms.

–St. Francis de Sales

St. Frances de Sales, born to nobility at Chateau de Thorens, Savoy, on August 21, 1567, became a major figure in French literature and the Roman Catholic Church.  He, educated by Jesuits at the College of Clermont in Paris, went on to study law in Padua from 1588 to 1592 then to become a lawyer briefly before entering the priesthood on December 18, 1593.  Father Francis de Sales was active in the Counter-Reformation, restoring entire districts to Holy Mother Church, hence his nickname, the “Apostle of the Chablais.”  The saint became the Bishop Coadjutor of Geneva in 1599.  Three years later he succeeded the Bishop of Geneva.  In 1610 St. Francis and St. Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641) founded the Congregation of the Visitation, to provide social services to children, the poor, the sick, and the dying.  The Bishop of Geneva supported good works as a spiritual principle.  As he wrote,

There is nothing which edifies others so much as charity and kindness, by which, as by the oil in our lamp, the flame of good example is kept alive.

St. Francis, who was a charming, well-mannered, poised mystic, ascetic, and Christian humanist strong in character, left a written legacy.  His complete works in the original French filled 21 volumes (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, and XXI).  Highlights of his writing included Introduction to the Devout Life (1609; in English translation since 1613), Treatise on the Love of God, Defense of the Standard of the Holy Cross, Controversies, and The Rule of Faith.

English-language compilations of the saint’s wisdom available at archive.org include the following:

  1. Practical Piety Set Forth by St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Prince of Geneva (1851) and
  2. The Mystical Flora of St. Francis de Sales:  or, the Christian Life Under the Emblem of Plants (1877).

Toward the end of his life St. Francis provided counseling to St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660), who was caring for her husband and raising her son while undergoing a spiritual crisis at the time.

St. Francis died at Lyon, France, on December 28, 1622.  Pope Alexander VII beatified him on January 8, 1662, and canonized him on April 19, 1665.

St. Francis is the patron of authors, confessors, the Roman Catholic press, deaf people, educators, writers, journalists, the Diocese of Annecy (in France), the Diocese of Baker (in Oregon), the Diocese of Columbus (in Ohio), the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (in Ohio), the Diocese of Houma-Theibodaux (in Louisiana), the Diocese of Oakland (in California), the Diocese of Wilmington (in Delaware), the Diocese of Keimoes-Upington (in South Africa), and the town of Champdepraz (in Italy).

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SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL (I)

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We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.

–St. Vincent de Paul

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Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: “He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.” We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause. Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also love whose who love the poor. For when on person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.

–St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul was the “Apostle of Charity.”  Whereas St. Francis de Sales, his contemporary, was of noble origin, St. Vincent came from the peasant class.  He, born at Pouy (now Saint-Vincent-de-Paul), near Dax, in southwestern France, on April 24, 1581, grew up on a small farm.  St. Vincent received his initial education at Dax.  Then he studied at the University of Toulouse.  The saint, ordained a priest in 1600, earned his Bachelor of Theology degree from the same university four years later.

While traveling from Toulouse to Narbonne St. Vincent became a captive of Barbary pirates, who sold him into slavery at Tunis.  For about two years the saint was a slave.  In June 1607 he escaped to freedom, along with his third master (an Italian), whom he had converted.  That phase of St. Vincent’s life informed his subsequent actions.

By 1611 St. Vincent had arrived in Paris, where he became the Curate of Clichy and associated with members of the royal court.  For a time he served as the chaplain to Queen Margaret of Valois then as tutor to Pierre, the eldest son of Philippe Emmanuel de Gondi, the Count of Joigny and the Admiral of France and the General of the Galleys.  IN 1617, during a preaching mission in Picardy, St. Vincent became aware of and alarmed at the unmet spiritual needs of many rural people.  Later that year he began a brief tenure as the Curate of Chatillon-les-Dombes.  With financial support from the Count of Joigny and his wife, Marguerite de Silly, the Countess of Joigny, the saint established the Confraternity of Charity.  The new order, consisting of women, most of them married, ministered to the poor and the sick.  In 1617 St. Vincent also founded the Ladies of Charity, a group of wealthy women who financed charitable work.  (Many of them were, however, unwilling to work directly with the poor.)  He also founded the Sons of Charity for the purpose of supplementing the work of the Confraternity of Charity.

