Calendar of Commemoration

In the New Testament, the term 'saints' is used to describe members of the Christian community set apart in Christ to live consecrated lives. 

Over the centuries, the Christian Church has recognised, or 'canonised', people of great holiness, sometimes by a formal process and sometimes by popular acclamation or local custom. There are saints who are universally recognised and those whose lives are recognised in particular countries, churches, dioceses or communities. The Common Worship Calendar contains a variety of such saints,  some of whom have a connection with the Diocese of Oxford.

The names in this calendar are those who had a definite link with our diocese and whose lives of holiness enriched the life of the Church. This may be through things they said or did, in the way they lived their lives or the way in which they died.

As Christians, we're called to live lives centred on God, to reach out to the world and its needs, to seek new ways of connecting with people and to be serious about our discipleship. We give thanks for the examples of those in our diocese and rejoice in the communion of saints that unites the Church on earth with that in heaven.

All entries are Commemorations, and at the Daily Office and Eucharist, the Collect, written by the Very Revd Robert Jeffrey, may be used:

Almighty God, who in every age and place, calls disciples to your service.

We thank you for all those,
who by their lives of prayer, witness, discipleship, learning and living
have hallowed and prepared the way for us in this diocese,

May we, who follow where they have led,
remembering their deeds, their words and their service,
be inspired to serve you as they have done.

As you forgave them their faults, so forgive ours
and help us everyday to seek your will and walk in your way
for the love of Jesus Christ our exemplar and our Lord.


Calendar of Commemoration
14 January: Richard Meux Benson

Richard Meux Benson SSJE

Priest, religious founder, 14 January 1915

Father Benson was a retreat conductor, pastor, teacher and spiritual director who built up a parish and conducted many missions. Undergraduate at Christ Church, and influenced by Pusey and Newman, he became vicar of Cowley from 1850-1886. He founded the Society of Mission Priests of St John the Evangelist (SSJE - Cowley Fathers), the oldest surviving Anglican men's community.

Benson was known for his monastic discipline and built up a community with mission work in the USA, Japan, Canada, South Africa and India.

14 January: William John Butler

William John Butler

Priest, Founder of the Community of St Mary the Virgin, 14 January 1894

Butler built up the church and was regarded as a man of prayer, a teacher and pastor with a great gift of friendship. Born in 1818 and a friend of Keble, Manning and Henry Wilberforce, he became vicar of Wantage in 1847 as the first resident vicar. He cared for the spiritual and health needs of the people and was instrumental in installing a sewage system in the town.

Butler founded schools in the town (for the education of the poor) and in 1848 founded the CSMV sisters and remained their guide and mentor as the community expanded. He was an honorary canon of Christ Church and in 1881 became Dean of Worcester and then Lincoln in 1885. He died in 1894.

17 January: Charles Gore

Charles Gore

Bishop, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 17 January 1932

Gore helped to reconcile the Church to some aspects of biblical criticism and scientific discovery, yet was Catholic in his interpretation of the faith and sacraments. Born in 1835, Gore became one of the most influential Anglican theologians. He was also concerned to bring Catholic principles to bear on social problems.

As an Oxford don and then a canon of Westminster, Gore was renowned for his preaching. In the 1890s, he was the founder and first leader of the Community of the Resurrection, which in later years settled at Mirfield in Yorkshire. From 1902, he was successively bishop of Worcester, Birmingham and Oxford. He was much mourned at his death in 1932.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

19 January: Mother Millicent Mary

Mother Millicent Mary

SPB religious founder, 19 January 1956

Millicent Taylor was born in India in 1869, the daughter of a general. At the age of 22, she declared her wish for the religious life but became a parish worker in poor parishes in east London, Reading and Birmingham. In 1905, she made her first profession as the founding member of the Society of the Precious Blood, committed to serving the poor. As time went by, she felt more drawn to the contemplative life and to pray for the needs of the world, and in 1916 she moved to Burnham Abbey, where the community became an enclosed convent following the Augustinian rule and dedicated to intercession.

