Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1700s’ Category

Feast of William White (July 17)   3 comments

Above:  Second Street North from Market Street, with Christ Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800

Engraver = William Russell Birch (1755-1834)

Image Source = Library of Congress

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WILLIAM WHITE (MARCH 24, 1747-JULY 17, 1836)

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

On the Episcopal calendar of saints July 17 is the Feast of William White, one of the three original bishops (with Samuel Seabury and Samuel Provoost), and the father of the denominational constitution.

White was a man of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Eventually he developed a well-earned reputation as the “first citizen” of that city.  He, born there on March 24, 1747, was a son of Esther Hawlings and attorney and surveyor Thomas White.  Our saint graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1765 then studied theology privately under the tutelage of the priests at Christ Church as well as Provost William Smith of the College of Philadelphia.  White, ordained to the diaconate in England on December 23, 1770, returned to that country for his ordination to the priesthood, April 25, 1772.  The following year our saint married Mary Harrison.  The couple had eight children.

White balanced overlapping ecclesiastical portfolios from the 1770s until his death in 1836.  He, for a time during  the Revolutionary War the only Anglican priest in Pennsylvania, due to the expulsion of Loyalist clergymen, was the following:

  1. Assistant Priest, Christ Church and St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia (1772-1779);
  2. Chaplain of the Second Continental Congress (1777-1781);
  3. Rector, Christ Church and St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia (1779-1836);
  4. Chaplain of the Confederation Congress (1781-1788);
  5. Bishop of Pennsylvania (1787-1836);
  6. Chaplain of the U.S. Senate (1789-1800); and
  7. Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (1789, 1795-1836).

Meanwhile, White also served as a trustee of the College of Philadelphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania (until 1791) as well as the merged University of Pennsylvania (1791f).

Above:  Christ Church, Philadelphia, 1814

Engraver = James Peller Malcolm (1767-1815)

Image Source = Library of Congress

From 1782 to 1789 White made an effective case for a national “Protestant Episcopal Church” separate from The Church of England.  He presided over the first three General Conventions (1785, 1786, and 1789), helped to write the Proposed Book of Common Prayer of 1786 (never adopted), and sought to reconcile factions and unite them into one denomination.  Samuel Seabury, from 1784 the Bishop of Connecticut, was an old Loyalist.  Samuel Provoost and White, from 1787 the Bishops of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively, had been rebels.  Provoost and Seabury were not on writing or speaking terms with each other for a while.  There were also regional and theological-liturgical differences; the churches from Virginia to New York disagreed with those of the South and New England with regard to the proper roles of bishops and lay members.  Delegates to the General Convention of 1789, with White presiding, forged a constitution and produced The Book of Common Prayer (1789), in use for 103 years.

Above:  William White

An image from July 19, 1838

Image Source = Library of Congress

White was influential in other ways too.  Our saint taught theology to John Henry Hobart (1775-1830) in 1797-1798 and ordained him a deacon (1798) and a priest (1800).  Hobart, from 1816 to 1830 the Bishop of New York, was also a towering figure in The Episcopal Church.  Over the decades White had various assistants.  One of these, from 1811 to 1831, was Jackson Kemper (1789-1870), a protégé of Hobart and the first missionary bishop (consecrated in 1835) in The Episcopal Church.  Another circle of influence radiated from Kemper.  One member of that circle was James Lloyd Breck (1818-1876)William Augustus Muhlenberg (1796-1877) assisted White from 1817 to 1822.  Muhlenberg became influential in The Episcopal Church by, among other legacies, encouraging the use of flowers, the singing of hymns, and the founding of ecclesiastical institutions to provide social services.  He and Anne Ayres (1816-1896) founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion (1845), the first Anglican religious community for women in North America.

White, unlike Muhlenberg, preferred traditional metrical Psalms to hymns, which were new in The Episcopal Church in the 1800s.  The bishop considered hymns too Evangelical and prone to enthusiasm, which he described as

animal sensibility.

