Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1870s’ Category

Feast of St. Innocent of Alaska (March 30)   Leave a comment

innocent-of-alaska

Above:  St. Innocent of Alaska

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-132144

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IVAN EVSEYEVICH POPOV-VENIAMINOV (AUGUST 26, 1797-MARCH 31, 1879)

Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of North America

Episcopal Church feast day = March 30

Russian Orthodox Church feast days = March 31, October 5, and October 6

St. Innocent, canonized in 1977, was a missionary and a bishop.  He, born at Anginskoye, Verkholensk District, Irkutsk Province, Russian Empire, on August 26, 1797, entered Irkutsk Theological Seminary, Irkutsk, in 1807.  Ten years later our saint became a deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church and the husband of Etaterina (died in 1839), daughter of a priest.  In 1818 he graduated and became a teacher in the parish school at the Church of the Annunciation, Irkutsk.  Three years later he became a priest.

alaska

Above:  Map of Alaska, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

In 1823 our saint volunteered to go to the Aleutian Islands as a missionary.  He, his wife, mother, brother, and infant son left Irkutsk on May 7, 1823, and arrived at the island of Unalaska on July 29, 1824.  For nearly 51 years Alaska was his posting.  He moved, settling at Sitka in 1834 and at Yakutsk in 1853.  Our saint founded churches, converted and baptized many people, mastered dialects and wrote texts about them, translated service books, the catechism, and parts of the Bible; and developed an Aleut alphabet.

alaska-2

Above:  A Detail:  The Aleutian Islands

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

1839 and 1840 were eventful years in the life of our saint.  In St. Petersburg, on Christmas Day (January 5), 1839, he became an archpriest.  Later that year his wife died while visiting Irkutsk.  He subsequently became a monk (taking the name Innocent), an archimandrite (a monk-priest), and the Bishop of Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands, with responsibilities in Alaska.  He returned to Sitka in 1841.  Nine years later St. Innocent became an archbishop.

alaska-3

Above:  A Detail:  Part of the Alaskan Panhandle

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

St. Innocent spent 1865-1879 in Russia.  In 1865 he joined the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Two years later he became the Metropolitan of Moscow, the office he held until he died, aged 81 years, on March 31, 1879.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 8, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPHINA BAKHITA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEROME EMILIANI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF THE SERVANTS OF THE POOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF MALTA AND FELIX OF VALOIS, FOUNDERS OF THE ORDER OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPHINA GABRIELLA BONINO, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY

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Holy Immortal One, you blessed your people by calling Innocent

from leading your Church in Russia to be an apostle and a light to the people of Alaska,

and to proclaim the dispensation and grace of God:

Guide our steps, that as he labored humbly in danger and hardship,

we may witness to the Gospel of Christ wherever we are led,

and serve you as gladly in privation as in power;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Isaiah 41:17-20

Psalm 148:7-13

Philippians 1:3-11

Mark 3:7-15

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 297

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This is post #1500 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of James Solomon Russell (March 27)   Leave a comment

james-solomon-russell

Above:  James Solomon Russell

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES SOLOMON RUSSELL (DECEMBER 20, 1857-MARCH 28, 1935)

Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Advocate for Racial Equality

The feast day of James Solomon Russell in The Episcopal Church is March 28.  However, as the rules of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days stand, the maximum number of commemorations per day is four, and I have four of them on March 28 already.  Therefore I transfer this feast to March 27.

Russell, born a slave near Palmer Springs, Virginia, on December 20, 1857, attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia, when family finances permitted him to do so.  Sometimes our saint had to work as a teacher between periods of being a student.  He also taught after completing his studies at Hampton.  In the 1870s Russell attended annual conferences of the Zion Union Apostolic Church (an 1869 offshoot of the African Methodist Episcopal Church), called the Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church since 1882.  In 1878 he served as the recording secretary of the annual conference.  Later that year, after receiving a copy of The Book of Common Prayer (1789), he decided to become an Episcopalian.