The community grew under Mother Millicent's leadership, and the sisters spoke of her wisdom, joy, humour and liberty of spirit as well as her love for beauty. She resigned as Superior in 1942 because of ill health and died in 1956. 

27 January: Roland Allen

Roland Allen

Priest, 9 June 1947

Roland Allen resigned as vicar of Chalfont St Peter in November 1907 because he felt that in conscience he could not minister as the established Church required him to those who 'habitually neglect their religious duties, or openly deny the truth of the creeds or by the immorality of their lives openly defy the laws of God'.

During the 1920s, Allen lived in Beaconsfield and wrote several books and articles. His works attracted attention overseas, where he was a missionary in China and Africa and is regarded as a prophet and a pioneer of self-governing younger churches, local ordained ministry and a forerunner of the liberation theologians. His missionary methods were based on St Paul's methods of establishing new churches and equipping them with the bible, creeds, ministry and sacraments.

29 January: Mother Harriet

Mother Harriet

CSMV religious, 29 January 1892

Harriet Day was born in 1811 and in 1849 went to assist William Butler, the vicar of Wantage who had gathered a small group of women to help in the parish. They developed into a sisterhood, and in 1854, the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, installed Harriet as Reverend Mother and the first episcopally installed Anglican Religious Superior since the Reformation. She was Superior for 33 years and lived in Wantage from 1849 until her death in 1892.

Dean Butler said of Harriet, 'she was always the same, timid, diffident, and yet full of simple faith. Humility, faith, love simplicity were the characteristics of her whole being. Never was anyone more humble than she of whom we speak'.

20 March: Christopher Wordsworth

Christopher Wordsworth

Bishop, scholar, 20 March 1885

Born in 1807, Christopher Wordsworth was vicar of Stanford-in-the-Vale-cum-Goosey and rural dean of the Vale of the White Horse. He held the living of Stanford in plurality with a canonry of Westminster Abbey. He was loved as a faithful pastor, a man of prayer and a great scholar.

After he was made Bishop of Lincoln in 1869, Wordsworth continued to pray daily for the Diocese of Oxford and died in office in 1885. He is remembered for his achievements in education, synodical government, the revival of suffragan bishoprics and laying the plans for founding the Diocese of Southwell. Shortly before his death, Archbishop Benson wrote to him saying, 'There is nothing I can say that you do not live.'

21 March: Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Reformation martyr, 21 March 1556

Born in Aslockton in Nottinghamshire in 1489, Thomas Cranmer, from an unspectacular Cambridge academic career, was recruited for diplomatic service in 1527. Two years later, he joined the team working to annul Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533 and duly pronounced the Aragon marriage an'ed. By now a convinced Church reformer, he married in 1532 while clerical marriage was still illegal in England.

Cranmer worked closely with Thomas Cromwell to further reformation, but survived Henry's final, unpredictable years to become a chief architect of Edwardian religious change, constructing two editions of The Book of Common Prayer in 1549 and 1552, the Ordinal in 1550, and the original version of the later Thirty-Nine Articles. Cranmer acquiesced in the unsuccessful attempt to make Lady Jane Grey Queen of England. Queen Mary's regime convicted him of treason in 1553 and of heresy in 1554.

Demoralised by imprisonment, Cranmer signed six recantations, but was still condemned to the stake at Oxford. Struggling with his conscience, he made a final, bold statement of Protestant faith. Perhaps too fair-minded and cautious to be a ready-made hero in Reformation disputes, he was an impressively learned scholar, and his genius for formal prose has left a lasting mark on Anglican liturgy. He was burnt at the stake on this day in the year 1556.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

26 March: Mother Harriet Monsell

Mother Harriet Monsell CSJB

Founder of the Community of St John Baptist, 26 March 1883

Of Irish parentage, Harriet Monsell (nee O'Brien) was born in 1811. After the death of her clergyman husband, she went to work in a penitentiary at Clewer near Windsor. Here, under the guidance of local vicar TT Carter, she was professed as a Religious in 1852 and became the first Superior of the Community of St John the Baptist.

