Archive for the ‘September 9’ Category

Feast of Sarah Mapps Douglass (September 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Painting of a Flower, by Sarah Mapps Douglass

Image in the Public Domain

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SARAH MAPPS DOUGLASS (SEPTEMBER 9, 1806-SEPTEMBER 8, 1882)

U.S. African-American Quaker Abolitionist, Writer, Painter, and Lecturer

Sarah Mapps Douglass comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sarah Mapps Douglass, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 9, 1806, came from that city’s African-American elite.  Her family, active in the abolitionist movement, included her father (Robert Douglass, Sr., a baker), her mother (Grace Bustill Douglass, a teacher and a milliner), and her brother (Robert Douglass, Jr., an artist).  Our saint, well-educated, started teaching, in 1825, at a school her mother had helped to found.  Then Sarah taught at the Free African School for Girls.  After that, in 1837, she founded the African Institute, subsequently renamed the Institute for Colored Youth in 1852 and, eventually, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (the oldest Historically Black College or University in the United States).  Douglass had a professional connection to the African Institute/Institute for Colored Youth for most of the rest of her life.  She also insisted on the revolutionary idea that male and female students receive equal opportunity to study subjects previously off-limits to girls and young women.

Douglass, a financial supporter of and literary contributor to William Lloyd Garrison‘s The Liberator (founded in 1831), helped her mother to found the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.  This biracial society, which included Lucretia Mott (1793-1880), was radical, by the standards of the time.  It advocated for the abolition of slavery as soon as possible and in such as way as to leave former slaveholders holding the proverbial bag.  The organization also supported boycotts of goods slaves had manufactured, distributed anti-slavery books and pamphlets, and opened a school for African-American children.  Our saint remained active in the society for years, too.

Douglass also helped to lead the Female Literary Association, founded in 1831.  This organization, for African-American women, both free and enslaved, challenged White racism and encouraged self-improvement via education.

Douglass became a pioneer of another sort.  She studied medicine, with a specialty in hygiene and gynecology, from 1853 to 1877.  She also matriculated as the first African-American student, at the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Then she taught night classes to African-American women.

Douglass, a fine artist, was one of the first African-American painters, too.  She signed her work and challenged White racist assumptions in yet another way.

Our saint married in 1855.  Her husband, a widower with nine children, was the Reverend William Douglass, the Rector of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Philadelphia.  He died in 1861.

Our saint faced racism within the church, too.  One day, at a Friends meeting house in New York City, a member asked her:

Does thee go out ahouse cleaning?

Sarah wrote to a friend and explained what she did next:

I wept through the whole of the meeting….

Sarah Mapps Douglass died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 8, 1882.  If she had lived one day longer, she would have turned seventy-six years old.

My parents raised me to believe in racial equality.  My father was a United Methodist minister in rural southern Georgia. U.S.A.  Many of his parishioners (in the 1980s through the early 2000s, especially) were openly and unapologetically racist.  Many of them used racial slurs openly and unapologetically.  Others used slightly less impolite language.  I recall that, one day in 1990 or 1991, in Alapaha, Georgia, I heard Henry, a neighbor and a fellow parishioner, say, “African-American engineering,” a paraphrase of a slur.  Church members, such as Henry, should have known better than to be racists and to use racist language.

Sarah Mapps Douglass lived prior to the coining of the word “intersectionality.”  Yet her life epitomized that word.  She dwelt at the intersection of being female and African American.  Our saint contended with sexism and racism.

Biases, such as sexism and racism, come in two varieties, by one method of categorizing them.  These varieties are conscious and unconscious.  The most difficult biases to recognize in oneself are the ones does not realize are biases.  One may mistake them for being objectively they way things are and perhaps mistake them for the way things ought to be.  One need not wear bed sheets or shave one’s head to function as a racist.  One can also be a racist without realizing one’s racism.  And, when one recognizes oneself as a racist, combating that form of bigotry in oneself can prove difficult.  Such is the hold social conditioning has on people.

