Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1820s’ Category

Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti (January 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Vincent Pallotti

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI (APRIL 21, 1795-JANUARY 22, 1850)

Founder of the Society and the Catholic Apostolate, the Union of Catholic Apostolate, and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate

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Remember that the Christian life is one of action, not of speech and daydreams.  Let there be few words and many deeds, and them be done well.

–St. Vincent Pallotti

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The love of Christ impels us.

–Motto of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (the Pallottines)

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Poverty is an unfortunate fixture in human societies.  The poor will always be with us because scarcity is an element of human economic systems.  This scarcity is artificial, and many people benefit from it.  Many more, however, suffer from it.  The common good would be better without artificial scarcity.

Caring for the poor has been an institutional Christian practice since the founding of Christianity.  (Read the Acts of the Apostles and certain Pauline epistles for evidence.)  St. Vincent Pallotti, born to Italian nobility in Rome on April 21, 1795, dedicated most of his life to helping the urban poor; he fit neatly into the best of Christian tradition.

Pallotti worked in Rome.  He, ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1818, gave up a professorship to work with poor people in the Eternal City.  He founded schools and offered night classes, so that members of the working class could attend.  In 1835 he founded the Union of Catholic Apostolate and the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, to help the poor.  Pallotti earned his reputation as a living saint; he even risked death to minister to victims of an outbreak of cholera in Rome in 1837.  In our saint’s version of lived faith priests and lay people–brothers and priests, and eventually, sisters, too, (from 1838),

Pallotti made a liturgical-ecclesiastical contribution, also.  He encouraged Pallottines to observe the Octave of the Epiphany (January 6-13) in Eastern Rite Roman Catholic parishes, in solidarity with Eastern Orthodoxy.  [Note:  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, cut the Octave of the Epiphany while preparing the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549.  The Roman Catholic Church cut the octave in 1955.] 

Pallottine’s generosity may have hastened his death.  On a cold and rainy night, our saint gave his cloak to a beggar, who had none.  Pallottine subsequently caught a severe cold and died.  He died on January 22, 1850, in Rome.  He was 54 years old.

The Church recognized Pallottine’s sanctity after he died.  Pope Pius XI declared him a Venerable in 1932.  Pope Pius XII beatified Pallotti in 1950.  Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1963.

The Pallottines continue the good work around the world.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 11, 2018 COMMON ERA

PROPER 14:  THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY THAUMATURGUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NEOCAESAREA; AND SAINT ALEXANDER OF COMANA, “THE CHARCOAL BURNER,” ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR AND BISHOP OF COMANA, PONTUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT EQUITIUS OF VALERA, BENEDICTINE ABBOT AND FOUNDER OF MONASTERIES

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS LOY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND CONRAD HERMANN LOUIS SCHUETTE, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MAURICE TORNAY, SWISS ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY TO TIBET, AND MARTYR, 1949

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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), 60

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Feast of Edmund Hamilton Sears (January 16)   1 comment

Above:  First Parish Church, Wayland, Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS (APRIL 6, 1810-JANUARY 16, 1876)

U.S. Unitarian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Biblical Scholar

Edmund Hamilton Sears left a fine legacy.  Anyone who has sung “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” written in 1849 and published the following year, has experienced the most popular part of that legacy.  One may not know that Sears wrote other hymns–Christmas carols, mostly–because the majority of his hymn texts have fallen into disuse.

Sears was a Unitarian minister.  He, born in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, on April 6, 1810, studied at Westfield Academy then at Union College, Schenectady, New York, graduating in 1834.  Our saint, intent on becoming an attorney, briefly read law under Thomas Twining, Sandisfield.  Then Sears became a teacher at Brattleboro, Vermont, and studied theology.  He completed theological studies at Harvard Divinity School in 1837.  Our saint, ordained on February 20, 1839, embarked on a religious career.

Sears was pastor of First Parish Church, Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1839-1840 and in 1848-1865.  He was an attentive pastor who initially overworked himself.  Sears, following medical advice, resigned in 1840.  He purchased a farm in the area and became healthier.  The pulpit at First Parish Church was open again in 1848, when the congregation welcomed him back.  Our saint, Christologically orthodox, wrote hymns, as I have mentioned.  At Wayland he also wrote the following books:

  1. Regeneration (1854);
  2. Pictures of the Olden Time, as Shown in the Fortunes of a Family of Pilgrims (1857); and
  3. Athanasia, or Foregleams of Immortality (First Edition, 1858; Second Edition, 1873).

