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Feast of Hannah More (September 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Portrait of Hannah More, by Henry William Pickersgill

Image in the Public Domain



Anglican Poet, Playwright, Religious Writer, and Philanthropist


I see, by more than Fancy’s mirrow shewn,

The burning village, and the blazing town:

See the dire victim torn from social life,

The shrieking babe, the agonizing wife!

She, wretch forlorn! is dragged by hostile hands,

To distant tyrants sold, in distant lands!

Transmitted miseries, and successive chains,

The sole sad heritage her child obtains!

Ev’n this last wretched boon their foes deny,

To weep together, or together die.

By felon hands, by one relentless stroke,

See the fond links of feeling nature broke!

The fibres twisting round a parent’s heart,

Torn from their grasp, and bleeding as they part.

Hold, murderers, hold! not aggravate distress;

Respect the passions you yourselves possess.

–From “Slavery” (1788), by Hannah More




Hannah More comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  Her feast day in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 is September 6.

More was simultaneously of her time and ahead of it.  She was simultaneously a conservative, a social reformer, and a revolutionary.




Our saint, born in Fishponds, Bristol, England, on February 2, 1745, grew up in The Church of England.  Her father, Jacob More, was the master of Fishponds Free School.  He taught his five daughters, and elder daughters taught younger daughters.  The More sisters emerged as young women well-educated in mathematics, Latin, French, and literature, among other topics.  Young Hannah, as a girl, began writing poems.  As a young adult, she taught (1758f) at the girls’ boarding school her father had founded in Bristol.

Like many other well-educated English women of the time, our saint was a literary figure.  She, engaged to William Turner of Belmont Estate, Wraxall Somerset, from 1767 to 1773, never married.  Her fiancé’s unwillingness to commit to a wedding date ended that engagement.  Immediately afterward, More suffered a nervous breakdown.  After she recovered, our saint devoted herself to literary, moral, and social causes.

More wrote plays from 1762 to 1779.  Her earliest plays, for girls at the boarding school to perform, came from her pen while she was a teacher.  Her last play written (yet not published) was The Fatal Falsehood (1779).  When our saint complimented Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) the first time, he dismissed her kind words.  He replied:

Madam, before you flatter a man so grossly to his face, you should consider whether or not your flattery is worth having.

Nevertheless, the Great Moralist eventually changed his mind regarding our saint.  He came to think of her as

the finest versafatrix in the English language.

More, an active member of the female Bluestocking Group, devoted to pursuits of the literary and intellectual variety, became a religious writer, moral activist, and social reformer in the 1780s.  She befriended General James Oglethorpe (1696-1785), the founder of Georgia.  Our saint also befriended William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and other abolitionists.  More became more active in the abolitionist movement; she wrote antislavery prose and poetry.  Our saint, a member of the Evangelical wing of The Church of England, applied her faith to the world around her.  As the decades wore on, subsequent works included Practical Piety (1811), Christian Morals (1813), and The Character of St. Paul (1815).  She also composed pamphlets.  One was Village Politics (1792), a rebuttal of Thomas Paine‘s Rights of Man (1791).  Another anti-French Revolution tract from our saint’s pen was Remarks on the Speech of M. Dumont (1793), which condemned atheism, in particular.  In 1795-1798, More composed tracts for the Association of the Discountenancing of Vice.

More’s conservative streak was decidedly anti-feminist.  Her reaction to the French revolutionary government improving the education of women was telling:

They (women) run to study philosophy, and neglect their families to be present at lectures in anatomy.

When More and her sister Martha founded schools for poor girls, the sisters also established a narrow curriculum.  It included the Bible and the catechism yet not writing.  More opposed transforming her students into

scholars and philosophers.

Yet even these schools were too liberal and revolutionary for many conservatives.  The More sisters contended with allegations that they were, by teaching basic literary, doing too much and, thereby, lifting the girls above their proper station in society.  The More sisters were also allegedly advancing Methodism, according to one conservative Anglican cleric.

Our saint affirmed the “separate spheres” theory.  More accused Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), the author of Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), of possessing a

moral antipathy to reason.

According to our saint, women were not “fit” for government, on the grounds of being unstable.  She also refused an invitation to join the Royal Society of Literature, on the grounds that no woman should belong to it.

