Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1860s’ Category

Feast of Maltbie Davenport Babcock (May 18)   1 comment

Above:  Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Image in the Public Domain

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MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK (AUGUST 3, 1858-MAY 18, 1901)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer

Maltbie Davenport Babcock was the kind of person people have in mind when they say the good die young.

Babcock, a native of Syracuse, New York, was talented.  He, born on August 3, 1858, came from a socially prominent family.  From an early age he was a fine student, athlete, and musician with a magnetic personality.  Our saint was a natural leader.  At Syracuse University, where Babcock matriculated in 1875, he was a skilled organist, pianist, and vocalist.

Babcock became a minister.  After graduating from Auburn Theological Seminary in 1882, our saint began to serve as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Lockport, New York.  There he liked to walk in the nature, to, in his words, to see his Father’s world.  This was consistent with the Reformed idea of the Book of Nature.  At Lockport Babcock composed a poem, “My Father’s World,” which his widow, Katherine Eliot Tallman Babcock (1857-1943), whom he had married in 1882, had published in 1901, after his untimely death.

This is my Father’s world.

On the day of its wondrous birth

The stars of light in phalanx bright

Sang out in Heavenly mirth.

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This is my Father’s world.

E’en yet to my listening ears

All nature sings, and around me rings

The music of the spheres.

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This is my Father’s world.

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,

His hand the wonders wrought.

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This is my Father’s world.

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their maker’s praise.

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This is my Father’s world.

He shines in all that’s fair.

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,

He speaks to me everywhere.

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This is my Father’s world.

From His eternal throne,

He watch doth keep when I’m asleep,

And I am not alone.

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This is my Father’s world.

Dreaming, I see His face.

I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise

Cry, “The Lord is in this place.”

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This is my Father’s world.

I walk a desert lone.

In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze

God makes His glory known.

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This is my Father’s world.

Among the mountains drear,

‘Mid rending rocks and earthquake shocks,

The still, small voice I hear.

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This is my Father’s world.

From the shining courts above,

The Beloved One, His only Son,

Came–a pledge of deathless love.

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This is my Father’s world.

Now closer to Heaven bound,

For dear to God is the earth Christ trod,

No place but is holy ground.

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This is my Father’s world.

His love has filled my breast,

I am reconciled, I am His child,

My soul has found His rest.

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This is my Father’s world.

A wanderer I may roam,

Whate’er my lot, it matters not,

My heart is still at home.

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This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That tho’ the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

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This is my Father’s world.

The battle is not done.

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and Heaven be one.

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This is my Father’s World.

Should my heart be ever sad?

The Lord is King–let the Heavens ring

God reigns–let the earth be glad.

–Quoted in Thoughts for Every-Day Living (1901), pages 180-182

This text became the source material for the hymn “This is My Father’s World,” set to music in 1915.

Our saint became a rising star among Presbyterian ministers.  From 1886 to 1900 Babcock was pastor of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland.  There he became a popular speaker on university campuses.  Our saint also raised funds to help Russian Jewish refugees fleeing Czarist pogroms.  In 1900 Babcock succeeded the great Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), another hymn writer, as pastor of The Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City.  Babcock made a journey to the Holy Land the following year.  On that trip he died of natural causes at Naples, Italy, on May 18.  He was 42 years old.

I wonder what more Babcock would have done for God had he lived longer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Maltbie Davenport Babcock and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Sts. Caterina Volpicelli, Giulia Salzano, and Ludovico da Casoria (May 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Unification of Italy

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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SAINT CATERINA VOLPICELLI (JANUARY 21, 1839-DECEMBER 28, 1894)

Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart

Her feast transferred from January 22 and December 28

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SAINT GIULIA SALZANO (OCTOBER 13, 1846-MAY 17, 1929)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart 

Her feast day = May 17

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SAINT LUDOVICO DA CASORIA (MARCH 11, 1814-MARCH 30, 1885)

Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Cofounder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth

Also known as Arcangelo Palmentieri

His feast transferred from March 30

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While I have any life left in me, I will continue to teach the catechism.  And then, I assure you, I would be very happy to die teaching the catechism.

–Saint Giulia Salzano

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The development of this post began with the name of St. Giulia Salzano.  Her story led to two other saints about whom I could find information.  The expansion of this post beyond Salzano was a fortunate development, for one of my goals during the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.