He also became an editor of the Monthly Religious Magazine, a position he held until 1871.

Sears served as pastor of the First Parish Church, Weston, Massachusetts, from 1866 to 1876.  During those years, he received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Harvard (1871) and went on a lecture tour of England (1873).  He also published the following books:

  1. The Fourth Gospel, the Heart of Christ (1872), and
  2. Sermons and Songs of the Christian Life (1875).

Sears, aged 65 years, died in Weston on January 16, 1876.

A posthumous volume, Christ in the Life:  Sermons, with a Selection of Poems, debuted the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Edmund Hamilton Sears 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 Abby Kelley Foster and Stephen Symonds Foster (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Liberty Farm, Worcester, Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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STEPHEN SYMONDS FOSTER (NOVEMBER 17, 1809-SEPTEMBER 13, 1881)

husband of

ABBY KELLEY FOSTER (JANUARY 15, 1811-JANUARY 14, 1887)

Also known as Abby Kelly Foster

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U.S. QUAKER ABOLITIONISTS AND FEMINISTS

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I do not talk of woman’s rights, but of human rights, the rights of human beings.  I do not come to ask [for] them, but to demand them; not to get down on my knees and beg for them, but to claim them.

–Abby Kelley Foster, October 1850, at the first National Women’s Rights Convention, Worcester, Massachusetts

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In short, in the harangue of Abby, she simply demands that men and women should be treated as human beings, all alike….

The New York Herald, October 15, 1850, criticizing Abby Kelley Foster and her positions

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Abby Kelley Foster comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saint’s Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  Stephen Symonds Foster joins her on the Ecumenical Calendar by virtue of being her husband and her fellow activist.  After all, one of my purposes in adding to the Ecumenical Calendar is to emphasize relationships and influences.

STEPHEN SYMONDS FOSTER

Stephen Symonds Foster, born in Canterbury, New Hampshire, became a radical, according to the standards of his time.  He, raised a Congregationalist, was a carpenter until the age of 22 years.  Foster decided to study to become a missionary, so he matriculated at Dartmouth College.  He eventually graduated, in 1838.  During his college years, Foster found a new direction in life and endured hardships.  He became an abolitionist.  He also went to jail for being in debt and spent time incarcerated with hardened, violent criminals.  This experience led to a movement that ended imprisonment for debt in New Hampshire.

Instead of becoming a missionary, Foster became an activist.  The three social causes for which he worked were feminism, temperance, and the abolition of slavery.  After graduating from Dartmouth College, he studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, in 1838-1839.  He left that institution because the leadership forbade him from hosting abolitionist meetings.  Our saint even rejected the offer of a scholarship in exchange for his silence regarding slavery.  Foster’s abolitionist activism led to his expulsion from the Congregational Church in 1841 and to a physical attack in Portland, Maine, the following year.  Our saint was outspoken in his criticism of religion that justified slavery.  He expressed himself in both writing and on the lecture circuit of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

ABBY KELLEY FOSTER

Abby Kelley was also making the rounds on the anti-slavery lecture circuit.

Kelley, born in Pelham, Massachusetts, on January 15, 1811, became a radical, also.  She came from a rigid, conservative society with gender norms–separate spheres.  Women did not address mixed-gender audiences.  Schools were not coeducational.  Women’s suffrage was out of the question.  The Quakers, her denomination, had a mixed record regarding opposition to slavery, but they were more progressive than many other Christian bodies.  Abby, a teacher, joined the Female Anti-Slavery Society at Lynn in 1837.  The following year, she began to lecture.  Eventually, she became a full-time lecturer.  Kelley made the connection between the rights of women and those of African Americans, many of whom were slaves.  To insist on the rights of one group while ignoring the rights of the other was wrong, she understood.  This was a minority position within the abolitionist movement in the United States.

THE FOSTERS

Abby Kelley married Stephen Symonds Foster in 1845.  Their marriage was, of course, unconventional.  They were a team of activists.  The Fosters purchased an estate, “Liberty Farm,” in 1847; their home became a station of the Underground Railroad.  After Abby gave birth to a daughter, Paulina Wright “Alla” Foster, in 1847, husband and wife took turns traveling on the lecture circuit, so that one parent would stay home with Alla.  More often that not, Stephen was a stay-at-home father.

