Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1870s’ Category

Feast of Joseph and Mary Gomer (September 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sierra Leone, 1951

Image Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951), 94

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JOSEPH GOMER (JULY 20, 1834-SEPTEMBER 6, 1892)

husband of

MARY GREEN GOMER (DIED DECEMBER 1, 1896)

U.S. United Brethren in Christ Missionaries in Sierra Leone

This feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Orlo Strunk, Jr., In Faith and Love (1968), a U.S. Methodist Sunday School resource for adults.  The volume profiles 11 people, including the then-recently deceased St. John XXIII, listed under this other name, Angelo Roncalli.  The book contains a biography of Joseph Gomer, but I extend this feast to include Mary Green Gomer, whose story comes bound up with that of her husband.  Unfortunately, little information about her is available.

The Gomers were the first African-American missionaries the former Church of the United Brethren in Christ (one of the predecessors of The United Methodist Church) commissioned.  For more than two decades the Gomers worked as missionaries in Sierra Leone, building the first successful relationship between Christianity and the people of Shenge, Sherbro Island, and laying the foundation for faith in members of generations alive today.

Joseph Gomer seemed like an unlikely choice for missionary work.  He, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on July 20, 1834, grew up on a farm near Battle Creek, Michigan.  He attended school with white youth, but had to endure racist insults daily.  At the age of 16 years Gomer left home and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he found a job in a furniture store.  In the Windy City our saint also joined the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  During the Civil War he served as a cook in the U.S. Army.  After the war, on a steamboat from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Dayton, Ohio, Gomer met Mary Green, a widow traveling with her adolescent daughter to home in Chillicothe, Ohio.  The couple had become engaged to marry before the steamboat docked in Dayton.  That year they married in Third United Brethren Church, Dayton.  Joseph worked as a foreman in a large mercantile house.  His responsibilities were in the purview of measuring and fitting carpets.  The Gomers were active in Third Church, holding formal and informal leadership positions.  Joseph, for example, often had more than one title simultaneously.

The Gomers’ lives changed in 1870.  The denomination had established a mission on Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone, in the late 1850s.  The mission grew coffee and rubber trees.  After the missionary assigned there died in 1870, the Gomers applied to fill the vacancy.  They were lay members.  They were relatively uneducated and lacked missionary training.  Furthermore, the denomination had not yet commissioned any African-American missionaries.  The United Brethren commissioned the Gomers and sent them to Sherbro Island, however.  The Gomers sailed on November 8, 1870, and arrived in January 1871.

The challenges facing the Gomers were daunting, and their frustrations were also numerous and great.  For starters, they arrived at a mission post consisting of rundown buildings and few people who cared about the mission.  After all, there had been no missionary there most of a year.  Many of the local people thought of Christianity as a religion just for white people.  Competition among missionaries of various denominations was a drawback, and local feuding chiefs created civil strife.

Nevertheless, the Gomers accomplished much.  They introduced more efficient farming techniques, built a thriving industrial school, fought superstition and ignorance, eschewed denominational competition, convinced many locals that Christianity was a religion for Africans, converted many people, inspired people to repair buildings and construct new ones, and reconciled mutually hostile chiefs.  Mary focused on working with women and children.  Joseph became an ordained minister during his years as a missionary.  The Gomers cared about the people among whom they labored for the glory of God.  The couple’s skin color helped them to build relationships with people on Sherbro Island.  The Gomers served three terms in Sierra Leone, with breaks in the United States from November 1875 to November 1876 and from April 1889 to November 1889.

During the third term of service Joseph was planning to retire, given his failing health.  He never retired, for he died in Freetown on September 6, 1892.  He was 58 years old.

Mary retired from missionary service in May 1894.  Then she returned to Dayton, Ohio, where she died on December 1, 1896.

Men and women such as Joseph and Mary Gomer have been essential to the building up of the Church.

One lesson from the story of the Gomers is that sometimes the people best suited for a particular role are the ones who seem most unlikely.  As the Bible teaches, God qualifies the called.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LEO XIII, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGISUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL HANSON COX, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND ABOLITIONIST; AND HIS SON, ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servants Joseph Gomer and Mary Green Gomer,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-7

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of James Bolan Lawrence (September 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia

Scanned from a Business Card

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JAMES BOLAN LAWRENCE (JANUARY 2, 1878-JULY 28, 1947)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.

