Philip and James (1st May) Apostles
Athanasius (2nd May)
Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church; born c. 296; died 2 May, 373. Athanasius was the greatest champion of Catholic belief on the subject of the Incarnation that the Church has ever known and in his lifetime earned the characteristic title of "Father of Orthodoxy", by which he has been distinguished every since.
English Saints and Martyrs (4th May)
Those who were martyred during the time of the Reformation.
Julian (8th May)
Julian was an Anchoress. It is fairly certain that she was not a nun. An anchoress was a person called to a solitary life, but one that was not cut-
Matthias (14th May) Apostle
Caroline Chisholm (16th May)
Caroline Chisholm was born in England. She arrived in Australia in 1838 and set up a home for other women who had come to live there. She worked to improve life on the ships bringing people to Australia to start a new life and started a loans plan to bring poor children and families to Australia. She arranged free trips so that the families of convicts who were transported to Australia could come to join them. She also believed poor people should be able to buy farms cheaply. Caroline Chisholm's work has been remembered in several ways. Her face has appeared on stamps and on a bank note. She was given a medal of the Order of Australia in 1994.
Dunstan (19th May)
Born of a noble family at Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, Dunstan was educated by Irish monks and was sent to the court of King Athelstan. He became a Benedictine monk about 934 and was ordained by St. Alphege, Bishop of Winchester, about 939. After a time as a hermit at Glastonbury, Dunstan was recalled to the royal court by King Edmund, who appointed him abbot of Glastonbury Abbey in 943. He became advisor to King Edred on his accession to the throne when Edmund was murdered, and began a far-
Alcuin (20th May)
Alcuin of York was born into a high ranking family who lived near the East Coast of England. He was sent to York where he became a pupil at York cathedral school, Archbishop Ecgberht's School. After being a pupil at Archbishop Ecgberht's School, Alcuin remained there as a teacher, becoming headmaster of the school in 778. During his time as a teacher in York Alcuin built up a fine library, one of the best in Europe, and made the school one of the most important centres of learning in Europe. In 781 Alcuin accepted an invitation from Charlemagne to go to Aachen to a meeting of the leading scholars of the time. Following this meeting, he was appointed head of Charlemagne's Palace School at Aachen and there he developed the Carolingian minuscule, a clear script which has become the basis of the way the letters of the present Roman alphabet are written. Before leaving Aachen, Alcuin was responsible for the most precious of Carolingian codices, now called the Golden Gospels. These were a series of illuminated masterpieces written largely in gold, often on purple coloured vellum.
Helena (21st May)
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage, nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities.
John and Charles Wesley (24th May)
The Wesley brothers, born in 1703 and 1707, were leaders of the evangelical revival in the Church of England in the eighteenth century. They both attended Oxford University, and there they gathered a few friends with whom they undertook a strict adherence to the worship and discipline of the Book of Common Prayer, from which strict observance they received the nickname, "Methodists." Having been ordained, they went to the American colony of Georgia in 1735, John as a missionary and Charles as secretary to Governor Oglethorpe. They found the experience disheartening, and returned home within a few years. There, three days apart, they underwent a conversion experience. John, present with a group of Moravians who were reading Martin Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, received a strong emotional awareness of the love of Christ displayed in freely forgiving his sins and granting him eternal life. Following this experience, John and Charles, with others, set about to stir up in others a like awareness of and response to the saving love of God. Of the two, John was the more powerful preacher, and averaged 8000 miles of travel a year, mostly on horseback.