These three saints, born in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816-1861), died in the united Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946).

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St. Giulia Salzano affirmed the value of catechesis.  She, born at Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Casserta, on October 13, 1846, was a daughter of Adelaide Valentino and Diego Salzano, a captain in the Lancers of King Ferdinand II (reigned 1830-1859).  Diego died when St. Giulia was four years old.  Our saint, raised subsequently by Sisters of Charity in the royal Orphanage of Santa Nicola La Strada, remained there until the age of 15 years.  She studied to become a teacher.  After earning her diploma, St. Giulia moved to Casoria (near Naples), where her family lived, and began to teach in 1865.  She also taught the catechism and encouraged devotion to St. Mary of Nazareth.

At Casoria St. Giulia’s path crossed that of the other two saints.  She worked with St. Caterina Volpicelli in encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Also, St. Ludovico da Casoria told St. Giulia,

Take care not to be tempted to abandon the children of our dear Casoria, because it is God’s will that you should live and die among them.

St. Giulia, who founded the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1905, died in Casoria on May 17, 1929.  She was 84 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 2002 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized her in 2010.

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St. Ludovico da Casoria, born Arcangelo Palmentieri at Casoria, Naples, on March 11, 1814, did much to help many people.  He, apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, became a Franciscan friar in 1832, at the age of 18 years.  The newly minted friar assumed the name “Ludovico.”  He, later ordained a priest, taught mathematics and philosophy to friars in the city of Naples.  Our saint went on to work with the poor, found dispensaries for them, open a school for Africans freed from slavery, start a school for deaf and mute people, and found centers for the care of elderly friars.  In 1859 St. Ludovico founded the Gray Friars of Charity (defunct in 1971), to work in the institutions he had opened.  Three years later he and Margherita Salatino founded the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, the female counterparts of the Gray Friars of Charity.  St. Ludovico died of natural causes at Naples on March 30, 1885.  He was 71 years old.

Pope Paul VI declared St. Ludovico a Venerable in 1964.  Pope John Paul II elevated our saint to the status of Blessed in 1993.  Pope Francis canonized St. Ludovico in 2014.

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St. Caterina Volpicelli, once a social climber, chose instead to serve God.  She, born in Naples on January 21, 1839, grew up in a devout and upper middle class family.  Our saint, educated at the Royal Educational Institute of St. Marcellino, studied under Margherita Salatino, who went on to found the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth with St. Ludovico da Casoria in 1862.

St. Ludovico da Casoria influenced St. Caterina’s life directly.  She met him in Naples on September 19, 1854.  This encounter was, according to St. Caterina,

a rare stroke of prevenient grace, charity, and favor from the Sacred Heart, delighted by the poverty of his servant.

St. Caterina went on to become a Third Order Franciscan, due to the influence of St. Ludovico.

St. Caterina valued prayer.  On May 28, 1859, she joined the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.  Ill health forced her to leave shortly thereafter, though.  Our saint went on to associate herself with the Apostleship of Prayer.  Prayer led St. Caterina to act.  She founded the Servants of the Sacred Heart in 1874.  The new order opened orphanages, lending libraries, and other houses throughout Italy.  The Sisters at Ponticelli won much notice for tending to victims of an outbreak of cholera in 1884.  Also, St. Caterina, with the assistance of the Venerable Rosa Carafa Traetto (died in 1890), founded the Association of the Daughters of Mary.

St. Caterina, aged 55 years, died in Naples on December 28, 1894.  Pope Pius XII declared her a Venerable in 1945.  Pope John Paul II beatified our saint in 2001.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. Caterina in 2009.

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These three saints, whose lives overlapped, served God in people in varieties of need.

May each of us do likewise, as God directs.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 25, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HERBERT STANLEY OAKELEY, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PROCLUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT RUSTICUS, BISHOP OF NARBONNE

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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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Feast of St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARIA DOMINICA MAZZARELLO (MAY 9, 1837-MAY 14, 1881)

Cofounder of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians

St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello devoted most of her 44 years to serving God.  She, born in Mornese, Acqui, Italy, on May 99, 1837, was the first of ten children of Giuseppe and Maddalena Mazzarello, farmers.  Our saint, who worked on the family farm growing up, joined the Pious Union of Mary Immaculate.  She helped the sick and taught the catechism to younger children in her parish.  At the age of 23 years Mazzarello nearly died of typhus.  Although she recovered, she never did so fully.  She and a friend, Petronilla, began to work as dressmakers.  They started a girls’ school; this turned into a boarding school.  This work led to our saint cofounding the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, under the spiritual direction of St. John Bosco, in 1872.  She, the reluctant (and first) Superior of the order, founded houses in France and Italy.  She died at Nizza, Monferrato, Astia, Italy, on May 14, 1881.