Russell studied for ordained ministry.  He was the first student at St. Stephen’s Normal and Theological Institute (later the Bishop Payne Divinity School), Petersburg, Virginia.  In 1882, after four years of study, he became a deacon.

Russell served at Lawrenceville, Virginia.  There, in 1882, he founded a congregation, which became St. Paul’s Church the following year.  Also in 1882 (on December 20, to be precise), he married Virginia Michigan Morgan, his wife until she died on July 2, 1920.  They couple had two sons and four daughters.  In 1883 the Russells founded the parish school.  Four years later our saint became a priest.  In 1888 he founded St. Paul’s Normal School, which expanded its programs and changed its names over time, ultimately becoming St. Paul’s College, which closed in 2013.  Russell served as the principal and chaplain of the school until he retired in 1929.  He also supported efforts to help African-American farmers improve their economic status, as in the St. Paul’s Farmers’ Conference (1905).

Russell recruited African-American priests.  Due to his efforts as the first Archdeacon for Colored Work in the Diocese of Southern Virginia (from 1893), that diocese had the largest African-American population of any diocese in The Episcopal Church.

Russell received two offers to become a Suffragan Bishop and rejected all of them.  The first came from the Diocese of Arkansas in 1917; the second came from the Diocese of North Carolina the following year.  Our saint cited the importance of his work in Lawrenceville when he rejected those offers.  He also objected to the fact that African-American bishops were subordinate to their white counterparts.  The position in Arkansas went to Edward Thomas Demby, V (1869-1957).  Henry Beard Delany, Sr. (1858-1928), accepted the position in North Carolina.  Russell’s objection eventually led The Episcopal Church to correct that injustice.  [Aside:  I did detect the typographical error–1927 for 1917–in Russell’s biography in A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).]

Russell, citing his age, retired at the end of 1929.  His son, James Alvin Russell, Sr., succeeded him in the leadership role at the school immediately; he retired in 1950.  James Alvin Russell, Jr., served as the President of St. Paul’s College from 1971 to 1981.

Russell asked the Diocese of Virginia to allow full representation of the clergy, regardless of race, at its convention in 1933.  His request met with rejection.

Russell died at Lawrenceville on March 28, 1935.  He was 77 years old.  His autobiography, Adventure in Faith, debuted in print the following year.

The Episcopal Church, which has been honest about its institutional sins of racism, has made much progress since Russell’s time.  Michael Curry, an African American, became the Bishop of North Carolina, in 2000.  Fifteen years later he resigned that position to become the Presiding Bishop of the denomination.

The Diocese of Southern Virginia designated Russell a local saint in 1996.  The General Convention of The Episcopal Church included him on the denominational calendar of saints in 2015, as evident in his inclusion in A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

THE FEAST OF SAINT AVITUS OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS, COFOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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God, font of the resurrected life, we bless you for the courageous witness

of your deacon James Solomon Russell, whose mosaic ministry vaulted over adversity;

allure us into the wilderness and speak tenderly to us there

so that we might love and worship you as he did,

sure of our legacy of saving grace through Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, always and ever.  Amen.

Exodus 22:21-27

Psalm 78:1-7

1 John 4:13-21

Matthew 21:12-16

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

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Feast of Charles Henry Brent (March 27)   Leave a comment

charles-henry-brent

Above:  Charles Henry Brent 

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES HENRY BRENT (APRIL 9, 1862-MARCH 27, 1929)

Episcopal Bishop and Ecumenist

The Feast of Charles Henry Brent falls on March 27 in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Brent was a native of New Castle, Ontario.  He, born on April 9, 1862, studied at Trinity College, Toronto.  Our saint, ordained an Anglican priest in Canada in 1887, served first as the assistant at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Buffalo, New York.  From 1888 to 1901 he lived and worked in Boston, Massachusetts.  There, as the Assistant Rector of St. John the Evangelist Church, with the responsibility for the African-American congregation of St. Stephen’s Church, our saint worked in the slums and came under the influence of the Social Gospel movement.

In 1901 the Episcopal House of Bishops selected Brent to become the Missionary Bishop of the Philippines, a position he held from 1902 to 1919.  There he built up The Episcopal Church, not by “stealing sheep,” but by focusing on evangelism.  He famously refused to compete with the Roman Catholic Church; he would not, in his words, “set up one altar against another.”  Brent did, however, seek to convert people to Christianity.  He also established ecumenical relations with the new Philippine Independent Church, founded by a former Roman Catholic priest.  In the Philippines Brent also became involved in the movement to oppose opium trafficking.  He served as the President of the Opium Conference at Shanghai in 1909 and represented the United States on the Narcotics Committee of the League of Nations in 1923.

From 1917 to 1919 Brent doubled as the Senior Chaplain of the American Expeditionary Forces.  At the request of General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing, he organized and supervised the chaplaincy.

In 1918 Brent accepted election as the Bishop of Western New York, with Buffalo as his see city.  He began his duties the following year and remained the bishop of that diocese for the rest of his life.

Brent was an ecumenical leader in The Episcopal Church and one of the founders of the modern ecumenical movement.  In 1910 he attended the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh, Scotland.  The pioneering ecumenical conference increased cooperation among missionary societies.  Our saint, a convinced ecumenist, became a leader of the cause in his denomination.  Later that year the General Convention of The Episcopal Church proposed what became the First World Conference on Faith and Order (1927) at Lausanne, Switzerland.  At that gathering, over which Brent presided, representatives of about 90 denominations–from the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox to Quakers and some Baptists–discussed doctrine.  The purpose of the conference was to promote doctrinal unity.  Nevertheless, doctrinal differences became apparent quickly, but the gathering did encourage subsequent ecumenism.

Brent died at Lausanne on March 27, 1929, while traveling in Europe.  He was 66 years old.

In 1907 Brent published a certain prayer, one included in his original language in Daily Morning Prayer, Rite One, in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst stretch out thine arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of thy saving embrace:  So clothe us in thy Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know thee to the knowledge and love of thee; for the honor of thy Name.  Amen.

–Page 58

Morning Prayer, Rite Two, in The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes a modern-language version of that prayer.  So does Daily Morning Prayer in Texts for Common Prayer (2013), of the Donatist (in the broad definition of that term) Anglican Church in North America.  Any form of the prayer is absent from the corresponding ritual in The Book of Common Prayer (1928).

Brent’s legacy includes not only a meaningful prayer in The Book of Common Prayer (1979) but the World Council of Churches (founded in 1948) and The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion since 1988).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF JAPAN, 1597-1639

THE FEAST OF SAINT AVITUS OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS, COFOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILEAS AND PHILOROMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Heavenly Father, whose Son prayed that we all might be one:

Deliver us from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance,

that, following your servant Charles Henry Brent,

we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of your Son Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 56:6-8

Psalm 122

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Matthew 9:35-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 293

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Feast of Harriet Tubman (March 26)   Leave a comment

harriet-tubman

Above:  Harriet Tubman

Image in the Public Domain

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HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN DAVIS (1820?-MARCH 10, 1913)

Abolitionist

The Episcopal Church celebrates the lives and legacies of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman on July 20.  I have decided, however, to break up that commemoration on this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Therefore I establish her feast day as being separate and set it at March 26, following the lead of Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

Our saint, born circa 1820 in Dorcester County, Maryland, was originally Araminta “Minty” Ross, a slave.  She endured the humiliations and injustices of slavery; her Christian faith, among other things, helped her to do this.  Our saint was a mystic; she entered into trances and understood God to speak to her.  After a trance in 1849 she escaped to freedom in Canada.

“Minty” became Harriet Tubman in 1844, when she married John Tubman.  He died in 1851.

Tubman’s faith compelled her to put her life at risk for the freedom of slaves.  From 1851 to 1861 she made at least 19 trips to Maryland and back to Canada, to bring more than 300 slaves to freedom.  “Moses,” as many slaves called her, was a physically slight person and a moral giant.  She put her life at risk to help others; the bounty for her capture was $40,000.  (Aside: $40,000 in 1861 currency = $1,110,000 in 2015 currency.)  Tubman relocated to upstate New York in 1858/1859.  During the Civil War she worked as a nurse, a scout, and a spy for the U.S. Army.  She even participated in a raid that freed more than 750 slaves.

Tubman continued her good works after the Civil War.  She, although poor, took African-American orphans and elderly people into her home.  Although she was illiterate, our saint founded schools for African-American children.  When she came into more money, she helped those who were more impoverished than she was.  Our saint, who married Nelson Davis (died in 1888) in 1869, was the adoptive mother of Gertie Davis (born in 1876).  Our saint also advocated for feminist causes, working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.  Tubman, however, chose to focus more on the problems of African Americans than on those of women in general.

Tubman died at Auburn, New York, on March 10, 1913.  She was in her nineties.

In 2016, when the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced plans to replace President Andrew Jackson‘s image on the $20 bill with the likeness of Tubman, candidate Donald Trump denounced the proposed change as an example of political correctness.  Actually, Tubman did more that was positive for the United States than Jackson did.  Jackson, for example, executed the policy of Indian removal, set the stage for the morally indefensible Trail of Tears, and led the charge to destroy the Second Bank of the United States.  The last item alone makes his place on money dubious.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 4, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, WITNESS TO THE CRUCIFIXION

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

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

Help us, like your servant Harriet Tubman, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

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

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Feast of James De Koven (March 22)   Leave a comment

james-de-koven

Above:  James De Koven

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES DE KOVEN (SEPTEMBER 19, 1831-MARCH 19, 1879)

Episcopal Priest

The feast day for James De Koven is March 22.  Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) and A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) spell his name with a space separating “De” and “Koven.”  Nevertheless, some of the histories of The Episcopal Church in my library omit the space, spelling his name “DeKoven.”  “De Koven” is consistent with my research at newspapers.com, where I have found articles from the 1870s using the space.

The native of Middletown, Connecticut, graduated from Columbia College (1851) and the General Theological Seminary (1854).  He, ordained a deacon in 1854, went westward.  The following year the great missionary bishop Jackson Kemper (1789-1870) ordained De Koven to the priesthood.  Our saint taught church history at Nashotah House, administered a preparatory school, and worked as assistant priest at the Church of St. John Chrysostom, Delafield, Wisconsin.  In 1859 he became the Warden of Racine College, Racine, Wisconsin.  He remained in that post for the rest of his life.

De Koven was a ritualist at a time when the Oxford Movement was controversial in The Episcopal Church.  Candles on altars caused major theological arguments, oddly enough.  The issue of ritualism reached the General Conventions of 1871 and 1874.  De Koven came to prominence in The Episcopal Church as a defender of ritualism.  The broadness of the denomination, he argued, should allow for ritualism and transubstantiation.

The General Convention of 1874 amended Canon 20 (Of the Use of the Book of Common Prayer“) as follows:

If any Bishop have reason to believe, or if complaint be made to him in writing by two or more of his Presbyters, that within his jurisdiction ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer, and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or doubtful doctrines, have been introduced by any Minister during the celebration of the Holy Communion (such as

a.)  The elevation of the Elements in the Holy Communion in such a matter as to expose them to the view of the people as objects toward which adoration is to be made.

b.)  Any act of adoration of or toward the Elements in the Holy Communion, such as bowings, prostrations, or genuflections; and

c.)  All other like acts not authorized by the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer):

It shall be the duty of such Bishop to summon the Standing Committee as his Council of Advice, and with them to investigate the matter.

If, after investigation, it shall appear to the Bishop and Standing Committee that ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized as aforesaid,…have in fact have been introduced as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the Bishop, by instrument of writing under his hand, to admonish the Minister so offending to discontinue such practices or ceremonies; and if the Minister shall disregard such admonition, it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee to cause him to be tried for a breach of his ordination vow.

–Quoted in James Thayer Addison, The Episcopal Church in the United States, 1789-1931 (New York, NY:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), page 210

Only one trial resulted from the amendment.  The trial of Oliver S. Prescott of St. Clement’s Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended in an admonition, which did not change the ritual practices in that parish.  The General Convention of 1904 repealed the amendment of 1874 unanimously.

De Koven’s ritualism prevented him from becoming a bishop.  In the 1870s he was a candidate for bishop in several dioceses and came closer to being a bishop of two more dioceses.  He was not alone in experiencing difficulty in becoming a bishop due to the politics of ritualism.  At the General Convention of 1874, for example, George F. Seymour did not receive consent to become the Bishop of Illinois.  Four years later, however, he did become the first Bishop of Springfield.

De Koven turned down non-episcopal opportunities to leave Racine College and to go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; Boston, Massachusetts; and New York, New York.  He died at Racine on March 19, 1879.  He was 47 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

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Almighty and everlasting God, the source and perfection of all virtues,

you inspired your servant James De Koven to do what is right and to preach what is true:

Grant that all ministers and stewards of your mysteries may impart to your faithful people,

by word and example, the knowledge of your grace;

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

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

Exodus 24:1-8

Psalm 132:1-7

2 Timothy 2:10-15, 19

Matthew 13:47-52

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 283

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Feast of St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra (March 20)   Leave a comment

msanchodeguerra

Above:  St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA (SEPTEMBER 7, 1842-MARCH 20, 1912)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus

Also known as Saint Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary and Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus

Piety seems natural for some people.  Consider, O reader, the case of St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra, born at Vitoria, in the Basque region of Spain, on September 7, 1842.

She spent most of her life helping children, elderly people, the sick, the elderly, and the abandoned.  Our saint, aware of their needs from her youth, lost her father to death when she was seven years old.  She spent the next eleven years with relatives in Madrid before joining the Institute of the Servants of Mary.  The new nun, was 18 years old.  The newly minted Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary had joined a new order, one founded in 1851 and devoted to

the practice of charity through the diligent and gratuitous care of the sick, preferably in their own homes.

St. Maria Josefa, who had a devotion to the Eucharist and to St. Mary of Nazareth, entered into a process of spiritual discernment with St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) and St. Maria Soledad (1826-1887), Mother Superior of the order.  Our saint discerned a vocation to found a new order, the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus, which she did at Bilbao in 1871, with four other Servants of Mary.  St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, as she began to call herself, led the order.  When she died at age 69 on March 20, 1912, the order had 43 houses and more than 1000 sisters.

The order continues to serve Christ in the poor and the sick.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1989.  He beatified her three years later and canonized her in 2000.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN YI YON-ON, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN KOREA

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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 Josefa Sancho de Guerra,

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 Blesseds Jan Adalbert Balicki and Ladislaus Findysz (March 15)   Leave a comment

poland-1935

Above:  Map of Poland, 1935

Image Scanned from Rand McNally World Atlas and International Gazetteer–Special Household Edition

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BLESSED JAN ADALBERT BALICKI (JANUARY 25, 1869-MARCH 15, 1948)

Roman Catholic Priest in Poland

His feast day = March 15

mentor of 

BLESSED LADISLAUS FINDYSZ (NOVEMBER 13, 1907-AUGUST 21, 1964)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Poland

His feast transferred from August 21

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Among my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  These two saints fit that bill well.

Jan Adalbert Balicki, born at Staromiescie, Poland, on January 25, 1869, came from a poor and devout family.  His education at Rzeszow instilled a love of Polish culture in him.  Balicki matriculated at the major seminary at Przemysl in September 1888.  He, ordained to the priesthood on July 20, 1892, served briefly as an assistant parish priest at Polna, where he developed a reputation as a skilled homilist and as a man of prayer.  From 1893 to 1897 he studied the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) at the Pontifical Gregorian Institute.

Balicki’s vocation was to work at the major seminary at Przemysl and to guide the spiritual formation of priests.  In 1897 he became Professor of Dogmatic Theology there.  Eventually he spent three years as the Prefect of Studies.  Then he became the Vice Rector in 1927 and the Rector the following year.  Balicki, citing health problems, resigned in 1934.  Yet he continued to live on the premises and to hear confessions and to offer spiritual direction to seminarians.

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Ladislaus Findysz was among those Balicki guided spiritually.  Findysz, born at Kroscienko Nizne, near Krosno, Poland, on December 13, 1907, also came from a poor and devout family.  The Felician Sisters educated the young saint, who joined the Marian Solidarity.  He matriculated at the major seminary at Przemysl in 1927.  Findysz, ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1932, was an assistant parish priest at the following places:

  1. Boryslaw (now in the Ukraine), 1932-1935;
  2. Drohobycz (now in the Ukraine), 1935-1937;
  3. Strzyoro, 1937-1940; and
  4. Jaslo, 1940-1941.

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In 1939, as part of the partition of Poland, the boundary between German and Soviet zones passed through Przemysl.  Balicki remained in the Soviet zone and hoped to keep the major seminary operational.  He had to relocate the seminary and himself to the episcopal residence.  After World War II, in Soviet-dominated Poland, Balicki struggled with failing health.  He died of pneumonia and tuberculosis at Przemysl on March 15, 1948.  He was 79 years old.

poland-1945

Above:  Map of Poland, Post-World War II

Scanned from Your Post-World War II Supplement (no earlier than 1949) to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Balicki had written a study of mystical prayer, four stages of which he identified:

  1. Prayer of quiet,
  2. Prayer of simple union,
  3. Ecstatic union, and
  4. Perfect union.

He also identified seven steps for progress in the spiritual life:

  1. Serious approach to life,
  2. Readiness to be critical of oneself,
  3. Unshakable confidence in prayer,
  4. Joy of spirit,
  5. Love for suffering,
  6. Praise of divine mercy, and
  7. Continuous self-amendment.

Pope John Paul II declared Balicki a Venerable in 1994 and a Blessed in 2002.

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Findysz operated out of Nowy Zmigrod, Poland, from 1941 until his death, with a few exceptions.  In 1941 he became the parish administrator there.  Eventually he became the parish priest.  It was a tumultuous era, one defined by World War II and the Cold War.  In October 1944 the German Army, retreating westward, expelled the inhabitants of the town.  Findysz returned the following year; his purposes were to rebuild the parish and to minister to war refugees.  The secret police of the Soviet-dominated Polish government kept him under surveillance from 1946 to 1964, when he died.  Our saint, an honorary canon in 1946, received orders from the government to cease teaching the catechism in 1952.  That government, to make his ministry more difficult, forced Findysz to live outside his parish in 1952 and 1954.  In 1957 he became the Vice Dean of the deanery; his title changed to Dean five years later.

The final blow fell in 1963.  That year Findysz began Conciliar Works of Charity, a campaign of writing letters to encourage parishioners to return to the Church.  This led to his arrest (on November 25, 1963) on the charge of forcing religion on the parishioners.  The result of the show trial (December 16 and 17) was a sentence of 30 months in prison.  His health was already failing; our saint required surgery for cancer of the esophagus.  Authorities guaranteed that he did not receive that procedure.  Finally they released him in February 1964; his health had broken and his cancer had become inoperable.  Findysz died, aged 56 years, at Nowy Zmigrod, on August 21, 1964.

The Roman Catholic Church classifies him as a martyr.

Pope John Paul II declared Findysz a Venerable in 2004.  Pope Benedict XVI beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT SAINT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Blessed Jan Adalbert Balicki and Blessed Ladislaus Findysz,

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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