Under Monsell's care, the community grew rapidly and undertook a range of social work in a variety of locations, with foundations in India and America by the 1880s. The sisters cared for orphans, ran schools and hospitals, and opened mission houses in parishes. In 1875, Mother Harriet retired as Superior through ill health, moving to a small hermitage in Folkestone, where she died on Easter Day 1883.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

12 April: Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott

Priest, teacher, missionary - 12 April 1821

Thomas Scott was a preacher and author, known best for his work A Commentary on the Whole Bible. Scott was a founder of the Church Missionary Society. Scott's curacy took place first in Buckinghamshire in 1772, before moving to Olney in 1781. In 1785, Scott became a hospital chaplain in London, and it was during this time that he began his influential work on biblical commentary.

22 April: Ronald Hall

Ronald Hall

Bishop, Missionary, 22 April 1975

Born in 1895, Ronald Owen Hall was an undergraduate at Oxford and retired to the diocese, where he was an assistant bishop until his death on this day in 1975. He is remembered for his remarkable ministry among the rapidly expanding population in Hong Kong, where he was bishop for 34 years, and for his holiness of life. He was a man of missionary vision who had a profound influence on the leaders of the church in China.

Hall was seen as a man who was ahead of his time in such things as ecumenism, Anglican relations and non-stipendiary ministry, and during World War II ordained the first Anglican woman priest. It was in his care of individuals that he was most loved. His ashes are buried in the sanctuary of St Margaret's Lewknor, and the memorial reads, 'He showed us how the Christ he talked about is living now'.

In March 2013, the new lecture theatre at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, was named after Bishop RO Hall, and dedicated to his memory by his successor, Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong.

23 April: Robert French Laurence

Robert French Laurence

Priest, social reformer, 23 April 1885

Born in 1807, Laurence was educated at Christ Church and vicar of St Mary, Chalgrove, and St Helen, Berrick Salome, for 53 years until his death in 1885. He opened a school for the villagers and taught there himself, but he is best remembered for fighting for better cottage accommodation for agricultural labourers, and the small thatched cottages he built remain to this day.

Laurence's campaigning on behalf of the poor farm workers brought him into conflict with the landowners (including some of the Oxford colleges) and he was secretary of the local agricultural labourers' trade union. He is mentioned in Bishop Anthony Russell's The Clerical Profession. He died in 1885.

30 April: Edith Barfoot

Edith Barfoot

30 April 1975

Born in 1887 and living in east Oxford, and influenced by the Cowley Fathers, Edith developed rheumatoid arthritis in her teens. She lost her mobility, her sight and her hearing and was housebound. She even lost the sensitivity by which she could read braille, but she embraced her suffering as a joyful Christian vocation and wrote about it and used her wakefulness at night as a time for intercession.

The SLG sisters published her biography under the title The Witness of Edith Barfoot: The Joyful Vocation to Suffering. She died in 1975.

8 May: Annora of Iffley

Annora of Iffley

Anchoress, 13th century, 8 May

Born in 1179, she was an anchoress at St Mary's Church, Iffley. The daughter of a powerful baron who fell out with King John, Annora was imprisoned in Bristol Castle. Her mother and brother were put in Windsor Castle, where they starved to death. After being widowed, Annora followed the example of her sister, Loretta, and became an anchoress.

There are records indicating that King Henry III gave Annora an annual supply of firewood and other gifts. She lived the contemplative life in the English medieval tradition of an anchoress, and today the church is witnessing a resurgence of those called to be solitaries. Annora is remembered over 900 years later. Ruth Nineham has written a short biography.

