Monthly Archives: September 2016

IMG_4334.jpgReaders of The Living Church will be especially interested in the information that Ernest DeKoven Leffingwell, son of the Rev. C. W. Leffingwell, D.D. who was for many years editor of The Living Church, is making preparations to go into the Arctic Circle with the Baldwin-Ziegler Expedition. Mr. Leffingwell, Jr., was baptized by the late Dr. DeKoven twenty-six years ago, and is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, whee he took his bachelor’s degree in 1895, and made an enviable record as an athlete. Since that time he has taken post-graduate studies in the University of Chicago and is now considered a geodesist of front rank, and it is in this capacity that he is to travel with the Arctic expedition, on the recommendation of Prof. S. W. Stratton. He will also have charge of the magnetic observations and instruments. During the Spanish War Mr. Leffingwell was a seaman on the Oregon, and now ranks among the best rifle shots in Illinois, holding a commission as sharp-shooter. He is at present in Washington in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Office in preparation for his polar work.

The Living Church, March 23, 1901, p. 737.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Christian Artist, by John A. Mack (1969)

“Welcome to the fellowship of educated men.”

That is the traditional greeting from the president of Harvard University as he opens the commencement exercises at the nation’s oldest college each June.

One of those who heard these words in June of 1968 was Allan Rohan Crite who, after fourteen years of taking extension courses, was about to receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Extension Courses from this great university of the world.

He started attending Harvard in 1954 taking extension courses in Natural Sciences. Through-out the years that followed his studies in Botany, Geology, Zoology and other classes that he would take in order to receive his degree brought him in constant contact with many of the regular members of the Harvard faculty. His work was so exacting and his effort so real that these same members of the faculty chose him to lead the 46 candidates for degrees in these courses in the academic procession at the commencement ceremonies.

Born fifty-nine years ago at Plainfield, N. J., his background over the years that followed justly placed him at the point in life where he could now proudly except this great honor.

He could proudly step to the head of this great procession knowing that his mother, Mrs. Annamae Crite, would share with him the feeling that here was proof that he, Allan Rohan Crite, was indeed an “Educated Man”.

To all those who know Mrs. Crite, there is a complete feeling that here is a “gentle woman” in every sense of the term. As proof of this is the manner and spirit of devotion which she has shown through-out her life towards the church and the work that she did to make it finer. Her “efforts as Church Schoolteacher, Altar Guild member, staff member of the Church Periodical, and others too numerous to mention, live as proof of her fine feeling towards the church and all it stands for.

These are extended only in a concentrated outline of, the work in the church performed by her only son, Allan, even at this minute.

Church history will have to look back many years to find one who has used his skills as an artist and writer to propagate the fundamental doctrines of the Episcopal faith as has this man. No one has emerged so graphically to portray the church’s concept of true catholicity and the role the Negro has played, and must be permitted to continue to play, if that catholicity is to become a reality. Few men can speak and have all men listen but Mr. Crite has that ability.

He was graduated in 1929 from Boston English High and continued his studies for seven years at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. Afterwards he studied at the Painter’s Workshop and other art schools through-out the area striving to become an fine enough to express himself on canvas and in wood and steel the works that could be shown before all mankind in the Houses of God. This multi-talented artist has certainly achieved this goal.

His strong belief in the church was indeed one step towards his peak of serenity. He was confirmed in early years by Bishop Babcock at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Cambridge, Mass. and has served this church faithfully ever since. He has been a lay-reader since 1932, been a vestryman, an editor of the Parish paper, an advisor to the Young People’s Fellowship, helped to found the Young Adult Group. He served on the Parish Planning Committee and was active in the Every Member Campaign that the church conducted. But this was still not enough for this man to do. He found time to serve as representative on many parish and Diocese conferences and committees over the years in addition to his other duties.

Along the line he found time to write many books including “Were You There,” “Three Spirituals,” “All Glory” (Published by SSJE), along with at least two booklets, “A Christmas Meditation” and “Holy Week Meditation.”

