Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1900s’ Category

Feast of Francis J. McConnell (August 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Bishop Francis John McConnell

Scanned from Orlo Strunk, Jr., In Faith and Love (1968), 120

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FRANCIS JOHN MCCONNELL (AUGUST 18, 1871-AUGUST 18, 1953)

U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer

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One effect of prophecy is to force the enemies of the moral ideal into the open, to make them declare themselves, if not in speech at least in action.  It is sometimes said that moral evils in a social community destroy themselves by their own follies.  This often comes about through the self-revelation of the forces of evil due to prophetic pressure.  Politics, we are told, makes strange bedfellows.  What drives the enemies of the truth into close union and fellowship is often their common hatred of the prophet.

This, then, is the duty of the prophet–to force moral issues into public attention and to keep them there.

–Bishop Francis John McConnell

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Bishop Francis John McConnell, a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and The Methodist Church (1939-1968), predecessors of The United Methodist Church (1968-), comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Orlo Strunk, Jr., In Faith and Love (1968), a Methodist resource for adult Sunday School.  The book contains biographies of eleven Christians of the twentieth century, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Pope St. John XXIII, whom it calls by his birth name, Angelo Roncalli.  This is a fine volume I purchased at a thrift store in 2014.

Christ calls people to be salt and light in the world.  Salt preserves and heightens flavor.  Light scatters the darkness.  Both transform.

Bishop McConnell understood this well.  He, born in Trinway, Ohio, on August 18, 1871, was a preacher’s kid.  His father, I. H. McConnell, was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and a preacher in the revivalistic, pietistic sort; the emphasis was on individual salvation.  Our saint learned doctrines and Bible stories from his mother, Nancy Chalfant McConnell, widowed during the year Francis spent at Andover Preparatory School.  She was a cautious, fair-minded woman to whom others turned to arbitrate their disputes.  Her preference was for reconciliation.

McConnell discerned the call to ordained ministry.  He, an 1894 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, continued his studies at the Boston University School of Theology, graduating in 1897, the year he married Eva Hemans Thomas (1871-1968), also a member of the Ohio Wesleyan University Class of 1894.  During the following years they had a daughter and two sons, and McConnell earned his Ph.D.  He transferred from the New England Conference to the New York Conference, serving in parish ministry until 1909.

For three years (1909-1912) McConnell was the President of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana.  He expanded the institution’s curriculum and endowment.  McConnell also learned from idealistic students interested in the social applications of the Gospel, especially in realms such as economics, industrial relations, and race relations.  That outward focus–as McConnell later phrased it–“social cross-bearing”–was evident in his life.  He was, from 1912 to 1944, the President of the Methodist Federation for Social Service.  Good people who resigned themselves to injustice were the greatest threats to social progress, he argued.  The Church, he insisted, should function as an agent of liberation, not making people feel guilty for committing imaginary sins, such as attending plays.  Furthermore, McConnell wrote, the Church has been guilty of a lack of social imagination and therefore of supporting injustices, rather than confronting them.

McConnell was a bishop, starting in 1912.  He served in the Denver Area (1912-1920), the Pittsburgh Area (1920-1928), and the New York Area (1928-1944).  [Explanatory Note:  In the Methodist tradition an Episcopal area is a bishop’s territory.  It might consist of one conference, or perhaps of more than one.]  McConnell also served as the President of the Federal Council of Churches, a predecessor the National Council of Churches, from 1929 to 1933.  He retired from active service in 1944.

McConnell died in Lucasville, Ohio, on August 19, 1953, his eighty-second birthday.

One of McConnell’s quotes that is especially applicable in the context of the increased political tribalism in the United States in 2018, often to the point of mistaking the administration for the state, is this:

We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us.

The McConnells were a married couple for fifty-six years, five months, and seven days (March 11, 1897-August 18, 1953).  In 1952 the bishop wrote of his beloved Eva,

…after having known her for nearly sixty years, I have never seen any trait in her in which I would suggest improvement.

Eva, the Vice President of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, often traveled with her husband.  She died in 1968, aged 97 years.