13 May: Blessed Hugh Faringdon

Blessed Hugh Faringdon

Abbot, martyr, 13 May 1539

Hugh Faringdon became Abbot of Reading in 1520 at a time when Reading Abbey was one of the most influential and richest abbeys in England. Hugh was on friendly terms with King Henry VIII and entertained him at the abbey. In 1534, Hugh even acknowledged him as supreme head on earth of the Church in England. But his conscience would not prevent him for denying the pope's supremacy in spiritual matters, and in September 1539, Hugh was arrested and sent to the tower.

Hugh was brought back to Reading and in an unfair trial was charged with treason and on 14 November 1539 was hanged, drawn and quartered, along with two other monks outside the abbey gate.

15 May: Charles Williams

Charles Williams

Teacher, spiritual writer, 15 May 1945

 A contemporary and friend of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams became a prolific writer of plays, novels, poetry, theology, biography and criticism. Born in London in 1886, he worked for most of his life in the Oxford University Press and lectured in the city and university.

Williams has been described as the most original lay theologian of the 20th century. Above all, he was concerned to show how romantic love can be a key to our understanding of God. He died in Oxford in 1945.

24 May: John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley

Evangelists and hymn writers (1791, 1788), 24 May

Born at Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire, John Wesley was the son of an Anglican clergyman and a Puritan mother. He entered Holy Orders and, following a religious experience on this day in 1738, began an itinerant ministry which recognised no parish boundaries. This resulted, after his death, in the development of a worldwide Methodist Church. His spirituality involved an Arminian affirmation of grace, frequent communion and a disciplined corporate search for holiness. His open-air preaching, concern for education and for the poor, liturgical revision, organisation of local societies and training of preachers provided a firm basis for Christian growth and mission in England.

Charles shared with his brother John the building up of early Methodist societies as they travelled the country. His special concern was that early Methodists should remain loyal to Anglicanism. He married and settled in Bristol, later in London, concentrating his work on the local Christian communities. His thousands of hymns established a resource of lyrical piety which has enabled generations of Christians to rediscover the refining power of God's love.

They celebrate God's work of grace from birth to death, the great events of God's work of salvation and the rich themes of eucharistic worship, anticipating the taking up of humanity into the divine life. John died in 1791 and Charles in 1788.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

30 May: Thomas Harding

Thomas Harding

Martyr, 30 May 1532

Born c.1470, Harding lived in Amersham and later in Chesham, where he was a farmer and became the last of the Lollards to die for his beliefs. He fought for the right to read the scriptures in English. He was accused of heresy and interrogated in Chesham parish church. He was found guilty and ordered to be burnt in 1532 at a place since known as Martyr's Dell.

Before his execution, Harding asked the people to pray for him and then, lifting his hands to heaven, prayed 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit'. Perhaps as an act of mercy, someone threw a heavy block of wood at his head and killed him as the fire was being lit.

6 June: Mother Marian Hughes

Mother Marian Hughes

Religious, 6 June 1912

Marian Hughes was born in 1817, the daughter of a priest. After reading an essay by Newman, she felt a vocation to be a Sister of Mercy at a time when there were no Anglican Sisterhoods. Nevertheless, she took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience before Dr Pusey as the first professed Religious in the Church of England since the Reformation and advised the founders of the Park Village and Devonport Sisterhoods.

In 1849, Hughes moved to Oxford and with Bishop Wilberforce's approval founded a Sisterhood called the Society of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, which served the poor, the sick and needy. Within a few years, they ran schools, an orphanage and did parish work and, in 1854, showed heroism in the cholera epidemic. The first house was in St John's Street, and they built a convent in Woodstock Road (now St Antony's College).

Mother Marian died in 1912 aged 95 in the 71st year of her profession. The national newspapers paid tribute to her devotion to God and the poor.

9 June: Rosemary Spooner

Rosemary Spooner

9 June 1976

The daughter of Dr Spooner of the 'spoonerism' fame, Rosemary had a long record of public service recognised by an OBE, but will be remembered in the Church for her ministry to the deaf community in Oxford and beyond. She was for many years the honorary secretary of the Oxford Diocesan Association for the Deaf and Dumb, which her mother founded, and a founder member of the Council for the Spiritual Care of the Deaf and Dumb.