More, a philanthropist, donated money to help Bishop Philander Chase (1775-1852) found Kenyon College, which opened in 1825.  In her will, she bequeathed funds to various charities, mostly religious.

More, aged 88 years, died in Clifton, Bristol, on September 7, 1833.




My moral relativism is very limited.  I live in a moral universe with plenty of black, white, and gray.  Furthermore, I, as one trained in historical methodology, grasp the importance of interpreting people’s lives in context.  Nevertheless, I also state that wrong is wrong and right is right.  I ask:

What is wrong with educating poor girls to become scholars, philosophers, and policy-makers?  

I affirm the equality of the sexes, of course.  X chromosomes and Y chromosomes should never function as excuses for not granting social and legal equality.

Hannah More was right more often than she was wrong.  She was correct, for example, to oppose slavery.  She was right to draw attention to its immorality via her writing.  And she was correct when she donated to Kenyon College.  More was correct when she established Sunday schools, too.

Being right more often than one is wrong is good and wonderful.  At the end of your life, O reader, may an honest evaluation of you be that you were right more often than you were wrong.






Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son led captivity captive:

Multiply among us faithful witnesses like your servant Hannah More,

who will fight for all who are oppressed or held in bondage;

and bring us all, we pray, into the glorious liberty

that you have promised to all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Exodus 3:1-12

Psalm 146:4-9

John 15:5-16

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018


Feast of St. Kassiani the Hymnographer (September 7)   2 comments

Above: Icon of St. Kassiani the Hymnographer

Image in the Public Domain



Byzantine Abbess, Poet, Composer, Hymn Writer, and Defender of Icons

Also known as Saint Kassia and Saint Cassia

St. Kassiani the Hymnographer comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and The Episcopal Church.  As of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, St. Kassiani’s feast graces the calendar of The Episcopal Church.

An inescapable fact influences this, my Ecumenical Calendar:  most saints on it come from patriarchal societies.  This means that I have more sources for male saints than for female ones.  And I cannot write based on sources that do not exist.  I am sufficiently liberal to affirm the legal and social equality of men and women.  I also affirm that, as a cliché tells me,

Variety is the spice of life.

Ergo, I welcome the opportunity to diversify this Ecumenical Calendar–in this case, regarding chromosomes.

The Byzantine Empire was patriarchal.  In that context, St. Kassiani was only one of two female authors known by her name.  The other one was Anna Comnenus (1083-1153/1154), a daughter of Emperor Alexius I Comnenus (reigned 1081-1118), a sister of Emperor John II Comnenus (reigned 1118-1143), a sister-in-law of Blessed Irene of Hungary (1088-1134), and an aunt of Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (reigned 1143-1180).  Anna, a capable scholar, composed the Alexiad, about her father’s reign.  According to Paul Magdalino, the Alexiad was:

unique not only as a piece of Byzantine women’s literature, but also as an expression of frustrated ambition by a woman who felt that she had been born to imperial power.

–Quoted in Cyril Mango, editor, The Oxford History of Byzantium (2002), 206

St. Kassiani, born in Constantinople, between 805 and 810, came from a wealthy family.  She, according to ancient sources were well-educated, highly intelligent, and beautiful.  Her appearance attracted male attention, but her mind sometimes repelled such attention.  The dowager Empress Euphrosyne orchestrated a bride show–a beauty pageant–for her son, the bachelor Emperor Theophilus (reigned 829-842).  The Emperor selected St. Kassiani to become the Empress.  Then he told her:

Through a woman [came forth] the baser [things],

referring to Eve and the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  St. Kassiani replied:

And through woman [came forth] the better [things],

a reference to St. Mary of Nazareth giving birth to Jesus.  With that, Theophilus chose another woman–Theodora–to be the Empress instead.

St. Kassiani was better off not being the Empress to Emperor Theophilus.  He was an Iconclast.  He was also

an arrogant, theologizing fanatic who promulgated a new edict againt idolaters (832) and pushed persecution to the limit.

–Peter N. Stearns, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth Edition (2001), 187

St. Kassiani had always been an astute person and a bright bulb.  When she was a young girl, her erudition had impressed St. Theodore Studites (759-826), the abbot of Studion Monastery, Constantinople.  He had liked her literary style, too.