St. Vincent, back in Paris from 1619, became the royal chaplain to the galleys.  He worked on behalf of convicts and founded a hospital for galley slaves at Marseilles.  The saint also recruited St. Louise de Marillac to supervise workers in the Confraternity of Charity.  And, in 1625, with the assistance of the Count and Countess of Joigny, St. Vincent founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (the Lazarites), to fulfill the spiritual side of the mission to the peasants.

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SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC

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Be diligent in serving the poor.  Love the poor, honor them, my children, as you would honor Christ Himself.

–St. Louise de Marillac

St. Louise de Marillac came from nobility and moved in those social circles, but not without certain familial difficulties.  She, born in Meux, France, on August 12, 1591, was a daughter of Louis de Marillac.  Her mother was not his wife.  Louis recognized his daughter yet did not make her his legal heir.  The saint grew up among aristocrats, so she enjoyed certain advantages, but her stepmother rejected her.  St. Louise received an elite education at the convent of Poissy, where an aunt was a nun.  The young saint discerned a vocation to monastic life, but her first attempt to become a nun ended in rejection.

The 23-year-old saint married Antoine Le Gras, secretary to the Queen, in 1613.  The couple had one child, Michel, who, in the polite language of 2016, had special needs.  St. Louise was active in her parish and in the Ladies of Charity.  Due to her family situation she experienced profound doubts and deep depression in the early 1620s.  There was Michel, of course.  Two uncles found themselves on the wrong side of the law during a time of civil unrest; the state imprisoned both and executed one.  Furthermore, Antoine became an invalid.  At this time St. Francis de Sales counseled her.  St. Louise had an epiphany on the Feast of Pentecost, 1623; her doubts subsided.

Antoine died in 1626.  The widow, still her son’s caregiver, found a way to organize her days to focus on spiritual development.  She wrote her “Rule of Life in the World.”  She also met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her confessor.  He convinced her to supervise the work of members of the Confraternity of Charity, financed by the Ladies of Charity.  More hands were necessary, so Sts. Vincent and Louise founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633.  Members of the order worked in orphanages, homes for the elderly, shelters for the homeless and the mentally ill, schools for poor children, and battlefield hospitals.  St. Louise functioned as the leader of the order until she died at Paris on March 15, 1660.

Pope Benedict XV beatified St. Louise on May 9, 1920.  Pope Pius XI canonized her on March 11, 1934.

St. Louise is the patron of disappointing children, people who have lost parents, people rejected by religious orders, those who are sick, the Vincentian Service Corps, widows, and social workers.

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SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL (II)

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The Church teaches us that mercy belongs to God. Let us implore Him to bestow on us the spirit of mercy and compassion, so that we are filled with it and may never lose it. Only consider how much we ourselves are in need of mercy

–St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul performed many charitable deeds.  Aside from those I have written about already he collected alms for civilians devastated by war and purchased the freedom of Christian slaves in northern Africa, among other works of mercy.

Grace was a major theme in St. Vincent’s theology.  He understood grace well, for, by it, he had overcome his natural irascibility and became a kind and humble man.  He also cited grace when arguing against Jansenism, the Roman Catholic counterpart to Calvinism.  (The Roman Catholic Church condemned Jansenism as a heresy.)

St. Vincent died at Paris on September 27, 1660.  Pope Benedict XIII beatified him on August 13, 1729.  Pope Clement XII canonized him on June 16, 1737.

St. Vincent is the patron of the Brothers of Charity, the Sisters of Charity, the Saint Vincent de Paul Societies, the Vincentian Service Corps, charitable societies, charitable workers, volunteers, charities, hospitals, hospital workers, lepers, prisoners, horses, lost articles, Madagascar, and the Diocese of Richmond (in Virginia).

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CHARLES FUGE LOWDER

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Charles Fuge Lowder derived inspiration from St. Vincent de Paul nearly two centuries after the elder saint’s death.