Rosemary had deaf cousins and a great empathy with deaf people. She learned sign language and when invited to be on the 'top table' always chose to sit with the deaf people whom she befriended. She is described as a woman of unaffected humility whose contribution to the Diocesan Association was immense. She died in 1976.

14 July: John Keble

John Keble

Priest, Tractarian, poet, 14 July 1866

Born in 1792, the son of a priest, John Keble showed early brilliance as a scholar, becoming a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, at the age of 19, a few years before his ordination. He won great praise for his collection of poems The Christian Year, issued in 1827, and was elected professor of poetry in Oxford in 1831.

A leader of the Tractarian movement, which protested the threats to the Church from liberal developments in both politics and theology, Keble nevertheless did not seek preferment and in 1836 became a parish priest near Winchester, a position he held until his death in 1866. He continued to write scholarly books and was praised for his character and spiritual counsel. He is still best remembered for the sermon he preached in Oxford, considered by some the beginning of the Oxford Movement, delivered on this day in 1833.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

19 July: Samuel Wilberforce

Samuel Wilberforce

Bishop, 19 July

Born in 1805, the son of William Wilberforce who fought for the abolition of slavery, Samuel was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and after a brief spell as Dean of Westminster was appointed Bishop of Oxford in 1845. Although at first treated with great suspicion by both evangelicals and Tractarians, he gained the confidence of the clergy by the reforms he introduced in the diocese.

Throughout his episcopate, Wilberforce encountered much criticism for being a compromiser, for which he earned the nickname of 'Soapy Sam'. Nevertheless, he held the diocese together during difficult times and encouraged the building of churches and the establishment of convents. In 1854, he founded Cuddesdon Theological College.

Wilberforce introduced a system of Lenten missions and initiated the revision of the Authorised Version of the bible. In 1869, he was appointed Bishop of Winchester.

11 August: John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman

Priest, Tractarian, 11 August

John Henry Newman was born in 1801. His intellectual brilliance saw him appointed to a fellowship in Oxford at the young age of 21. His evangelical roots gradually gave way to a more Catholic view of the Church, particularly after liberal trends both in politics and theology appeared to undermine the Church of England's authority.

Newman was one of the leaders of the Tractarians, who defended the Church, and he is associated especially with the idea of Anglicanism as a via media or middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. He continued to make an original and influential contribution to theology after he joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1845.

Newman established an Oratorian community in Birmingham in 1849 and towards the end of his life was made a cardinal. He died on this day in 1890.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

4 September: St Birinus

St Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester

Apostle of Wessex, 4 September

Birinus was born in the mid sixth century, probably of northern European origin, but he became a priest in Rome. Feeling called by God to serve as a missionary, he was consecrated bishop and sent to Britain by the pope. He intended to evangelise inland where no Christian had been before but, arriving in Wessex in 634, he found such prevalent idolatry that he looked no further to begin work.

One of Birinus' early converts was King Cynegils and thereafter he gained much support in his mission, as well as the town of Dorchester for his see. He died around the year 650 having earned the title 'Apostle of the West Saxons'.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

16 September: Edward Bouverie Pusey

Edward Bouverie Pusey

Priest, Tractarian, 16 September

Edward Pusey was born in 1800 and educated at Oxford, where he became a fellow of Oriel College in 1823. He became an expert in biblical languages and criticism and in 1828 was appointed regius professor of Hebrew in Oxford, the same year he was ordained. His patristic studies and firm adherence to a Catholic interpretation of doctrine made him one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement.

Pusey was significant in encouraging the revival of Religious life within the Church of England and was a noted preacher. His austere way of life made him much revered by his contemporaries, and they founded Pusey House and Library in Oxford in his memory, following his death on this day in 1882.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

3 October: George Kennedy Allen Bell

George Kennedy Allen Bell

Bishop, ecumenist, 3 October

Bell was a student of Christ Church from 1909-14 and 1930-58 and junior censor from 1909-14. The new altar in the cathedral is in his memory. He is remembered for his ecumenism (chairman of central committee of the WCC and support for the Church of South India), leadership of the Life and Work movement, and his support for the Confessing Church.