The McConnells were indeed salt and light.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT

THE FEAST OF BERNARD ADAM GRUBE, GERMAN-AMERICAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, COMPOSER, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF CARL BERNHARD GARVE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Francis J. McConnell,

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), 60

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Feast of Artemisia Bowden (August 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Historical Marker for the Original Site of St. Philip’s College, San Antonio, Texas

Image Source = Darrylpearson

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ARTEMISIA BOWDEN (JANUARY 1, 1879-AUGUST 18, 1969)

African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist

The Episcopal Church added Artemisia Bowden to its calendar of saints at the General Convention of 2015.

Above:  St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Georgia, Late 1950s

Scanned from Henry Thompson Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960)

Bowden was a native of Georgia.  She, born in Albany on January 1, 1879, was a child of former slaves Mary Molette Bowden and Miles Bowden.  She grew up in Brunswick.  The family was active in St. Athanasius Episcopal Church.  Our saint and her siblings attended the parochial school.

Above:  St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Georgia

Image Source = Ebyabe

Then Bowden left Georgia.  She attended St. Augustine’s Normal School, Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating in 1900.  Our saint taught at a parochial school in North Carolina then at High Point Normal and Industrial School, High Point, before departing for Texas in 1902.  James Steptoe Johnston, the Episcopal Bishop of West Texas, recruited Bowden to take charge of the St. Philip’s Day School, San Antonio, founded in 1898.  The institution, which changed its name and expanded its mission over time, was at the time a school for African-American girls.  Bowden transformed the day school into St. Philip’s Normal, Grammar, and Industrial School, added dormitories, and, in 1926, became the president of the new junior college.

Bowden led the school in all its incarnations from 1902 to 1954, when she retired.  The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of West Texas could not support the college financially during the Great Depression, but our saint kept the school operating.  In 1942, after years of effort, she succeeded in persuading the San Antonio Independent School District to take over the college, with our saint assuming the title of Dean.  She had argued that the district already operated a white junior college, therefore had an obligation to provide the same opportunity for African Americans.  The college, integrated in 1955, has become a racially and ethnically diverse institution with majority Hispanic enrollment.

While our saint presided over an educational institution she continued her education.  Bowden graduated from St. Augustine’s College (her alma mater, renamed) in 1935, and did graduate work in education in social work at several universities.  She also received honorary degrees, which she deserved.

Bowden, who never married, also found time for civil engagement.  She served as the President of the San Antonio Metropolitan Council of Negro Women, founded and led the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, and sat on the executive committee of the Coordination Council on Juvenile Delinquency of the Texas Social Welfare Association, as well as (from 1947) the Texas Commission on Interracial Relations.  She also made the African-American nursing unit of Robert B. Green Hospital possible, secured Lindbergh Park for African-American residents of San Antonio, founded the East End Settlement House in the city, and helped to found the State Training School for Delinquent Negro Girls (later the Crockett State School) in 1950.  The State of Texas, citing the state budget, closed the school in 2011.

Bowden received a variety of honors.  The Zeta Phi Beta sorority named her its woman of the year in 1955.  The school district named an elementary school after her.  And the National Council of Negro Women listed Bowden as one of the ten most outstanding female educators in the United States.

Bowden, a member of the Southern Conference of Christians and Jews, as well as St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, died in that city on August 18, 1969.  She was 90 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT

THE FEAST OF BERNARD ADAM GRUBE, GERMAN-AMERICAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, COMPOSER, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF CARL BERNHARD GARVE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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O God, by your Holy Spirit, you give gifts to people so that

they might faithfully serve your Church and the world:

We give you praise for the gifts of perseverance, teaching, and wisdom

made manifest in your servant Artemisia Bowden,

whom you called far from home for the sake of educating

the daughters and granddaughters of former slaves in Texas.

We thank you for blessing and prospering her life’s work,

and pray that, following her example,

we may be ever mindful of the call to serve where you send us;

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

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25

Psalm 78:1-7

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Matthew 11:25-30

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

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Feast of John Courtney Murray (August 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Vatican City

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN COURTNEY MURRAY (SEPTEMBER 12, 1904-AUGUST 16, 1967)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Robert Ellsberg, in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), lists John Courtney Murray as the saint for August 16.

Murray was perhaps the greatest U.S. Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, for he helped to pave the way to the Second Vatican Council (1959-1965), in which he was involved.  Our saint, born in Queens, New York, New York, on September 12, 1904, became a Jesuit in 1920.  He graduated from Boston College (B.S., 1926; M.A., 1927) then taught Latin and English literature at the Ateneo de Manila, The Philippines, from 1927 to 1930.  Murray, ordained a priest in 1933, graduated from the Gregorian University, Rome, four years later.  In 1940 he joined the faculty of the Jesuit college at Woodstock, Maryland.  The following year Murray became the editor of Theological Studies, a Jesuit journal.