But this was not enough for Allan Crite. He also has illustrated many fine stories such as Gardiner Day’s “Lord’s Prayer” and has the distinction of doing an illustration that is in the commentary of the 1940 church Hymnal.

To fill his time, already filled beyond that of the average human being, Mr. Crite is a member of the Fellowship of St. John (an association of lay people affiliated with SSJE), The Guild of Liturgical Art & Design, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Member of the Liturgical Commission of the Diocese of Massachusetts, was a member of the Architectural Institute of America, and on and on and on.

Mr. Crite finds time to lecture before any group of people who are honestly interested in hearing what he has to say. He has lectured on art and its capacity for worship in both Roman and Anglican churches through-out this part of the country. Extending this ability still further, others who have been privileged to hear his lectures include The Institute of Modern Art, The Winchester Art Association, The Wellesley Conference, Seabury-Western Seminary, Berkeley Divinity School, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and, informally, Episcopal Theological School at Harvard and General Theological Seminary in New York City. Those who have heard his seminars can have no doubt as to his versatility.

Today many worshippers find that the Book of Common Prayer and The Bible are void of meaning. Not so with Allan Rohan Crite, a man who lives as though he knows the true meaning of the Word. With a high flourish of the brush he turns phrases into the shapes of life and gives form to things unknown, a lasting habitat in the minds of the worshippers, preserving for all people the vigors of the scene which gave them first being. There is hardly a thing of art in the church that people will not view without the thought that Mr. Crite has been a part of that creative fulfillment that they sense.

Surely such a feeling must prevail as millions of people pass his works in such places as the Duncan Philips Gallery, the Addison Gallery of America, the Fitchburg Museum, and note his work that “Brings Christ to the World”.

Speaking of the man, the Reverend Kenneth de P. Hughes once said, “I have known Allan Crite for years and have never heard him complain. A profound satisfaction is his in seeking first the kingdom of God through the medium God has revealed to him. But it is one of the severest castigations of our social order that it is so little given to the cultivation of things cultural that men like him, who have so much to offer, must of necessity be preoccupied with ‘the things which the Gentiles seek’—the wherewithal of food and clothes and shelter—and have to spend their major time in a tawdry scramble for bare necessities. In a Christian society a man like Allan Rohan Crite should have the economic freedom to devote his full time to the propagation of the faith and teachings of the Church in the expression of his versatility in such mediums as oils, water colors, metals, block prints, and brush drawing as well as other forms.

Here we find the field in which he is most widely known, Allan Rohan Crite—The Artist. He is known through-out the world for his fine murals in such places as Grace Church, Vineyard Haven, Mass., St. Luke’s Church, Scituate, Mass., St. Augustine’s Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., (destroyed by fire), The Convent of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, Detroit, Mich., and many other Roman and Anglican churches throughout the world.

The Stations of the Cross in metal, a work of art conceived and brought to their beautiful fruition by Mr. Crite are on view in churches and museums all over the country. The Stations hung in the Holy Ghost Chapel at the Monastery of SSJE at Cambridge are an example of the fine work done by this man. His work along these lines are so fine that they were chosen to be in the Shrine of, the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Others can be found in churches and museums from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast and from Virginia to the Canadian Border.

When—you enter into the History of Liturgical Vestments, Iconography or Ecclesiastical Art, you again find yourself in a field where Mr. Crite is indeed an authority among authorities. He claims not to be a real knowledgeable person along these lines but he has been known to answer questions that both the Roman and Anglican Church authorities have presented to him in time of doubt. Allan Rohan Crite; man, worker, one among many, but above all, a man of God who walks in His way.

