Thursday, November 17, 2011

All Saints Season: the cloud with us

We have official church seasons like Lent and Advent. We also have unofficial seasons, like the one we are in -- I call it  "All Saints Season."

It began on All Saints Sunday a couple of weeks ago when we remembered the saints and the departed. At St. Paul's we also follow the Latin American tradition of la ofrenda, bringing mementos of those who have died and set them up on tables in the church.

The church calendar this month is full of saint days, and we have five this week. Here are my notes about the cloud of saints we commemorate this week:

Samuel Seabury 1729-1784 – the founder saint

He was the first to seek ordination as an American Episcopal bishop. When the English bishops refused to consecrate him, he went to Scotland where he was made a bishop by the "non-juring" Scottish bishops. He is one of the founders of the The Episcopal Church and helped shape the worship as we practice it today.

Margaret of Scotland 1045-1093 – the peacemaker saint

English but born in exile in Hungry. Her family returned to English court but was exiled again, landing in Scotland. She was the mother of eight children, including three kings of Scotland.

Married to Malcolm, immortalized by Shakespeare. Known for her piety, she founded a monastery where she was buried. Her remains were removed by the Puritans and never found again.

She tried unsuccessfully to end the Highland clan warfare.

Hugh of Lincoln 1135-1200 – the protector saint

Monastic from Burgundy, would become most famous English saint after Thomas a' Beckett.

King Henry II begged him to come to England to revitalize a Carthusian monastery, part of the king's penance for Beckett’s death.

Hugh reluctantly accepted, and revitalized the monastic order, but quickly ran afoul of the king.

Hugh admonished the king about leaving dioceses open without bishop (the king was collecting the rents instead of the church).

The king gave in, and Hugh was appointed by the king as Bishop to Lincoln, and Hugh accepted reluctantly.

Hugh is best remembered as the protector of Jews who were persecuted, and for championing the poor, the sick, the outcasts. Bishop Hugh of Lincoln refused to raise money for the king's wars.

The swan is his symbol.

Hilda of Whitby 614-680 – the wise saint

Lived chaste and was respected in king’s court for 20 years, then entered monastic life in East Anglia.

She was appointed Abbes of Hartpoole; she was renowned for her wisdom, eagerness and devotion to learning. Kings and others sought her advice; she was the "Dear Abbess" of her age.

Founded abbey at Whitby, on the road to Norwich, where both nuns and monks lived in obedience to her rule.

She hosted the synod at Whitby to work out whether to use the Celtic or Roman rites, settling the most divisive issue of the 7th century in the British isles. She favored the Celtic ways of worship, but when the Roman rite prevailed, she submitted to it and urged others to go along.

She died in 680, surrounded by her monks and nuns, and urging them to keep the peace.

Elizabeth of Hungry 1207-1231 – the healer saint

Daughter of King Andrew of Hungry. She was drawn to helping the sick. During a famine, while her husband was away, she sold her jewels and built a hospital. She got the king to open royal granaries and distribute it.

When her husband died, she was exiled to Germany for her extragant spending on the poor.

She took on the habit of a Franciscan, though it is not certain that she took Franciscan vows, and worked with the sick and dying, and she died of exhaustion. She was the Mother Teresa of her age. Many hospitals bear her name.

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