August Spiritual Heroes
Spiritual Heroes for Commemoration at Communion
August 2: Malinda Cramer (1844 – 1906) – New Thought Teacher and one of the founders of the Divine Science Church.
August 4: Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) – Missionary doctor and Nobel laureate A person of many talents and interests, Schweitzer earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, and medicine. He was a noted organist and interpreter of the music of J. S. Bach. His Quest for the Historical Jesus had a radical effect on how scholars approached the life of Christ. His work as a medical missionary founding his own hospital in Africa led to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
August 9: Blessed Edith Stein (1891-1942)—Carmelite martyr. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, Edith was a brilliant scholar even from an early age. She devoted herself to philosophy and declared herself an atheist. After reading the writings of St. Teresa of Avila she was baptized as a Catholic. She continued to attend synagogue with her mother each week. Her academic reputation grew as she taught in universities, but with Hitler’s rise to power she lost her position and entered a Carmelite convent. She understood from the start where events would lead. She was taken to Auschwitz, where she cared for abandoned children —“Pietà with the Christ” she was called.
August 11: St. Clare (1193-1253)—Abbess at Assisi. At the age of 18 Clare heard a sermon by St. Francis that changed her life. A beautiful woman from a wealthy family, she determined to turn her back on the social station offered her. She founded an order that embraced poverty and service. As she lay on her deathbed she was visited by the countless lay and clergy who had been touched by her humility and kindness, including the Pope.
August 13: Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)—Nurse and health care reformer. Raised in an affluent British family, Florence became interested in nursing at an early age. Her inspiration grew from her life of prayer, and against her family’s wishes she found her life’s purpose in addressing the sufferings of the poor and ill. Her work improving hospital sanitary conditions in the Crimean War won her a large following. She was known as the “angel of mercy.”
Emmet Fox (1886-1951) – Divine Science minister and writer who while he lived Fox addressed some of the largest audiences ever gathered to hear one person’s thoughts on the religious meaning of life. He is thought to have influenced Norman Vincent Peale and was popular in the early days of the AA movement.
August 14: St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)—Polish Franciscan priest and martyr. “Father Max” was a scholar, mystic, and missionary who demonstrated compassionate acceptance for all people, from Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz to the Buddhists and Shinto he worked with in Japan. Arrested by the Gestapo, he spent his time in the death camps comforting others and confronting evil with love. He went so far as to offer his own life to save a Jewish escapee. Sent into an underground bunker to starve to death, after two weeks he was finally executed.
August 15: St. Mary —Mother of Jesus. As a young Jewish girl, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She followed her son in his ministry right to the cross, and was active in the early church.
August 21: Georgia Harkness (1891-1974)—Theologian and social critic. Harkness was the first woman to teach in a mainline Protestant seminary in the USA. She was a theologian, pacifist and Christian socialist. She demanded economic justice for all people, opposed racism, and supported ordination for women.
August 24: Simone Weil (1909-1943)—Philosopher and mystic. Born in France to a well-educated, nonreligious Jewish family, Weil had a brilliant mind and was drawn to philosophy. She dabbled in the labor movement and always identified with the suffering masses of humanity.
August 25: St. Genesius the Comedian (d. circa 300) – St. Genesius is the patron saint of actors, comics, dancers, clowns, and torture victims. According to legend, he performed a series of plays that mocked Christians. During one performance for the Emperor Diocletian where he was making fun of baptism, he had a vision of angels and converted to Christianity right on stage! At first the Emperor thought it was part of the humor, but after he realized the comedic actor was suddenly serious, he ordered him to renounce his instantly embraced faith. For refusing to comply with the Emperor’s order, Genesius was beheaded.