Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1900s’ Category

Feast of Mother Edith (May 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of New Zealand 

Image in the Public Domain

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EDITH MARY MELLISH (MARCH 10, 1861-MAY 25, 1922)

Foundress of the Community of the Sacred Name

Mother Edith comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from the calendar of saints according to The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, which commemorates her life on May 24.

One of the best developments in the corporate lives of Anglican and Lutheran churches in the nineteenth century was the revival of the female diaconate, the order of deaconesses.  That order, merged with the previously solely male diaconate in the Anglican tradition since the late twentieth century, did much to create opportunities for women in Christian service in places from parishes to hospitals.

Edith Mary Mellish, a daughter of English banker-businessman Edward Mellish and his wife Ellen, grew up in a variety of places.  She, born in Mauritius, spent some of her early years in China before moving to England.  There she studied at a boarding school.  Edith’s mother died when she was two years old.  Edward married two more times.  Our saint’s first stepmother was Sarah Waterworth, late of the Church Missionary Society.  She took great interest in our saint’s spiritual development.  That growth led to Edith becoming a deaconess in London in 1891.

Also in 1891, Churchill Julius (1847-1938), then the Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand (and later the Archbishop of New Zealand), wrote Frederick Temple (1821-1902), then the Bishop of London (and later the Archbishop of Canterbury), requesting a deaconess for the Diocese of Christchurch.   Temple agreed, with one condition–that he deaconess build up a community of such women in the diocese.  Certain women in the Diocese of Christchurch were already intent on forming a community of deaconesses.  Bishop Julius admitted the first deaconesses in his diocese in January 1892.  Our saint arrived in August of the following year.  The deaconesses visited prisoners and hospital patients, taught, ministered to orphans, embroidered for churches, and helped unmarried women.  Our saint, dubbed Sister Edith, called the community “The Sisters of Bethany.”  That community became “The Community of the Sacred Name” in 1911, and Sister Edith became Mother Edith.

Despite the deaconesses’ many good works, some opposition to the sisters existed.  Certain Anglicans considered them “popish,” for example.  The transition of the deaconeses’ Sisters of Bethany into a religious order, the Community of the Sacred Name, certainly seemed “popish.”  The nuns grounded their lives in prayer, meditation, and quiet retreats and quiet days.  That was “popish,” yes, but laudable.

Mother Edith, aged 61 years, died on May 25, 1922, after an extended illness.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia’s official biography of Mother Edith lists her “outstanding characteristics” as

compassion, humility, fearlessness, and a loving concern for all.

Those are virtues all of us should nurture in ourselves and encourage in others, n’est-ce pas?

The Community of the Sacred Name still exists.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 22, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT SEAGRAVE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Everliving God, we thank you for Mother Edith and the community she founded;

give us grace to love you above all things and each other in you,

that we may care for those in need and faithfully sing your praise;

this we ask in the sacred name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or 

Jesus, you promise that when two or three of us are gathered together in your name, you will be there;

we praise you for Edith, who left behind all that she loved to found a community in your name;

you have blessed her sisters greatly, bless them now, and into the time ahead.  Amen.

1 Samuel 1:21-28

Psalm 20 or 96

Philippians 3:7-11

Mark 9:33-41

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia

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Feast of Frederick Hermann Knubel (May 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of the United Lutheran Church in America

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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FREDERICK HERMANN KNUBEL (MAY 22, 1870-OCTOBER 16, 1945)

President of The United Lutheran Church in America

This post depends almost entirely upon The United Lutheran Church in America, 1918-1962, begun by E. Theodore Bachmann, who died before he completed the process of writing the volume.  His wife, Mercia Brenne Bachmann, finished the book, which Paul Rorem edited.  The Fortress Press, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, published the volume in 1997.

Lutheran history interests me.  I find that learning about various strands of that tradition enriches my life.  I am glad to know about Frederick Hermann Knubel and to write about him.

One strand of Lutheranism in the United States dates to the colonial era, predating the founding of the Ministerium of North America (later renamed the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States) in 1748.  Subsequent Lutheran history reveals the formation of offshoot synods and other synods, most of them defined by state lines or by regions.  One can also read of the formation of the federation (as opposed to denomination) called The Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of America in 1820 and of the continuing formation of synods, not all of which affiliated with the General Synod.  Lutheran history also tells of the defection of the synods comprising The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America in 1863, known as The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America from 1866 to 1886, when the addition of the Holston and Tennessee Synods created The United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South.  Furthermore, one can read of the split of the synods comprising the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America from the General Synod (1820) in 1867.