—From Cowley, September, 1969, pp. 54-60.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kenneth Abbott Viall SSJE, 1893-1974

bookscancenter_17The Right Reverend Kenneth Abbott Viall, SSJE, Retired Assistant Bishop of Tokyo, died in Japan on January 3, 1974. At the time of his death, the Bishop was Provincial Superior of the Japanese Province of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kenneth Abbot Viall was born December 19, 1893, first child and only son of Frederick Clarence Viall and Edith Laura (Robbins) Viall. Following graduation from Lynn public schools and Lynn Classical High School in 1911, he entered Harvard College where he received his A.B. in 1915. He next entered General Theological Seminary in New York and received his B.D. in 1919. Feeling the need for still more education, he received his M.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1920 and his E.dM. in 1921. He received an honorary S.T.D. from General Seminary, New York, in May 1949.

During the years when he was obtaining his education, he taught at Donaldson School, Ilchester, Maryland, in 1918-1919, served as Curate at Mt. Calvary Church, Baltimore, from 1913-1919, and entered the Society of St. John the Evangelist in July 1919. He was ordained Deacon on 21 April 1918 in St. Stephen’s Lynn, Massachusetts and ordained Priest on 7 January 1919 in St. John’s, Boston.

He was professed in the Society on his birthdate (19 December) 1923 and assigned to the House of the Society in Korea. He was soon reassigned, however, to the house in San Francisco, in January 1924. During his stay in California, he served in the Church of the Advent, San Francisco from 1924-1935 and as Chaplain to Episcopalians at San Quentin Prison from 1924-1934.

Assigned to the house of the Society in Japan in 1934, he arrived there on 28 January 1935 and became Provincial Superior of the Japanese Province in October 1938. His stay in Japan was interrupted in May 1940, when he returned to the United States on furlough. He was at the Mother House from 1940-1947 as Novice Master and Assistant Superior. During August-October 1948, he made a visitation to the Japanese Province and was appointed representative of the National Council of the Episcopal Church to Nippon Seikokai in January 1947, arriving in Japan again in May 1947.

In January 1949, he resigned as representative to the National Council to become Warden of the Central Theological College of Nippon Seikokai. He was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Tokyo on 25 April, 1949, retiring upon the consecration of Bishop Goto on 6 November 1959.

Since 1959, Bishop Viall ministered to the spiritual needs of Americans in the Grant Heights, Tachikawa and Misawa areas of Japan. He is survived by his sisters Ruth Haslett and Doris Viall and neice Jacqueline Haslett of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Interment will be at St. Michael’s Monastery, Oyama, Tochigi Ken, Japan.

—From Cowley, January, 1974, pp. 55-56.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Raymond Thomas McDonald SSJE 1894-1973

bookscancenter_12As you looked at him, Father McDonald might have reminded you of one of those early Celtic monks: tall, spare, rugged, with fine, clear features and piercing blue eyes, which could yet be so gentle, or so twinkling with humor. He was immensely strong, and in early days he could bend a large iron nail with his bare hands, or tear a pack of cards in two. Even in his last days in the hospital, the grip of his hand was firm. He loved to walk, with a long, swinging stride, and in early days most of his visiting our hospitals and homes was done that way.

Poverty for him was fundamental: it was a vow he had taken and he kept it to the utmost. He never imposed it on others to such an extreme, but he wanted to be the poorest of the poor—and so he was. People would give him new shirts, new habits, new coats—but he would just hang them up and retrieve some old, frayed, ragged things which others had discarded. As one man who was very fond of him used to say, “he never enjoys any new clothes until the moths have a chance at them!”

Perhaps that love of poverty and the poor was one reason why his years in Korea were so happy. He and Father Morse, S.S.J.E. lived there in complete poverty, just like the native people whom he loved to visit in their little houses with mud floors, kneeling beside the sick or the dying right on the floor with them. Those simple years were some of the happiest in his life.

Like those early monks, and like St. Francis of Assisi whom he loved, his heart went out to all of God’s creation, all living things. Beauty touched him deeply: the beauty of God’s world—flowers, trees, mountains, the sea, the meadows. It pained him to see a lovely stretch of land being ploughed up and readied for a supermarket or a new gas station, or trees cut down for some new super highway. Children and animals were all dear to him, and they responded instinctively to his love.