Pope Pius XI declared our saint a Venerable in 1936 then a Blessed two years later.  Pope Pius XII canonized her in 1951.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

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

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

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

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

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Maria Dominica Mazzarello,

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

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

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

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

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Feast of Henri Dominique Lacordaire (May 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lacordaire

Image in the Public Domain

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JEAN-BAPTISTE-HENRI DOMINIQUE LACORDAIRE (MAY 13, 1802-NOVEMBER 21, 1861)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Dominican, and Advocate for the Separation of Church and State

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When I was in Rome in 1846 Gregory XVI used to bless and shoot down his subjects in turns.  Pius IX puts them in prison….I sincerely hope that Providence will put and end to this scandal.

–Lacordaire on the Papal States

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Henri Dominique Lacordaire was a faithful yet unconventional (for his time and place) Roman Catholic.  He would have fit in better after Vatican II than he did during his lifetime.

Lacordaire, born near Dijon, France, on May 13, 1802, made an interesting journey of faith.  He, raised a Roman Catholic, became a Deist in college.  Later he returned to Holy Mother Church.  Our saint entered the seminary at Issy on May 12, 1824.  During his years in seminary Lacordaire’s relative heterodoxy became apparent.  He, ordained a priest on September 22, 1827, was a puzzle to his superiors, who did not know what to do with him.  They assigned him to work as a chaplain–first to a convent then at College Henri IV.  These tasks did not satisfy our saint, who volunteered to serve in New York City instead in 1829.

The Revolution of 1830 changed that plan.  Lacordaire was actually a revolutionary, not a liberal.  In the context of Roman Catholicism during his lifetime his leftist tendencies meant that he favored constitutional government, sought to reconcile the Church and forces of liberty, and considered the separation of church and state essential for the Church to fulfill its proper role in society.  Our saint considered the monarchical and reactionary leaders of French Roman Catholicism, nostalgic for l’Ancien Régime, misguided.  For thirteen months until 1832, Lacordaire, Father Felicité Lamennais, and layman Charles Montalembert operated the leftist L’Avenir (The Future), despite much opposition from French bishops.  After Pope Gregory XVI condemned leftist Catholics in Mirari Vos (1832) the journal ceased to exist.  Lamennais eventually left the Church.  Lacordaire, however, submitted to the Supreme Pontiff with a combination of grief and grace.

Our saint spent the rest of his life as a figure of widespread yet not universal suspicion within his Church.  He, in demand as an orator, delivered series of influential lectures at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, in 1835 and 1843-1852.  Along the way he joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order) in 1840, thereby restoring that order to France after an absence of half a century.  The Revolution of 1848, according to Lacordaire, was an event the Church should have welcomed, not condemned.  That year, for eleven days, our saint served as a member of the new Constitutent Assembly.  He resigned because of conflicts between his political principles and the Pope’s temporal sovereignty in the Papal States, the existence of which our saint condemned.

Lacordaire, a man more than a century ahead of his time, died, aged 58 years, at Sorèze, France, on November 21, 1861.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 23, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES OF JERUSALEM, BROTHER OF JESUS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Henri Dominique Lacordaire,

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

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Feast of Blessed Enrico Rebushini and St. Luigi Guanella (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of the Vatican

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENRICO REBUSCHINI (APRIL 28, 1860-MAY 10, 1938)

Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick

helped by

SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA (DECEMBER 9, 1842-OCTOBER 24, 1915)

Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph

His feast transferred from October 24

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O my Jesus, draw me entirely to you.  Draw me with all the love of my heart.  If I knew that one fiber of my heart did not palpitate for you, I would tear it out at any cost.  But I know that I could not speak without your help.  Draw me, O my Jesus, draw me completely.  I know it well, my heart cannot rest until it rests in you.