St. Kassiani, rejected by the Emperor, turned to what she would have done anyway–enter monastic life.  By 843, our saint had founded and become the abbess of a convent on Xerólophos, the seventh hill of Constantinople.  This convent had a close relationship with the Studion Monastery.  Like the monks of Studion, our saint defended icons against the Iconoclasts.  Emperor Theophilus had her scourged with a lash for this.  Nevertheless, St. Kassiani wrote a short line of poetry, translated into English as:

I hate silence, when it is time to speak.

Empress Theodora, as the regent for her son, Emperor Michael III (reigned 842-867), ended official Byzantine Iconoclasm permanently, in 843.

St. Kassiani eventually moved to the island of Kasos, where she died in 865.

She left a rich legacy.  Hundreds of poems, fifty hymns, and many musical contributions survived.  She became the only woman whose works the Eastern Orthodox liturgy includes.  Twenty-three of her hymns have long graced the Eastern Orthodox liturgy.





O God of boundless mercy, whose handmaiden Kassiani brought forth poetry and song:

Inspire in your church a new song,

that following her most excellent example,

we may boldly proclaim the truth of your Word,

even Jesus Christ, our Savior and Deliverer.  Amen.

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 44:1-15

Psalm 150

Luke 24:44-53

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018


Feast of Beyers Naude (September 7)   Leave a comment



Above:  Flags of South Africa

Images in the Public Domain



South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist


Because of my experience, I’ve been able to tell other white Afrikaners, who despise me or have rejected me and feel that I’m a traitor to their cause, “I pity you, because I feel that you, in fact, have become the victims of your own imprisoned philosophy of life.  And therefore you cannot be free.  You cannot be free to love people of color deeply and sincerely.  You cannot be free to look at the future of South Africa outside the confines of your present political viewpoint.  You cannot be open to the concept of Christian community with Christians of all denominations around the world.  And therefore, as a result of those things that you have imposed on yourself, your vision is limited.”

–Beyers Naudé, interviewed for Sojourners magazine, 1987;  quoted in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses, Revised Edition (2005), 152-153


The Reverend Beyers Naudé comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Of Orthodoxy and Heresy

What do we mean by orthodoxy and heresy?

Orthodoxy literally means “correct opinion.”  But who defines “correct”?  Ideally, all of us would recognize God as the definer of correctness and agree on the contents of orthodoxy.  Actually, though, competing orthodoxies exist within traditions, such as Christianity.  An orthodox Lutheran, for example, is a heretic by standards of an orthodox Calvinist or Roman Catholic or Methodist.  We who follow God or try to do so are attempting to read God’s mind partially.  Usually we adopt an institution’s definition of orthodoxy as the gold standard.  As I try to be a faithful Christian, I do not color outside the lines, so to speak.  I reject some strands of tradition and favor others, but I am generally fairly conventional, in the context of broader Christianity, but not the Bible  Belt of the United States.  I try, however, to be theologically humble, and to acknowledge that I am mistaken on certain points; I just do not know which ones.  I am therefore tolerant of a wide range of Christian orthodoxies, for I recall having changed my mind on major theological issues, such as, years ago, when I disposed of my Wesleyan-Arminian upbringing sufficiently to accept Single Predestination, an Anglican, Lutheran, and moderate Reformed doctrine.

“Heresy” comes from the Greek verb meaning “to choose.”  A heretic therefore a person who chooses what to believe, in opposition to orthodoxy, as at least one institution defines it.  The implication, therefore, is that the heretic chooses wrongly.

Understand me correctly, O reader; I am no postmodernist.  Orthodoxy and heresy are real, and we can know them partially.  I also affirm that, as much as each person is somebody’s schismatic, each person is also somebody’s heretic.

Beyers Naudé, raised a heretic, came to orthodoxy when he rejected the norms of his church, society, and nation-state.  Voltaire wrote that is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.  Our saint learned that lesson painfully.

Early Years

Damn you when everybody speaks well of you!  Recall that their ancestors treated the phony prophets the same way.

