Collect: “O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saints and Feasts of the Week:
September 17 (Monday, transferred from the 16th): St. Ninian
St. Ninian of Galloway, the missionary to Scotland, lived from around 350-432, almost at the same time as St. Augustine. He was the son of a chieftain who had become a Christian. His father allowed him to make a pilgramage to Rome as a young man and he walked the 1500 miles in 6 months. He spent several years in Rome in a monastic community, meeting St. Ambrose and St. Jerome and then was sent as a missionary back to the Scottish wilderness. On his way home, he encountered the monastery of Martin of Tours– which essentially was a wooden cell with others clustered around it. The simplicity and austerity of this life seemed to have impressed him. When he returned, he built the first stone church in Scotland: Candida Casa or the White House (Whithorn). The monastery he built next to the church appears to have been influenced by the monastery of Martin of Tours. He also started a school for boys, and one of the boys was Caranoc, the priest who later baptized St. Patrick. As missionary, by his influence, almost the entire population of the Southern Picts converted to Christ. Tradition says that Ninian died on September 16, 432, which is around the same time that St. Patrick began his ministry in Ireland.
Blessed Hildegard of Bingen:
Living from 1098 to 1179, Hildegard of Bingen was a medieval abbess known for her visions, as well as her music and medical insight. She wrote three books about her visions of light, in addition to a natural history and a medical reference work. Interestingly, though she had no medical training, her observations are still considered to be relevant and helpful today. In Germany, holistic medicine is actually called “Hildegard Medicine.” Here is an excerpt from The Book of Life’s Merits:
“But God had created human beings to be full of light so that they could see the radiance of pure ether and hear the songs of angels. He had clothed them in such radiance that they shone with the splendor of it. But all this was lost when man disobeyed Gods commandment and so caused nature to fall with him. Yet the natural elements retained a glimmering of their former pristine position, which human sin could not destroy completely. For which reason people should retain a glimmering of their knowledge of God. They should allow God to return to the center of their lives, recognizing that they owe their very existence to no one else save God alone, who is the creator of all.
September 19: Ember Days Begin
The Michaelmas Ember Days are on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. These are days set aside for prayer and fasting, especially for clergy and ordinations. You can learn more by going to our post: What Are the Ember Days?
September 20: John Coleridge Patteson
Born in London in 1827, John Coleridge Patteson was a missionary to New Zealand. Undistinguished during his academic career, Patteson honed two important skills that would serve him well as a missionary: a natural ability to quickly learn languages (he had to speak 30 different languages) and athletic ability (he then had to sail his own ship around the South Pacific, hike thousands of miles and lived very primitively for the rest of his life.) He was known and loved for his kindness and easy nature. When he became a missionary to New Zealand, he knew he was taking risks: the natives were headhunters and cannibals who were threatened by white people kidnapping them as slaves. Patteson’s missionary tactic was to persuade natives to allow their children to come to a boarding school for 10 months and then return to their tribes. One bishop wrote about him: “Anything more conscientious and painstaking cannot be conceived than the way [he] has steadily directed his talent, every hour and every minute of his life, to the one work he has set before him. However small or congenial or drum-drudgery-like his occupation, however hard or dangerous or difficult, it seems always to be met in the same calm.” Unfortunately, the slave kidnappers began to use Patteson’s name and popularity to lure the natives to them and hostilities grew. In September 20 of 1871, Patteson was found naked wrapped in a mat with 5 wounds on his chest. He had been killed in retaliation for the slavers killing 5 islanders. On one promontory in the islands, there is a 12 foot high cross, inscribed with the following : “In Memory of John Coleridge Patteson, D.D. , Missionary Bishop, Whose life was taken by men for whom he would gladly have given it.”
September 21: St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
On this day, we remember St. Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist, formerly the publican known as Levi. As a Jew who became a tax collector and worked closely with Rome, Matthew would have been despised by his community as a traitor. When Jesus called him to follow after him, he threw a great banquet that attracted many other “tax collectors and sinners” to Christ. The Venerable Bede says of Matthew: “We must realize that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love.” It’s plausible that the first Gospel bearing his name was actually written by Matthew (at least the first Aramaic version later worked into Greek). Traditions vary as to the rest of Matthew’s life and death. It’s said he was martyred in Ethiopia after converting the consort of the king.
- Posted one year ago today: “On Baby Sleep Challenges, Psalm 127, and Monasticism”
I’ve also been asking myself: is there so much difference between the bells of a monastery and the cries of my children, waking me to love, faithfulness and joy during inconvenient hours?
- Are you preparing Michaelmas? It’s coming up on Saturday, September 29th. This post, Preparing for Michaelmas, is full of ideas and resources. Make sure to print out the booklet by Phil James ahead of time, so that you can read the “chapters” in the days beforehand. And, here is another fun post: Dragonbread for Michaelmas
- The Feast Day of St. Francis is on October 4. Here is our post that includes a Godly Play resource, in addition to book recommendations.
- Speaking of Godly Play, in 2016, we did a two part series on what Godly Play looks like at our church. You can read it here and here.
Books to Buy or Borrow:
- For Michaelmas: Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Such a beautiful book!
- For St. Francis: Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Patterson, Brother Wolf of Gubbio: A Legend of Saint Francis by Colony Elliott Santangelo, and St. Francis by Brian Wildsmith