Also known as Brother Jimmy Lawrence

“The Bishop of Buckwheat”

In The Episcopal Church the commemoration of saints has become complicated during the last decade or so.  Editions of The Book of Common Prayer have, since the first one in 1549, included major feasts, the number of which has increased as Prayer Book revision has taken place from time to time.  The first edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts debuted in 1963 as the calendar expanded.  Subsequent editions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (through 2006) have become thicker as the General Convention as added more saints.  The most recent General Convention approved Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, with more saints than Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006Lesser Feasts and Fasts has remained the official denominational calendar of commemorations despite the even more expanded calendar defined first by Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) then by A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016).  Many dioceses have long observed their local saints also.  Some of these local commemorations have filtered up to the denominational level.  The Diocese of Georgia has, since 1999, recognized James Bolan Lawrence as a saint, with September 3 as his feast day.  His feast has remained particular to the Diocese of Georgia, except, as far as I know, at this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

James Bolan Lawrence was a dedicated missionary.  He born, in Marietta, Georgia, on January 2, 1878, was the fifth of six children of Robert de Treville Lawrence (b. 1841) and Anna E. Atkinson.  Lawrence, baptized in St. James Episcopal Church, Marietta, Georgia (then in the Diocese of Georgia; in the Diocese of Atlanta since 1907), graduated from General Theological Seminary, New York City.  He, a bachelor, collected silver cups, entertained at home, was a wonderful conversationalist, and maintained a rigorous schedule as he ministered to his parish and missions.

For 42 years (1905-1947) Lawrence served as the Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia.  Most of those years he was also the Archdeacon of Albany; in that capacity he had administrative authority over missions.  As the Rector of Calvary Church Lawrence oversaw construction (completed in 1921) of the new building, designed by Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), the architect who designed the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York City.  Lawrence also founded the following rural congregations:

  1. Holy Trinity Church, Blakely;
  2. Epiphany Church, Cuthbert;
  3. St. James Church, Pennington;
  4. Calvary Church, Dawson; and
  5. the unorganized mission at Benevolence.

Lawrence also served at Prince of Peace Church, Vienna; and Christ Church, Cordele.

Above:  Locations of Churches Lawrence Served

Map Source = Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951), 171

If that were not enough, Lawrence did more.  In 1929 he became a trustee of the Fort Valley High and Industrial School, an institution of The Episcopal Church.  (Now it is Fort Valley State University, a public institution.)  And, in 1934-1935, Lawrence was a candidate for Bishop Coadjutor of Georgia.  Middleton Stuart Barnwell (1884-1957) won that election and succeeded to the post of Bishop of Georgia in 1936.  He served until 1954.

Lawrence, the rector of one parish and the vicar of several missions, began to anticipate his retirement in the 1940s.  His intention was to retire to Pennington and spend his final years as the Vicar of St. James Church.  None of that happened, though.  He suffered his first heart attack in December 1945, when he was 67 years old.  Lawrence eventually resumed priestly duties, but had a second heart attack on Sunday, May 25, 1947.  He died on St. Simon’s Island on July 28, 1947.  Lawrence was 69 years old.  He could not spend retirement as the Vicar of St. James Church, Pennington, but he found his final resting place there.  Other priests continued the work he had begun and continued.

Time has marched on.  Of the churches Lawrence founded, only Holy Trinity, Blakely, has survived.  (I have visited there.  The buildings have long been near the courthouse square.)  Calvary Church, Dawson, closed; Holy Spirit Church, Dawson, succeeded it.  Calvary Church, Americus, suffered a schism in 2012; the congregation has struggled since then.  If that were not enough, the physical structure has become endangered, in the name of economic progress.

Yet I have discerned reasons for optimism.  Christ Church, Cordele, was struggling when I was a member there, in 1998-2001.  I recall vocalized questions about whether the congregation would continue to exist.  The church, long a perpetual mission, except for a few years in the 1970s, when it was a parish, has been thriving again for some years now.

I predict that the best years of Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, await it.