One of his great joys was the Camp children at St. Margaret’s, South Duxbury, when he was Chaplain there, during some summers. He was so simple, so childlike himself, that he could enter into their fun and play. Once, at their private beach, he told them solemnly that he could stand on one finger. “Oh no, Father,” they cried, “You can’t do that!” “Oh yes I can,” he answered, “Now watch very carefully; give me plenty of room.” As they stood there with eyes popping, forming a circle around him, Father carefully put one finger on the sand, leaned over, and put his foot on the finger, amid squeals of “Oh Faa-ther!” from the delighted children.

Another of his greatest joys was his many, many years as Chaplain of St. Monica’s Home. Thursday afternoons, with the little Service, and then his visits with the patients, especially the very sick in their rooms, was a highlight of the week for him over the years. He loved them one and all, he prayed for them; many of them he buried. The love they all gave him was an immense happiness for him.

He was devoted to animals—all dogs, big, small, thoroughbreds and mutts, and perhaps even more to cats. “Dogs demand your affection,” he used to say, “but cats never ask for it—they just give you their affection;” they always did, to him! One of the small joys which brightened his last days in the Monastery, was the newly acquired kitten, which became his special friend. When later, the kitten grew to cathood and became over-adventurous, it got out on Memorial Drive once too often and was killed by a car but by then Father was in the hospital and fortunately never knew about it.

And then Father was so like the Cure of Ars, who was one of the Saints he used to invoke, every day. Here again was that utter simplicity, that extreme poverty, and also that gift of intuition which made him see into peoples’ souls—often far more than they realized! Like the Cure, he would spend hours in the Confessional, guiding, enlightening, cautioning, comforting, urging souls forward on their earthly pilgrimage. All the vocations to the Priesthood and to Religious Orders that he fostered; those that he guided, and sustained, and comforted and saved, on the steep ascent, are known only to God. His patience with souls was incredible. By nature he was nervous, high-strung, prone to be irritable. It annoyed him to be stopped by a red light, or to be held up in traffic. But with souls his patience was unbelievable. So it was, in his calls on the sick and the lonely. He was never bored or irritated by their complaints about trivialities—their little aches and pains, their little spats with their families or their neighbors. Usually one had to drag him away from such visits, as he was so afraid of being unkind. Even with those who perhaps did something of which he disapproved, he would always say, “We mustn’t be nasty to them; we must be loving.” He was always ready to help the lonely, the unloved, those that others considered disagreeable, and cranky. “You must see Our Lord in them all,” he used to say, and he would joke with them, make some puns, as he loved to do—get them laughing. Some people, of course, thought all that was “corny.” But it wasn’t. Father was not at all naive, though he may have appeared so. “If you can make people laugh, even by a silly joke,” he used to say, “you have helped them; you have lifted them out of themselves; you have stopped their thinking about themselves: that is what is important.”

Someone who drove him over a period of years always said, “You can tip your hat to Father McDonald: it is never the prominent or the rich that he goes to visit; it is always the poorest and the most needy ones he goes after.”

Like the Curé d’Ars, too,—and so many of the saints,—Father had a kind of “sixth sense,” a sort of ESP, which was very startling. On one occasion he dropped in to call on an older woman he visited frequently in a Nursing Home. When he came out, the man who was driving him said Father seemed very disturbed and distressed. “Did anything go wrong, Father?” the driver asked, “you seem troubled.” Father didn’t answer, so the driver persisted. “Father, what is the matter? Tell me and maybe I can help.” “Well,” said Father, “that woman is going to die very soon, today, and I did not have the Sacraments with me.” “We’ll go right back to the Monastery and get them,” the driver said. Father’s face lit up and back they went. Father got the necessary things, they flew back to the Home and Father anointed the patient, prepared her, and gave her the Sacrament. She was fully conscious and said to him, “Father, I can’t thank you enough!” In less than an hour she became completely unconscious and died shortly afterwards.

