Thursday, September 29, 2016

For All the Saints: Vincent de Paul, Lancelot Andrewes

Because of a hectic week, blues about American politics, and sickness, I missed a couple of important saints this week. St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) is well known because of his association with charitable organizations, and he is the namesake of many churches. He founded the Ladies of Charity and the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Vincentians), and he cofounded (with St. Louise de Marillac) the Daughters of Charity. Vincent had an eventful life, even at one point being kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave! He escaped after two years in slavery and returned to France, where he was from and where he had already been ordained. He was called to help the poor and spent much of his ministry was directed toward them. He also helped priests be better instructed in their work. His feast day is September 27. This site has more about him.

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) is honored on the Episcopal calendar on September 26 and on the Anglican calendar September 25. He was an English bishop, scholar, and preacher who served in the Church of England during the time of Elizabeth I and James I, and he supervised the translation of the King James Bible. He was known as a fine preacher and his sermons were praised for their beauty.

I go through phases where I want to learn a lot about a particular subject. (That's one reason for these posts about saints.). In the 1980s I was inspired by T. S. Eliot's poetry and studied several books. Andrewes' name immediately came to mind in that context, because Eliot quoted lines from one of the bishop's sermons at the beginning of "The Gift of the Magi," and he influenced not only that poem but "Little Gidding" as well. One of Eliot's books of literary criticism was For Lancelot Andrewes: An Essay on Style and Order. Here is a website with more on all this:

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