Frederick Hermann Knubel hailed from the Synod of New York and New Jersey, affiliated with the General Synod (1820).  Our saint, born in Greenwich Village, New York, New York, on May 22, 1870, grew up in a devout German Lutheran family.  He was the fourth child and first son of Frederick Knubel (a successful businessman) and Anna Knubel (Knubel), each of whom came from a different branch of the same family in Bremerhaven, Bremen, Germany.  Frederick the elder, a pillar of the church, was a trustee of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, just two blocks away from the family’s home.  Young Frederick, a second-generation American, grew up in a bilingual home.

Our saint planned originally to follow in his father’s footsteps, but changed his mind at the age of 19 years.  The vocation to ordained ministry led young Knubel away from the City College of New York and Packard’s Business College to Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) then to the seminary, both in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  He spent six years in Gettysburg, starting in 1889.  The theological position of the seminary was a mild confessionalism that emphasized the catholic, not the exclusive, nature of Lutheranism.  That stance, which defined the General Synod, also marked Knubel’s theology subsequently.

The seminary graduate married in 1895 then spent a year with his wife in Leipzig, Germany.  Knubel married Christine Ritscher, of Jersey City, New Jersey, in June.  Our saint’s parents helped generously with finances as our saint studied theology at Leipzig University.  Decades later Knubel recalled,

When I left Gettysburg, I felt I had the answers.  But after a year at Leipzig I had a far deeper appreciation of the questions.

Back in the United States Knubel built up a new congregation.  He, ordained in New York City on October 17, 1896, became a mission developer for the Synod of New York and New Jersey.  From 1897 to 1918 he was pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement, a mission of St. John’s, Greenwich Village.  (Since 1927 the congregation has been Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church, due to a merger with the Church of Our Saviour.)  Atonement was Knubel’s only pastorate.  In 1907 it had about 1,000 baptized members, ranging from the rich to the poor.  A decade later that number had increased to about 3,500.  At Atonement Knubel demonstrated his support for the deaconess movement.  Deaconess Jennie Christ, who became our saint’s second wife decades later, arrived in the parish in 1903.

The Knubels had two children, both of whom spent their lives in Christian service.  Frederick Knubel Ritscher (1897-1957), a minister, served as a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Rochester, New York, from 1921 to 1944 then as the President of the Synod of New York and New England (in The United Lutheran Church in America) from 1945 to 1957.  Helen Knubel (1901-1992), who contracted polio at the age of 16 years and spent the rest of her life confined to a wheelchair, became the greatest Lutheran archivist in North America.

Our saint was an ecumenist.  He belonged to Koinonia, a group of Lutheran clergymen in New York City founded in 1896.  The members hailed from various synods–Missouri, Joint Ohio, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, and affiliates of the General Synod (1820) and the General Council (1867).  At each meeting a member presented a paper, which the group discussed.  Sometimes the ministers took communion, despite the policy of closed communion in some of the synods.  In January 1916 Knubel was a General Synod delegate to an American regional missionary conference related to the Faith and Order movement, a precursor of the World Council of Churches.  Some other U.S. Lutheran bodies, distrustful of unionism, boycotted the gathering, however.

1917 and 1918 were eventful years in U.S. Lutheranism.  1917 was the four hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  It was also the year the United States entered World War I.  That conflict stirred up intolerance domestically.  German Americans and other groups of foreign origin became suspect to many.  Danish, Swedish, German, and Norwegian Americans, among others, became targets of state laws that banned church services in foreign languages.  Vigilantes attacked churches of Christian Reformed, ethnic Lutheran, and other affiliations.  This period expedited the transition to the English language in more than one denomination.

The member synods of the General Synod were among the oldest of the U.S. Lutheran bodies, and were therefore more culturally assimilated than the two Danish-American synods, for example.  Nevertheless, even the General Synod Lutherans had to defend their American patriotism in 1917 and 1918.  Outside pressure on Lutherans from nativists, combined with the anniversary of the Reformation, spurred on inter-Lutheran ecumenism.  The National Lutheran Commission for Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Welfare formed on October 19, 1917; Knubel became its president.  Also, the Lutheran Brotherhood of America formed on November 6, 1917, and the National Lutheran Council came into being in September 1918.  In 1917 three Norwegian-American synods, which had already produced The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), reunited to constitute the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, later renamed the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Meanwhile, the reunion of the General Synod, the General Council, and the United Synod of the South, which had produced the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), was proceeding according to schedule.