Another time, when Father was about to leave on his annual holiday, a friend who had been going with him to call on an elderly patient in another Nursing Home said to him, “Father, Miss F. is failing fast. If anything happens to her while you are away, whom shall I call to take over and attend to her?” Father replied, “You won’t have to call anyone; she will live until I get back.” And so she did, dying just a week after his return. That sort of thing happened time and time again.

Of course the centre of Father’s life was the daily Eucharist, the Divine Office and his prayer. Daily Mass was his joy and his strength. He loved the Sung Masses and Liturgy, and he was gifted with a very lovely voice. When the Trial Liturgies were introduced, he found them very difficult. “They certainly were inspired when they named it the “Trial Liturgy,” he used to say, with a twinkle and a smile, “That’s just what it is!” But he did his level best to comply and to follow, hard as it was for him.

Prayer was his life—and his life was the expression of his prayer. Father Hanlon, S.S.J.E. used to say, years ago, that it was amazing that anyone of such a highly active temperament, who had to be up and doing, could kneel upright, absolutely motionless for an hour every day for his private prayer, and often again during the course of the day, especially when they had a Retreat. It was very difficult even in the latter days before his last trip to the hospital, to make him sit down for his prayer instead of kneeling. And in his prayer, Father was completely and wholly absorbed, lost to all around him. He never talked about it or discussed it: it was the well of life for him.

At night, in the quiet of his cell, between twelve and one, or one and two, he would kneel and say some of his intercessions. “It is always nice and quiet then,” he would say, “and I can think about them without interruption.” Oh the numberless souls for whom he prayed! He had two small notebooks literally filled to capacity with the names of those he remembered before God, the living and the dead, day and night.

His devotion to our Lord’s holy Mother was deep and constant: his two lovely little pamphlets about her show us something about that. He never left the Monastery without stopping at her Shrine in the Chapel for a prayer; he never returned to the Monastery without going there first. “Mary has presented Jesus to us,” he tells us in his little booklet “Benedicta Tu,”: and has shown us how to keep Him ever and always in our hearts.” That was what he always strove to do.

Father was no plaster saint; no exotic stained-glass window saint. He was very human, very warm, very simple: full of fun, quick of wit, with a wonderful smile for everyone. His generosity was immense—everything given to him he gave away if he possibly could. And if he could pick a few flowers, or find some odd-colored pencil on the sidewalk which he could give to somebody, he was overjoyed.

He believed firmly that every Christian—and above all, the Priest and the Religious—should aim at being an “Alter Christus,” another Christ. That was his whole life. For him the Gospel was everything: his spiritual nourishment, his guide, his personal rule. Like St. Therese of Lisieux, he could say—and often did—“I find in the Gospel all I need.”

Life was not always “one grand sweet song” for Father; rather, it was the Way of the Cross, lived simply and undramatically. There were many great joys in his life, and many, many small ones: the years in Korea, in Brooklyn, in San Francisco and Boston; happy visits with some members of his family each fall; and the deep affection of his host of friends everywhere. But there were also many trials, many little and big disappointments and problems, and in the last years, his illnesses. Yet none of them ever destroyed his fundamental peace of soul, his deep joy, his wit and his smile, because basically “God was the strength of (his) heart and (his) portion forever.”

Though naturally sensitive and rather shy, he could be adamant when he considered that a matter of principle was involved. Obviously that did not always make life serene and smooth for him. As someone has said:

Saints are very difficult
For lesser souls to bear . . .

We are so apt to be irked by the steadfast example of holy ones because our own weaknesses stand out by contrast, and so our mediocrity rebels. That is a part of the Way of the Cross which all the saints have traversed in the steps of their Lord and Master.

“As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing and yet possessing all things” . . . how perfectly St. Paul’s description of the early apostles fits Father McDonald! And how good it is to think now of the joy he has surely entered: that eternal peace of God which is his sure reward: “Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them.”