Murray had liberalized by the late 1940s, when his theological writing attracted much attention.  Our saint argued, for example, that there was salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church.  he also contradicted Pope Pius IX, who, in the 1800s, had argued that constitutional government and Roman Catholicism were incompatible.  The Church had contended that

error enjoys no rights,

a justification for the rejection of religious toleration and for the union of church and state.  Murray countered that Roman Catholicism and religious pluralism were indeed compatible.  The Vatican silenced him in 1954, but our saint wrote in private.

Murray’s influence was evident in Vatican II.  Cardinal Francis Spellman took him to the Council.  On November 19, 1963, Murray completed the first draft of the Declaration on Religious Freedom, the final draft of which the Council approved in 1965.  Chapter 1 of the Declaration begins:

This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom.  This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wist that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a matter contrary to his own beliefs.  Nor is anyone to be forced to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The Synod further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and by reason itself.  This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed.  Thus it is to become a civil right.

–Quoted in Walter M. Abbott, S. J., ed. The Documents of Vatican II (New York:  Guild Press, 1966), 678-679

The Declaration, in its final form, was the result of vigorous debates.  The document was also a profound theological statement and a turning point in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Murray died of a heart attack in New York City on August 16, 1967.  He was nearly 63 years old.

I have added some other Modernist Roman Catholic theologians to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  They died prior to Vatican II, however, and some spent their final years as excommunicated persons.  Murray, unlike them, not only lived long enough to witness the vindicating revolution, but helped to make it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ADOLPHUS NELSON, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRANCK, HEINRICH HELD, AND SIMON DACH, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MASSIE, HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BINGHAM TAPPAN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant John Courtney Murray,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge

of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

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

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Jonathan Myrick Daniels (August 14)   6 comments

 

 

Above:  Kolbe and Daniels

Images in the Public Domain

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SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE (JANUARY 7, 1894-AUGUST 14, 1941)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest, and Martyr, 1941

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JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS (MARCH 20, 1939-AUGUST 20, 1965)

Episcopal Seminarian, and Martyr, 1965

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For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.

–St. Maximilian Kolbe

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…in the only sense that really matters I am dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God.

–Jonathan Myrick Daniels, August 1965

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INTRODUCTION

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By coincidence, on separate calendars, the feasts of Jonathan Myrick Daniels and St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyrs from different times and places, yet with much in common, fall on the same day.  August 14 is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe in the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), and much of the Anglican Communion.  The Lutheran calendars pair Kolbe with Kaj Munk (d. 1944), a Danish Lutheran minister, playwright, and martyr.  The Episcopal Church celebrates the life of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a seminarian from New Hampshire who died in Alabama in 1965.  August 14 is the anniversary of his arrest in Lowndes County, Alabama, while picketing whites-only businesses.

Both saints had much in common.  Kolbe was a priest; Daniels was studying for the priesthood.  Each man acted out of his faith, informed by Jesus and St. Mary of Nazareth.  Each saint died resisting institutional racism–in Kolbe’s case, genocidal racism.  Each man died voluntarily so that another person might live.

Merging these feasts on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days makes sense.

Before I proceed with biographies, some housekeeping is in order.  First, this post depends primarily on four books:

  1. Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997);
  2. Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge:  America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006);
  3. Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010); and
  4. A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).

Second, sometimes historians and biographers quote statements they consider execrable.  Paraphrasing such statements would not flesh out the description of circumstances and settings as well as quoting does.  In the Daniels section of this post I quote some execrable, racist, even profane statements.  I make no excuse for doing so, nor should I have to do so.  Any reader who does not know that I disapprove of those statements and the sentiments behind them should pay closer attention.

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SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

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Raymond Kolbe came from a devout family.  He, born at Zdunska Wola, Russian Empire, on January 7, 1894, was a son of Marianne Dabrowska and Julius Kolbe, weavers who worked at home.  Eventually Julius operated a religious bookstore and fought for Polish independence.  Russian authorities executed him as a traitor in 1914.  (Empires disapprove of wars of independence.)  In time Marianne became a Benedictine nun.  Alphonse, Raymond’s brother, became a priest.  Raymond was a wild child for a while.  In 1906, however, the twelve-year-old reported a vision of St. Mary of Nazareth.  In it she offered him the white crown of purity and the red crown of martyrdom.  He accepted both.