The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), a denomination, although not a relatively decentralized one, formed in New York City on November 14, 1918.  Knubel, who had served on the Deaconess Board and the Inner Mission Board of the General Synod (1820), became the first president of the new body.  He served a consecutive series of two-year terms until December 31, 1944.  Knubel presided over the consolidation of ULCA, formed with overlapping magazines, agencies, and synods.  He also shepherded ULCA through good times and bad times, from the Roaring Twenties through the Great Depression, and into World War II.

Knubel was an advocate of ecumenism.  He favored the Federal Council of Churches, a predecessor of the National Council of Churches.  He, a mildly Confessional Lutheran, laid the foundation for greater Lutheran unity as he led his denomination into dialogues with more conservative bodies, including the Missouri Synod and the 1930-1960 iteration of The American Lutheran Church.  They objected to, among other facts, ULCA’s rejection of Biblical inerrancy.  ULCA’s position was that the Bible is authoritative because it communicates the Word of God, defined as the saving message of God.  During World War II U.S. Lutheran denominations cooperated in providing pastoral care to German prisoners of war and increased their collaboration in domestic missions.  Knubel approved of this ecumenical activity.

On the personal front, Christine Ritscher Knubel, our saint’s wife since 1895, died in December 1923.  He married Deaconess Jennie Christ in 1925.  In 1944 Knubel, whose health was failing, did not seek another term as president.  The convention elected Franklin Clark Fry (1900-1968), to succeed him.  Knubel’s retirement was brief; he died on October 16, 1945.  His children and second wife survived him.

From the beginning of Knubel’s tenure to the end thereof, membership in ULCA had increased from 1.1 million to 1.7 million.

At Knubel’s funeral, held at Our Saviour’s Atonement Church, New York City, Fry said of his predecessor,

God gave our father a marvelous degree of wisdom….By his gracious Christian churchmanship, loving and shepherding men of various views, many a breach was prevented and many a wound never occurred.  This was what made our Church strong.  Indeed, it has gone far to make it possible….There need be no turning back for the United Lutheran Church, there can be a steady going forward into the future.  It will be a natural outgrowth of our late president’s judgment and his vision.

Frederick Hermann Knubel served God faithfully during his 75 years.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 22, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT SEAGRAVE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Frederick Hermann Knubel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

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

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Feast of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (May 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

Image in the Public Domain

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ROSE HAWTHORNE LATHROP (MAY 20, 1851-JULY 9, 1926)

Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, the third of three children of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne and novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, became a writer then founded a Roman Catholic order devoted to helping those with incurable cancer die with dignity and as much comfort as possible, not isolated and suffering from stigma.

The cause for the canonization of Lathrop is open.  May 20 is the date Robert Ellsberg has assigned to her in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997).  The Roman Catholic feast day will probably be July 9.

Our saint, born in Lenox, Massachusetts, on May 20, 1851, grew up in a Unitarian family with connections to transcendentalism.  Her father served as U.S. Consul to England (at Liverpool) from 1853 to 1857, during the administration of his friend, President Franklin Pierce, whose stylistically inferior biography (Life of Franklin Pierce) he had written in 1852.  (Hawthorne was a better writer of fiction than of nonfiction.)  From 1857 to 1860 the Hawthornes traveled in Europe.  When Rose was seven years old, at the Vatican, she saw Pope Pius IX during Holy Week.  The experience made quite an impression on her.  The family returned to the United States in 1860.  Neighbors at Concord, Massachusetts, included Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Visitors included Herman Melville and Henry David Thoreau.  After the great novelist died in 1864 the family returned to England, where Rose studied at the Kensington Art School.  Sophia died in early 1871.  On September 11 of that year the 20-year-old Rose married writer George Parsons Lathrop at the (Anglican) Church of St. Luke, Chelsea, England.