The Venerable Bede (25th May)
Bede was born at Tyne, in County Durham, and was taken as a child of seven to the monastery of Wearmouth. Shortly afterwards he was moved to become one of the first members of the monastic community at Jarrow. Here, he was ordained a deacon when he was 19 and a priest when he was 30; and here he spent the rest of his life. He never travelled outside of this area but yet, became one of the most learned men of Europe. The scholarship and culture of Italy had been brought to Britain where it was transported to Jarrow. Here it was combined with the simpler traditions, devotions and evangelism of the Celtic church. In this setting Bede learned the love of scholarship, personal devotion and discipline . He mastered Latin, Greek and Hebrew and had a good knowledge of the classical scholars and early church fathers.Bede's writings cover a broad spectrum including natural history, poetry, Biblical translation and exposition of the scriptures. His earliest Biblical commentary was probably that on the book of the Revelation. He is credited with writing three known Latin hymns. He is remembered chiefly for his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People." This five volume work records events in Britain from the raids by Julius Caesar in 55-
Aldhelm (25th May)
English churchman and scholar. He was abbot of Malmesbury (from 675) and became the first bishop of Sherborne (705). A distinguished student of the classics whose own Latin prose style was widely imitated, he was also a skilled musician and wrote hymns, popular songs, and ballads for the people. He founded several monasteries and built several churches; the one still standing at Bradford-
Augustine (26th May)
Born in Rome he became a monk and abbot of Saint Andrew's abbey in Rome. Sent by Pope Gregory the Great with 40 brother monks, including Saint Lawrence of Canterbury to evangelise the British Isles in 597. Before he reached the islands, terrifying tales of the Celts sent him back to Rome in fear, but Gregory told him he had no choice, and so he returned. He established and spread the faith throughout England; one of his earliest converts was King AEthelberht who brought 10,000 of his people into the Church. Ordained a bishop in Gaul (modern France) by the archbishop of Arles, Bishop of Canterbury, First Archbishop of Canterbury. Helped re-
John Calvin (26th May)
Born to an upper middle class family in France, John Calvin emerged as one of the most important figures of the Reformation. Having studied for the priesthood at Paris in his youth, Calvin turned his attentions to civil and canon law in Orleans when his father became disaffected with the clergy. Calvin showed an early predilection for theology and for the study of Greek and Hebrew. Exposed to the ideas of Luther while he was still in Paris, Calvin's writing indicate that he had definitely moved into the Protestant camp by 1533. On November 1 of that year, he delivered a speech in which he attacked the established church and called for reforms. Calvin's ideas, rather than bringing about the reforms he sought, elicited a wave of anti-
Philip Neri (26th May)
Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. He was the elder son of Francis Neri and Lucretia Soldi. Of amiable disposition throughout his youth, the young boy soon became known as Philip the Good. In his early youth, he studied philosophy and theology. Together with fourteen companions, he established the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for looking after pilgrims and convalescents. Its members met for Communion, prayer and other spiritual exercises in the Church of San Salvatore, and Philip himself introduced the idea of having exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least once a month. At these devotions, Philip preached, though a layman. In the year 1550 he transferred this Confraternity to the Church of the Holy Trinity, and erected a new hospital. In 1551 he was ordained a priest at the age of thirty-
Lanfranc (28th May)
Italian churchman and theologian, archbishop of Canterbury (1070–89), b. Pavia. At first educated in civil law, he turned to theology and became a pupil of Berengar of Tours. After teaching in Avranches, Normandy, he went to Bec (c.1040), where he founded an illustrious school and became prior (c.1043). Among his pupils were St. Anselm and perhaps Pope Alexander II. In 1049, Berengar impugned Lanfranc’s orthodoxy, and Lanfranc, successfully clearing himself, attacked Berengar in turn. Some 10 years later Lanfranc wrote the treatise De Corpore et Sanguine Domine [concerning the Body and Blood of the Lord], which, though ineffective as a rebuttal of Berengar’s writings on the Eucharist, set forth ideas that became influential in the Middle Ages. He was closely associated with Duke William of Normandy.In 1070, William replaced Stigand as archbishop with Lanfranc, who accepted only on the direct command of the pope. Thereafter king and archbishop worked closely together in matters of both church and state. Lanfranc replaced English abbots and bishops with Normans, reduced the archbishop of York to subjection to Canterbury, legislated against clerical marriage and concubinage, built churches, reformed ecclesiastical finance, established ecclesiastical courts, strengthened the monasteries, and removed the bishoprics from small towns to important cities. Occasional friction between church and state caused no quarrels until the reign of William II. Lanfranc had favored young William, and crowned him, but the archbishop was deeply displeased by the king’s arbitrary actions, and trouble was averted only by Lanfranc’s death.