Every society always needs revolutionaries such as Sarah Mapps Douglass at her time and location, to challenge moral blind spots in the collective norms and mores.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC 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 servant Sarah Mapps Douglass]

to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Lucy Jane Rider Meyer (September 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Two Methodist Deaconesses, 1889

Image in the Public Domain

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LUCY JANE RIDER MEYER (SEPTEMBER 9, 1849-MARCH 16, 1922)

Novelist, Hymn Writer, Medical Doctor, and Foundress of the Deaconess Movement in the Methodist Episcopal Church

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INTRODUCTION

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Lucy Jane Rider Meyer comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The changing nature of Methodist ministerial orders over time requires explanation and is germane to this blog post.  Both versions (1945 and 1965) of The Book of Worship for Church and Home (of The Methodist Church, extant 1939-1968) include Orders for the Ordination of Deacons, the Ordination of Elders, the Consecration of Bishops, and the Consecration of Deaconesses.  The Order for the Consecration of Deaconesses, from The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1945) includes the following instructions to the candidate(s):

Dearly beloved, we rejoice that in the providence of God a door of usefulness has been opened to you in the Church of Christ.  You are to give yourselves to the service if the Lord, going about doing good.  You are to minister to the poor, visit the sick, pray for the dying, care for the orphaned, seek the wandering, comfort the sorrowing, and lead the sinning to their Saviour.  Such service lays upon you solemn responsibility.

–452

The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), the immediate successor to The Books of Worship for Church and Home, includes the Order for the Consecration of Diaconal Ministers in lieu of the old Order for the Consecration of Deaconesses.  The consecration ritual includes these instructions to the candidate(s):

My brothers and sisters,

you are to be consecrated to diaconal ministry in Christ’s holy Church.

You are to represent to the Church the ministry of servanthood in the world.

 

God has called you to a special ministry that will exemplify Christ’s servanthood.

You are to lead the people of God to be obedient servants,

to participate in the leadership of worship,

to demonstrate concern for love, justice, and freedom,

to counsel the troubled in spirit,

to teach from the riches of God’s grace,

to serve the poor, the sick, and the oppressed,

to equip all Christians to be in ministry and in service to the community,

and to embody the unity of the congregation’s worship with its life in the world.

–657

When I was a United Methodist preacher’s kid in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, the ordained clergy on the parish level came in three tiers:  Local Pastor, Deacon, and Elder.  My father started as a local pastor in 1980.  He became a deacon in 1986 then an elder in 1994.  (I have his framed ordination certificates.)  I knew about diaconal ministers; I saw them, from a distance, consecrated at the Annual Conferences in June.  My father wore a stole over both shoulders, but a diaconal minister wore a stole over one shoulder.  Diaconal ministers usually served on staff in large congregations in cities.  

I, being on this earth, in part, to be an Episcopalian, converted to The Episcopal Church on December 22, 1991.  I stopped paying such close attention to the details of United Methodist ministerial orders.  In 1996, The United Methodist Church established the Order of Deacons.  The denomination revised its ministerial orders and redefined the diaconate.  Deacons ceased to be parish ministers who had not become elders yet.  Deacons started wearing the one-shoulder stole.  The Church ceased to consecrate diaconal ministers, although some people already consecrated as diaconal ministers still used the title.  Likewise, when The Episcopal Church had relabeled all deaconesses as deacons, some deaconesses had retained their former title in a denomination that had ceased to set women apart as deaconesses.

Now that increasing numbers of denominations have authorized the ordination of women, many of those denominations have discontinued the Order of Deaconesses.   The Order of Deacons has come to include both men and women in many denominations.  Yet the Order of Deaconess has persisted in some quarters of the Church; Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was a deaconess in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, for example.

I live in a time in which a woman can be the Presiding Bishop.  I approve of this.

Lucy Jane Rider Meyer, however, lived in a time and a culture quite different from mine.  Progress for women in the churches meant opening up gendered, parallel institutions.  After the U.S. Civil War, for example, opposition to sending single women abroad as medical missionaries declined, and women from various denominations founded ecumenical and denominational missions agencies for women.  Furthermore, the renewal of the female diaconate spread in the United States.