Bell spoke out against the indiscriminate bombing of German towns, which some believe to have cost him the see of Canterbury. He was Bishop of Chichester from 1929-58.

4 October: Thomas Clarke

Thomas Clarke

Priest, evangelist, 4 October 1793

Born in 1719 and educated at Brasenose, Clarke served his title at Amersham, where his evangelical zeal made him unpopular with some and loved by others. He became incumbent of the then rural parish of Chesham Bois in 1767 and founded a school and was involved in education all his life. His ministry as one of 'the evangelicals' had a profound impact on the Church of his day.

A plaque erected 40 years after Clarke's death states, 'He was an able, a learned and a holy man; always abounding in the work of the Lord in his parish, in his ministry, and in his school... He was a burning and shining light, doing the work of an evangelist in season and out of season, that all might be repent and be converted unto God…'

6 October: William Tyndale

William Tyndale

Martyr, translator of the scriptures, 6 October

Born in Gloucestershire in about the year 1494, William Tyndale studied first at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and then at Cambridge. He became determined to translate the scriptures from the Greek directly into contemporary English but was thwarted in this by the Bishop of London. So William settled in Hamburg in 1524, never returning to England.

When the first copies of Tyndale's translation arrived in England in 1526, it was bitterly attacked as subversive by the ecclesial authorities. He spent much of the rest of his life making revisions to his work, but also writing many theological works. His life's work proved good enough to be the basic working text for those who, at the beginning of the following century, were to produce what became known as the Authorised Version of the Bible.

Tyndale was eventually arrested in 1535 and imprisoned in Brussels on charges of heresy. He was first strangled and then burnt at the stake on this day in 1536. His last words were, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

10 October: Thomas Traherne

Thomas Traherne

Poet, spiritual writer, 10 October

Thomas Traherne was born in Hereford in about 1636. After studying in Oxford and being a parish priest for ten years, he became private chaplain to the Lord Keeper of the Seals of Charles II. Thomas was one of the English metaphysical poets and yet, in his lifetime, only one of his works was ever printed. It was at the beginning of the 20th century that his poems, until then in manuscript, were published, and he took on the mantle of an Anglican divine.

Traherne's poetry is probably the most celebratory among his fellow metaphysical poets, with little mention of sin and suffering and concentrating more on the glory of creation, to the extent that some regard his writings as on the edge of pantheism. He died on this day in the year 1674.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

11 October: Austin Farrer

Austin Farrer

Priest, scholar, 11 October 1968

Born in 1904, the son of a Baptist minister, Austin Farrer was ordained an Anglican priest and served in Oxford as chaplain and fellow of both St Edmund's Hall and Trinity College before becoming warden of Keble College, a post he held until his death in 1968. Austin Farrer was a renowned preacher, philosopher and biblical scholar, as well as being regarded for his humour, originality, eloquence and deep spirituality.

Farrer's life was rooted in prayer. He wrote, 'Prayer and dogma are inseparable. They alone can explain each other'.

19 October: St Frideswide

St Frideswide

Religious, Abbess of Oxford, 19 October

Patron saint of the city and University of Oxford. Although it is claimed she was born c.680 - 735, the earliest accounts of her date from the 12th century. These accounts state that she was a princess who, to avoid marriage, hid for three years, and when her suitor was struck blind and gave up his quest, she founded a double monastery in Oxford and lived there for the rest of her life.

According to tradition, St Frideswide was buried in the monastery, which in the 16th century was suppressed by Cardinal Wolsey to become Cardinal College (now Christ Church). Her shrine is in Christ Church Cathedral.