Raymond continued his studies.  He matriculated at the Franciscan junior seminary, Lwow, in 1907; there he was an attentive student of physics and mathematics.  He felt a call to military life, but the call of God was stronger.  On September 4, 1910, the sixteen-year-old Raymond Kolbe became a Franciscan novice and took the name Maximilian.  He made his first vows on September 5, 1911, and his final vows on November 1, 1914.  Meanwhile our saint studied philosophy at the Gregorian College, Rome (1912-1915).  Next Kolbe studied theology at the Collegio Serafico, Rome (1915-1919).  He, ordained a priest at Rome in April 1918, received his doctorate in theology on July 22, 1922.

Kolbe and six friends founded the Knights of Mary Immaculate on October 16, 1917, in Rome.  The Knights promoted devotion to St. Mary, the Mother of God, as well as evangelism.  Kolbe took this evangelism as far as India and Japan, founding monasteries, radio stations, newspapers, and a journal.  He did all this despite his consistently poor health; he suffered from tuberculosis occasionally.  Failing health forced our saint to focus on ministry in Poland, starting in 1936.

The invasion and partition of Poland in September 1939 made matters worse for Kolbe.  The Gestapo targeted the Roman Catholic Church, including the Knights of Mary Immaculate.  Nazis dispersed the order in Poland.  Monasteries of the order had sheltered Jews.  Kolbe became a prisoner of the Third Reich in February 1941.  He arrived at Auschwitz in May.

At Auschwitz Kolbe endured much.  He continued to suffer from tuberculosis, the labor was intentionally hard, and guards abused him.  Through it all our saint was a faithful priest, ministering to other prisoners, hearing their confessions, and conducting Masses.

The escape of a prisoner in July 1941 led to Kolbe’s martyrdom.  Policy held that, whenever a prisoner escaped, guards executed ten prisoners.  One of the ten prisoners selected to die that day was Francis Gajowniczek, who protested that he, a husband and a father, did not want to leave his family behind.  Kolbe volunteered to take Gajowniczek’s place.  After three weeks of starvation and dehydration, our saint died of an injection of carbolic acid.

The Church recognized Kolbe.  Pope Paul VI declared him a Venerable in 1969 then a Blessed in 1971.  Pope John Paul II canonized Kolbe as a martyr of charity in 1982.  Gajowniczek was present at the ceremony.

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JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS

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The Episcopal Church added Jonathan Myrick Daniels to its calendar of saints in 1991.  The Church, in doing so, fast tracked him, for the usual waiting time has been at least fifty years or two generations after someone has died.  Other ecclesiastical recognitions of Daniels have occurred at Canterbury Cathedral, where he and Martin Luther King, Jr., are the only Americans recognized in the Chapel of Saints and Martyrs of Our Own Time, and at Washington National Cathedral, where he is one of the heroes in the Hall of Heroes.  His alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, has also honored him with the Daniels Courtyard and a plaque bearing a quote from his valedictory address of 1961:

I wish you the decency and the nobility of which you are capable.

For more than twenty years there has been an annual Jonathan Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage in Hayneville, Alabama, each August.  The tradition has been to begin at the Lowndes County courthouse, walk to the old jail and the store where Daniels died, and to conclude with Holy Eucharist in the courtroom in which a jury acquitted his murderer.

Daniels, a Yankee, died in Alabama.  He, born in Keene, New Hampshire, on March 20, 1939, was a child of language teacher Constance Weaver Daniels and obstetrician Philip Brock Daniels.  Our saint grew up a Congregationalist, but he converted to The Episcopal Church during high school.  He graduated first in his class from Virginia Military Institute in 1961 then pursued graduate studies in literature at Harvard University.  On Easter Sunday 1962, at the Church of the Advent, Boston, Daniels resolved to study for the priesthood.  He matriculated at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the following year.  He was on track to graduate in 1966.  Then came the events at Selma, Alabama, in March 1965.

In March 1965 civil rights protests at Selma, Alabama, were prominent in the news.  Martin Luther King, Jr., made a televised appeal for people to travel to Selma to march for the right to vote.  At Evening Prayer at Cambridge the words of the Magnificat confirmed Daniels’s sense to calling to go to Selma.  He and ten other seminarians from Cambridge flew there on March 9, 1965.  Daniels thought he would remain for just a few days, but he changed his mind.  That was the first of three visits.