–Luke 6:26, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Christian Frederick Beyers Naudé, born in Roodeport, Transvaal, South Africa, on May 10, 1915, was a man baptized into a racist denomination. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, hereafter the DRCSA, taught that the Bible justified racism and racial segregation.  In 1948 Apartheid became the continuation of various laws and customs.  The DRCSA quoted the Bible to justify that execrable system.  The architects of Apartheid and its antecedents came from the Broederbond, an Afrikaner organization our saint’s father, the Reverend Jozua Naudé, a hero of the late Boer War, had helped to found.  Naudé the elder named his son, our saint, after Christian Frederick Beyers, a Boer general from that war, and a friend.  Our saint moved in influential, devout, and unapologetically racist circles; he was on track to rise to the office of Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.  His background, South African Dutch Calvinism, included not only a toxic stew of racism, imperialism, and ethnocentrism, but the sense that Afrikaners were part of God’s elect.  Afrikaners understood and embraced what Rudyard Kipling gleefully called “White Man’s Burden” in 1899, to celebrate the debut of the United States of America as an imperial power:

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Until the 1950s Naudé the younger did not question the orthodoxy–the conventional wisdom–concerning Apartheid.  He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch and became a minister in the DRCSA in 1939.  He married Ilse Weder, daughter of a Moravian missionary, in 1940.  Also in 1940, at the age of 25 years, he became the youngest person to join the Broederbond.  Naudé rose through the ranks of the DRCSA.

The Road to Damascus

Consider this:  Treat people in was you want them to treat you.  This sums up the whole Law and the Prophets.

–Matthew 7:12, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

The conversion of Beyers Naudé was gradual.

That process began in 1953, when he was part of a DRCSA delegation studying youth work in Europe, the United States of America, and Canada.  Some of what he witnesses outside his home culture and country affected him to the point of sowing the seeds of doubt regarding the morality of Apartheid.

Later, when Naudé was the acting Moderator of the Transvaal Synod of the DRCSA, some of his ministers came to him with troubling questions.  Some white ministers were serving in Colored (to use the South African term) congregations.  Parishioners were confronting these ministers for supporting Apartheid.  Naudé’s subsequent visits to these congregations shook him as he witnessed the human toll of Apartheid.  Between 1955 and 1957 Naudé undertook a private study of the question of whether the Bible justified Apartheid; he concluded that scripture and Apartheid were opposed to each other.

The last straw for Naudé was the Sharpeville Massacre of May 21, 1960.  On that day agents of the national government shot and killed 69 peaceful, unarmed protesters, most of whom were running away when security forces shot them.  Naudé became an outspoken opponent of Apartheid.

Taking Up His Cross

Congratulations when people hate you, and when they ostracize and denounce you and scorn your name as evil, because of he son of Adam!  Rejoice on that day, and jump for joy!  Just remember, your compensation is great in heaven.  Recall that their ancestors treated the prophets the same way.

–Luke 6::22-23, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

That was when trouble started for Naudé.  Yes, he continued in parish ministry until 1963 and became the Moderator of the Southern Transvaal Synod in 1961, but our saint was on a collision course with the DRCSA.  In 1963 Naudé became the Director of the Christian Institute of South Africa, an ecumenical and multiracial organization that challenged Apartheid and distributed humanitarian aid.  That year the DRCSA also gave our saint an ultimatum; he had to choose between the Christian Institute and his ministerial function in the denomination.  Naudé chose the former.  The title of his final sermon was “Obedience to God.”  Our saint was, for all intents and purposes, a defrocked man.

Naudé spent most of the next three decades in trouble with South African government.  Security forces raided the offices of the Christian Institute occasionally.  Our saint, allegedly a heretic, as well as a traitor to the Afrikaner cause, opposed violence as a method of political change.  That did not satisfy the hardline government, which, on one occasion, accused him of being a communist.  Naudé was not a communist, but he was a subversive, as he should have been.  He traveled in Europe, speaking against Apartheid and collecting honors.  In October 1977 the South African government banned our saint and the closed the Christian Institute.  Naudé, as a banned person, was under house arrest.  The law also forbade him from speaking to more than one person at a time.  Foreign honors continued.  In the early 1980s the government relaxed the ban somewhat, permitting Naudé to leave his house yet not the magisterial district of Johannesburg.  The ban ended in September 1984.

Naudé was a free man again.  In 1984 He succeeded Desmond Tutu (a man destined for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar eventually) as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.  In the early 1990s our saint, without joining the African National Congress (ANC), was the only white member of the ANC team that negotiated with the national government as Apartheid collapsed.