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DEACONESSES

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The revival of the ancient Order of Deaconesses started in Europe.  The renewed Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) did this first, in 1745.  In Germany, Lutheran pastor Theodor Fliedner (1800-1864) opened a deaconess training center at Kaiserworth in 1836.   The revival of the female diaconate spread throughout European Lutheranism.

The Reverend William Alfred Passvant, Sr. (1821-1894), the pastor of the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1845f), became active in providing social services.  From 1849 to 1871, he founded hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged, and homes for epileptics.  Passavant also raised funds to support these institutions.  And, in 1846, he wrote Fliedner and requested deaconesses in Pittsburgh.  Fliedner and four deaconesses arrived in 1849.  They helped to open Deaconess’ Hospital, Pittsburgh, in 1850.  Passavant consecrated Catherine Lousia Marthens (1828-1899), the first American deaconess, in 1850.  And, in 1885, Passavant invited Norwegian Lutheran deaconess Elizabeth Fedde (1850-1921) to work in the United States.  She worked in this country from 1883 to 1895.  She opened hospitals in New York and Chicago.  

The revival of the female diaconate spread to the Anglican Communion, too.  Elizabeth Catherine Ferard (1825-1883) became the first deaconess in The Church of England in 1861.  The movement to revive the ancient Order of Deaconesses in The Episcopal Church began in earnest in 1871.  The denomination approved that order in 1889.

The 1888 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (extant 1784-1939) approved the creation of the Order of Deaconesses in that denomination.  

That detail brings me to the woman known as the “Archbishop of Deaconesses.”

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A SHATTERER OF MOLDS AND AN ALLEGED HERETIC, THEREFORE, BY DEFINITION, A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE

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Above:  Lucy Jane Rider and Josiah Shelly Rider

Image in the Public Domain

Lucy Jane Rider, born in New Haven, Vermont, on September 9, 1849, became a mold-breaker and an educator.  She was the only child of widower Richard Dunning Rider (1807-1876) and his second wife, Jane Child Rider (1823-1901).  Our saint had three younger half-siblings, born in 1834, 1840, and 1847.  Lucy graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in literary studies in 1872.  She, planning to become a medical missionary, matriculated at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania the following year.  Our saint, engaged to marry, suffered heartache in 1875; her fiancé died.  Lucy dropped out of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and served as the principal of the (Methodist Episcopal) Troy Conference Academy, Poultney, Vermont (1876-1877).  

Rider also had an interest in chemistry.  She studied the subject at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1877-1878.)  Then she was a professor of chemistry at McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois (1879-1881).  This interest in chemistry was also evident in her children’s book, Real Fairy Folks, or, The Land of Chemistry:  Explorations in the World of Atoms (1887).

Our saint turned her full-time attention to Christian education next.  She, a delegate to the World Sunday School Convention, London, in 1880, worked as a field secretary for the Illinois State Sunday School Association in 1881-1884.  This period in Rider’s life proved to be foundational for her subsequent labors.  She became convinced that Christian educators and others engaged in evangelism needed to be better informed than many of them were.  

In 1885, Rider married Chicago businessman and ordained Methodist Episcopal minister Josiah Shelly Meyer (1849-1926).

The Meyers opened the Chicago Training School for City, Home, and Foreign Missions (later renamed the Chicago Training School for Home and Foreign Missions) in 1885.  Josiah served as the first superintendent and Lucy as the first principal.  The school, which was for women, had a curriculum some conservatives considered more advanced than necessary for mere females.  Furthermore, Lucy was allegedly a heretic because she argued that the authors of the Bible did not take dictation from God.  She taught that the Biblical authors were inspired, and that others edited those texts into the forms present in the Bible.  

Lucy, married, returned to medical school.  She graduated with her M.D. from the Women’s Medical College of Chicago in 1887.

Lucy founded The Message, a periodical, in 1886, and served as its editor until 1914.  After the Methodist Episcopal Church formally approved the Order of Deaconesses in 1888, she renamed the magazine The Deaconess Advocate.  