–St. Luigi Guanella

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We need assistance from each other to become what we ought to be spiritually.  To function as an instrument of God in that way is a high calling.

Above:  Blessed Enrico Rebuschini

Image in the Public Domain

Blessed Enrico Rebuschini, born in Gravedona, Como, Italy, on April 28, 1860, encountered obstacles in his spiritual path and received help in overcoming them.  His mother, Sophia, was devout, but his father, Domenico, a tax inspector for the province of Como, had no use for religion.  Young Enrico, the second of five children, discerned a vocation to the religious life, but his father’s opposition frustrated plans for acting on that call.  Our saint studied mathematics at Pavia for one year.  He left due to the anticlericalism rampant at the university.  Rebuschini, back home, performed his year of mandatory military service.  The devout young man graduated (with honors) with a college degree in accounting in 1882.  Then he went to work as an administrator in the silk firm of a brother-in-law.  This employment did not satisfy our saint, prone to severe depression.  Finally, in the summer of 1884, Domenico permitted his son to pursue a religious vocation.  The intervention of St. Luigi Guanella was partially responsible for this decision.

Above:  Saint Luigi Guanella

Image in the Public Domain

Guanella was a priest who acted to help many people with regard to their practical needs.  He, born in Francisco di Campodolino, Sondrio, Italy, on December 9, 1842, was the ninth of thirteen children of the poor and pious Lawrence and Maria Guanella.  Our saint, who started his seminary studies at age 12, became a priest on May 26, 1866.  As a parish priest Guanella opened schools for the poor, founded a nursing home, started an orphanage, and founded a home for the handicapped.  From 1875 to 1878 he had worked with St. John Bosco in caring for homeless children.  Our saint was a friend and advisor of Pope St. Pius X and St. Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1850-1921), from 1894 the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.  Guanella also founded three religious orders–the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity (of the Guanellians, for men), and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph (to pray for the dying).

Guanella suffered a stroke in 1915.  He died of complications of that stroke on October 24 of that year.  He was 72 years old.

Pope John XXIII declared Guanella a Venerable in 1962.  Pope Paul VI declared our saint a Blessed in 1964.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized Guanella in 2011.

Rebuschini was content in 1885, for he was, partially due to help from Guanella, living into his vocation.  Rebuschini was studying for the priesthood at the Gregorian University, Rome.  There was a major problem, however.  In March 1886 our saint fell into a nervous depression that lasted through May 1887.  He returned home.  Rebuschini, pondering that stage of his life in real time, wrote:

There are moments when the hand of God has weighed down on us and has plunged us into suffering…what a month of silence and what suffering at this time.  May God at least put an end to this and give us back our treasure.

Eight years later our saint wrote:

I was sent to a spa.  There God restored my health by giving me total confidence in His infinite goodness and mercy.

Yet Rebuschini never fully recovered his health.  He suffered occasional bouts of depression, although they were not as severe as the period of March 1886-May 1887.  He would have fared better had he lived during a time when better treatments existed.

Rebuschini, who had a devotion to St. Mary, the Mother of God, chose to help those who needed the most.  In 1887 he worked briefly in a hospital, losing his job because he insisted on working not in the assigned department, but instead among the poorest and most isolated patients.  On September 27 of that year our saint joined the Camillians (the Company of the Servants of the Sick) of Verona.  He, ordained a priest on April 14, 1889, made his profession in that order on December 8, 1891.  Among his duties for a few years was to be a hospital chaplain in Verona.

Rebuschini had a reputation as a kind man who sought to focus on the best characteristics of people he met.  He admitted that doing this was difficult for him much of the time; he relied on God to help him succeed.  Our saint was most critical of himself, however; his perfectionist tendencies, applied to himself, led him to regard himself as unworthy of taking on many tasks assigned to him.  He followed through on those tasks anyway.

On a happy note, Rebuschini was a punster.  Obviously he had an excellent sense of humor and a fine vocabulary.

Our saint, a hospital chaplain at Verona (1890-189?) and vice-novice master and professor of theology in that city (by 1895), left for Cremona in 1899.  At Cremona he served as the first chaplain to the Camillian Sisters.  A few years later he took on a second portfolio–that of bursar, which he performed for between 34 and 35 years, until 1937.  During that time Rebuschini also served as superior for 11 years.  In 1938, shortly before he died of pneumonia at the age 78 years, our saint asked forgiveness from all those he thought he might have offended.

Pope John Paul II declared Rebuschini a Venerable in 1995 then a Blessed two years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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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 to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Saviour 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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Feast of the Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878 (September 9)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of the Martyrs of Memphis

Icon Writer = Brother Tobias Stanislaus, Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, Yonkers, New York

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SISTER CONSTANCE (1846-SEPTEMBER 9, 1878)

Caroline Louise Darling

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER THECLA (1838-SEPTEMBER 12, 1878)

Mary Thecla MacMahon

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER RUTH (1846-SEPTEMBER 17, 1878)

Helen George Darling

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER FRANCES (1843-OCTOBER 5, 1878)

Frances Pease

Episcopal Nun

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CHARLES CARROLL PARSONS (1838-SEPTEMBER 6, 1878)

Episcopal Priest

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LOUIS SANDFORD SCHUYLER (1851-SEPTEMBER 17, 1878)

Episcopal Priest

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THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES HELPING OTHERS DURING AN OUTBREAK OF YELLOW FEVER.

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

–John 15:13, Authorised Version

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GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN.

–Inscription on the monument to the Martyrs of Memphis in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee

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The residents of Memphis, Tennessee, were not strangers to yellow fever in the late 1860s and the 1870s.  Three times in ten years epidemics of the disease afflicted the city.

Charles Todd Quintard, elected the Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee in October 1865, sought the help of the new Sisters (later Community) of Saint Mary, founded in 1865, to participate in the process of rebuilding his diocese.  Monasticism, reviving within The Episcopal Church at the time, was controversial; many Evangelical-minded Episcopalians, with their learned hostility to Roman Catholicism, objected not only to the existence of Episcopal nuns but to the fact that they were full habits.  Bishop Quintard obviously did not share this bias.

Mother Harriet Starr Cannon, who had founded the order in 1865 and who served as the Superior, agreed to Quintard’s request.  She sent Sisters Constance, Amelia, Thecla, and Hughetta (then a novice) to Memphis in 1873.  They arrived in late 1873, in time for an outbreak of yellow fever in which about 2000 people in October and November.  The sisters ministered to the suffering.  The nuns were finally able to open the school for girls at St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1874.  Sister Constance, the Superior at Memphis, served as the headmistress of the school, at which Sister Thecla taught English and Latin.

The yellow fever epidemic of August-October 1878 was worse than that of 1873.  About 25,000 people–more than half of the population–left Memphis, leaving about 20,000 inhabitants.  These were those who chose to remain (to help the others) and those who could not leave.  Nearly nine out of ten of those who remained contracted yellow fever.  About one-fourth–5,150–of the 20,000–died.  The average number of deaths was about 200 a day.  The city buried 1,500 of these victims in a mass grave.

Although many people fled for safety, others volunteered to come to Memphis, to join those who had chosen to remain.  Those who risked their lives to help others included doctors, nurses, priests, ministers, nuns, and prostitutes.  Thirty Episcopal priests and some nuns chose to come to the city at that time.  Four Sisters of Saint Mary died between September 9 and October 5.  Among these nuns was Sister Ruth, who died at the age of 32 years.  She had left New York state to help victims in Memphis.  Sister Hughetta (died in 1926), who had been in Memphis since 1873, remained.  She was relatively fortunate, for she only contracted dysentery.  W. T. Dickinson Dalzell, a physician and an Episcopal priest, of Shreveport, Louisiana, went to Memphis, to help.  He had contracted yellow fever some years before, so he knew that he would survive the outbreak.  His medical skills were essential.

Charles Carroll Parsons (1838-September 6, 1878), the Rector of St. Lazarus-Grace Episcopal Church, Memphis, also died.  He, a member of the West Point Class of 1861, had served with distinction in the U.S. Army, been an artillery commander, and risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Civil War.  After that conflict he had become a professor at his alma mater.  Then he had studied for the priesthood, the ranks of which he joined on March 5, 1871.  Immediately prior to arriving in Memphis (to become the Rector of Grace Church, not yet united with St. Lazarus Church), in 1875, Parsons had been the Rector of Holy Innocents’ Church, Hoboken, New Jersey.  Our saint’s widow was Margaret Louisa Britton Parsons (1844-1927).  A personal connection with Charles Carroll Parsons contributed to bringing Louis Sandford Schuyler (1851-September 17, 1878), Assistant Rector of Holy Innocents’ Church, Hoboken, to Memphis, to help the suffering.  Schuyler wanted to minister to those who suffered even though he knew he was almost certainly making a one-way trip.

The yellow fever epidemic of August-October 1878 had devastating effects on Memphis.  Not only was about one-ninth of the population dead (within two months), but the city went bankrupt and lost its charter for fourteen years.  The worst effects were the lost lives.  What might the 5,150 dead have become had they survived?  How many more lives might they have improved?

Bishop Quintard dedicated the high altar of St. Mary’s Cathedral in honor of the four martyred nuns on Pentecost Sunday 1879.

One legacy of the martyred nuns was the increased support for the revival of monasticism in The Episcopal Church.  The Sisters/Community of Saint Mary expanded their work and new orders came into existence.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILSON CARLILE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH ARMY

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We give you thanks and praise, O God of compassion,

for the heroic witness of Constance and her companions,

who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and dying,

and loved not their own lives, even unto death:

Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need,

following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, who with you

and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Job 16:6-9

Psalm 25:15-21

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

John 12:24-28

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 571

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Feast of Harriet Starr Cannon (May 7)   1 comment

Above:  Harriet Starr Cannon

Image in the Public Domain

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HARRIET STARR CANNON (MAY 7, 1823-MARCH 29, 1896)

Foundress of the Community of Saint Mary

Harriet Starr Cannon founded the Community of Saint Mary (initially the Sisters of Saint Mary), the first stable religious community for women in The Episcopal Church, in 1865.  This new order was quite controversial in the denomination at the time.  Was it a Papist threat to the Protestant purity of The Episcopal Church?  That was what many critics alleged?

Cannon was not religious until the 1850s.  She and her older sister, Catherine Ann, were natives of Charleston, South Carolina.  There, on May 7, 1823, Harriet entered the world.  The girls’ parents died of yellow fever when Harriet was 17 months old.  An aunt with five children in her household already raised the sisters in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Harriet lost an eye in an accident, but had generally happy childhood.  Not surprisingly, our saint was close to her older sister, who married then moved to California in 1851.  The plan was for Harriet to join her there.  Nevertheless, in 1855, as Harriet was preparing to leave for the West Coast, Catherine Ann died, leaving Harriet feeling alone.

Harriet, thrown into a crisis, emerged and devoted the rest of her life to God.  In 1856, in New York City, she joined the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion (defunct in 1940), under the direction of William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayres.  Our saint worked as a nurse to the poor at St. Luke’s Hospital.  In 1863 conflict within the Sisterhood led to Cannon and three other sisters leaving the order.

That departure was the prelude to the birth of a new order, the Sisters (later Community) of Saint Mary.  Horatio Potter, the Bishop of New York, received Cannon, Jane Haight, Mary Heartt, Amelia Asten, and Sarah Bridge as the first five sisters of the new order on February 2, 1865.  Our saint served as the first superior of the order, which established institutions (hospitals, convents, schools, mission houses, and orphanages) from Peekstill, New York (the site of the motherhouse) to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Memphis, Tennessee.  The deaths of Sisters Constance, Thecla, Ruth, and Frances, four of the six Martyrs of Memphis, during an outbreak of yellow fever in Memphis while ministering to victims of the disease in August-October 1878 decreased hostility to the renewal of monasticism within The Episcopal Church.  The legacies of these Martyrs of Memphis included the expanded work of the Sisters/Community of Saint Mary and the founding of the Community of Saint John the Baptist (1881), the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity (1882), the Community of the Transfiguration (1898), and the Order of Saint Anne (1910).

When Cannon died, aged 72 years, on March 29, 1896, her order had grown to 104 sisters.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILSON CARLILE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH ARMY

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Gracious God, you called Mother Harriet and her companions

to revive the religious life in the Episcopal Church by founding

the religious community of Saint Mary, and to dedicate their lives to you:

Grant that, after their example, we may ever surrender ourselves to the revelation of your holy will;

through our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with

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

2 Esdras 2:15-24

Psalm 131

Hebrews 13:1-2, 5-8, 15-16

Mark 9:33-37

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 361

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