Lowder’s spiritual journey began in Bath, England, where he entered the world on June 22, 1820.  His mother was the former Susan Fuge.  His father was Charles Lowder, a banker.  The saint studied at Kings College School, London, before matriculating at Exeter College, Oxford (B.A., 1843; M.A., 1845).  At Oxford Lowder came under the influence of John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was still an Anglican at the time.  Lowder became an Anglo-Catholic and set his course for ordination.  He became a deacon in The Church of England on August 29, 1843, a.k.a. Michaelmas.  The date of his ordination to the priesthood was December 22, 1844.

As a deacon Lowder contemplated becoming a missionary to New Zealand.  That was, of course, a godly goal, but it was not where the saint’s destiny lay.  No, Lowder’s destiny was to be a slum priest.  His first assignment as a priest was chaplain to the workhouse at Axbridge.  From 1845 to 1851 he served as the Curate of Tetbury, Gloucestershire.  Starting in 1851 the saint found himself where he wanted to be–in a hub of ritualism.  He became one of two Assistant Curates at St. Barnabas, Pimlico.  There he continued to work among slum dwellers.

At the time ritualism was quite controversial in Anglicanism.  The Church had two opposite wings–the Anglo-Catholics (or Tractarians), who favored smells and bells, candles, eucharistic vestments, et cetera, in the style of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelicals.  Some Evangelical Anglicans were adamant to the point of accusing Anglo-Catholics of being in league with Satan.  The controversy raged for a long time.  In some ways it has never ended, for, among Continuing Anglican denominations in 2016, for example, one can identify both Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical bodies that cannot stand each other yet agree that those of us in the Anglican Communion are heretics.

At. St. Barnabas, Pimlico, support for ritualism was not universal.  One Mr. Westerton, a candidate for church warden in 1854, opposed that style of worship.  He went so far as to hire a man to wear a sandwich board and campaign for him on sidewalks.  This was too much for Lowder, who gave eggs to choirboys, who threw them at the campaigner.  Westerton sued Lowder, who received a fine from a court and a six-weeks-long suspension from the Bishop of London.

Lowder visited France in May 1854.  There he cleared his head and studied the life of St. Vincent de Paul.  Lowder concluded that The Church of England needed an order of priests modeled after the Lazarites.  On February 28, 1855, Lowder and five other Anglo-Catholic priests founded the Society of the Holy Cross, devoted to missions and to charitable work among the poor.  The saint was so Catholic in his orientation that he, as a priest, committed himself to lead a celibate life.

Lowder left St. Barnabas, Pimlico, in August 1856, and accepted an offer to become the priest in charge of St. George’s-in-the-East to the London Docks.  The mission thrived, leading to the establishment of St. Peter’s Church at the London Docks in 1866, with Lowder as the Perpetual Curate from 1866 to 1873 and as the Vicar from 1873 until his death.  In 1857 Lowder invited Elizabeth Neale (1822-1901), sister of John Mason Neale (1818-1866), priest, hymn writer, and hymn translator, to join the mission at the London Docks.  The mission offered a wide range of social services, and the presence of Elizabeth Neale and her new order, the Community of the Holy Cross, of which she was the first Reverend Mother (1857-1896), expanded the range of social services among women.

Ritualism continue to prove to be controversial at Lowder’s new cure.  Some Evangelical Anglicans and other opponents of Anglo-Catholicism rioted outside the church, disrupted services, and threw rocks at the building.

Lowder was the first priest in The Church of England to receive the title “Father”  He was “Father Lowder” and “the Father of Wapping.”

The published works of Lowder available at archive.org are:

  1. S. Katharine’s Hospital:  Its History and Revenues, and Their Application to Missionary Purposes in the East of London:  Considered in a Letter to the Right Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of London (1867);
  2. Ten Years in S. George’s Mission:  Being an Account Origin, Progress, and Works of Charity (1867); and
  3. Twenty-One Years in S. George’s Mission:  An Account of Its Origin, Progress and Works of Charity (1877).

Archive.org also offers a biography of Father Lowder from the early 1880s.

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CONCLUSION

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Opposing and attempting to overthrow an unjust system is a legitimate spiritual calling.  So is working within such a system to effect the maximum possible good at the moment.

The poor will always be with us.  That statement is a recognition of objective reality.  A companion to that simple statement is the divine mandate to work for economic justice and to provide relief to the poor.  Changing institutionalized inequality–artificial scarcity, which is alien to the Kingdom of God–is a daunting task.  So is helping people effectively in the here and now.