—From Cowley, October, 1973, pp. 29-34.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Order of the Double Dragon

The Emperor of China recently conferred upon Dr. Eli B. Landis, at one time resident physician of the Lancaster County Hospital and Insane Asylum, the Order of the Double Dragon, for services rendered during the war between China and Japan. Dr. Landis was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1888 and was one of the brightest men of his class.—American Medico-surgical Bulletin, Volume 9, (May 30, 1896), p. 761.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

DR. E. B. LANDIS (1897)

Dr. E. B. Landis, a corresponding member of the University Archaeological Association and a valued contributor to the Museum, died at Chemulfo, Korea, on the 16th of April last after three weeks’ illness. Dr. Landis graduated in Medicine Department of the University of Pennsylvania in the class of 1889, and went to Korea in 1890. He at once undertook to collect archaeological specimens for the Museum, and in the following year transmitted a valuable series of objects from graves in Song-Do. Important collections were subsequently made by him, and at the time of his death he was editing a catalogue of his Korean coins which he had presented, for publication in the Bulletin. Dr. Landis contributed numerous papers to scientific journals on Korean customs. During the war between China and Japan he rendered eminent services to the Chinese sick and wounded, for which he received a decoration from the Chinese government. His early death is a loss not only to his friends, but to the science to which he was devoted.

Bulletin of the Free Museum of Science and Art of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1897), p. 211.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dr. E. B. Landis (1898)

By the death of Dr. Landis, at Chemulpo, Corea, we have lost a member in the prime of life and just when he was beginning to give us the results of years of hard work, and to be known as an authority on the languages of and matters connected with Corea.

Eli Barr Landis was born in Lancaster, Pa., America, and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he took his degree in medicine. After being some time Assistant Physician at the lunatic asylum of Lancaster, he moved to Philadelphia, and soon after that, feeling anxious to devote himself to missionary work, he joined the mission of the Church of England in Corea as a medical missionary, engaging in 1890 to serve there for five years. From the day of his landing till his death he gave himself up to his medical work and to studying the Chinese and Corean languages and the people of the country, their history, customs, beliefs, and lines of thought; realizing, what is too often not thought of, that the first step in missionary work is to get to understand all about the people whom one wishes to influence. With this in view he lived in a small native house as a Corean, without any European surroundings save his books. Having a remarkable talent for languages, a keen delight in all sorts of antiquarian research, and a simple pleasant manner with the people, he succeeded in becoming proficient in the Corean vernacular, a good Chinese scholar, and a trusted friend of the natives, so that he acquired a large stock of information about the country, especially in the way of history, folklore, and demonology. Bishop Corfe writes: “The industry with which he attacked Chinese literature and Corean colloquial, the kindliness of his manner to Coreans, enabled him to be the most remarkable as he was the most hardworking, versatile, and successful member of the mission staff. His income never exceeded £90, which was all I could give him, and with which he was always quite content, managing (I know not how) to save money from it to support a Corean lad, whom he adopted as his son, and to buy himself books which always illustrated his love of antiquarian learning. He was much attracted to Corean folklore, and wrote papers thereon. His knowledge of Chinese script promised to be phenomenal; I never knew a man who in so short a time managed to acquire so many characters.” Another witness of his life says “he loved the people, and they are not easy to love, and he acquired a knowledge of the people such as had been rarely, if ever, equalled by anyone in Corea.”

Shortly before his death Dr. Landis sent to the Royal Asiatic Society a valuable communication, “Biographical Notes of Ancient Corea,” containing notices of the Rulers of Corea from B.C. 2365 to A.D. 925, i.e., the Sin La, the Ko Kou Rye, the Paik Chyei, and the Ka Rak Kouk Dynasties. Unfortunately room could not be found for the paper at the present time in the Journal, but it is one which well shows the author’s great diligence and scholarship. This is not the place to speak of Dr. Landis’ work as a medical man or missionary, but it may be mentioned that the services he rendered to the sick and wounded during the Chino-Japan War were conspicuous, and were recognized by the Governments of both nations, and the Emperor of China conferred on him the Order of the Double Dragon.

The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1898), pp. 919-920.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized