Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1750s’ Category

Feast of Samuel Seabury (November 14)   5 comments

Above:  Samuel Seabury, by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAMUEL SEABURY, JR. (NOVEMBER 30, 1729-FEBRUARY 25, 1796)

First Episcopal Bishop

Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Keeping track of the calendar of the calendar of saints in The Episcopal Church used to be simple; one consulted the calendar in the front of The Book of Common Prayer.  The calendar of saints was not expansive for a very long time.  Then, in the 1960s, the Church introduced Lesser Feasts and Fasts, revised occasionally then, in the 1980s through the early 2000s, revised and expanded every three years.  For example, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1997 (1998) gave way to Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2000 (2001), replaced by Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2003 (2004), succeeded by Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 (2007), the official calendar of saints for more than a decade.  The General Convention of 2009 authorized a greatly expanded side calendar of saints, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010).  The General Convention of 2015 authorized that volume’s expanded and revised volume, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  Last year’s General Convention authorized Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, the new official calendar, without removing A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016).

This feast has two names in The Episcopal Church.  It is, according to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Feast of “the Consecration of Samuel Seabury, 1784.”  However, in Holy Women, Holy Men and in A Great Cloud of Witnesses, this is the Feast of “Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, 1796.”

At least four Samuel Seaburys lived.  Samuel Seabury, Sr. (1706-1764), was our saint’s father.  Samuel Seabury, Jr. (1729-1796), was the bishop.  Samuel Seabury, III, was one of the sons of Samuel, Jr.  Samuel Seabury, IV (1801-1872), an Episcopal priest, was a grandson of Samuel, Jr., a nephew of Samuel, III, and a son of Charles Seabury, also a priest.

Our saint, born in Groton, Connecticut, on November 30, 1729, was a son of Abigail Mumford (Seabury) and Samuel Seabury, Sr. (1706-1764), then a Congregationalist minister.  The father, a convert to Anglicanism in 1731, served in parishes in Connecticut.  Samuel, Jr., who graduated from Yale College in 1748, became a catechist with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel via his father.

Our saint was a minister and a physician.  After studying medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1752-1753, he became a deacon in 1753 then a priest on December 21 of that year.  Two days later, the Bishop of London licensed Seabury to preach in New Jersey.  Our saint arrived in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on May 25, 1754.  He transferred to Jamaica, New York, in 1757, then to Westchester, New York, in 1766.  In Westchester he was also a doctor and a schoolmaster.  He served in that town until 1775.

Seabury was a Loyalist and an advocate for having Anglican bishops in North America.  Both of these opinions were politically controversial.  His allies in both causes included Thomas Bradbury Chandler (1726-1790) and Charles Inglis (1734-1816).  Chandler was a prime candidate to the first bishop of The Church in England in North America, but failing health prevented him from accepting that post.  That duty fell to Inglis, who became the Bishop of Nova Scotia, with a vast diocese encompassing British North America and Bermuda, in 1787.  In Westchester Seabury wrote his Loyalist opinions under the pen name “A.W, Farmer,” short for “A Westchester Farmer,” and conducted a written debate with Alexander Hamilton.  Seabury’s political position led to his arrest by rebels in November 1775.

Seabury, once released, served behind British lines on Long Island.  He tended to the spiritual and medical needs of British soldiers there.  Oxford University awarded our saint a Doctor of Divinity degree for his loyalty to the British Empire on December 15, 1777.  The following year, Seabury became the chaplain to the King’s American Regiment.  After the war, our saint began to collect a pension from the British government.  He continued to receive this pension until he died.  The British pension gave many Americans a reason to distrust Seabury.

The Church of England in the United States needed to reorganize itself and to separate from the mother church to survive and thrive.  Three bishops were necessary, though, and British law did not allow for bishops of The Church of England to consecrate a bishop who refused to swear loyalty to the monarch.  On March 25, 1783, ten of fourteen Anglican clergymen in Connecticut gathered to choose a bishop.  Their first choice was Jeremiah Learning, who, citing age and health concerns, declined.  Then they elected Seabury.  He arrived in England on July 5, 1783.  After no bishops of The Church of England agreed to consecrate him, Seabury traveled to Scotland, where non-juring bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church consecrated him on November 14, 1784.

Seabury, who returned to the United States in late June 1785, immediately began to exercise his office, arch eyebrows, and make allies and enemies.  Meanwhile, William White (1747-1836), the Rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the chaplain of the Confederation Congress, and before that the chaplain of the Second Continental Congress, was trying to organize the American church.  Seabury presided over the first convention of the Diocese of Connecticut on August 3-5, 1785.  He ordained four deacons, including one for Maryland.  Our saint did not attend the General Convention White called in Philadelphia the following month.  Seabury and White disagreed on polity; the former resisted a laity with what he considered too much power, and the latter sought to grant much power to the laity.  Seabury also disapproved of White’s proposed Book of Common Prayer.  Seabury published his Communion Office, based on the Scottish liturgy, in 1786.  In 1785-1786 Seabury was the only American bishop.  In that capacity he ordained men for service beyond Connecticut.  This disturbed many, some of whom questioned the legitimacy of Seabury’s consecration.  White moved to restrict our saint’s authority to his diocese.

Meanwhile, a change in British law in 1787 permitted bishops of The Church of England to consecrate bishops for the United States.  Samuel Provoost (the only non-Loyalist priest in New York) and William White became the first Bishops of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively.  Provoost did not speak to Seabury, and, for a time, neither did White.

Seabury and White were the main founders of The Episcopal Church in 1789.  They made the compromises necessary for the creation of one denomination, not two.  Seabury beat back Congregationalism (strongest in the South) and made his peace with a somewhat empowered laity.  His Communion Office also influenced the Eucharistic rites in The Book of Common Prayer (1789).  Our saint also served as the Presiding Bishop in 1789-1792.  Seabury, who also doubled as the Bishop of Rhode Island from 1790 to 1796, ruled his roost.  He styled himself,

…by Divine permission Bishop of Connecticut.

Seabury died in New London, Connecticut, on February 25, 1796.  He was 66 years old.  His wife, Mary Hicks, born in 1736, had died in 1780.

Seabury was ahead of his time sacramentally in one way.  He argued for the weekly Sunday celebration of the Holy Communion.  That did not become commonplace in The Episcopal Church until the 1960s and 1970s, a time of liturgical renewal.  Our saint would have approved of the definition of the Holy Eucharist as

the central act of Christian worship,

according to The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BINNEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “ARCHBISHOP OF NONCONFORMITY”

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER AND ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATORS

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Eternal God, you blessed your servant Samuel Seabury with the gift

of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America:

Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments,

we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal;

through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 63:7-9

Psalm 133

Acts 20:28-32

Matthew 9:35-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 679

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in

bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate,

which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury;

and we pray that, joined in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments,

we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of St. Paul of the Cross (October 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Paul of the Cross

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PAOLO FRANCESCO DANEI (JANUARY 3, 1694-OCTOBER 18, 1775

Founder of the Congregation of Discaled Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion (the Passionists)

Alternative feast day = October 18

Former feast day = April 28

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

He who truly loves God regards as little what he suffers for God’s sake.

–St. Paul of the Cross

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

St. Paul of the Cross spent most of his life serving God.

Our saint, son of Anna Maria Massari and merchant Luca Danei, grew up in a pious family.  St. Paul, born in Ovada, Piedmont (now Italy), on January 3, 1694, had a dedication to the Blessed Sacrament, St. Mary of Nazareth, and the Passion of Jesus.  He, who spent half a century praying for the conversion of England, founded the Congregation of Discaled Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion (the Passionists) in 1721, when he was still a layman.  Pope Benedict XIII ordained St. Paul to the priesthood in 1727.  Pope Benedict XIV approved the rule of the order, focused on preaching Christ crucified, in 1741.  Our saint, who founded many missions, served (against his will) as the first Superior General of the order from 1741 until his death.  He, aged 81 years, died in Rome on October 18, 1775.

Pope Pius IX beatified St. Paul in 1852 then canonized him in 1867.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE VISITATION

THE FEAST OF ALICIA DOMON AND HER COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN ARGENTINA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BARTHOLOMEW BUONPEDONI AND VIVALDUS, MINISTERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDWIK BARTOSIK, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raise up your servant Saint Paul of the Cross to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of William White (July 17)   4 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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

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

Above:  The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CARMELITE MARTYRS OF COMPIÈGNE

Died in Paris, France, on July 17, 1794

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blessed Jean-Martin Moye (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë 

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED JEAN-MARTIN MOYË (JANUARY 27, 1730-MAY 4, 1783)

Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to China, and Founder of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Christian Virgins

Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë did much to share the light of Christ.  He, born at Cutting, Lorraine, France, on January 27, 1730, was the sixth of thirteen children of Jean Moyë and Catherine Demange Moyë.  Our saint studied the classics at the College of Pont-à-Mousson and philosophy at the Jesuit College of Strasbourg.  Then he attended the Seminary of St. Simon, Metz.  Moyë, a priest since 1754, served at Metz, functioning as a spiritual director.  He founded the first of number of schools for rural children in 1763.  This led to the founding of the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1767.  Later that year Moyë became the Superior of the seminary at St. Dié.

Moyë had long desired to become a missionary.  Thus, in 1769, he joined the Séminaire des Missions Etrangères at Paris.  He was in China from 1773 to 1784.  He, frequently persecuted and imprisoned, founded the Christian Virgins in 1782.  The purposes of this order of women were to care for the sick and to teach the faith to women and children in homes.  Our saint, exhausted, returned to France in 1784.  There he resumed his role as director of the Sisters of Divine Providence and preached missions in Alsace and Lorraine.

Then the anti-clericism of the French Revolution took its toll.  In 1791 Moyë and Sisters went into exile in Trier.  After French soldiers captured the city typhoid fever broke out.  Our saint and Sisters worked in hospitals at that time.  Moyë thereby contracted typhoid fever, of which he died, aged 63 years, on May 4, 1793.

Pope Leo XIII declared Moyë a Venerable in 1891.  Pope Pius XII beatified our saint in 1954.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë,

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 voices 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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of William Cowper (April 26)   2 comments

Above:  William Cowper

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++

WILLIAM COWPER (NOVEMBER 15, 1731-APRIL 25, 1800)

Anglican Hymn Writer

++++++++++++++++++++

Of all the men that I ever heard pray, no one equaled Mr. Cowper.

–Andrew Fuller of Olney, England, 1776

++++++++++++++++++++

Wiliam Cowper, great English poet and hymn writer, struggled with depression throughout his life.  Our saint, born at Hertfordshire, on November 15, 1731, was the son of John C. Cowper, the Anglican rector there and a chaplain to King George III.  Our saint, attached to his mother, lost her to death when he was six years old.  Young William, a shy boy, suffered due to bullies as he grew up.

Cowper honored his family’s wishes and went into the legal profession.  He became an apprentice at age 18 and studied law at Westminster.  Cowper gained admission to the bar in 1754.  He proposed marriage to cousin Theodora Cowper, but her father prevented the union.  From 1759 to 1763 our saint served as the Commissioner of Bankrupts.  In 1763 Cowper served briefly as the Clerk of Journals for the House of Lords, but could not bear to speak in public.  Our saint’s first attempted suicide ended that job and led to about a year at the asylum at St. Albans.

At this point I step aside from the narrative of Cowper’s life to make some comments.  Sources I have consulted indicate that he, citing his at least two suicide attempts, considered himself damned.  At least, according to my sources, had long periods of time during which he thought he was bound for Hell.  I know that the reason tor this was the traditional heresy that suicide leads to damnation.  Suicide and attempted suicide are difficult topics.  Those acts result from hopelessness.  I do not suffer, as Cowper did, but I do know what it is to be suicidal and to think that going on with life is not a feasible option.  I am grateful that I was able to push through those circumstances.  I also sympathize with Cowper.

Cowper rebuilt his life after his release from the asylum.  The Reverend Morely Unwin and his family took our saint into their household at Huntingdon.  Cowper met John Newton (1725-1807), the Curate of Olney, in 1767 when the famous priest came to express his condolences after Morely had died.  Afterward Mary Unwin (Morely’s widow) and Cowper moved to Olney.  Our saint became Newton’s lay assistant and visited parishioners.  Cowper also contributed 67 texts to Olney Hymns (1779), which he and Newton edited.

Cowper, a skilled writer, created great art out of his distress.  For example, the great hymn “O For a Closer Walk With God” (December 9, 1769), originally six stanzas, came from a time when Mary Unwin, his friend, was critically ill.  At that time Cowper wrote a friend:

Oh for no will but the will of my heavenly Father!…She is the chief of blessings I have met with in my journeys since the Lord was pleased to call me…Her illness has been a sharp trial to me.  Oh, that it may have a sanctified effect, that I may rejoice to surrender up to the Lord my dearest comforts, the moment He may require them….I began to compose the verses yesterday morning before daybreak, but fell asleep at the end of the first two lines; when I waked again, the third and fourth were whispered to my heart in a way which I have often experienced.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), page 356

Mary recovered and went on to live for many more years.  In 1773 they planned to become husband and wife, but his mental distress ended the engagement.  This prompted Cowper’s second attempt at suicide.  He recovered, took up gardening as a hobby, and began to keep pets.  In 1795 Mary became an invalid.  Cowper served as her caregiver until she died the following year.

Cowper wrote hymns (at least 67 of them), translated works of Homer, and wrote several original volumes.  In 1791 he began to collect an annual pension of 300 pounds.  He remained a withdrawn man, one who required hours of preparation before praying in public.  Perhaps being so withdrawn helped with his writing.

One text, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” (1774), which he wrote a few months after a suicide attempt, has earned a reputation as the greatest hymn on the topic of providence.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

+++++

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His sovereign will.

+++++

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.

+++++

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

+++++

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

+++++

Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

–Quoted in The Hymnal (1895), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Cowper, who would have benefited from better therapy, had he lived during later times, died on April 25, 1800.  He was 68 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT POEMEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT JOHN THE DWARF AND ARSENIUS THE GREAT; ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT AMBROSE AUTPERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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

++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Cowper 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

++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of George Frederick Handel (April 15)   5 comments

Above:  Handel

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL (FEBRUARY 23, 1685 OLD STYLE/MARCH 5, 1685 NEW STYLE-APRIL 14, 1759)

Composer

Also known as Georg Friedrich Handel and George Frideric Handel

++++++++++++++

I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wish to make them better.

–Handel

++++++++++++++

The feast day of this saint in The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is July 28.  The Episcopal Church adds Johann Sebastian Bach and Henry Purcell to that feast.  The ELCA/ELCIC version of the feast is Heinrich Schutz, J. S. Bach, and G. F. Handel.  My strategy in this matter is to break those two feasts apart, as I have begun to do.

Handel was a child prodigy.  He was a child of the 63-year-old Georg Handel (a barber-surgeon) and Dorothea Taust, of Halle.  Our saint, born on February 23, 1685 (Julian Calendar)/March 5, 1685 (Gregorian Calendar), played the organ at the ducal court at Weissenfells at the tender age of eight years.  The following year Handel began to study composition and various instruments under Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, an organist at Halle.  By the age of ten years Handel had at least six sonatas for oboe and continue to his credit.

Georg Handel, who died in 1697,  wanted our saint to become an attorney.  So it came to pass that young Handel studied law at the University of Halle.  Our saint completed that course of study, per the wishes of his late father, although he had begun to support himself as a church musician.  Handel, although a Lutheran, was organist at a Reformed church.

Handel became a musician and composer.  Among his friends was composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), whom he met in college.  From 1703 to 1706 Handel worked in Hamburg, a center of German opera.  He played the violin and the harpsichord in the opera orchestra there.  Our saint also wrote the St. John Passion and this first two operas (Almira and Nero) at Hamburg.

Handel spent 1706-1710 in Italy.  There he visited Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice, met major Italian composers, and composed major works, including operas.

After completing his Italian tour Handel went to work as the musical director for Georg Ludwig, the Elector of Hanover (and, starting in 1714, King George I of Great Britain).  Our saint visited London, where he debuted his opera Rinaldo, in 1711.  The following year he settled in that city.  In 1726 he became a naturalized British subject.

Handel was a great composer.  He and J. S. Bach, who was unlike him in many ways, wrote much of the best music of the Baroque Era.  The great Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), citing Messiah (1741), declared that Handel was “the master of us all.”  Handel’s vast catalog of compositions included instrumental and vocal music, from the Water Music to operas to oratorios on Biblical topics (Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Samson, Esther, Israel in Egyptet cetera).

Handel, a lifelong bachelor, enjoyed life and lived it well.  The man who demonstrated the ability to speak three languages in the same sentence was generous of spirit and gave liberally to charities; he had much to share with the less fortunate.  He, although a solitary figure, enjoyed parties, good food, and fine wine.  He did not hold grudges and, when he realized that he had caused offense, was quick to apologize.

Handel died in London on April 14, 1759, aged 74 years.  The site of his burial was Westminster Abbey.

I intend no disrespect to lawyers when I write that it is fortunate for the world that Handel became a composer, not an attorney.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST; AND HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASTILDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF ATLANTA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scriptures to sing your praises and who gave your

musician George Frederick Handel grace to show forth your glory in his music:

Be with all those who write or make music for your people,

that we on earth may glimpse your beauty and know the

inexhaustible riches of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior;

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

2 Chronicles 7:1-6

Psalm 150

Colossians 2:2-6

Luke 2:8-14

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 491

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++