Archive for the ‘John LaFarge Sr.’ Tag

Feast of John LaFarge, Jr. (November 24)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN LAFARGE, JR. (DECEMBER 13, 1880-NOVEMBER 25, 1963)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Renewer of Society

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The Negro brings to the Church something that is in danger of disappearing from its life in this country, and thereby putting American Catholicism out of touch with the rest of the great universal suffering world–a keen sense of social justice.

–Father John LaFarge, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 512

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Father John LaFarge, Jr., comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Ellsberg’s All Saints and G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

LaFarge, from a background of privilege, dedicated most of his adult life to resisting bigotry.  His mother was Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925).  She, a convert to Roman Catholicism, had Isaiah Hecker (1819-1888) for a spiritual mentor.  Our saint’s father was John LaFarge, Sr. (1835-1910), a prominent painter and stained glass window maker.  Our saint, the youngest of eight children, entered the world at Newport, Rhode Island, on February 13, 1880.  John, Jr., a member of the Harvard University Class of 1901, studied for the priesthood in Europe.  There he joined the Society of Jesus (much to his mother’s dismay) and became a priest (ordained at Innsbruck, Austria) on July 26, 1905.

LaFarge understood the relationship between the gospel of Jesus Christ and social justice.  Early assignments included teaching at Jesuit colleges and assisting in parishes.  One assignment was as chaplain at the prison and hospital on Blackwell Island, New York, New York.  Later, our saint served in a mostly African-American parish in Leonardville, Maryland.  In 1924 he founded an industrial school for African Americans at Ridge, Maryland.  From 1926 to 1963 LaFarge worked at America magazine, a Jesuit publication.  In 1963, he, Dorothy Day, and others founded the Catholic Layman’s Union, which became the first Catholic Interracial Council of New York.  He traveled across the United States, speaking about social justice and encouraging the formation of similar organizations.  In 1938, Pope Pius XI asked LaFarge to draft an encyclical on racism.  Our saint completed the draft document, but Pius XI died in 1939, and Pope Pius XII shelved it, just in time for the Holocaust and World War II.

LaFarge, a pioneer for racial justice and opposition to anti-Semitism in U.S. Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), understood that one one divine purpose for the human race was unity.  He, therefore, condemned anti-Semitism and racial segregation laws.  That concern for unity also led LaFarge to become a pioneer in the ecumenical movement.  Related to his concern for unity was support for constitutional government; our saint criticized his Church for hostility to constitutional governments and support for dictatorships and therefore for a dubious record on human rights.  He, an advocate for freedom of religion as a human right, lived long enough to learn of the introduction of the draft Declaration on Religious Freedom at Vatican II.

LaFarge, aged 83 years, died in his sleep in New York, New York, early in the morning of November 25, 1963.

Theological orthodoxy and social justice need not be at odds with each other.  Despite the long and shameful record of self-proclaimed orthodox Christians propping up sins such as Jim Crow laws, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and the subordination of women, actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule as a constituent part, facilitates social justice and confronts institutions and proponents of oppression and hatred.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2019 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; AND ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIA CONNELLY, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANNA BLONDIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT ANNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ARCHUTOWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John LaFarge, Jr.,

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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

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

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

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

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

you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

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

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

Help us, like your servant John LaFarge, Jr., to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Ralph Adams Cram, Richard Upjohn, and John LaFarge, Sr. (December 16)   5 comments

cathedral-of-st-john-the-divine-1910

Above:  Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, New York

Image Source = Detroit Publishing Company

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a24588

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RALPH ADAMS CRAM (DECEMBER 16, 1863-SEPTEMBER 22, 1942)

Architect

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RICHARD UPJOHN (JANUARY 22, 1802-AUGUST 16, 1878)

Architect

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JOHN LAFARGE, SR. (MARCH 31, 1835-NOVEMBER 14, 1910)

Painter and Stained Glass Window Maker

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Art, including architecture, murals, and stained glass windows, can add much to the atmosphere of a space devoted to the worship of God.  The legacies of these three saints attest to this reality.

