Archive for the ‘Jacob Hutter’ Tag

Feast of Joseph and Michael Hofer (November 28)   8 comments

Above:  Alcatraz

Photographer = Theodor Horydczak

Image Source = Library of Congress

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOSEPH HOFER (DIED NOVEMBER 28, 1918)

brother of

MICHAEL HOFER (DIED DECEMBER 2, 1918)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

U.S. HUTTERITE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AND MARTYRS, 1918

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,

And hear their death-knell ringing,

When friends rejoice both far and near,

How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile,

Our thoughts to them go winging;

When friends by shame are undefiled,

How can I keep from singing?

–Doris Plenn, circa 1950

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Joseph and Michael Hofer come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The persecution of Anabaptists by governments and private citizens is about as old as the Anabaptist movement, extant since the 1520s.  These days, when most accounts of religious persecution are of the persecution of members of one group by partisans of a group outside that religion, many people are prone to forget about the persecution of Christians by other Christians–of Protestants by Catholics, of Catholics by Protestants, of Protestants by other Protestants, of Protestants by Anglicans, of Anglicans by Protestants, and of Anabaptists by almost everyone else, for example.

Devout pacifists have long been more than inconvenient to governments accustomed to populations being obedient, loyal, and not inclined to ask too many questions, especially during wartime.

The Hutterites, members of the Hutterian Brethren, founded in 1527, have not been strangers to the consequences of being dangerously out-of-step.  Their founder, Jakob Hutter (1500-1536), died by burning at the stake, on imperial orders.  During the period (1917-1918) of active U.S. involvement in World War I, intolerance was rampant.  The federal government treated pacifistic conscientious objectors cruelly, as many Hutterite, Amish, Mennonite, and Quaker men learned firsthand.

Joseph and Michael Hofer were devout Hutterites when the U.S. military draft began in 1917.  Each brother was a husband and a father.  True to their religious principles, the Hofer brothers quietly refused either to commit or condone violence.  They refused military service.  They refuse even to wear a military uniform.  They were, however, open to non-military national service.

The U.S. Army abused the Hofer brothers and caused their premature deaths.  The Hofers, court-martialed and convicted, received 20-year sentences.  They served time at Alcatraz (a military prison at the time) and Leavenworth, Kansas.  Conditions in both prisons were inhumane.  At Alcatraz the brothers hung from their wrists for eight hours a day for two weeks.  The cells were damp.  The brothers endured beatings and contracted scurvy.  They came down with pneumonia at Leavenworth.  When authorities finally let the brothers’ family visit them, Joseph and Michael were nearly dead.

Guards disrespectfully dressed each corpse in a military uniform.

Those who commit and/or condone violence against those who nonviolently refuse to conform, to abandon their principles, do not impress me.  Actually, they earn my contempt, until or unless they repent.  This is a story as old as antiquity and as recent as current events.  This is story about Puritans hanging Quakers in the New England in the 1600s, about National Guardsmen shooting nonviolent protesters on college campuses during the Vietnam War era, about Spanish authorities abusing Catalans for simply queuing up to vote in a referendum on independence a few years ago, et cetera.

The simple, firm dignity and faithfulness of the Hofer brothers has become an enduring witness that continues to expose the perfidy of those who victimized them, directly or indirectly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PROPER FOR MARTYRED CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

Loving God, we remember the enduring and faithful witness of Joseph and Michael Hofer

and of all others who have steadfastly refused to condone or commit violence during times of war,

and who have become martyrs rather than betray their principles.

In our own day, we pray for those who continue to suffer for this reason,

and for those who persecute them.

May oppressors recognize the errors of their ways and cease to oppress.

May mutual respect and forbearance triumph over intolerance, anger, and hatred.

May divine love prevail.

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

Jeremiah 38:1-13

Psalm 141

Revelation 7:9-17

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++