St Francis Xavier Cabrini (13 November)

St Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine Today is the feast of St Francis Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini), the first US citizen to be canonized in the Roman Catholic Church. She founded numerous orphanages and hospitals throughout the country. Many of these institutions still function and now bear her name.

St Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine

Her partially incorrupt body rests at a shrine in Washington Heights, Manhattan. The photos here come from a visit to the shrine last month. The shrine building dates from 1959.

St Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine

St Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine

And here is an additional photo of Mother Cabrini from the doors to St Patrick Cathedral, New York, which features saints with ties to the diocese.

St Patrick Cathedral, New York (Mother Cabrini on the doors)

Because of her work in service of immigrants, and because she was herself an immigrant, she is counted a patron of immigrants.

Collect for today:

God our Father, who called Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy to serve the immigrants of America, by her example, teach us to have concern for the stranger, the sick, and all those in need, and by her prayers help us to see Christ in all the men and women we meet. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

03 November: St Winefride

Today is the feast of St Winefride, a Welsh saint from the 6th or 7th century. St. Winifred's, Branscombe, Devon, Oct. 2009 by PhillipC, on Flickr

The intercessions for morning prayers (via Universalis) is fitting for the start of an architectural pilgrimage:

We pray for all who plan and build in our cities: give them respect for every human value. - Lord, help us as we work.

Pour it your Spirit on artists, craftsmen, and musicians: may their work bring variety, joy, and inspiration to our lives. - Lord, help us as we work.

Be with us as the cornerstone of all that we build: for we can do nothing without your aid. - Lord, help us as we work.

You have created us anew in the resurrection of your son: give us the strength to create a new life, and a new world - Lord, help us as we work.

Happy St Pancras Day!

Happy feast day of St Pancras of Rome. To celebrate, a photo of a statue of Sir John Betjeman—lover of church-building and the man who helped save the London train station named after the neighborhood named after the parish named church named after the relics of St Pancras, brought to what was one of the earliest sites of Christian worship in England. Sir John Betjeman by Three-Legged-Cat, on Flickr

23 December: O Emmanuel

There is no shortage of churches bearing the name Emmanuel. And to fit the celebratory and anticipatory mood, here are an overflowing of examples is remarkable diversity. Emmanuel Episcopal Church by super-structure, on Flickr

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.   O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Emmanuel Presbyterian Church by metroblossom, on Flickr

Emmanuel Church, Bentley by stevecadman, on Flickr

Emmanuel Lutheran Church by continuity, on Flickr

Emanuel Episcopal Church by eli.pousson, on Flickr

22 December: O Rex Gentium

Let's go appropriately widespread and remote among the nations for Rex Gentium. Christ the King Church, Lombadina Mission, Western Australia !!Christ the King Church S38790 by yaruman5, on Flickr

Christ the King Church, Ettumanoor, India !!IMG_0262 by buggychip, on Flickr

Christ the King Church, Ettumanoor, India !!IMG_0199 by buggychip, on Flickr

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.   O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

You may also enjoy: Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool

20 December: O Clavis David

Today's O antiphon church is a bit of a stretch. I was unable to find a dedication directly related to Clavis David, and so we have another set of keys. Though it does bring up the question as to whether the keys given to St Peter and the key spoken of in the antiphon are related. There is definitely marked similarity in the language. St Peter Mancroft 2 by The Old Penfold, on Flickr

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.   O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Christmas Tree by gerry balding, on Flickr

19 December: O Radix Jesse

I was unable to find a church with a Radix Jesse dedication, so we will have to settle for an impressive carving on the theme. This is from above the reredos at the former Dominican priory church of Hawkesyard, Staffordshire. Sprung from Jesse by Lawrence OP, on Flickr

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.   O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

18 December: O Adonai

Particular titles or names come to greater prominence in different cultures or denominations. I associate the Messianic title "Lord" with southern Pentecostal churches and similar, and the appearance of "Lord" in church names bears this out. Holy Temple Church of the Lord Jesus Christ

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.   O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

And for good measure, here is St Catherine Monastery, Sinai.

st. catherine's, sinai januar 2005 by seier+seier, on Flickr

17 December: O Sapientia

Today marks the beginning of the O Antiphons, the special antiphons used at Vespers in the final days of Advent. So in lieu of the saint of the day, how about churches bearing the dedication of the corresponding Messianic title of the evenings' antiphon?

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.   O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly, Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

İznik Ayasofya by CyberMacs, on Flickr

Forgoing the obvious, here are photographs of the remains of Hagia Sophia, Nicaea (now Iznik) which hosted the meetings of the Council of Nicaea. It makes an appropriate selection as the antiphon would speaks to a church council's need for prudence and for Wisdom from the mouth of the Most High to order all things.

Iznik Ayasofya - Haggia Sofia of Iznik by CyberMacs, on Flickr

16 December: Cram, Upjohn & LaFarge

Today the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) has the feast day of Ralph Adams Cram and Richard Upjohn, architects, and John LaFarge, artist. Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942) was a prolific New England Anglo-Catholic architect who designed a large number of mostly Gothic revival churches and colleges. The best known of his works is probably the St John the Divine Cathedral, New York City designed as part of the firm Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson.

Rood Screen in Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh !!calvary rood 7.7 by shadysidelantern, on Flickr

Cathedral of St. John the Divine by eviltomthai, on Flickr

Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago !!Lovely church by Giant Ginkgo, on Flickr

Where Cram represents the latter development of the Gothic Revival in American architecture, Richard Upjohn (1802-1878) represents its introduction in this country. Upjohn also served as the first president of the AIA.

Trinity Church, New York City via Library of Congress

lost by mudpig, on Flickr !!Trinity Church, New York interior

Brooklyn - Green-Wood Cemetery: Cemetery Gate by wallyg, on Flickr

06 December: St Nicholas

Today's saint seems to be incredibly popular amongst my friends and family, so I can't let it go by without sharing a pair of churches dedicated to Saint Nicholas, who is of course the origin of the popular folk hero Santa Claus of whom we see so much of this time of year. First we have two exquisitely Baroque churches in Prague. There are three churches in the city with this dedication, two of which are the work of the same architect, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer.

The first is the exterior of the church in the Old Town Square, the second the interior of the one in the Malá Strana or Lesser Town.

St. Nicholas Church - Old Town (Sv. Mikulás, Staré Mesto) by Tjflex2, on Flickr

Interior of Chram sv. Mikuláse (Church of St. Nicholas, Malá Strana, Prague) by cphoffman42, on Flickr

And for contrast, here is some excitingly beautiful 12th century asymmetry from Brussels.

Église St-Nicolas (St. Nicholas Church), Brussels by fmpgoh, on Flickr

09 November: Dedication of St John Lateran

Today in the Roman calendar brings one of the two explicitly architectural feast days (the other comes next week). Following fast on the heels of the big dedication news of the weekend, we have today the commemoration of the dedication of St John Lateran, home of the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome. Here are two recent photographs from house favorite monk-photographer Lawrence OP.

The Lateran Apse by Lawrence OP, on Flickr

St John Lateran by Lawrence OP, on Flickr

Father of holiness and power, we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ your Son. For you have blessed this work of our hands and your presence makes it a house of prayer; nor do you ever refuse us welcome when we come in before you as your pilgrim people.

In this house you realise the mystery of your dwelling among us for in shaping us as your holy temple you enrich your whole Church, which is the very body of Christ, and thus bring closer to fulfilment the vision of your peace, the heavenly city of Jerusalem...

Preface of the Dedication of a Church in use, Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar (RDC)