Abby made her mark on the United States.  She helped to organize the first National Women’s Rights Convention at Worcester, Massachusetts, in late 1850, and spoke at it.  In 1854 she became the chief fundraiser for the American Anti-American Society.  After the Civil War, she advocated for the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  In 1868 she helped to organize the New England Women Suffrage Association.

The Fosters made their protest against the lack of women’s suffrage where they lived by refusing to pay taxes.  Their justification was the revolutionary cry,

No taxation without representation.

The local government sold Liberty Farm for unpaid taxes in 1874.  A sympathetic neighbor purchased the farm then sold it back to the Fosters.  This pattern repeated until both Abby and Stephen died.

Stephen, aged 73 years, died on September 13, 1881.

Abby, aged 75 years, died on January 14, 1887.

IN RETROSPECT

From my vantage point in the United States in 2019, the once-radical and marginal ideas becoming mainstream are mostly hateful and exclusionary.  They tend to be ideas such as white nationalism and Anti-Semitism, and frequently result in violence or other forms of abuse.  The radical and marginal ideas the Fosters espoused fall into a different category:  inclusion.  As the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta says,

DRAW THE CIRCLE WIDE.

The Fosters, ahead of their time, helped to create a better future.

May their ethic of recognizing the image of God, or as their Quaker theology put it well–the inner light–in others then acting accordingly inspire us to do the same.

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Loving God, who has implanted your image and inner light inside all people,

we thank you for the lives and legacies of your servants,

Abby Kelley Foster and Stephen Symonds Foster,

who affirmed the inherent human dignity in those whom

society defined as non-citizens or as second-class citizens.

May we, in our times and places, affirm the image of God in all human beings and treat them accordingly,

so that a moral revolution of values may lead people to define all your children as insiders.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Genesis 1:27

Psalm 97

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 10:29-37

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALFRED TENNYSON, ENGLISH POET

THE FEAST OF ADAM OF SAINT VICTOR, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ALBRECHT DÜRER, MATTHIAS GRÜNEWALD, AND LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER, RENAISSANCE ARTISTS

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FREDERICK ROOT, POET AND COMPOSER

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Feast of Henry Alford (January 12)   1 comment

Above:  Henry Alford

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY ALFORD (OCTOBER 7, 1810-JANUARY 12, 1871)

Anglican Priest, Biblical Scholar, Literary Translator, Poet, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Bible Translator

Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury, used to be a famous man.  He translated Homer’s Odyssey and served on a committee that translated the New Testament.  His four-volume commentary, Greek Testament (1849-1861), although outdated in 2019, was a standard reference work in the late 1800s.  Alford also published books of sermons, poetry, and theology, as well as two hymnals.  He wrote or edited 50 books.

Alford, son of Henry Alford (Sr.), a priest in The Church of England, entered the world on October 7, 1810.  Henry (Jr.)’s mother died in childbirth.  Our saint followed in his father’s footsteps.  Henry (Jr.) graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1832 then became a priest the following year.  His first assignment was as Curate of Winkfield, Wiltshire, under his father.  Our saint later served in Comption, Wymeswold, and London before becoming the Dean of Canterbury in 1857.

Alford, an Evangelical Anglican and a moderate liberal by the standards of his day, was, from 1836, the husband of Fanny.  He could have been a bishop in the British Empire, had he accepted one of two offers.  Our saint founded the Contemporary Review in 1866 and edited it until 1870.

Alford’s relative fame in 2019 rests primarily on hymns he wrote or translated.  One of his compositions is “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand,” from The Year of Praise (1867).  Alford’s most famous hymn is “Come Ye Thankful People, Come,” from Psalms and Hymns (1844).

Alford, popular with Anglicans and nonconformists alike, died in Canterbury on January 12, 1871.  He was 60 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Henry Alford 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 Charles William Everest (January 11)   1 comment

Above:  Southwestern Connecticut, 1951

Scanned and cropped from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951), 166

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CHARLES WILLIAM EVEREST (MAY 14, 1814-JANUARY 11, 1877)

Episcopal Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer

The historical reputation of Charles William Everest rests mainly on one popular, frequently altered hymn published in 1833.  The text, from his Songs of the Fireside (1852), follows:

Take up thy cross!  the Saviour said,

If thou wouldst my disciple be:

Take up thy cross, with willing heart,

And humbly follow after me.

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Take up thy cross!  let not its weight

Fill thy weak soul with vain alarm;

His strength shall bear thy spirit up,

And brace thy heart, and nerve thine arm.