May the legacy of James Bolan Lawrence and the call of the Great Commission continue to inspire people–especially in The Episcopal Church–in southwestern Georgia.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant James Bolan Lawrence,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of southwestern Georgia.

Raise up in this and very land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of F. Crawford Burkitt (September 2)   1 comment

Above:  Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Creator and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08091

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FRANCIS CRAWFORD BURKITT (SEPTEMBER 3, 1864-MAY 13, 1935)

Anglican Scholar, Theologian, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

Also known as F. Crawford Burkitt and F. C. Burkitt

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The Liberal theologian’s task is to restate the Christian message that it can be understood by the modern man.  And, further, the Liberal theologian is generally enough of a modern man to believe that some points of what generally asses for the Christian message and the Christian organisation are really outworn, and need to be dropped to make room for new developments and arrangements.

–F. Crawford Burkitt, “Theological Liberalism,” pp. 24-25, in Anglican Liberalism (1908)

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Francis Crawford Burkitt was a great scholar of the Bible and other topics.  These subjects included the early Church, the New Testament, hagiography, Roman history, and the Arabic language.  He also wrote one hymn, “Our Lord, His Passion Ended,” and contributed two translations “Wake, O Wake! With Tidings Thrilling” and “Receive, O Lord, in Heaven Above“) to The English Hymnal (1906).

Burkitt, born in London, England, on September 3, 1864, seemed destined for scholarly work.  He, educated at Harrow then at Trinity College, Cambridge University (B.A., 1886; M.A., 1889), joined an expedition to St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt, in 1893.  The previous year twin sisters Agnes and Margaret Smith, scholars, had discovered a Syraic palimpsest (“A parchment from which one writing has been erased, and on which another has been written,” according to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language–Unabridged, 1951) of the Gospels.  The Smith sisters also participated in the expedition, as did Robert Bensly and James Rendel Harris(I have made a note to myself to consider adding Bensly, Harris, and the Smith sisters to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.)  The five scholars examined the palimpsest and published their findings.  Burkitt, from 1904 a Fellow of the British Academy, became the Norrisian Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University the following year.  He, a layman, held that post for the rest of his life–about 30 years.

The oeuvre of Burkitt’s writings is impressive.  I encourage you, O reader, to seek it at archive.org.

On the personal side, Burkitt, a friend of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), was the husband of Amy Persis Parry (1862-1949) and father of Miles Crawford (M. C.) Burkitt (1890-1971), a renowned archaeologist and anthropologist.

Our saint, aged 70 years, died at Grandchester, Cambridgeshire, on May 13, 1935.

Burkitt came to my attention via one of his hymns.  According to my practice, I wrote down his name for future consideration for addition to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Learning about him has proven to be quite pleasant, edifying, and more what I had guessed I might find.  That has been an example of serendipity.  Hopefully it has been serendipitous for you too, O reader.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [F. Crawford Burkitt and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of David Pendleton Oakerhater (September 1)   1 comment

Above:  David Pendleton Oakerhater

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER (CIRCA 1847-AUGUST 31, 1931)

Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma

Born O-kuh-ha-tah (“Making Medicine”)

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You all know me.  You remember when I led you out to war and I went first, and what I told you was true.  Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader.  He goes first, and all he tells me is true.  I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace.

–O-kuh-ha-tah (David Pendleton Oakerhater), 1881

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The institutional church has much to recommend it, but it does also have a checkered and frequently disturbing past.  Consider, for example, O reader, the treatment of indigenous peoples in many lands.  If one is honest, one must admit that the Church has often fall short of the high standard of Christ in that and other regards.

O-kuh-ha-tah (literally “Making Medicine”), born circa 1847 on the Cheyenne reservation in the western part of the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), became a lonely missionary in a neglected mission.  He was a warrior, fighting other tribes and the United States Government over land rights from the late 1860s to the middle 1870s.  O-kuh-ha-tah’s involvement in the Red River War (1874-1875) led to his capture by the U.S. Army in 1875.  He and other prisoners of war interred at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida, were subject to a rigorous policy of cultural assimilation.  (While I do not pretend that cultural assimilation of indigenous peoples has had no positive consequences for them, neither do I pretend that the policy was not overall negative for them.  In every policy one can identify the good and the bad.  The real question is whether the good or the bad is dominant.)

On the positive side, the prisoners of war received frequent visits from Episcopalians, many of them vacationers in St. Augustine.  These Episcopalians shared their faith.  One of these visitors was Alice Pendleton (1824-1886), daughter of Francis Scott Key (1779-1866) and wife of George Hunt Pendleton (1825-1889), U.S. Representative (1857-1865) and Senator (1879-1885) from Ohio.  (He was most famous for the Civil Service Act of 1883, which began to end the spoils system and ended his career in the Senate.)  Another visitor was Mary Douglass Burnham (1832-1904), a deaconess from the Diocese of New York.  Via Burnham O-kuh-ha-tah and three other prisoners traveled to Paris Hill, New York, to study under John L. Wicks (1838-1918), Rector of St. Paul’s Church, in April in 1878.  Later that year, at Grace Church, Syracuse, the four Natives became baptized Christians.  O-kuh-ha-tah’s baptismal name was David Pendleton Oakerhater; “Pendleton” was in honor of Alice Pendleton.  In 1879 O-kuh-ha-tah’s first wife and three-year-old son joined him in New York.  They died the following year; she shuffled off her mortal coil in childbirth.

O-kuh-ha-tah remarried more than once.  He buried most of his children, who died young.  When he died in 1931, however, he had descendants.

In 1881 O-kuh-ha-tah and Paul Caryl Zotom (a Kiowa; circa 1853-1913) became Episcopal deacons.  They were the only two of the four to complete the three-year program.  One had died in 1880.  The other had chosen to pursue blacksmithing instead.  Wicks and the deacons went to the Indian Territory.  Wicks returned to New York after a while.  Zotom abandoned the Christian faith by 1889.  O-kuh-ha-tah remained at his post in the western part of the territory (later the State of Oklahoma) for the rest of his life.

O-kuh-ha-tah was a deacon and never a priest.  There were indigenous priests in Anglicanism in North America at the time, though.  The first member of one of the First Nations ordained in the Anglican tradition was Sakachuwescum/Henry Budd (circa 1812-1875), a member of the Cree Nation in Canada, ordained to the priesthood in 1850.  Enmegahbowh (1807/1813-1902), from the Ojibwa Nation, became the first indigenous priest in The Episcopal Church in 1867.  The second indigenous Episcopal priest was Paul Mazakute, ordained in 1869.  (I have made a note to myself to consider adding Mazakute to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, in time.)

From 1887 to 1917 O-kuh-ha-tah labored faithfully at the Whirlwind Mission in western Oklahoma.  He served in the parish church, operated a school, and helped a population beset by a plethora of problems, including diseases and poverty.  The Church, bowing to federal pressure, closed the Whirlwind Mission in 1917 and put our saint on a pension, but he continued the mission informally until he died at Watonga, Oklahoma, on August 31, 1931.

There was no Episcopal presence in the region for a generation.  In the 1960s, however, there were still Cheyenne and Arapaho who had learned the faith from him or some those to whom he had ministered.  The current Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family, Watonga, began in 1992.

O-kuh-ha-tah became the first Native American added to The Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints, in 1985.  Since then the Church has added others, among them Enmegahbowh, Sakachuwescum/Henry Budd, and Onangwatgo/Cornelius Hill (1834-1907), all priests.

Red and yellow, black and white,

they are precious in his sight,

a children’s song about the love of Jesus tells us.  But are people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds precious in our sight?  Or are we too caught up in our racism and ethnocentrism to cease injuring the image of God in them?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, you chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater,

to be your servant, an sent him to be a missionary to his own people,

and to exercise the office of a deacon among them:

Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self,

and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us;

through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96:1-7

Romans 8:1-6

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 555

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Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan (August 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Portrait of St. Jeanne Jugan, by Leon Brune

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JEANNE JUGAN (OCTOBER 25, 1792-AUGUST 29, 1879)

Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor

Also known as Sister Marie of the Cross

Her feast transferred from August 29

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Little Sisters, take good care of the aged, for in them you are caring for Christ Himself.