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Ralph Adams Cram, born at Hampton Falls, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1863, became an architect.  His mother was Sarah Elizabeth Cram and his father was the Reverend William Augustine Cram, a Transcendentalist.  Our saint, educated in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, left for Boston at the age of 18 years.  There he joined the architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden, where he worked for five years.  Then, in 1886, Cram traveled to Rome, Italy, to study classical architecture.  At Rome, on Christmas Eve in 1887, our saint had a conversion experience during a Mass.

Cram, who became an Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, became a founding partner of the firm of Cram and Wentworth in 1889.  (The name of the firm changed over time as partners came and went.)  He originated Collegiate Gothic architecture (such as at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, New York) and advocated for Gothic Revival architecture.  Cram designed churches, libraries, chapels, homes, et cetera.  He also served as the supervising architect at Princeton University from 1907 to 1929, defended Governor Alfred Smith against anti-Roman Catholic attacks in 1928, and led the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for seven years.

Cram married Elizabeth Carrington Read at New Bedford in 1900.  The couple had three children.

Cram died at Boston on September 22, 1942.  He was 78 years old.

Among the structures Cram designed was the building for Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia.  It is a lovely edifice complete with a hardwood floor, brick arches, and Tiffany glass.  I know this structure, upon which people have expanded gracefully over time, fairly well, for I have attended services there during visits to Americus since 2006.  Unfortunately, as of late 2016, the structure is in peril due to the forces of “progress,” that is, the proposed replacement of the bridge (over railroad tracks) adjacent to the church building.

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Richard Upjohn, born at Shaftesbury, England, on January 22, 1802, also became an important architect in time.  At first, however, he was an apprentice to a builder and a cabinet-maker.  Then our saint worked as a mechanic.  In 1829 the family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Four years later they relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.  There Upjohn became an architect.  He naturalized as an American citizen in 1836.

Upjohn was an influential architect.  He favored Gothic revival architecture and helped to originate the Carpenter Gothic style.  Our saint also helped to found the American Institute of Architects in 1857 and served as its President from 1857 to 1876.  Upjohn, based in New York City starting in 1839, designed homes, public buildings (such as the state capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut), and churches (especially Episcopal ones).  Notable examples of his church work were St. John’s Church in Bangor, Maine, and Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York City.

Upjohn died at home, in Garrison, New York, on August 16, 1878.  He was 76 years old.

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John LaFarge, Sr., born at New York, New York, on March 31, 1835, became a painter and a stained glass window maker.  Our saint, a Roman Catholic, came from a wealthy family of French origin.  Initially he studied law at Fordham University, but, after visiting Paris in 1856, he changed his major and became an artist.

LaFarge, who studied under painter William Morris Hunt (1824-1879) in Newport, Rhode Island, painted scenes from the Bible and classical mythology.  He also studied Japanese art, illustrated works of Robert Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and, in 1890-1891, traveled and painted in the South Pacific Ocean.  LaFarge also taught painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Schools, New York City.  Then, from 1899 to 1904, he served as the President of the National Society of Mural Painters.

LaFarge painted murals and created stained class windows for churches, homes, and public buildings.  For example, he painted murals for Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts; the Church of the Ascension, New York City; St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City; and the state capitol building, St. Paul, Minnesota.  LaFarge also created stained glass windows for libraries, various churches, and the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.

LaFarge married Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925) on October 15, 1860.  The couple had eight children.  Among them was John LaFarge, Jr. (1888-1963), a Jesuit priest and a vocal opponent of racism and anti-Semitism.  Two other sons became architects.

LaFarge died at Providence, Rhode Island, on November 14, 1910.  He was 78 years old.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Gracious God, we thank you for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn,

whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a

sacramental  understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism;

and we pray that we may honor your gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them,

for the glory of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 6:12-20

Psalm 118:19-29

Ephesians 2:17-22

Matthew 7:24-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 123

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Updated on December 25,  2016

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