Lucy remained active in the Methodist deaconess movement for the rest of her life.  She designed the uniform.  Our saint established the deaconess houses in Chicago (1888), Boston (1889), and Toronto (1894).  She appointed Isabella Thoburn (1840-1901), one of the first Methodist deaconesses, as the superintendent of the Chicago deaconess house.  Lucy founded the Methodist Deaconess Association in 1908.  And she wrote about deaconesses.  Her published works germane to this topic included:

  1. Deaconesses:  Who They Are and What They Do (188?),
  2. Deaconesses:  Biblical, Early Church, European, American (1889),
  3. Deaconesses and Their Work:  Biblical, Early Church, European, American (1897), and
  4. Deaconess Stories (1900)

Women became eligible to serve as delegates to the General Conference, starting in 1904.  Lucy was a delegate to the General Conferences of 1904 and 1908.

Lucy also made her contribution to hymnody.  She wrote at least 17 hymns and edited Everybody’s Gospel Songs (1910).

Lucy’s other published works included:

  1. The Shorter Bible, Chronologically Arranged (1895), as editor;
  2. Mary North:  A Novel (1903);
  3. What Made Life Worth Living,” an article in The American Journal of Nursing (December 1904); and
  4. Some Little Prayers (1907), as compiler.

Lucy retired as the principal of the Chicago Training School for Home and Foreign Missions in 1917. 

She died, aged 72 years, on March 16, 1922, in Chicago.

The legacy of the Chicago Training School for Home and Foreign Missions has continued.  It merged into Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Illinois, in 1930.  This institution merged with the Evangelical Theological Seminary (formerly of the Evangelical United Brethren Church), Napierville, Illinois, in 1974, to form Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, in 1974.

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Loving God, who called many women to Christian service as deaconesses,

thank you for the faithful life of Lucy Jane Rider Meyer,

reviver of that ancient order in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

May we, inspired by her good example,

follow you where and when we are, and as you direct us.

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

Exodus 22:21-24

Psalm 10

Acts 9:36-43 and Romans 16:1-2

Matthew 25:31-46

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 17, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF HENRY WALFORD DAVIES, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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Feast of Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Peter Claver (September 9)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA (OCTOBER 28, 1510-SEPTEMBER 30, 1572)

“Second Founder of the Society of Jesus”

Also known as Francisco de Borja y Aragon

His feast transferred from September 30, October 3, and October 10

worked with

SAINT PETER FABER (APRIL 13, 1506-AUGUST 1, 1546)

Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus

His feast transferred from August 1

taught

SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ (JULY 25, 1532-OCTOBER 31, 1617)

Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother

His feast transferred from October 31

counseled

SAINT PETER CLAVER (1580/1581-SEPTEMBER 8, 1654)

“Apostle to the Negroes”

His feast day = September 9

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One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That goal is germane to this post.

I began by taking notes about St. Peter Claver.  During that process I noticed the link to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez.  While I took notes on him, I saw the name of St. Peter Faber.  I took notes about him and noticed the link to St. Francis Borgia, so I added Borgia to the post too.

Above:  St. Francis Borgia, S.J.

Image in the Public Domain

St. Francis Borgia, born in Gandia, Valencia, Aragon, on October 28, 1510, was a nobleman.  He, related to Aragonese royalty, was a great-grandson of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, who, in 1492, bribed his way into the Papacy and became Alexander VI.  Our saint, raised in the court of King Charles I of Spain/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, married Eleanor de Castro (d. 1546) in 1529.  The couple had eight children.  From 1539 to 1543 Borgia was the Viceroy of Catalonia.  Then, in 1543, he became the Duke of Gandia.

Borgia made his greatest contributors as a Jesuit.  He, a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), joined the Society of Jesus in 1548.  Three years later our saint became a priest.  His responsibilities increased as time passed.  Borgia had oversight of missions in the East Indies and the West Indies before become the superior in Spain in 1560.  Five years later Borgia became the Superior General of the order.  In a few years he revitalized the order and established missions in Peru, Florida, and elsewhere in the Spanish Empire in the Americas.  Our saint, convinced that Jesuits were working too much and praying too little, introduced the hour-long meditation.

Borgia died in Ferrara (now in Italy) on September 30, 1572, about a month prior to what would have been his sixty-second birthday.  Pope Gregory XV beatified him in 1624.  Pope Clement X canonized him in 1670.