–Saint Jeanne Jugan

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On the Roman Catholic calendar of saints August 29 is the feast of St. Jeanne Jugan.  August 29, on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is the day reserved fr the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, a Biblical figure.  I therefore transfer Jugan’s feast one day.  Incidentally, August 30 is her feast day in All Saints (1997), by Robert Ellsberg.

There is a certain kind of hagiography I like to write.  It is an account of a determined, industrious person pursuing his or her vocation from God and receiving help from influential people at critical junctures.  Thus the saint succeeds in glorifying God and bringing benefits to many people via the combination of talent, effort, and patronage.  We humans are supposed to help each other become the best people we can be in God, after all.

This is a succinct summary of the life of Michael Faraday (1791-1867), who would not have been a great scientist without help.  He was brilliant and hard-working, but he needed someone to open a proverbial door for him at a crucial moment; he needed for someone to give him his big break.

It is not a summary of the life of St. Jeanne Jugan, however.  No, the story of her life is an account of a saint whom others–one priest, in particular–held back for selfish reasons.

St. Jeanne Jugan knew poverty and menial labor well.  She, born in Cancale, Brittany, France, on October 25, 1792, grew up in a pious, poor family.  Her father, Joseph, was a fisherman who was often at sea.  He died when St. Jeanne was four years old.  Her mother was Marie, a farmer.  Our saint, at the age of 16 years, became a maid.  She accompanied her employer, a Christian woman, on regular visits to poor and sick people.  This inspired St. Jeanne to dedicate her life to God and not to marry.  She resolved to help poor, sick people also.

The 25-year-old St. Jeanne, filled with a sense of mission, gave away her possessions, such as they were, and spent six years serving Christ in the poor at the hospital in Saint Servan.  It was a pious undertaking.  It was also an exhausting commitment.  St. Jeanne returned to life as a domestic servant.  Years passed.

In 1837 the 45-year-old St. Jeanne went to work as a spinner.  She gave her disposable income to the less fortunate.  Our saint also began to go door-to-door, collecting money for the support of impoverished widows.  This led to the founding of the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1843, with St. Jeanne as the superior.  The order expanded its work and increased in membership under her leadership.

The local bishop appointed a new superior general, Father Auguste Le Pailleur.  By 1852 he had seized complete control, rewriting history to depict himself as the actual founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Le Pailler sidelined St. Jeanne, known as Sister Marie of the Cross, who spent the last 27 years of her life as a marginal figure, performing menial labor, in the order she had founded.  She died, aged 88 years, in Saint-Pern, France, on August 29, 1879.  To the end St. Jeanne maintained proper perspective; the mission of the Little Sisters of the Poor was more important than she was.

The Church acknowledged St. Jeanne’s proper place in history posthumously.  Pope John Paul II declared her a Venerable in 1979 then a Blessed in 1982.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. Jeanne in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGE BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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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 and 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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle (August 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle

Images in the Public Domain

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THOMAS GALLAUDET (JUNE 3, 1822-AUGUST 27, 1902)

Episcopal Priest and Educator of the Deaf

mentor of

HENRY WINTER SYLE (NOVEMBER 9, 1846-JANUARY 6, 1890)

Episcopal Priest and Educator of the Deaf

First Deaf Man Ordained in The Episcopal Church

August 27 is the joint feast of Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle in The Episcopal Church.

The Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787-1851) and his wife, Sophia Fowler Gallaudet (1798-1877) were pioneers in the education of deaf people in the United States of America.  In 1817 he helped to found and became the principal of the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons, now the American School for the Deaf, West Hartford, Connecticut.  He was the Gallaudet of Gallaudet University, founded in 1856 as the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, Washington, D.C., in 1856, and renamed the National Deaf-Mute College eight years later then Gallaudet College in 1894.  Sophia was one of the leading advocates for the college charter; she served as the first matron of the college.  One of their sons, Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837-1917), was the superintendent (1856-1864) and president (1864-1910).

Thomas Gallaudet was another child of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Sophia Fowler Gallaudet.  Our saint, born in Hartford Connecticut, on June 3, 1822, became a teacher of deaf-mutes.  He, after graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1842, taught in a rural school for a year.  Next Gallaudet taught at the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes.  He cared deeply about the spiritual lives of deaf-mutes.