Naudé, marginalized within the DRCSA, had made the emotionally difficult decision to leave it in 1980.  He transferred to the majority-Black Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA).  The DRCA, by the way merged with the (Colored) Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) in 1994 to form the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA).

The Hero

Well done, you competent and reliable slave!

–Matthew 25:23a, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Naudé, once a pariah, was a hero at the end of his life.  President Nelson Mandela was one of his friends.  Our saint lived long enough to witness his vindication.  He even lived long enough to witness the DRCSA denounce Apartheid and issue a formal apology for having affirmed the execrable institution.

Naudé lived to the age of 89 years.  He, surrounded by his wife and children, died at a retirement home in Johannesburg on September 7, 2004.


I also composed the collect and chose the passages of scripture.


Loving God of all nations, races, ethnicities, and cultures,

your command that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves

is as ancient as the Bible and as contemporary as the news.

That command continues to challenge us as we confront our own prejudices

and contend with those of people in power, as well as those around us.

Negative pressure to consent to injustice actively or passively is frequently intimidating.

We thank you for your faithful servant Beyers Naudé, whom you converted,

and who took up his cross and followed Jesus in South Africa,

thereby becoming an agent of transformation of his church, society, and nation-state.

May we follow the divine path of love in our circumstances,

and thereby radiate the light of Christ when and where we are,

regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord and Savior,

in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Amos 1:21-24

Psalm 27

James 1:22-25

Luke 6:20-26





Feast of Elie Naud (September 7)   Leave a comment

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Above:  Seal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Image in the Public Domain


ELIE NAUD, A.K.A. ELIAS NEAU (1661/1662-SEPTEMBER 7, 1722)

Huguenot Witness to the Faith

We who enjoy the blessing of religious toleration are more fortunate than Elie Naud, also known as Elias Neau, was for part of his life.  He was a Huguenot, a member of the Reformed Church of France.  (Aside:  the “t” in “Huguenot” is properly silent, and the “h” is almost silent, according to the rules of French pronunciation.  My tongue, trained to speak English, is incapable of pronouncing that French”h” correctly.)  King Henri IV had issued the Edict of Nantes, granting religious liberty and civil rights to Protestants, in April 1598.  King Louis XIII rescinded the edict on October 18, 1685, making being a Protestant in France a criminal offense.  Even prior to that date, however, being a French Protestant could be dangerous.   Hence, in 1679 Naud fled France for the West Indies.  Eventually he settled in the City of New York, in the British Empire.

Naud’s troubles had not ended.  During the early years of his residence in New York he traveled to Europe and back to the colony for the purpose of raising funds for Huguenot causes.   For his steadfastness of faith Naud spent two years in the infamous island fortress-prison of Chateau d’If, near Marseilles.  On another occasion, in the 1690s, he received a life sentence to be a galley slave, but obviously did not spend the rest of his life in that manner.

Naud, back in New York City, worked among slaves and indigenous people as a catechist and a missioner of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.  Our saint, who joined Trinity Church, Wall Street, then L’Eglise du Saint-Espirit, a francophone parish, opened his catechetical school in 1704.  He had to overcome obstacles, such as racism and fear, especially in the aftermath of the slave riot of 1712.  Yet Naud persevered and succeeded.  He also worked successfully for the colonial government to pass a law permitting the religious instruction of slaves in 1706.

Others carried on Naud’s work after he died in New York City on September 7, 1722.








Blessed God, whose Son Jesus calmed the waves and knelt to serve his disciples:

We honor you for the witness of the Huguenot Elie Naud,

remembered as Mystic of the Galleys and Servant of Slaves;

and we pray that we, with him, may proclaim Christ in suffering and joy alike,

and call others to join us in ministry to those littlest and least,

following Jesus who came not to be ministered to but to minister;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Daniel 6:10b-16, 19-23

Psalm 30

James 1:2-4, 12a

Matthew 15:21-28

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 565


Feast of Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater (September 7)   1 comment


Above:  Princess Street and Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07586



Scottish Presbyterian Translator of Hymns

sister of


Scottish Presbyterian Translator of Hymns


Jane Laurie Findlater and Sarah Borthwick Findlater were sisters who contributed greatly to English-language hymnody.  They, natives of Edinburgh, Scotland, were members of the Free Church of Scotland, which separated from the Church of Scotland in 1843.  Their father, James Borthwick, manager of the Edinburgh branch of the North British Insurance Office, encouraged their early translation efforts.