Above:  St. Peter Faber

Image in the Public Domain

Borgia worked with St. Peter Faber, born in Villaret, Savoy, on April 13, 1506.  Faber, from a farm family, worked as a shepherd when he was young.  Our saint was devout from childhood; he even catechized other children when he was one.

Faber, educated at Saint-Barbe College, Paris, became a priest in 1534, the same year he and his friend, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founded the Society of Jesus.  Faber, also a friend of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), was an active participant–a preacher and theologian–in the Counter-Reformation.  He enabled St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany, to fulfill that function.

Faber, aged 40 years, died in Rome on August 1, 1546.  Toward the end he was too ill to attend the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and to become the Patriarch of Ethiopia.  Pope Leo XIII beatified Faber in 1872.  Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2013.

Faber prepared the 10-year-old St. Alphonsus Rodriguez for First Communion.

Above:  St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Image in the Public Domain

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, once a businessman, became a Jesuit lay brother and an influential spiritual advisor.  He, born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, was the third of eleven children of prosperous wool merchant Diego Rodriguez, who died when our saint was 15 years old.  That death ended the education of young Alphonsus by the Jesuits, for a time.  Our saint, back home, took over the family business.  Rodriguez married Maria Suarez when he was 26 years old.  The couple had three children, two of whom predeceased their mother.  Rodriguez buried his wife then his mother in his thirties.  Next he sold the business and moved in with his sisters, who helped to raise the young son and taught our saint prayerful meditation.

Rodriguez had a vocation to religious life.  After the death of his third (of three) child, he inquired about becoming a novice.  Our saint did not meet the educational requirement to become a novice.  Attempts to acquire that education ended in failure.  He could, however, become a lay brother and study with children.  After six months the order sent Rodriguez to the College of Montesión, Palma, Majorca/Mallorca.  There our saint was the porter for 46 years; he delivered packages, gave alms to the poor, and assisted travelers in search of lodging.  Rodriguez made his final vows in 1586/1587, when he was 54 years old.

Above:  St. Peter Claver

Image in the Public Domain

St. Peter Claver, born into a farming family in Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580/1581, grew up and became a great missionary.  His parents sent him to Barcelona, to study under Jesuits.  The Jesuit influence rubbed of on Claver, who became a novice at Tarragona.  The order sent him to Palma, Majorca/Mallorca, where he was unsure about what his future should be.  St. Adolphus Rodriguez convinced the novice to ask to become a missionary to the New World.  Claver arrived in Cartagena (now in Colombia) in 1610.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez continued to live at Palma until he died, aged 87 years, on October 31, 1617.  He was 87 years old.  Pope Urban VIII declared Rodriguez a Venerable in 1626.  Pope Leo XII beatified him in 1825.

Claver spent the rest of his life in Cartagena, where he was the “Apostle to the Negroes.”  He was initially the assistant to Father Alphonsus de Sandoval, S.J., who ministered to recently arrived African slaves, still in slave pens, prior to auction.  Sandoval was a dedicated minister to slaves; Claver was more so.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1815, catechized and baptized more than 300,000 African slaves through 1650.  Against strong opposition from powerful people and much indifference from his superiors in Cartagena, Claver labored faithfully.  He could not end slavery, but he did what he could; he advocated for improved conditions on plantations, and succeeded.  Mostly he was present with and sympathetic to slaves.  Claver described himself as

the slave of the Negroes forever.

Claver, ill and unable to leave his room during the last four years of his life, endured the company of just one servant, who beat him frequently.  Our saint died in Cartagena on September 8, 1654.  Surprisingly, the Church gave him a grand funeral.

Pope Pius IX beatified Claver in 1851.

Pope Leo XIII canonized Claver and Rodriguez together in 1888.

Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, and Alphonsus Rodriguez enabled the productive ministry of St. Peter Claver.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Peter Faber, Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Saint Peter Claver,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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Feast of William Chatterton Dix (September 9)   1 comment

Above:  William Chatterton Dix

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM CHATTERTON DIX (JUNE 14, 1837-SEPTEMBER 9, 1898)

English Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

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In our work, and in our play,

Jesus, be thou ever near;

Guarding, guiding all the day,

Keeping in thy holy fear.