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Take up thy cross!  not head the shame,

And let thy foolish pride be still:

The LORD refused not e’en to die

Upon a cross, on Calvary’s hill.

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Take up thy cross, then, in His strength,

And calmly Sin’s wild deluge brave:

‘T will guide thee to a better home,

It points to glory o’er the grave.

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Take up thy cross, and follow on,

Nor think till death to lay it down;

For only he who bears the cross,

May hope to wear the glorious crown.

The biography of Everest is brief, even in the best hymnal companion volumes.  (I collect such books.)  Details are scarce, but archive.org is helpful, for it provides electronic copies of some of Everest’s books:

  1. Vision of Death:  A Poem (1837);
  2. Babylon:  A Poem (1838)
  3. The Moss-Rose, a Parting Token (1840), as editor;
  4. The Poets of Connecticut; with Biographical Sketches (1844), as editor;
  5. The Memento:  A Gift of Friendship (1849), as editor; and
  6. Songs of the Fireside (1852).

Everest was a priest in The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Connecticut.  He, born in East Windsor, Connecticut, on May 14, 1814, graduated, from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1838.  He began to publish his poetry prior to graduating.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood four years later, served as a rector in Hamden (immediately north of New Haven) from 1842 to 1873.  He also served as an agent of the Society for the Increase of Ministry.  Everest, aged 62 years, died in Waterbury, Connecticut, on January 11, 1877.

His great hymn continues to inspire people, fortunately.

His poetry deserves a renaissance, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Charles William Everest 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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This is post #1750 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Elizabeth Prout and Venerable Ignatius Spencer (January 10)   1 comment

Above:  The Union Jack

Images in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE IGNATIUS SPENCER (DECEMBER 21, 1799-OCTOBER 1, 1864)

Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest, and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer

Born George Spencer

Also known as Father Ignatius of Saint Paul

mentor of

ELIZABETH PROUT (SEPTEMBER 2, 1820-JANUARY 11, 1864)

Foundress of the Cross and Passion

Also known as Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus

The Roman Catholic Church is in the process of eventually canonizing Prout and Spencer.  Holy Mother Church has her procedures, which take much time.  So be it.  On this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I canonize them and place their commemorations on the same date. One cannot properly tell the story of one of these saints without recounting the story of the other one.

GEORGE (IGNATIUS) SPENCER

Image in the Public Domain

George Spencer came from a wealthy, prominent, and Anglican family.  He, born in London on December 21, 1799, was a son of Lady Lavinia Bingham and George Spencer, the Second Earl Spencer, the First Lord of the Admiralty.  Our saint, well-educated, studied at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge.  In 1819, when Spencer toured Europe with his parents, he did not find Roman Catholicism impressive.  Our saint, ordained to the diaconate of The Church of England in 1822 then to the priesthood two years later, was an attentive priest at Bringham for six years, until 1830.  Then he resigned to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Spencer, as an Anglican priest, became interested in patristics, which he read closely.  Ambrose Phillipps De Lisle (1809-1878), who had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1823, proved instrumental in Spencer’s conversion, as did various Roman Catholic priests.

Spencer spent 1830-1832 in Rome, where he studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood.  His mentor in the Eternal City was Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), the Apostle to England.  Barberi went on to be crucial in the conversion of John Henry Newman (1801-1890), scheduled to become a full saint in October 2019, in 1845.  Spencer, ordained a deacon then a priest in 1832, returned to England that year.  His duties over time ranged from being a parish priest to being a chaplain to seminarians, but he eventually became a well-traveled and popular preacher instead.

In 1838 Spencer founded the Crusade of Prayer for the Conversion of England.  This project aroused opposition within the Roman Catholic Church and outside it, as hoped to convert England back to Holy Mother Church.  This work filled much of Spencer’s time for the rest of his life; even after he joined the Passionists in 1847 and became Father Ignatius of Saint Paul.  Spencer worked very hard and maintained a rigorous schedule.

ELIZABETH PROUT

Image in the Public Domain

Elizabeth Prout also grew up an Anglican.  She, born to an Anglican mother and a lapsed Roman Catholic father, entered the world at Coleham, Shrewsbury, on September 2, 1820.  Her parents initially opposed her conversion to Roman Catholicism (by the hand of Blessed Dominic Barberi) in her early twenties.  Later, however, her parents converted, also.