Therefore he pioneered church accessibility for deaf people in the United States of America.  Gallaudet, married to Elizabeth Budd, who was deaf, became an Episcopal deacon in 1850.  He, assigned to St. Stephen’s Church, New York City, founded a Bible class for deaf-mutes.  As a priest (from 1851) and as the assistant at St. Ann’s Church, New York City, our saint continued to work with deaf people.  He founded St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes in 1852.  Two decades later Gallaudet founded The Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes, an aid society.  That year he also helped to found the Home for Aged and Infirm Deaf-Mutes, New York City.  The Gallaudet Home moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1886.  He, aged 80 years, died in New York City on August 27, 1902.

I refer you, O reader, to Gallaudet’s memorial at anglicanhistory.org.

Henry Winter Syle made history.  He, born in Shanghai, China, on November 9, 1846, was a son of the Reverend Edward W. Syle, an Episcopal missionary.  Our saint, who moved to the United States at the age of four years, went deaf at the age of six years due to scarlet fever.  For the rest of his life Syle suffered from ill health.  In 1853 Syle matriculated at Bartlett’s School, New York City.  He moved to Hartford, Connecticut, with the school.  Syle matriculated at Trinity College, Hartford, in 1863, but could not complete his studies there because of ill health.  He wanted to attend the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University), but President Edward Miner Gallaudet persuaded him to study at St. John’s College, Cambridge, instead.  Failing health forced our saint to leave that institution also.  Syle finally graduated from an institution of higher learning–Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut (B.A., 1869; M.A., 1872).  He became the first deaf man to graduate from a college not founded for deaf people.

Syle became a teacher and the librarian at the New York Institution for the Deaf.  He also started a night school for deaf people.  He did this while working on his M.A. from Yale College.  In New York City Syle was one of Gallaudet’s parishioners.   In 1872 Syle married Margaret Flannery, also deaf.  Syle left the deaf school to become an employee of the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile Syle, active in Syle’s missionary program to the deaf, undertook theological studies.  In 1876 he became the first deaf man ordained in The Episcopal Church.  Syle, a deacon until 1884, when he joined the ranks of priests, founded the first Episcopal church built for deaf people–All Souls’ Church, Philadelphia.

Syle died of pneumonia in Philadelphia on January 6, 1890.  He was 43 years old.

Gallaudet and Syle worked to include deaf people in the Church.  They pioneered much of what has become mainstream.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2018 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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O Loving God, whose will it is that everyone should come to you and be saved:

We bless your holy Name for your servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle,

whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today,

and we pray that you will continually move your Church to respond in love to the needs of all people;

through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf,

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

Isaiah 35:3-6a

Psalm 25:7-14

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

Mark 7:32-37

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 543

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Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars (August 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT TERESA OF JESUS, JORNET Y IBARS (JANUARY 9, 1843-AUGUST 26, 1897)

Catalan Roman Catholic Nun, and Cofoundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly

Also known as Saint Teresa Jornet Ibars

St. Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars, dedicated much of her life to caring for vulnerable elderly people.  She, born in Aytona, Lleida, Spain, on January 9, 1843, was a daughter of Francisco José Jornet and Antoineta Ibars, farmers.  St. Teresa, as a girl, cared actively for local poor people.  At the age of 19 years she began to teach in Barcelona.  In 1868, at the age of 25 years, our saint applied to join the Poor Clares, but political turmoil in Spain led to the rejection of that request.  St. Teresa joined the Secular Carmelites instead in 1870.  Two years later she and her sister Maria founded their first home for the care of abandoned elderly people in Barbastro.  In 1873, with help from her spiritual advisor, Father (now Venerable) Saturnino Lopez Novoa (1830-1905), she founded the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly.  St. Teresa became Teresa of Jesus and the first superior of the order.  Our saint persevered in the good work for the rest of her life.  In 1897 she ministered to victims of an outbreak of cholera.  St. Teresa died of tuberculosis in Liva, Valencia, Spain, on August 26, 1897.  She was 54 years old.

Pope Pius XII declared our saint a Venerable in 1957 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1974.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2018 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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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 and 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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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