With permission Daniels took time off from seminary to work for civil rights in Alabama.  He and Judith Upham, another seminarian, returned to Selma late in March.  They, sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, lived with African-American host families at the Carver Homes Apartments.  Daniels and Upham also took residents of these apartments to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Selma, integrating it, thereby causing much controversy.  On Palm Sunday one parishioner confronted the African Americans and called them

You goddamn scum.

County judge (and chief usher at St. Paul’s Church) Bernard Reynolds told Daniels and Upham that they were welcome at the parish, but that their

nigger trash

were not.  Daniels wrote,

There are moments when I’d like to get a high-powered rifle and take to the woods, but more and more I am beginning to feel that ultimately the revolution to which I am committed is the way of the cross.

Daniels, when asked on Easter Sunday 1965 why he was integrating St. Paul’s Church, explained,

We are trying to live the Gospel.

Reality dictated that the seminarians return to Cambridge to complete their academic work for the term.  They had tests to take and papers to submit.  Daniels, after completing those tasks, returned (sans Upham, who was fulfilling a seminary obligation) to Selma on July 8.  By then he was contemplating pursuing ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood instead of the Episcopal priesthood.  In Selma Daniels had found a mentor, Father Maurice Ouellet, a pastor to African Americans.  Soon, however, Archbishop Thomas Toolen banished Ouellet to Vermont.  Daniels’s presence more than irritated Frank Matthews, the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, as well as Charles Carpenter, the Episcopal Bishop of Alabama.  Once Carpenter had had a reputation as being liberal (certainly by Alabama standards) on matters of race, but his public conduct during the Civil Rights Movement tarnished his reputation.  He had been one of the moderate white clergymen to whom King had addressed the seminal Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963).  Carpenter’s public position during the Civil Rights Movement belied his private, pro-civil rights activities, which he kept very quiet for political reasons.  His public statements and activities mattered, though.  Regarding Daniels, Carpenter wrote to Matthews:

If he is hanging around causing trouble, I think I will just have to write his bishop and tell him to take him on back to Seminary.

Daniels, who made no secret of his disapproval of Carpenter, just as Carpenter made no secret of his disapproval of Daniels, called African Americans his friends.  He lived among them and marched with them.  In Hayneville, in August, he marched with a group of African-American parents.  They had applied, under a freedom-of-choice school integration program, for their children to attend Hayneville High School.  Authorities had rejected those applications.  So the parents marched in protest.  When some hostile white people asked Daniels why he was doing this, he replied,

I’m with my friends.

Daniels also emphasized with white segregationists, in his words,

absorbing their guilt as well and suffering the cost which they might not even know was there to be paid.

For Daniels racism was a sin and Christian ethics mandated civil rights.  Segregationists, not evil, needed to repent.

Police arrested a group of 30 protesters, including Daniels, Father Richard Morrisroe (a Roman Catholic priest from Chicago), and Ruby Sales (Daniels’s friend and a 17-year-old African American who had marched at Selma), at Fort Deposit, Alabama, on August 14, 1965.  The protesters had been picketing whites-only businesses.  For six days the prisoners endured substandard conditions.  They had no opportunities to shower, the food was inedible, and the toilets in the cells backed up routinely, spilling their contents onto the floors.  Release came on August 20, when the temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  There was no transportation back to Selma, so they had to walk.

Tom Coleman was a road construction supervisor and a part-time deputy sheriff in Lowndes County, Alabama.  He was standing inside Varner’s Cash Store when Daniels et al, thirsty and unarmed, approached.  Coleman told them,

The store is closed.  Get off this property or I’ll blow your goddamned heads off!

Then Coleman aimed for Sales.  Daniels, however, pushed her out of the way and took the bullet, dying immediately.  Next Coleman shot Father Morrisroe, wounding him seriously.  Then the shooter drove to the sheriff’s office, from which he called his son, a state trooper.  Coleman told his son and the son’s superior,

I just shot two preachers.  You better get on down here.

Morrisroe survived after a surgery that lasted for 11 hours.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson summoned federal forces to arrange for the delivery of Daniels’s corpse to New Hampshire, where the family held the funeral.  There was no memorial service for our saint at St. Paul’s Church, Selma; that was fine with Matthews and Carpenter.