White, aged 89 years, died in Philadelphia, on July 17, 1836.  His direct and indirect influences on The Episcopal Church have never ceased to exist, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JACQUES ELLUL, FRENCH REFORMED THEOLOGIAN AND SOCIOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT CELESTINE V, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY, ABBOT OF GLASTONBURY AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ATTORNEY, PRIEST, AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR

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O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion you raised up your servant William White,

and endowed him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper,

that he might lead your Church into ways of stability and peace:

Hear our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders,

that through their ministry your people may be blessed and your will be done;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 3:15-19

Psalm 92:1-4, 11-14

1 Timothy 3:1-10

John 21:15-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 467

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Feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne (July 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

Image in the Public Domain

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CARMELITE MARTYRS OF COMPIÈGNE

Died in Paris, France, on July 17, 1794

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I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me.

–The last words of Blessed Marie-Anne Piedcourt at the guillotine in Paris, July 17, 1794

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For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.

–Matthew 7:2, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

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The French Revolution (1789-1799) was one of the most revolutionary revolutions.  It was certainly one of the bloodiest, especially during its middle phase, the Reign of Terror.  One of the targets of the French Revolution was the Roman Catholic Church, which had supported the absolutist monarchy of the Bourbon Dynasty.

The targeting of the Church entailed overreacting, an unfortunate human tendency.  In 1790 the French government suppressed all religious communities not involved in teaching or nursing.  Members of the suppressed religious communities were to abandon their abbeys and dress as lay people.  In 1794 authorities arrested and convicted sixteen Carmelites from the abbey at Compiègne; they had violated the law and were allegedly enemies of the people and the republic.  The sixteen Carmelites were twelve nuns, two lay women servants, a lay sister, and a novice.  In Paris, on July 17, 1794, they went to the guillotine publicly chanting the Veni Creator Spiritus and renewing their baptismal and religious vows.

The nuns were:

  1. Blessed Angelique Roussell, a.k.a. Sister Marie of the Holy Spirit,; born on August 3, 1742, in Fresne-Mazencourt, Somme; a nun since May 14, 1769;
  2. Blessed Anne Pelras, a.k.a. Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence; born on June 17, 1760, in Carjac; a nun since October 22, 1786;
  3. Blessed Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret, a.k.a. Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection; born on September 16, 1715, in Mouy; a nun since August 19, 1740;
  4. Blessed Élisabeth-Julitte Vérolet, a.k.a. Sister Saint Francis Xavier; born on January 13, 1764, in Lignières, Aube; a nun since January 12, 1789;
  5. Blessed Marie Henniset, a.k.a. Sister Thérèse of the Heart of Mary; born on January 18, 1742, in Rheims, Marne; a nun since 1764;
  6. Blessed Marie-Anne Piedcourt; a.k.a. Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified; born on December 9, 1715, in Paris; a nun since 1737;
  7. Blessed Marie-Anne-Françoise Brideau, a.k.a. Mother Saint Louis; Sub-Prioress; born on December 7, 1751, in Belfort;
  8. Blessed Marie-Claude-Cyprienne Brard, a.k.a. Sister Euphrasie of the Immaculate Conception; born in 1736 in Bourth; a nun since 1757;
  9. Blessed Marie-Françoise de Croissy, a.k.a. Mother Henriette of Jesus; Prioress, 1779-1785; born on June 18, 1745, in Paris; a nun since February 22, 1764;
  10. Blessed Marie-Gabrielle Trezel, a.k.a Sister Thérèse of Saint Ignatius; born on April 4, 1743, in Compiègne, Olse; a nun since December 12, 1771;
  11. Blessed Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine, a.k.a. Mother Thérèse of Saint Augustine; Prioress; born on September 22, 1752, in Paris; a nun since May 1775; and
  12. Blessed Rose-Chretien de Neuville, a.k.a. Sister Julia Louise of Jesus; born in 1741 near Evreax; a nun since 1777.

Blessed Marie-Geneviève Meunier, a.k.a. Sister Constance, born on May 28, 1765, in Saint Denis, had been a novice since December 16, 1788.  She sang the Laudate Dominum as she went to the guillotine.

Blessed Marie Dufour, a.k.a. Sister Saint Martha, born on October 2, 1741, in Bannes, Sarthe, had been a lay sister since 1772.

Two sisters (literally sisters) were lay women among the martyrs.  Blessed Catherine Soiron (born on February 2, 1742) and Blessed Thérèse Soiron (born on January 23, 1748), natives of Compiègne, had handled the cloistered nuns’ business with the outside world since 1772.

Pope St. Pius X declared these women Venerables in 1905 then Blesseds the following year.

Can anyone genuinely doubt the sincerity and holiness of these martyrs?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

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 and receive with them the crown on 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 St. Justin de Jacobis and Blessed Michael Ghebre (July 14)   1 comment

Above:  Map of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) in 1850

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JUSTIN DE JACOBIS (OCTOBER 9, 1800-JULY 31, 1860)

Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop in Ethiopia

Also known as Saint Giustino de Jacobis

His feast transferred from July 31

converted

BLESSED MICHAEL GHEBRE (1788/1791-JULY 30, 1855)

Ethiopian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Also known as Ghébre-Michael

Alternative feast day = September 1

One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  July 14, on the Roman Catholic calendar, is the Feast of Blessed Michael Ghebre.  On the same calendar July 31 is the feast of St. Justin (Giustino in Italian) de Jacobis, who converted him.  One can tell their stories separately, of course, but one can tell those stories more effectively together.

St. Justin fame from and worked in southern Italy, prior to national unification on that peninsula.  He, born in Sam Fele, Luciana, south of Naples, came from a once-wealthy family.  He, after having grown up mostly in Naples, joined the Vincentians in on October 17, 1818.  He was 18 years old.  St. Justin took his vows on October 18, 1820.  Then, at Brindisi, he became a priest on June 12, 1824.  St. Justin spent most of fifteen years giving missions and retreats in southern Italy, with some time off for other duties.  By 1834 he had become a much sought-after preacher and confessor also.  From 1834 to 1836 St. Justin was the Vincentian superior in Leece.  Next he directed seminarians in Naples, emphasizing personal prayer.  At Naples, in 1836-1837, our saint ministered to victims of an outbreak of cholera.  In 1838-1839 St. Justin was the superior of the Vincentian Provincial House at Naples.  He was on track to become a bishop in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies when he chose instead to found the Roman Catholic in Ethiopia (Abyssinia).

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, subordinate to the Coptic Church (Egyptian) until 1959, dated to the 300s, when St. Athanasius of Alexandria (d. 373) dispatched St. Frumentius (d. circa 380) as a missionary.  St. Frumentius became the first Abuna, or Patriarch, of of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, often called simply the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  Christianity in that region of Africa owed much to St. Philip the Evangelist, one of the earliest Christian deacons, hopefully not confused with St. Philip the Apostle.  Over time the Ethiopian Orthodox Church parted Christological ways with Rome, embracing monophysitism, the heresy that Christ had just one nature–divine.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has long been one of the great, defining cultural institutions in that country.  It has coexisted with strong Jewish elements (due to the presence of one of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel–one descended from the tribe of Dan, to be precise) and varieties of paganism.  Since the Arab conquest of much of northern Africa in the 600s Islam has been a factor in the region.  As if all that were not enough, political struggles between Ethiopia emperors and provincial potentates were contributing to a tense situation by the 1830s.  What was political?  What was religious?  Was there a difference?

St. Justin stepped into this political and religious milieu in 1839.  He pioneered effective missionary tactics that proved controversial in the Roman Catholic Church in general and the Vincentian order in particular.  St. Justin, headquartered in the northern part of the country, adopted Ethiopian attire, mastered the three languages essential to his work, and emphasized the education of indigenous priests.  The Apostolic Vicar was so effective that, despite persecution of the Roman Catholic mission by the government, he converted about 12,000 people.  In January 1849 he became the Titular Bishop of Nilopolis; he became a bishop anyway.  In 1856 Guglielmo Massaia (1809-1889; a Venerable since 2016; see a subsequent post I plan to write before the end of 2018) joined St. Justin in the good work.

Blessed Michael Ghebre, also known as Ghébre-Michael, was one of St. Justin’s converts.  Blessed Michael, born in Dido, West Gojjam, in 1788 or 1791, had been an Ethiopian Orthodox monk since the age of 19 years.  He, a Roman Catholic since 1844, joined the Vincentians.  In 1851 St. Justin ordained him to the priesthood.

Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia (reigned 1855-1868) continued the persecution of Roman Catholicism.  He, a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, even outlawed Roman Catholicism in 1860.  Authorities had arrested Blessed Michael and four companions in 1854.  For thirteen months the evangelists suffered abuse in prison.  Blessed Michael died in transit between Meccia Coreccia and Molicha Gebaba, Mirab Shewa, on July 30, 1855.  St. Justin died five years later, after having spent several months in prison then having endured a forced march to the Halai region of Eritrea.  He spent the final stage of his life as a missionary in Eritrea.  St. Justin died, aged 60 years, on July 30, 1855.

Pope Pius XI declared Michael Ghebre a Venerable then a Blessed in 1926.

Holy Mother Church recognized Holy Mother Church as a Venerable (in 1935, by Pope Pius XI), a Blessed (in 1939, by Pope Pius XII), and a full saint (in 1975, by Pope Paul VI).

Often accounts of the persecution of Christians, from antiquity to current events, are of persecution by adherents of other religions.  Sometimes these are stories of persecution by antitheists, to use Reza Aslan‘s term.  (Aslan distinguishes between atheists and antitheists.  Atheism is the rejection of belief in God or any deity; antitheism includes the desire to destroy religion.)  In this post, however, you, O reader, have read of persecution of some Christians by other Christians.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) wrote,

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

The history of organized religion has confirmed this statement, unfortunately.  Frequently adherents of one branch of a faith have persecuted and martyred members of other branches of that faith.  This was true in ancient times.  It has remained true to this day.  So has the reality of inter-religious persecution and martyrdom.  None of it has ever been holy.

May all who commit evil–especially from religious conviction–understand the error of their ways and repent.  Theological differences and arguments will always exist, but they can–and should–exist without the evil in the name of religious conviction accompanying one or more sides.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERMANUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE AND DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH HASSE, GERMAN-BRITISH MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF OSTIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT, CARDINAL, AND LEGATE; AND SAINT DOMINIC OF THE CAUSEWAY, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF ROGER SCHÜTZ, FOUNDER OF THE TAIZÉ COMMUNITY

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servants

Saint Justin de Jacobis and Blessed Michael Ghebre,

who made the good news known in Ethiopia.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Giovanni Battista Bononcini and Antonio Maria Bononcini (July 8)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of the Duchy of Modena

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI BATTISTA BONONCINI (JULY 18, 1670-JULY 9, 1747)

Italian Composer and Musician

brother of

ANTONIO MARIA BONONCINI (JUNE 18, 1677-JULY 8, 1726)

Italian Composer and Musician

The Bononcini brothers were composers whose music–much of it sacred–has survived, fortunately.  They were sons and students of Giovanni Maria Battista, a composer and musician at Modena.  Both brothers also studied at Bologna under the renowned Giovanni Paola Colonna.  The Bononcini brothers became cellists and professional musicians.

The professional lives of the brothers overlapped.  From 1690 to 1693 Antonio was a musician in the court of the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna.  At the same time Giovanni, the maestro di cappella of San Giovanni, Monte, had built a reputation as  a composer of operas.  Giovanni, in Rome from 1692 to 1699, moved to Vienna, where Antonio lived and worked.  Antonio was the kappelmeister in the imperial court from 1705 to 1713.  Giovanni was the court composer from 1700 to 1711.

The brothers parted ways and left Vienna.  Giovanni returned to Italy in 1711; Antonio followed suit two years later.  From 1721 to 1726 Antonio was the maestro di cappella at Modena.  He died, aged 49 years, on July 8, 1726.  Giovanni went to England in 1720; the Royal Academy of Music had invited him.  There he was an artistic rival of George Frederick Handel, whose reputation has proved more enduring.  In London Giovanni saw eight of his operas produced.  He also composed chamber music and works for the harpsichord.  Giovanni’s time in London ended in disgrace.  He left for Paris in 1733, after having submitted a madrigal by Antonio Lotti to the Academy of Ancient Music as if it were a Bononcini composition.  By the late 1740 Giovanni was in Vienna again.  There he composed a Te Deum.  Giovanni died on July 9, 1747, aged 76 years.

Of the two brothers Giovanni was (and remains) the more famous composer.  Antonio composed about 40 cantatas, plus a Stabat Mater, a Salve Regina, at least one mass, and a number of operas.  Giovanni was mainly an operatic composer, with at least 28 operas to his credit.  He also wrote choruses and oratorios, among other compositions.  One of his sacred works was La Conversione de Maddelena.

These are beautiful and inspiring works of music that ennoble those who listen to them.  These are the enduring legacies of talented composers, brothers.

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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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring

Giovanni Battista Bononcini, Antonio Maria Bononcini,

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Josiah and Eustace Conder (July 7)   2 comments

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSIAH CONDER (SEPTEMBER 17, 1789-DECEMBER 27, 1855)

English Journalist and Congregationalist Hymn Writer

father of

EUSTACE ROGERS CONDER (APRIL 5, 1820-JULY 6, 1892)

English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

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INTRODUCTION

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The Conders were a distinguished family of English Dissenters–Congregationalists, to be precise.  Their Huguenot (properly pronounced u-guh-no) ancestry helped to explain this.

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JOSIAH CONDER

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Josiah Conder, born on September 17, 1789, at Falcon Street, Aldersgate, London, was a son of a bookseller, who was, in turn, son of a Congregationalist minister.  Thomas Conder, Josiah’s father, operated a bookstore.  Josiah, blind in the right eye since the age of six years because of small pox, went to work in the family business in his teens.  There he read voraciously, educating himself in many topics.  Josiah assumed control of the bookstore in 1811.

Josiah worked hard throughout his life yet never achieved financial security.  He was the editor of The Eclectic Review and The Patriot from 1814 to 1836.  Our saint also wrote may books, such as collections of original poems, a biography of John Bunyan, and a volume about geography.  Some of those poems were hymns.  Three of them graced Hymns Partly Collected and Partly Original, Designed as a Supplement to Dr. Watts’s Psalms and Hymns (1812), edited by William Bengo Collyer (1782-1854).  Twenty-four years later Josiah edited a seminal work, The Congregational Hymn-Book, A Supplement to Dr. Watts’s Psalms and Hymns (1836), for the Congregational Union of England and Wales.  The editor contributed about 60 of his hymns to this, the denomination’s first official hymnal.

Josiah, a friend of James Montgomery, was a political radical.  So was Josiah’s wife, Joan Elizabeth Thomas Conder (d. 1877), another writer.  The Conders were, for example, abolitionists in a society that accepted slavery.

Josiah died in London on December 27, 1855.  He was 66 years old.

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EUSTACE CONDER

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Eustace Conder was his father’s son, in the full sense of that term.  Eustace, like his great-grandfather, became a minister in the Congregationalist/Independent tradition.  After studying at Spring Hill College, Birmingham; and the University of London; Eustace joined the ranks of the clergy.  For 17 years he served at Poole.  Then, from 1861 to 1892, he was the pastor at East Parade Chapel, Leeds.  In 1873 Eustace became the leader of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.  He wrote about theology, as well as the life of Christ, and penned a collection of fairy tales, as well as a biography of his father.

Eustace wrote one hymn that has endured.  “Ye Fair Hills of Galilee,” written for the Congregational Church Hymnal (1887), seems to be the text of his that has proven most popular.

Eustace, aged 72 years, died in Poole on July 6, 1892.

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CONCLUSION

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A good hymnal is a fine source for names of saints.  The examples of Josiah and Eustace Conder prove this assertion.

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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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Josiah Conder, Eustace Conder, 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 Lyman Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Ward Beecher (July 1)   1 comment

Above:  A Partial Beecher Family Tree

Image by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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LYMAN BEECHER (OCTOBER 12, 1775-JANUARY 10, 1863)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, and Abolitionist

father of

HARRIET ELIZABETH BEECHER STOWE (JUNE 14, 1812-JULY 1, 1896)

U.S. Novelist, Hymn Writer, and Abolitionist

sister of

HENRY WARD BEECHER (JUNE 24, 1813-MARCH 8, 1887)

U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, and Abolitionist

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A FAMILY STORY

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INTRODUCTION

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In The Episcopal Church July 1 is the Feast of Harriet Beecher Stowe, listed as a “Writer and Prophetic Witness.”  In Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), in which her feast debuted, and A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), the successor volume, the collect for her feast is:

Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose fiction inspired thousands with compassion of the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples, and who enriched her writings with the cadences of The Book of Common Prayer.  Help us, like her, to strive for your justice, that our eyes may see the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with you and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now and always.  Amen.

The assigned readings in Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) are Isaiah 26:7-13, Psalm 94:16-23, 1 Peter 3:1-12, and Matthew 23:1-12.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016) provides more options.

One cannot tell the story of Harriet Beecher Stowe properly without considering her relatives, however.  Thus, here in my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I expand the feast to include her father (Lyman) and one of her brothers (Henry Ward).

The 1962 edition of The Encyclopedia Americana, an essential source for this post, includes an article for the Beecher family plus an article each for Lyman, Harriet, and Henry Ward, as well as for four other Beechers, all children of Lyman.  Very quickly then, and for the sake of thoroughness, he other four are:  Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), Edward Beecher (1803-1895), James Chaplin Beecher (1828-1886), and Thomas Kinnicutt Beecher (1824-1900).

Catharine Esther Beecher (September 6, 1800-May 12, 1878) was an educator.  She operated a girls’ school in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1824 to 1832, and another one (with Harriet’s help) at Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1832 to 1837.  Catharine also helped to organize the Ladies Society for Promoting Education in the West, which founded schools in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  She was also a vocal opponent of the Jacksonian policy of Indian Removal.

Edward Beecher (August 27, 1803-July 28, 1895) became a Congregationalist minister, seminary professor and president, writer, and missionary.

James Chaplin Beecher (January 8, 1828-August 25, 1886) also became a Congregationalist minister.  He, a chaplain in Hong Kong prior to the U.S. Civil War, served the Union cause first as a chaplain and finally as a brevet brigadier general.  After the war he returned to parish ministry.

Thomas Kinnicutt Beecher (February 10, 1824-March 14, 1900), brother of James Chaplain Beecher and half-brother of Catherine Esther Beecher, also became a Congregationalist minister.  He was also a U.S. Army chaplain during the Civil War, a philanthropist, a lecturer, and an author of juvenile stories.

The Beechers were a remarkable family.

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LYMAN AND ROXANA

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Lyman Beecher, born in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 12, 1775, became the patriarch of an influential family.  His father was a blacksmith.  At the age of 18 years Lyman matriculated at Yale College.  After graduating in 1797, he studied theology privately under the tutelage of President Timothy Dwight until 1798.  That year Lyman became the supply pastor of a Congregationalist church at East Hampton, Long Island; there he remained until 1810.  Our saint, ordained in 1799, preached the funeral for Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

Lyman married three times. His first wife was Roxana Foote (d. September 24, 1816) who operated a girls’ school.  He was also the mother of Catharine Esther (b. 1800), Edward (b. 1803), Harriet (b. 1812), and Henry Ward (b. 1813), among others.  The birthplace of the last two Beechers listed was Litchfield, Connecticut.

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RAISING A FAMILY AND FIGHTING UNITARIANISM

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Lyman’s second wife was Harriet Porter, with whom he had more children, including James Chaplin (b. 1828) and Thomas Kinnicutt (b. 1824).  He had thirteen children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood.  Harriet was child number six; Henry Ward was child number seven.

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher (1812-1896), after her mother died in 1816, grew up in the household of her grandmother in Guilford, Connecticut, for some years.  Harriet was back in Litchfield by her late childhood.  There, at the age of 12 years, she wrote an essay on the topic, “Can the Immortality of the Soul Be Proved by the Light of Nature?”  She answered in the affirmative.  Her father, who argued to the contrary, found her essay impressive.  Harriet continued her education at the girls’ school her sister Catharine had founded and operated at Hartford.  Then Harriet joined the faculty there.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) studied at the Boston Latin School then at Mount Pleasant School, Amherst, Massachusetts, before matriculating at Amherst College (Class of 1834).  He was well on his way to becoming a prominent minister.

Lyman, active in campaigns against intemperance, also organized Bible and missionary societies.  In 1826 he left Litchfield, Connecticut, to become the pastor of Hanover Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts, and to inveigh against the rising tide of Unitarianism.  He remained in Boston until 1832.

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ABOLITIONIST ACTIVISM

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Lyman accepted the presidency of Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832.  He remained in that post (as well as that of Chair of Sacred Theology) for 20 years.  Those were decades filled with controversies both theological and political.  For the first of the two decades Lyman also doubled as the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati.

Also in 1832, Catharine and Harriet moved to Cincinnati, where they spent a girls’ school, which they operated for five years.

In 1833 a controversy over abolitionism almost destroyed Lane Theological Seminary.  Certain slaveholders from Kentucky eve threatened violence.  The crisis resulted in a gag order (passed by trustees) and an exodus of antislavery students to the new Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, founded at that time.  Some antislavery students returned to Lane, and Lyman and Calvin E. Stowe spent the better part of two decades trying to rebuild the seminary.

Stowe became Lyman’s son-in-law in 1836, when he married Harriet.  The home of Calvin E. and Harriet Beecher Stowe at Cincinnati was a station of the Underground Railroad.  In 1850 Calvin accepted a faculty position at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.  Then he taught at Andover Theological Seminary from 1852 to 1864. Harriet was a prolific writer, with more than 40 titles to her credit.  Her most famous and influential work was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published as a serial in 1851 ad 1852.

Lyman was a New School Presbyterian.  The conflict between the Old School and the New School divided the original Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (reorganized from the old Synod of New York and Philadelphia in 1789) in 1837 and 1838.  Before then, however, it led to a heresy trial for Lyman in 1835.  The verdict was in his favor.

To Lyman’s left was his seventh child, Henry Ward, who studied at Lane Theological Seminary after graduating from Amherst College in 1834.  As the author of the article about Henry Ward in the 1962 edition of The Encyclopedia Americana wrote, the son objected to his father’s

sulfurous theology.

Henry Ward, editor of an abolitionist newspaper in Cincinnati in 1837, married Eunice White Bullard (1812-1897) that year.  From 1837 to 1839 he was pastor of a church in rural Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Then, form 1839 to 1847, he was the senior pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana, a large congregation.  From 1847 to 1887 Henry Ward was the senior pastor (and first pastor) of Plymouth Congregational Church, Brooklyn, New York, which grew into a larger church.  Henry Ward, who emphasized the love, not the judgment, of God, was, according to Mark A. Noll,

the Billy Graham of his era.

America’s God:  From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2002), 427

Henry Ward Beecher, although a moderate abolitionist, was, in some ways, still revolutionary.  He preached against slavery and quoted the Bible while doing so, but argued that a Sharps rifle was more persuasive to many slaveholders.  Thus, in the middle and late 1850s, as Kansas bled amid vigilante violence, Henry Ward raised funds to equip antislavery settlers with Sharps rifles, which became know as “Beecher’s Bibles.”  Henry Ward, unambiguous in his support of the Union cause during the Civil War, went so far as to place, in his words, the “whole guilt” for that war on Confederate leaders in 1865.

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REST IN PEACE, LYMAN BEECHER

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Lyman retired to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1852.  His last years were difficult, for what the author of the article about him in the 1962 edition of The Encyclopedia Americana called

paralysis of the brain

overtook the great man.  In other words, he suffered from dementia–perhaps Alzheimer’s Disease.  Lyman died in Brooklyn on January 10, 1863.  He was 87 years old.

The author of that article praised Lyman’s scholarship, oratory, and theological orthodoxy while noting the great man’s “humorous audacities of speech” and “racy and picturesque wit” that “often shocked dignified propriety.”  Lyman Beecher must have been an interesting and wonderful man to know.

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THE BILLY GRAHAM OF HIS ERA

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Henry Ward Beecher was, according to some, a heretic.  (Then again, who is not?)  He emphasized the love of God and rejected penal substitutionary atonement.  The deity of that theory, he argued, was

barbaric, heinous, and hideous.

Henry Ward seems to have become more radical with age, going so far as to support women’s suffrage and argue that Christianity and Evolution were mutually compatible.  While opposing slavery he had already employed an argument against the verbal inspiration of the Bible, a volume many supporters of the Peculiar Institution of the South quoted chapter and verse.  Furthermore, Henry Ward vigorously opposed the nativist politics of Chinese exclusion, failing in preventing yet at least delaying the passage of that law until 1882.  Our saint, a member of the Republican Party since 1854 (the year of its founding), caused quite a controversy when he campaigned and quoted for Democrat (Stephen) Grover Cleveland for President in 1884.

Henry Ward was a prolific writer.  His published works included volumes of prayers and sermons.  In 1855 he edited the Plymouth Collection of Hymns, an influential hymnal.  From 1861 to 1863 Henry Ward edited the Independent.  In 1870 he founded the Christian Union, which he edited until 1881.  Our saint also wrote the Life of Jesus the Christ.

Yet Henry Ward Beecher was, in some ways, a troublesome figure.  He was, for example, a Social Darwinist.  Philandering was also a motif in his life.  The latter damaged his reputation at the end of his life.  In 1875 Henry Ward went on trial for having allegedly committed adultery with Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of Theodore Tilton, his successor as editor of the Independent.  The court acquitted Henry Ward and the leadership of Plymouth Congregational Church supported him, but he lost much credibility and public influence in the national scandal.

Henry Ward Beecher died in Brooklyn on March 8, 1887.  He was 73 years old.

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THE STOWES

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Harriet Beecher Stowe and Calvin E. Stowe kept a winter home near Jacksonville, Florida, from 1867 to 1884.  They helped to convince the Freedmen’s Bureau to establish a school for former slaves in the area.  The family also helped to found the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, for African Americans.  The Stowes, once Presbyterians, ended their days as Episcopalians.

After Calvin died on August 22, 1886, Harried moved in with daughters in Hartford, Connecticut.  Her twilight years were like those of her father–beset with dementia.  It was a cruel fate for such a great woman.  She died on July 1, 1896, aged 84 years.

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CONCLUSION

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The legacies of Lyman Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Ward Beecher have enriched the United States and the world.  In the case of Harriet, Uncle Tom’s Cabin has certainly echoed down the corridors of time–more prominently than her excellent hymns, for sure.  These saints, like all of us, had shortcomings, but their virtues outweighed their vices.  Their virtues contributed to the end of chattel slavery in the United States of America.

That is impressive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2018 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us like your servants

Lyman Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry Ward Beecher,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, 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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli (June 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED GENNARO MARIA SARNELLI (SEPTEMBER 12, 1702-JUNE 30, 1744)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary to the Vulnerable and Exploited People of Naples

Also known as Blessed Januarius Maria Sarnelli

Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli was a close friend and co-worker of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787; feast day = August 1).   Their mutual activities included visiting the dying in Naples.

Sarnelli, born in Naples on September 12, 1702, was a civil and a canon lawyer before turning to the priesthood.  While ministering to terminally ill patients our saint discerned a vocation to the priesthood.  He therefore entered seminary.  He, ordained a priest on June 8, 1732, gave his money and possessions to the poor.  The following year Sarnelli joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), which Liguori had founded in Naples, to work among neglected people, the previous year.  Sarnelli worked with “at risk” youth, teaching them the catechism.  He also helped many women escape prostitution.  This put our saint’s life at risk, for some violent people profited from thusly exploiting women.  Furthermore, Sarnelli ministered to the elderly, the sick, prisoners, and those boys forced to labor at the docks.  Somehow our saint found the time to write more than 30 books on theological, social, and pastoral topics.  (One presumes he also ate and slept, after all.)

Sarnelli, aged 41 years, died in Naples on June 30, 1744.  He had spent his life in service to God, as manifested in the vulnerable and exploited people of Naples.

Pope Pius X declared Sarnelli a Venerable in 1906.  Pope John Paul II beatified our saint in 1996.

The poor will always be with us, Jesus reminds us from the pages of the Bible.  Furthermore, the divine commandment to care for the less fortunate is a timeless one.  How we treat the least of Christ’s brethren is a matter God seems to take seriously, if the Bible is any indication of divine priorities.  I propose that, by this standard, Sarnelli passed the test with flying colors.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HELDER CAMARA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF OLINDA AND RECIFE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBERT NIERYCHLEWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MITCHELL J. DAHOOD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

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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,

peace to the troubled,

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), page 60

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