Josephine Butler (30th May)
Josephine Butler was born to John Grey and Hannah Annett in Millfield Hill, Northumberland. Her father's cousin was Earl Grey, British Prime Minister between 1830 and 1834. Like her father she held strong moral principles and a dislike for injustice. After her marriage to George Butler in 1852 and the birth of four children in five years, she moved from Oxford to Cheltenham and raised her profile by expressing unpopular views about the American Civil War. It was in 1863, after the tragic death of her only daughter aged six, she gave herself to tireless campaigning on behalf of prostitutes. Her writing, promoting social reform for women as well as education and equality, was widely distributed and funded by herself. She crusaded against state regulation of prostitution, white slave traffic and against the Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s which stipulated that women living in seaports and military towns could be examined for venereal disease. Her most famous publication Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade was written towards the end of her life in 1896. Other pamphlets and books include: The Education and Employment of Women (1868); Women's Work and Women's Culture (1869); and Recollections of George Butler (1892) in memory of her husband. She also pressured the authorities at Cambridge into providing further education courses for women, which eventually led to the foundation of the all-
Joan of Arc (30th May)
Joan lived in the early 1400's in the village of Domrémy.. One day she was out tending her father's sheep when she heard "a worthy voice", and saw "a great light that came in the name of the voice." "Great things are expected of you", the voice said. "You must leave your native village and go to aid your king." The closest thing to a king in France at that time was the Dauphin, who, having been proclaimed a bastard by his own mother, sat weak-
Apolo Kivebulaya (30th May)
After Christianity had gained a foothold in Uganda the tribal chief of Boga, a village in western Uganda requested that missionaries be sent to his people. Two Ugandans were sent early in 1896, and they made some converts. But their firm stand against sorcery, polygamy, and drunkenness offended the chief, and he cut off their food supply, thus forcing them to leave. A young soldier, Apolo Kivebulaya, had been converted a short time earlier, and after his baptism had declared his willingness to serve as a catechist, or lay instructor, in western Uganda. He was accordingly sent to Boga late in 1896. He grew his own food, and so could not be forced out by having the market closed against him. Then a sister of the chief died in an accident for which Apolo was blamed. A mob seized him and beat him severely, and then turned him over to the British authorities for trial. He spent several months in jail awaiting trial, and was greatly discouraged. His missionary enterprise appeared to have collapsed, and the British authorities seemed to be on the side of his accusers. But in prison he had an experience of the presence of Christ, and his faith was strengthened. Eventually the charges against him were dismissed, and he returned to Boga, where his preaching and the example of his life bore fruit. Many persons were converted, including the chief who had opposed him so bitterly. In 1915 the border was altered, so that Boga, formerly in western Uganda, became part of the easternmost section of the Belgian Congo now known as Zaire. After this change, Apolo became a permanent resident of Boga, no longer making visits to Uganda. He devoted special attention to training others to take over the leadership of the community from him, so that when he died on 30 May 1933, the Boga church continued to flourish. However, it remained a small community (territory about 50 miles across) and an isolated one (its bishop was across the Great Rift, in Uganda, and contacts with him were necessarily infrequent). In 1969 Mr Theodore L Lewis, an American Foreign Service officer attached to the American Embassy in Zaire, visited Boga, beheld the strong Christian commitment of the people there, and the vigorous life of the Church (though there were fewer than a dozen ministers to care for about 25,000 members), and urged the Church to establish a bishop there and provide support and encouragement and outside contact for the Christians of the Boga region. In early 1972, with the support of the Church Mission Society in England, Boga received its first bishop, Philip Ridsdale, an English missionary who had served in Uganda and Boga. (All subsequent diocesan bishops in Zaire have been black Africans.) Today the Anglican Church in Zaire is a Province under its own archbishop, comprising six dioceses, with about 500,000 members, and is widely spread throughout the country, particularly the eastern half.
The Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (31st May)