Jane, who never married, published her earliest translations under the nom de plume “H.L.L.” in The Family Treasury, a religious periodical.  She preferred to preserve her anonymity, hence the pseudonym.  Jane published Thoughtful Hours (first edition, 1857; enlarged edition, 1867), The Story of Four Centuries:  Sketches of Early Church History for Youthful Readers (1864), Alpine Lyrics (1875), and Lyra Christiana:  A Treasury of Sacred Poetry (1887).  She also collaborated with her younger sister, Sarah, on the four volumes of Hymns from the Land of Luther (1854, 1855, 1858, and 1862).  Of the 122 texts in Hymns from the Land of Luther, Jane translated 69.  Sarah contributed the other 53.

Both women were generous people.  Jane supported a homeless shelter, the Edinburgh House of Refuge.  She also supported foreign missions efforts of the Free Church of Scotland, the Church Missionary Society, and the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Sarah, wife of Free Church of Scotland minister Eric John Findlater, was generous, eccentric, and hospitable.  She gave away much money for, she said, that was the reason to have it.

Even in first half of the twentieth century common practice in hymnals was to alter the sisters’ translations, so the best way to read what they wrote is to consult their books.  Perhaps one hymn which Jane wrote (not translated) summarizes the mission which she and her sister pursued while on this planet:

Come, labour on.

Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,

While all around him waves the golden grain?

And to each servant does the Master say,

“Go work today.”


Come, labour on.

Claim the high calling angels cannot share–

To young and old the gospel gladness bear:

Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.

The night draws nigh.


Come, labour on.

The enemy is watching night and day,

To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;

While we in sleep our duty have forgot,

He slumbered not.


Come, labour on.

Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!

No arm so weak but may do service here:

By feeblest agents may our God fulfill

His righteous will.


Come, labour on.

No time for rest, till glows the western sky,

While the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,

And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,

“Servants, well done.”

Jane died at Edinburgh on September 7, 1897.  Sarah followed her sister into the next life on December 25, 1907, at Torquay, England.







Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jane Laurie Borthwick, Sarah Borthwick Findlater, 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








Feast of John Duckett and Ralph Corby (September 7)   Leave a comment

Logo of the Society of Jesus



Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in England

Today I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days two Roman Catholic priests convicted of high treason for simply being Catholic priests in England when that was illegal.  The sentence, carried out on both at London on September 7, 1644, was hanging, drawing, and quartering.

The Irish-born Ralph Corby grew up in a devout family.  He joined the Jesuits and became a priest in 1625.  All of his siblings joined one religious order or another.  And, after the nest emptied, his parents took vows, with his father becoming a Jesuit lay brother and his mother a Benedictine nun.  Corby began his English mission in 1631/1632 and ministered in secret for twelve years, until July 8, 1644, when authorities at Newcastle arrested him.

John Duckett, who had a gift for contemplative prayer, was born in Sedbergh Parish, Yorkshire, England, in 1603.  Ordained a priest in 1639, he then studied for three years at the College of Arras in Paris, France, for three years.  Before Duckett began his English mission, he spent two months under the spiritual direction of his uncle, a Carthusian prior.  Duckett worked as a priest at Durham for about a year before the authorities arrested him on July 2, 1644, when he was en route to baptize two children.  The following quote comes from Duckett’s final letter, which he wrote on the night before he died:

I fear not death, nor do I condemn not life.  If life were my lot, I would endure it patiently; but if death, I shall receive it joyfully, for that Christ is my life, and death is my gain.  Never since my receiving of Holy Orders did I so much fear death as I did life, and now, when it approacheth can I faint?

Pope Pius XI beatified John Duckett and Ralph Corby in 1929.