The marriage was difficult.  One reason was financial.  Another reason was the death of their only son, Francis, born in 1876.  He died of diptheria at the age of four years on February 6, 1881.  The grief-stricken parents poured themselves into their individual writing projects–Rose into poetry and short stories and George into his own material plus editorial duties at The Atlantic Monthly.  He also became an alcoholic.  Husband and wife attempted repeatedly to salvage their union, but George’s alcoholism continued to destroy the marriage.  On March 19, 1891, they converted to Roman Catholicism at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, New York, New York.  The Lathrops, immersing themselves in their new faith, helped to found the Catholic Summer School Movement in New London, Connecticut (their home), as well as Plattsburgh, New York.  Not even Roman Catholicism saved their marriage; the couple separated in 1893.

Rose, separated from her husband, who was drinking himself into his grave, devoted her life to helping cancer patients.  At the time few therapies existed and the stigma surrounding the disease was strong.  Cancer patients had to leave hospitals shortly after receiving their diagnosis.  Those lacking sufficient financial means and/or support from friends and relatives had to spend the remainder of their lives in pain and away from mainstream society.  In New York City they ended their days on Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island), as if they were lepers.  Our saint, a pioneer of the hospice movement, took some nursing courses then moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  There she lived and worked among cancer patients in their homes.  Eventually she invited them into her home.  Rose refused to charge for her services; friends supported her financially.

Cirrhosis of George’s liver rendered Rose a widow in 1898.

Our widowed saint took her holy work to the next level.  On December 8, 1900, she and Alice Huber, a friend and a companion in caring for cancer patients, became Dominican nuns.  The two women opened homes for those afflicted with cancer.  In 1906 Rose founded the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer (now the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne) and became Mother Mary Alphonsa, the Superior.  The order opened new institutions and refused to charge for its services.

Our saint died, aged 75 years, at Hawthorne, New York, on July 9, 1926.

The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne continue to care for cancer patients while not charging for their services.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the trouble,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Mary McLeod Bethune (May 18)   1 comment

Above:  Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-12536

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MARY JANE MCLEOD BETHUNE (JULY 10, 1875-MAY 18, 1955)

African-American Educator and Social Activist

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I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.  They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.

–Mary McLeod Bethune

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Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune left the world better than she found it.

Mary Jane McLeod was the fifteenth of seventeen children in her family.  She, born near Mayesville, South Carolina, on July 10, 1875, was a child of former slaves.  As such our saint learned the value of freedom at an early age.  Her grandmother Sophia, also a former slave, reinforced those lessons.  Young Mary Jane had a great appetite for knowledge in a place and at a time in which many unapologetically racist whites openly questioned the necessity and value of literacy and education for African Americans.

Mission schools of the former “Northern” (actually national) Presbyterian Church in the United States of America shaped our saint.  From the ages of 12 to 18 years she studied at Scotia Seminary for girls, Concord, North Carolina.  The racially integrated faculty impressed McLeod, who took to mathematics, science, Latin, and English with great eagerness.  After graduating from Scotia Seminary she studied at the Mission Training School of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, from which she also graduated.  Then our saint applied to serve as a missionary to Africa, but the Presbyterian Board of Missions rejected her request, citing her youth.

McLeod’s vocation was actually to help African Americans.  She became a teacher at the Haines Institute, Augusta, Georgia.  In 1898 she married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune.  The couple moved to Savannah, Georgia, where they remained for a few years.  Our saint taught at mission schools–the Kendall Institute, Sumter, South Carolina; and the Palatka Mission School, Palatka, Florida–for a year.  Then, in 1904, she founded the Daytona Literary and Training School for Girls with five students and $1.50 ($41.70 in 2016 currency).  Bethune raised funds from the community and from corporate donors, however.  Donors included James Gamble (of Proctor and Gamble) and John D. Rockefeller, Sr.  Before 1919 the school had become the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute.  In 1919 it changed its name to the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute.  In 1923-1925 the school merged with the Cookman Institute, Jacksonville, Florida.  The Cookman Institute, founded in 1872 and affiliated with the old “Northern” (actually national) Methodist Episcopal Church, trained African-American teachers and ministers.  The merged institution was Daytona-Cookman Collegiate Institution, which changed its name to Bethune-Cookman College in 1931.  Our saint served as the President until 1942 and again in 1946-1947.  She also transferred her membership from the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bethune was a civil rights pioneer.  She resisted the Ku Klux Klan and voted despite threats of violence.  Our saint also advocated for anti-lynching laws and for the termination of poll taxes.  She, who knew the stings of racial segregation well, acted to change her society.  This advocacy brought her to the attention of President Herbert Hoover, who invited her to attend a general session of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection in 1930.