Our four saints worked within extant social institutions to help as many poor people as effectively as possible at the moment.  They also founded new religious institutions to work for the same goal.  Both strategies were important for, had they waited to change socio-economic-political structures, they would have done nothing to help the poor they assisted.  Yes, ancien regime France was economically exploitative of the majority of the population.  It deserved to fall.  Its collapse was inevitable, even though the French Revolution of 1789-1799 had pronounced excesses.  Yes, the Industrial Revolution in England gave rise to the reference to “those dark Satanic mills” in Jerusalem.  Political reform was necessary and morally proper.

One should not permit the perfect to become the enemy of the good.  This is a timeless principle that applies to the lives and labors of our four saints, whose vocation was to help the least among them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE BERKELEY, IRISH ANGLICAN BISHOP AND PHILOSOPHER; AND JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NORMAN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS COUSIN, JOHN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

St. Francis de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and Charles Fuge Lowder,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Paul Gerhardt (May 27)   3 comments

Paul Gerhardt

Above:  Paul Gerhardt

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL GERHARDT (MARCH 12, 1607-MAY 27, 1676)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Paul Gerhardt was a giant among German Lutheran hymn writers.  The author of the article about our saint in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1968 described him as the greatest German hymn writer.  Armin Haeussler, author of The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), had a different opinion.  He wrote that Martin Luther was the greatest hymn writer and that Gerhardt was the second best person in the category of German hymn writers.  Haeussler, in so many words, agreed with the evaluation from the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968):

His hymns have deservedly held their place in Protestant worship.

–Volume 10, Page 235

Gerhardt was a native of Grefenhainichen, Saxony, a village between Halle and Wittenberg and near to the latter.  Our saint, born on March 13, 1607, was a son of Christian Gerhardt, mayor of the village.  Christian died while our saint was a minor.  Gerhardt, who studied at Grimma (1622-1627), continued his studies at the University of Wittenberg (1628-1642), where he specialized in theology.  During this time our saint had to contend with negative consequences of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1642).  In April 1642 Gerhardt became tutor to the family of Andreas Berthold, an attorney in Berlin, Prussia.  While in Berlin our saint published his first 18 hymns in the Praxis Pietatis Melica (1648) of Johann Cruger (1582-1662).

In 1651, at the age of 44, Gerhardt became a Lutheran clergyman.  The first congregation he served was at Mittenwald.  Our saint married Anna Maria Berthold, daughter of Andreas Berthold, in 1655.  The couple had 13 children, only one of which (Paul Frederick Gerhardt) survived both parents.  Our saint’s wife died in March 1668.

In 1557 Gerhardt became an assistant minister of St. Nicholas Church, Berlin.  Relations between the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Prussia were tense and replete with invective.  Frederick William (in office 1640-1688), the “Great Elector,” issued an edict meant to create religious peace in his realm.  He forbade ministers from attacking each other’s doctrines.  The Elector of Prussia, himself of the Reformed camp, required ministers to sign the edict.  Gerhardt, whom certain prominent Reformed Prussians respected, refused to sign, citing freedom of speech.  Thus, early in 1666, Frederick William deposed our saint, who was ill, whose wife was in poor health also, and most of whose remaining children were approaching death’s door.  Petitions prompted the Elector to reinstate Gerhardt in 1667.  He did so, however, on the condition that our saint act as if he had signed the edict.  Gerhardt refused the offer on principle.  Kindly parishioners supported the Gerhardts financially until, in late 1668, our saint was able to return to his post and collect back wages.

Gerhardt became the archdeacon of Lubben in May 1669.  He remained in that post until May 27, 1676, when he died.  Some older sources mistakenly listed his date of death as June 7.  Some online sources, citing and even duplicating them, have repeated that error.

Gerhardt wrote 132 hymns, most of which exist in English-language translations.  (I have added some of them to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.)  His hymns, most of which he based on Biblical texts, marked the transition from objective to subjective language.  Gerhardt wrote hymns for all the major Lutheran feasts, and justification by faith was among his favorite themes.  Among our saint’s most famous hymns was “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded,” for Good Friday.  He translated it from a Latin text.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Paul Gerhardt and others, who have composed and translated 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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