–William Chatterton Dix, quoted in The English Hymnal (1906)

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I have not undertaken a statistical analysis of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, but I would not be surprised to learn that most of the people on the Ecumenical Calendar were members of either the clergy or were brothers or sisters in one religious order or another.  William Chatterton Dix, however, was a layman.

William Chatterton Dix, born in Bristol, England, on June 14, 1837, became one of the great modern hymn writers and hymn translators.  He was a son of Susan (or Susannah) Moore and John Dix, a surgeon, poet, and biographer.  The father named his son after Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), a poet of whom he wrote a biography.  Our saint spent most of his life in Glasgow, Scotland, where he managed a marine insurance company.

Dix demonstrated great skill with the English language.  He studied Greek and Ethiopian, thereby expanding his linguistic horizons.  He also composed and translated many hymns, mainly during a few months, when, at the age of 29 years, he was bedridden, due to a serious illness.  A few of Dix’s most enduring texts were “As With Gladness Men of Old,” “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus,” and “What Child is This.”

Dix, a High Anglican, published books.  Most of these were volumes of hymns and other poetry.  Two books were of a devotional nature, and another, for children, concerned moral living.

Dix, aged 61 years, died in Cheddar, Somerset, England, on September 9, 1898.  Many of his hymns have remained in use, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Chatterton Dix and others, who have composed and translated 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 the Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878 (September 9)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of the Martyrs of Memphis

Icon Writer = Brother Tobias Stanislaus, Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, Yonkers, New York

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SISTER CONSTANCE (1846-SEPTEMBER 9, 1878)

Caroline Louise Darling

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER THECLA (1838-SEPTEMBER 12, 1878)

Mary Thecla MacMahon

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER RUTH (1846-SEPTEMBER 17, 1878)

Helen George Darling

Episcopal Nun

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SISTER FRANCES (1843-OCTOBER 5, 1878)

Frances Pease

Episcopal Nun

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CHARLES CARROLL PARSONS (1838-SEPTEMBER 6, 1878)

Episcopal Priest

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LOUIS SANDFORD SCHUYLER (1851-SEPTEMBER 17, 1878)

Episcopal Priest

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THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES HELPING OTHERS DURING AN OUTBREAK OF YELLOW FEVER.

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

–John 15:13, Authorised Version

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GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN.

–Inscription on the monument to the Martyrs of Memphis in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee

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The residents of Memphis, Tennessee, were not strangers to yellow fever in the late 1860s and the 1870s.  Three times in ten years epidemics of the disease afflicted the city.

Charles Todd Quintard, installed as the Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee in October 1865, sought the help of the new Sisters (later Community) of Saint Mary, founded in 1865, to participate in the process of rebuilding his diocese.  Monasticism, reviving within The Episcopal Church at the time, was controversial; many Evangelical-minded Episcopalians, with their learned hostility to Roman Catholicism, objected not only to the existence of Episcopal nuns but to the fact that they were full habits.  Bishop Quintard obviously did not share this bias.

Mother Harriet Starr Cannon, who had founded the order in 1865 and who served as the Superior, agreed to Quintard’s request.  She sent Sisters Constance, Amelia, Thecla, and Hughetta (then a novice) to Memphis in 1873.  They arrived in late 1873, in time for an outbreak of yellow fever in which about 2000 people in October and November.  The sisters ministered to the suffering.  The nuns were finally able to open the school for girls at St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1874.  Sister Constance, the Superior at Memphis, served as the headmistress of the school, at which Sister Thecla taught English and Latin.

The yellow fever epidemic of August-October 1878 was worse than that of 1873.  About 25,000 people–more than half of the population–left Memphis, leaving about 20,000 inhabitants.  These were those who chose to remain (to help the others) and those who could not leave.  Nearly nine out of ten of those who remained contracted yellow fever.  About one-fourth–5,150–of the 20,000–died.  The average number of deaths was about 200 a day.  The city buried 1,500 of these victims in a mass grave.