Eleanor Roosevelt was an especially important ally and friend of Bethune.  Through the First Lady our saint gained access to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom she lobbied on behalf of her people.  Bethune held government positions during the Roosevelt Administration.  She was the Director of Negro Administration from 1936 to 1944.  Our saint also served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of War and the Assistant Director of the Woman’s Army Corps.  In that capacity she organized the first woman’s officer candidate school.  Our saint also attended the founding conference of the United Nations.

As if Bethune were not busy enough, she did much more.  In 1935 she founded the National Council of Negro Women, an organization she led until 1939.  Our saint, also active in the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.), served as the President of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History from 1936 to 1951.

Bethune, aged 79 years, rested from her labors on May 18, 1955.

Bethune-Cookman College became Bethune-Cookman University in 2007.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the trouble,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Blessed Stanislaw Kubski (May 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Dachau Concentration Camp

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANISLAW KUBSKI (AUGUST 13, 1876-MAY 18, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

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

Blessed Stanislaw Kubski, born in partitioned and occupied Poland–at Ksiaz, Wielkopolskie, to be precise–on August 13, 1876, became a Polish nationalist, a political dissident, a Roman Catholic priest, and a martyr.  Our saint, a son of farmers Michael and Franciszek Kubski, attended seminary at Poznan-Hriezno.  He, ordained a priest on November 25, 1900, served as a parish priest at various places.  His political activities attracted the attention of certain officials of the German Empire.  In 1906, for example, Kubski supported a strike by school children who sought the right to learn in the Polish language.  Five years later German police fined our saint for organizing an educational reading without informing them.  Kubski was also active in city councils and various industrial groups.

Kubski was, by all accounts, a dedicated priest.  He remained one until he died.  Our saint, canon (1923-1925) then dean (from 1925) at Griezno, was also active in the Archdiocese of Gniezno above the parish level.  On September 8, 1939, after the Third Reich and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland, German authorities arrested Kubski for the crime of being a Roman Catholic priest.  They sent him first to Buchenwald, where he worked in a quarry.  In December 1939 Nazis transferred Kubski to Dachau.  There he remained until 1942.  That May 18, our saint being, according to the camp administration, unfit for work, he died in a gas chamber.  He was 65 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Kubski a Venerable then a Blessed in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Blessed Stanislaw Kubski,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage

to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

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

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Maltbie Davenport Babcock (May 18)   1 comment

Above:  Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

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

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

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

This is my Father’s world.

On the day of its wondrous birth

The stars of light in phalanx bright

Sang out in Heavenly mirth.

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This is my Father’s world.

E’en yet to my listening ears

All nature sings, and around me rings

The music of the spheres.

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This is my Father’s world.

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,

His hand the wonders wrought.

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This is my Father’s world.

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their maker’s praise.

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This is my Father’s world.

He shines in all that’s fair.

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,

He speaks to me everywhere.

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This is my Father’s world.

From His eternal throne,

He watch doth keep when I’m asleep,

And I am not alone.

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This is my Father’s world.

Dreaming, I see His face.

I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise

Cry, “The Lord is in this place.”

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This is my Father’s world.

I walk a desert lone.

In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze

God makes His glory known.

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This is my Father’s world.

Among the mountains drear,

‘Mid rending rocks and earthquake shocks,

The still, small voice I hear.

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This is my Father’s world.

From the shining courts above,

The Beloved One, His only Son,

Came–a pledge of deathless love.

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This is my Father’s world.

Now closer to Heaven bound,

For dear to God is the earth Christ trod,

No place but is holy ground.

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This is my Father’s world.

His love has filled my breast,

I am reconciled, I am His child,

My soul has found His rest.

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This is my Father’s world.

A wanderer I may roam,

Whate’er my lot, it matters not,

My heart is still at home.

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This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That tho’ the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

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This is my Father’s world.

The battle is not done.

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and Heaven be one.

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This is my Father’s World.

Should my heart be ever sad?

The Lord is King–let the Heavens ring

God reigns–let the earth be glad.

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

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

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

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

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

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

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

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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

Above:  Map of the Unification of Italy

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

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

Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart

Her feast transferred from January 22 and December 28

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

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

Her feast day = May 17

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

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

Also known as Arcangelo Palmentieri

His feast transferred from March 30

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

–Saint Giulia Salzano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May each of us do likewise, as God directs.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 25, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HERBERT STANLEY OAKELEY, COMPOSER

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

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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