Prout found a spiritual mentor, Father Gaudentius Rossi (1817-1891).  With his encouragement, she joined the Sisters of the Holy Infant in Northampton, in 1848.  When the order proved to be a bad fit for her, he invited Prout to teach in the school attached to his parish, St. Chad’s, Manchester.  She accepted.  Our saint worked with poor people in that industrial setting.  Prout organized a small, informal, community of women to work among the industrial poor of Manchester.  With Rossi’s help, that community became the Institute of the Holy Family on November 21, 1852.  Prout became Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus.  The sisters were poor, too, as they focused on helping impoverished women.

PROUT AND SPENCER

The sisters, who relocated to Sutton, St. Helens, in 1855, did have patrons, tough.  They needed patrons if they were to operate schools, such as the one at Sutton, and to help the poor.  One of these patrons was Father Ignatius Spencer, who took over from Rossi, transferred to the United States in 1855.  Spencer helped Prout reform the Institute of the Holy Family along Passionist lines.  In 1863 he took the new rule (replacing the old rule, which Rossi had written) of the order to Rome and secured the approval of Pope Pius IX.  Prout, who overworked herself and whose health was failing, became the first Mother General.

Prout, who taught in or founded nine schools, died, aged 43 years, on January 11, 1864.

The order became the Sisters of the Cross and Passion in 1874.

Spencer, who worked himself to death, did not survive the year, either.  On October 1, 1864, after returning from a mission trip to Scotland, he was Carstains when he had a heart attack, fell into a ditch.  There he died alone.  He was 64 years old.

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Loving God, we thank you for the holy lives of your servants,

Elizabeth Prout and Venerable Ignatius Spencer.

May we, inspired by their examples,

dedicate our lives to glorifying you and improving the lives of the less fortunate.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Leviticus 19:9-18

Luke 1:46-55

Acts 6:1-7

Matthew 28:16-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Feast of John Greenleaf Whittier (December 8)   2 comments

Above:  John Greenleaf Whittier

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (DECEMBER 7, 1807-SEPTEMBER 7, 1892)

U.S. Quaker Abolitionist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

John Greenleaf Whittier was one of the greatest American poets of the nineteenth century.

Whittier, born and raised in a Quaker family on a farm near Haverhill, Massachusetts, on December 7, 1807, worked hard as a youth.  He was a farmer, of course, but was also a cobbler.  (Farming was not his sole concern, although he remained a grounded person.)  Our saint had little formal education–a few terms at Haverhill Academy, actually.  While there, he began to write.  William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) made Whittier a published poet in the Newburyport Free Press, in 1826.  The two men became lifelong friends in 1829.

Whittier’s friendship with Garrison advanced our saint professionally.  In 1829 Garrison helped Whittier become the editor of The American Manufacturer, Boston, Massachusetts.  This was a politically Whig publication that focused on industrial and agricultural interests.  While editor of The American Manufacturer, Whittier became involved in the abolitionist movement.  Our saint went on to edit The New England Weekly Review (1830-1832), The Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1838-1840), and The Middlesex Standard (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1844-1845), as well as to join the staff of The Washington National Era (1847-1869).

Whittier put his literary skills to work in the service of abolitionism in other ways, too.  He wrote Justice and Expediency (1833), a best-selling pamphlet.  That year, as the secretary of the Anti-Slavery Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our saint helped to draft the declaration of principles.  Four years later, he published Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolitionist Cause in the United States.

Whittier did more than write and edit.  In 1835 he won a seat in the Massachusetts legislature.  The following year, he became the secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1835 and 1838 Whittier experienced pro-slavery mob violence–first in Concord, New Hampshire.  Three years later, he witnessed the burning of the offices of The Pennsylvania Freeman.

Throughout mob violence and the United States Civil War Whittier, a womb-to-tomb Quaker, remained a staunch pacifist.  Although he preferred secession to war, he welcomed Confederate defeat at the end of that war.

Whittier became more radical as he aged.  By the end of his life, he had abandoned enough of his former, traditional ideas about gender to support women’s suffrage.

Whittier also composed religious poems, some of which congregations sang as hymns, starting during his lifetime.  He denied being a hymn writer, though; his Quaker congregations did not sing hymns.  Nevertheless, generations of Christians have sung some of his texts, including “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” as hymns.

Whittier moved in with three female cousins in Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1876.  He died in Hampton Falls, New York, on September 7, 1892.  He was 86 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDRA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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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 John Greenleaf Whittier

and all those who with words 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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