Although many people fled for safety, others volunteered to come to Memphis, to join those who had chosen to remain.  Those who risked their lives to help others included doctors, nurses, priests, ministers, nuns, and prostitutes.  Thirty Episcopal priests and some nuns chose to come to the city at that time.  Four Sisters of Saint Mary died between September 9 and October 5.  Among these nuns was Sister Ruth, who died at the age of 32 years.  She had left New York state to help victims in Memphis.  Sister Hughetta (died in 1926), who had been in Memphis since 1873, remained.  She was relatively fortunate, for she only contracted dysentery.  W. T. Dickinson Dalzell, a physician and an Episcopal priest, of Shreveport, Louisiana, went to Memphis, to help.  He had contracted yellow fever some years before, so he knew that he would survive the outbreak.  His medical skills were essential.

Charles Carroll Parsons (1838-September 6, 1878), the Rector of St. Lazarus-Grace Episcopal Church, Memphis, also died.  He, a member of the West Point Class of 1861, had served with distinction in the U.S. Army, been an artillery commander, and risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Civil War.  After that conflict he had become a professor at his alma mater.  Then he had studied for the priesthood, the ranks of which he joined on March 5, 1871.  Immediately prior to arriving in Memphis (to become the Rector of Grace Church, not yet united with St. Lazarus Church), in 1875, Parsons had been the Rector of Holy Innocents’ Church, Hoboken, New Jersey.  Our saint’s widow was Margaret Louisa Britton Parsons (1844-1927).  A personal connection with Charles Carroll Parsons contributed to bringing Louis Sandford Schuyler (1851-September 17, 1878), Assistant Rector of Holy Innocents’ Church, Hoboken, to Memphis, to help the suffering.  Schuyler wanted to minister to those who suffered even though he knew he was almost certainly making a one-way trip.

The yellow fever epidemic of August-October 1878 had devastating effects on Memphis.  Not only was about one-ninth of the population dead (within two months), but the city went bankrupt and lost its charter for fourteen years.  The worst effects were the lost lives.  What might the 5,150 dead have become had they survived?  How many more lives might they have improved?

Bishop Quintard dedicated the high altar of St. Mary’s Cathedral in honor of the four martyred nuns on Pentecost Sunday 1879.

One legacy of the martyred nuns was the increased support for the revival of monasticism in The Episcopal Church.  The Sisters/Community of Saint Mary expanded their work and new orders came into existence.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILSON CARLILE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH ARMY

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We give you thanks and praise, O God of compassion,

for the heroic witness of Constance and her companions,

who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and dying,

and loved not their own lives, even unto death:

Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need,

following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, who with you

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

Job 16:6-9

Psalm 25:15-21

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

John 12:24-28

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 571

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for September   Leave a comment

Forget-Me-Nots

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, Foundress 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

  • Hannah More, Anglican Poet, Playwright, Religious Writer, and Philanthropist

  • Joseph 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

  • 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 Cofounder 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 Foundress 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

  • Robert Guy McCutchan, U.S. Methodist Hymnal Editor and Hymn Tune Composer

  • 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 Patriach, 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”

14 (HOLY CROSS)

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)

  • Henry Wellington Greatorex, Anglican and Episcopal Organist, Choirmaster, and Hymnodist

  • 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

  • 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; Cofounder of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers)

  • Emily de Rodat, Foundress 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, Foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus

  • Nelson Wesley Trout, First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop

21 (MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR)

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 (September 23)

  • Émelie Tavernier Gamelin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence

  • Jozef Stanek, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

  • Judith Lomax, Episcopal Mystic and Poet

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

  • 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

  • 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, Cofounder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Charles Fuge Lowder, Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross)

  • Eliza Scudder, U.S. Unitarian then Episcopalian Hymn Writer

  • Joseph A. Sittler, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Ecumenist

  • Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003

  • Thomas Traherne, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Spiritual Writer

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

  • Edward McGlynn, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Social Reformer, and Alleged Heretic

  • 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

29 (MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS)

30 (Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury)

  • Joanna P. Moore, U.S. Baptist Missionary and Educator

  • Mary Ramabai, Prophetic Witness and Evangelist in India

  • Richard Challoner, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Religious Writer, Translator, Controversialist, Priest, and Titular Bishop of Doberus

Floating

  • Labor Day

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