Coleman went on trial for manslaughter, not murder, and got off, of course.  The bases of his defense were the state stand-your-ground law and the lie that Daniels and Morrisroe had carried weapons.  The all-white jury acquitted him in an hour and a half.

Sales has dedicated her life to human rights activism.  She, a graduate of the successor to Daniels’s seminary, founded The SpiritHouse Project, devoted to racial and social justice.

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CONCLUSION

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There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s brother or sister or friend or neighbor or a complete stranger.  A martyr is one who dies because of one’s faith.  A martyr, out of faith, might choose to offer his or her life so that another may life; that is one form of martyrdom.  The Roman Catholic Church calls it martyrdom of charity.

The process of drafting this post drained me emotionally.  As I sat at my desk in silence and wrote longhand in a composition book, I became sad and pensive.  Tears came to my eyes.  In a better world Kolbe and Daniels would not have had to suffer as they did.

The world is what it is, however.  Society is another word for people.  Society is what the consensus of people make it.  Society also influences value judgments.  By the power of God may enough people change society so that the decency and nobility of which people are capable will transform societies so that good individuals, such as Kolbe and Daniels were, will no longer have to suffer and die for being merely decent human beings.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ADOLPHUS NELSON, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRANCK, HEINRICH HELD, AND SIMON DACH, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MASSIE, HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BINGHAM TAPPAN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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

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

Help us, like your servants Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Jonathan Myrick Daniels,

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), 60

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Feast of Blessed Karl Leisner (August 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Stamp of Blessed Karl Leisner

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED KARL LEISNER (FEBRUARY 28, 1915-AUGUST 12, 1945)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

Blessed Karl Leisner, born in Rees, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on February 15, 1915, followed Jesus Christ, not Adolf Hitler.  Our saint, a student of theology at Munster, first ran afoul of Nazi authorities by trying to establish Roman Catholic youth groups.  The Third Reich sought to dominate all work with youth, however, so Leisner conducted his youth camps in Belgium and The Netherlands instead.  During six months of mandatory agricultural work our saint ran afoul of Nazi authorities again by organizing Sunday Masses for workers.  Leisner, ordained to the diaconate in 1939, became a prisoner for criticizing Hitler.  Eventually, on December 14, 1941, he arrived at Dachau.  There Bishop Gabriel Piquet ordained him to the priesthood on December 17, 1944.  When Allied forces liberated the concentration camp on May 4, 1945, Leisner was near death, suffering from tuberculosis.  He spent the last few months of his life at a sanitarium near Munich.  Leisner, aged 30 years, died at Planegg on August 12, 1945.

Pope John Paul II declared Leisner a Venerable then a Blessed, as a martyr, in 1996.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE BERKELEY, IRISH ANGLICAN BISHOP AND PHILOSOPHER; AND JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NORMAN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS COUSIN, JOHN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, U.S. QUAKER THEOLOGIAN AND COFOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Karl Leisner:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

Jeremiah 15:15-21

1 Peter 4:12-19

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Blesseds Josef Stepniak and Josef Straszewski (August 12)   3 comments

Above:  Dachau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JÓZEF STEPNIAK (JANUARY 3, 1912-AUGUST 12, 1942)

BLESSED JÓZEF STRASZEWSKI (JANUARY 18, 1885-AUGUST 12, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyrs, 1942

Alternative feast day (as some of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

The twentieth century, I have heard, was the century of martyrs.  Certainly World War II was a time of the martyrdom of only God knows how many people.  The Roman Catholic Church has recognized hundreds of martyrs of that time as being Venerable, Blessed, or canonized.  Many of those were Polish priests.

Blessed Józef Straszewski was a faithful priest.  He, born in Wloclawek, Russia (now Poland), on January 18, 1885, studied in his hometown from primary school to seminary.  His priestly ordination occurred there on June 18, 1911.  He served a series of parishes faithfully, and was, for a time, prefect of a State School of Commerce, prior to becoming the pastor of the new St. Stanislaw parish, Wloclawek.  Our saint supervised the construction of the buildings, organized retreats, and led a movie series.  Straszewski was a well-read-man, especially in theology.