27 October: Thomas Thellusson Carter

Thomas Thellusson Carter

Priest, 27 October 1901

Born at Eton in 1808, educated at Eton and Christ Church and influenced by the Tractarian Movement, after ordination, Carter served at St Mary, Reading and Burnham, and in 1844 was appointed rector of Clewer. He restored the parish church and built two daughter churches, founded a fund for the poor and a branch of the Temperance Society. He helped found a House of Mercy for rescue work for 'fallen women' and assisted Harriet Monsell to found the Community of St John Baptist, which opened over 40 branch houses.

Apart from his pastoral work and social concern, Carter helped pioneer the retreat movement and wrote books including the widely used The Treasury of Devotion, as well as books on confession, the Eucharist and the priesthood. He was made an honorary canon of Christ Church. He resigned the living after a ritual trial but continued as warden of the Sisters.

Carter is described as a Tractarian at heart, firmly grounded in scripture, the Church Fathers and the Anglican divines. After his death in 1901, the Protestant journal The Truth described him as 'a saintly man', and the Daily Telegraph as 'one of the most venerated and the last of the Tractarians'.

3 November: Richard Hooker

Richard Hooker

Priest, apologist, 3 November 1600

Born in Heavitree in Exeter in about 1554, Richard Hooker came under the influence of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, in his formative years and through that influence went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a fellow. He was ordained and then married, becoming a parish priest and, in 1585, master of the temple in London.

Richard became one of the strongest advocates of the position of the Church of England and defended its 'middle way' between puritanism and papalism. Perhaps his greatest work was Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, which he wrote as the result of engaging in controversial debates. He showed Anglicanism as rooted firmly in scripture as well as tradition, affirming its continuity with the pre-Reformation Ecclesia Anglicana, but now both catholic and reformed.

Richard became a parish priest again near Canterbury and died there on this day in the year 1600.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

16 November: St Edmund (Rich) of Abingdon

St Edmund (Rich) of Abingdon

Archbishop of Canterbury, 16 November

Edmund Rich was born in about the year 1175, the son of a merchant who himself became a monk later in life. Edmund was educated at Oxford and in Paris. After also teaching in both places, he became treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral in 1222 and was eventually made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1233. He was a reforming bishop and, as well as bringing gifts of administration to his task, appointed clergy of outstanding talent to senior positions in the Church.

St Edmund also acted as peacemaker between the king and his barons, many believing that his actions averted civil war. He died on this day in the year 1240.

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

22 November: CS Lewis

CS Lewis

Evangelist, teacher, spiritual writer, 22 November

CS Lewis (1893-1963) remains one of the most widely read Christian apologists. Educated at University College, Oxford, he was tutor and fellow of Magdalen from 1926-1956 before being appointed to a chair at Cambridge. At Magdalen, he underwent a gradual conversion experience, described in his spiritual biography Surprised by Joy.

Lewis became widely know through his broadcasts and books. His writings have been translated into many languages and include books for children, science fiction and pastoral theology. His writings confirmed the faith of many and brought others to a greater understanding of God.

31 December: John Wyclif

John Wyclif

Reformer, 31 December

John was a member of the Wyclif family of Richmond in Yorkshire and was born in about the year 1330. He was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and master of Balliol, but his expulsion from the wardenship of Canterbury Hall (later incorporated into Christ Church) in favour of a monastic foundation led to a lawsuit and a lifelong hatred of all things monastic. He was much in favour with members of the royal family and, when disputes arose owing to his attacks on the clergy of the day, he was protected by them from the otherwise inevitable consequence of deprivation of his posts.

However, Wyclif went on to deny the Church's teaching of the presence of Christ at the Eucharist, the doctrine known as transubstantiation, and it was this that lost him his royal protection. His opinions were formally condemned in 1381, and he was forced out of office by the university the following year.

John had already moved to Lutterworth in 1380, and from there he gave his support to such projects as the translation of the bible into contemporary English. He died on this day in 1384, whilst at Mass. 

Text reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF.

Back to Our History

Page last updated: Friday 3rd May 2024 12:47 PM
Powered by Church Edit