The Collect:

Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who was born, lived, and died that we might have life and have it more abundantly, we thank you for the holy lives of John Duckett and Ralph Corby, who followed you all the way to their martyrdom.  Where martyrdom persists may the blood of the martyrs water the Church.  Yet may those who would make martyrs, moved by the Holy Spirit, refrain from violence instead.  In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Readings:

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Psalm 63

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Luke 6:20-26






Saints’ Days and Holy Days for September   Leave a comment


Image Source = Wilder Kaiser

1 (Dionysius Exiguus, Roman Catholic Monk and Reformer of the Calendar)

  • David Pendleton Oakerhater, Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma
  • Fiacre, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • François Mauriac, French Roman Catholic Novelist, Christian Humanist, and Social Critic

2 (Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942 and 1943)

  • David Charles, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Dianna Ortiz, U.S. Roman Catholic Nun and Anti-Torture Activist
  • William of Roskilde, English-Danish Roman Catholic Bishop

3 (Jedediah Weiss, U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician)

  • Arthur Carl Lichtenberger, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and Witness for Civil Rights
  • F. Crawford Burkitt, Anglican Scholar, Theologian, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • James Bolan Lawrence, Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Sundar Singh, Indian Christian Evangelist

4 (Paul Jones, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, and Peace Activist; and his colleague, John Nevin Sayre, Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist)

  • Birinus of Dorchester, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dorchester, and the “Apostle of Wessex”
  • E. F. Schumacher, German-British Economist and Social Critic
  • Gorazd of Prague, Orthodox Bishop of Moravia and Silesia, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia, and Martyr, 1942
  • William McKane, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

5 (Carl Johannes Sodergren, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Theologian; and his colleague, Claus August Wendell, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Theologian)

  • Athol Hill, Australian Baptist Biblical Scholar and Social Prophet
  • Teresa of Calcutta, Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity
  • William F. Albright and G. Ernest Wright, U.S. Biblical Scholars and Archaeologists
  • William Morton Reynolds, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Hymn Translator

6 (Charles Fox, Anglican Missionary in Melanesia)

  • Aaron Robarts Wolfe, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Allen Crite, Artist
  • Joseph Gomer and Mary Gomer, U.S. United Brethren Missionaries in Sierra Leone

7 (Beyers Naudé, South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist)

  • Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith
  • Hannah More, Anglican Poet, Playwright, Religious Writer, and Philanthropist
  • Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater, Scottish Presbyterian Translators of Hymns
  • John Duckett and Ralph Corby, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in England, 1644
  • Kassiani the Hymnographer, Byzantine Abbess, Poet, Composer, Hymn Writer, and Defender of Icons

8 (Nikolai Grundtvig, Danish Lutheran Minister, Bishop, Historian, Philosopher, Poet, Educator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer, German Lutheran Attorney and Hymn Writer; and Frances Elizabeth Cox, English Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Shepherd Knapp, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher and Theologian, and Father of Existentialism
  • Wladyslaw Bladzinski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

9 (Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878)

  • Francis Borgia, “Second Founder of the Society of Jesus;” Peter Faber, Apostle of Germany, and Co-Founder of the Society of Jesus; Alphonsus Rodriguez, Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother; and Peter Claver, “Apostle to the Negroes”
  • Lucy Jane Rider Meyer, Novelist, Hymn Writer, Medical Doctor, and Founder of the Deaconess Movement in the Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Sarah Mapps Douglass, U.S. African-American Quaker Abolitionist, Writer, Painter, and Lecturer
  • William Chatterton Dix, English Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

10 (Alexander Crummell, U.S. African-American Episcopal Priest, Missionary, and Moral Philosopher)

  • Lynn Harold Hough, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Mordecai Johnson, Educator
  • Nemesian of Sigum and His Companions, Roman Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 257
  • Salvius of Albi, Roman Catholic Bishop

11 (Paphnutius the Great, Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid)

  • Anne Houlditch Shepherd, Anglican Novelist and Hymn Writer
  • Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in China, 1840
  • John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock, Anglican Church Organists and Composers
  • Patiens of Lyons, Roman Catholic Archbishop

12 (Kaspar Bienemann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Ernest Edwin Ryder, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Hymnal Editor
  • Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan, Korean Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1839; Lawrence Mary Joseph Imbert, Pierre Philibert Maubant, and Jacques Honoré Chastán, French Roman Catholic Priests, Missionaries to Korea, and Martyrs, 1839; Paul Chong Hasang, Korean Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1839; and Cecilia Yu Sosa and Jung Hye, Korean Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1839
  • William Josiah Irons, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and his daughter, Genevieve Mary Irons, Roman Catholic Hymn Writer

13 (Peter of Chelcic, Bohemian Hussite Reformer; and Gregory the Patriarch, Founder of the Moravian Church)