Blessed Józef Stepniak, born in Zdzary on January 3, 1912, began life as a citizen of one country and died as a Polish citizen.  (Poland was not a country between 1795 and 1918.)  He, son of Paul Stepniak and Anna Misztal, grew up in a pious farm family.  He studied at St. Fidelis College, Lomza, Poland, working hard and earning mediocre grades.  He became a Capuchin novice (as Florian) at Nowe Miasto, Poland, on August 14, 1931.  Stepniak, who made his profession on August 15, 1935, became a priest on June 24, 1938.  Next our saint began studies at the Catholic University of Lublin.

The invasion and partition of Poland in 1939 disrupted the Roman Catholic Church there.  The Gestapo targeted priests, arresting many of them and simply martyring others.  Stepniak chose ministry to his fellow Christians above his safety.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested him on January 25, 1940.  Straszewski and other priests in the Diocese of Wloclawek became prisoners of the Third Reich on November 7, 1939.

Both saints became prisoners at Dachau.  They were faithful to the end.  Straszewski, for example, found in the Passion of Jesus the source of strength he needed.  Stepniak and Straszewski, gassed on August 12, 1942, became martyrs.  Pope John Paul II declared them Venerables then Blesseds in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE BERKELEY, IRISH ANGLICAN BISHOP AND PHILOSOPHER; AND JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NORMAN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS COUSIN, JOHN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, U.S. QUAKER THEOLOGIAN AND COFOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blessed Józef Stepniak and Blessed Józef Straszewski

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crow of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Maurice Tornay (August 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maurice Tornay

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MAURICE TORNAY (AUGUST 31, 1910-AUGUST 11, 1949)

Swiss Roman Catholic Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949

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To fulfill my vocation to leave the world and devote myself entirely to the service of souls to lead them to God, and save myself.

–Blessed Maurice Tornay, 1932

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One of the recurring problems in Christian history has been that imperial incursions have led to hostility to foreigners, thereby making life and work more perilous for missionaries.  Another reason for this has been that many missionaries have, unfortunately, been more agents of their empire than of Christ.  That reality has made matters worse for the missionaries who have not been imperial agents.  The British invasion of Lhasa, Tibet, in 1904 led to anti-Christian sentiment and violence in Tibet.  Buddhist monks attacked missionaries.  Blessed Maurice Tornay had to contend with such hostility.

Tornay, born in Rosière, Valais, Switzerland, on August 31, 1910, was devout from an early age.  The seventh child (of eight) of Jean-Joseph Tornay and Faustina Dossier grew up in a pious family.  He was also a fine student, especially of French literature, as well as the writings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Therésè of Lisieux.

Tornay joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, Hospitallers of Saint Nicholas and Grand-St-Bernard of Mont Joux.  He, a novice from August 25, 1931, made his first vows on September 8, 1932, and his final vows in 1935.  Surgery for a stomach ulcer, followed by recuperation, interrupted preparation for missionary work in 1934, but he, healed, headed for the borderlands of Tibet and China in 1936.

At Weixi, Yunnan, China, Tornay continued preparation.  He learned the local language, studied dentistry, medicine, and theology, and prepared for the priesthood.  Our saint, ordained in Hanoi on April 24, 1938, founded and led the Houa-Lo-Pa seminary.  The Japanese invasion of 1939 forced him to resort to begging to acquire food for his students.

In 1945 Tornay became the pastor of the Yerkalo mission in Tibet.  The Thirteenth Dalai Lama had died in 1933.  The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, born in 1935, although enthroned in 1940, did not begin to rule until 1950.  Anti-Christian persecution forced Tornay to leave Tibet and seek diplomatic pressure to intervene with the Tibetan government.  All diplomatic intervention failed.  On August 11, 1949, our saint was en route to Lhasa, to seek a meeting with the Tibetan government, when guards ambushed and shot him at To-Thong, Tibet.  He was 37 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Tornay a Venerable in 1992 then a Blessed the following year.

I recall a scene from The Needs of Earth, an episode of Crusade (1999), a series the TNT channel never gave a chance.  In the scene Captain Matthew Gideon of the Starship Excalibur tells an alien,

When Mozart was my age, he was dead.

When Blessed Maurice Tornay was my age, he was dead.  And what he had done for the glory of God puts me to shame.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARL HEINRICH VON BOGATSKY, HUNGARIAN-GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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Almighty and everlasting God we thank you for your servant Blessed Maurice Tornay,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of China and Tibet.

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 with you and the Holy Spirit 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 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

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

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