  • Frederick J. Murphy, U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar
  • Godfrey Thring, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jane Crewdson, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Narayan Seshadri of Jalna, Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”
  • Robert Guy McCutchan, U.S. Methodist Hymnal Editor and Hymn Tune Composer


15 (Martyrs of Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963)

  • Charles Edward Oakley, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • George Henry Trabert, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator and Author
  • James Chisholm, Episcopal Priest
  • Philibert and Aicardus of Jumieges, Roman Catholic Abbots

16 (Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr, 258; and Cornelius, Lucius I, and Stephen I, Bishops of Rome)

  • James Francis Carney, U.S.-Honduran Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, Revolutionary, and Martyr, 1983
  • Martin Behm, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

17 (Jutta of Disibodenberg, Roman Catholic Abbess; and her student, Hildegard of Bingen, Roman Catholic Abbess and Composer)

  • Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titutlar Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary
  • Zygmunt Sajna, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

18 (Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations)

  • Amos Niven Wilder, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, Literary Critic, and Biblical Scholar
  • Edward Bouverie Pusey, Anglican Priest
  • Henry Lascelles Jenner, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Henry Wellington Greatorex, Anglican and Episcopal Organist, Choirmaster, and Hymnodist
  • John Campbell Shairp, Scottish Poet and Educator

19 (Gerard Moultrie, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns)

  • Clarence Alphonsus Walworth, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer; Co-Founder of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers)
  • Emily de Rodat, Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Villefranche
  • Walter Chalmers Smith, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York and Hymn Writer

20 (Henri Nouwen, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer)

  • Elizabeth Kenny, Australian Nurse and Medical Pioneer
  • John Coleridge Patteson, Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1871
  • Marie Therese of Saint Joseph, Founder of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
  • Nelson Wesley Trout, First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop


22 (Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and of Illinois; and Presiding Bishop)

  • C. H. Dodd, Welsh Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott, Anglican Hymn Writers
  • Justus Falckner, Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Stephen G. Cary, U.S. Quaker Humanitarian and Antiwar Activist

23 (Francisco de Paula Victor, Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest)

  • Churchill Julius, Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, and Primate and Archbishop of New Zealand
  • Émelie Tavernier Gamelin, Founder of the Sisters of Providence
  • Jozef Stanek, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

24 (Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, African-American Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia, and Educator)

  • Henry Hart Milman, Anglican Dean, Translator, Historian, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • Juvenal of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Martyr in Alaska, and First Orthodox Martyr in the Americas, 1796
  • Peter the Aleut, Russian Orthodox Martyr in San Francisco, 1815
  • Silouan of Mount Athos, Eastern Orthodox Monk and Poet

25 (Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, African-American Educator; her sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, African-American Dentist; and their brother, Hubert Thomas Delany, African-American Attorney, Judge, and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Bernhard W. Anderson, U.S. United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Euphrosyne and her father, Paphnutius of Alexandria, Monks
  • Herman of Reichenau, Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar
  • Judith Lomax, Episcopal Mystic and Poet
  • Sergius of Radonezh, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Sergiyev Posad, Russia

26 (Paul VI, Bishop of Rome)

  • Frederick William Faber, English Roman Catholic Hymn Writer
  • John Bright, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Byrom, Anglican then Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph A. Sittler, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Ecumenist
  • Lancelot Andrewes, Anglican Bishop of Chichester then of Ely then of Winchester

27 (Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva; Vincent de Paul, “The Apostle of Charity;’ Louise de Marillac, Co-Founder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Charles Fuge Lowder, Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross)

  • Edward McGlynn, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Social Reformer, and Alleged Heretic
  • Eliza Scudder, U.S. Unitarian then Episcopalian Hymn Writer
  • Joanna P. Moore, U.S. Baptist Missionary and Educator
  • Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003
  • Thomas Traherne, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Spiritual Writer

28 (Jehu Jones, Jr., African-American Lutheran Minister)

  • Francis Turner Palgrave, Anglican Poet, Art Critic, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Hoskins, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Lorenzo Ruiz and His Companions, Roman Catholic Missionaries and Martyrs in Japan, 1637


30 (Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury)

  • Mary Ramabai, Prophetic Witness and Evangelist in India
  • Richard Challoner, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Religious Writer, Translator, Controversialist, Priest, and Titular Bishop of Doberus


  • Labor Day


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.