Constance and Her Companions
In August, 1878, Yellow Fever invaded the city of Memphis for the third time in ten years. By the month’s end the disease had become epidemic and a quarantine was ordered. While 30,000 citizens had fled in terror, 20,000 more remained to face the pestilence. As cases
multiplied, death tolls averaged 200 daily. When the worst was over ninety percent of the population had contracted the Fever; more than 5,000 people had died.
In that time of panic and flight, many brave men and women, both lay and cleric, remained at their posts of duty or came as volunteers to assist despite the terrible risk. Notable among these heros were Constance, Superior of the work of the Sisters of St. Mary in Memphis, and her Companions. The Sisters had come to Memphis in 1873, at Bishop Quintard’s request, to found a Girls School adjacent to St. Mary’s Cathedral. When the 1878 epidemic began, George C. Harris, the Cathedral Dean, and Sister Constance immediately organized relief work among the stricken. Helping were six of Constance’s fellow Sisters of St. Mary; Sister Clare from St. Margaret’s House, Boston; the Reverend Charles C. Parsons, Rector of Grace and St. Lazarus Church, Memphis; and the Reverend Louis S. Schuyler, assistant at Holy Innocents, Hoboken. The Cathedral group also included three physicians, two of whom were ordained Episcopal priests, the Sisters’ two matrons, and several volunteer nurses from New York. They have ever since been known as “The Martyrs of Memphis,” as have those of other Communions who ministered in Christ’s name during this time of desolation. Only two of the workers escaped the fever. HWHM, abbr.
Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard;
proclaim to the ends of the earth:
The Lord has freed his people, alleluia. Cf. Isaiah 48
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!
HYMN: Carolyn Gillette ©
Tune: St Anne https://tinyurl.com/2b9tdz74
O God, we rage at hurtful things
Beyond our own control,
Like all the pain that illness brings
To body, mind and soul.
There’s much we cannot understand;
O Lord, we ask you, “Why?”
And yet in Christ you know firsthand
The tears your people cry.
O Christ, your loving, saving touch
Heals children, women, men.
We pray for ones we love so much;
Lord, make them whole again.
Now work through those your Spirit sends
To heal, restore and care.
May doctors, nurses, neighbors, friends
Be answers to our prayer.
And when the journey seems too rough
And you seem far away,
Remind us, Lord: You are enough
To bring us through each day.
Psalm 35 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y8onefhr)
1 Plead thou my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me *
and fight thou against them that fight against me.
2 Lay hand upon the shield and buckler *
and stand up to help me.
3 Bring forth the spear, and stop the way
against them that persecute me *
say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded, and put to shame, that seek after my soul *
let them be turned back, and brought to confusion,
that imagine mischief for me.
5 Let them be as the dust before the wind *
and the angel of the Lord scattering them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery *
and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For they have privily laid their net to destroy me without a cause *
yea, even without a cause have they made a pit for my soul.
8 Let a sudden destruction come upon him unawares,
and his net, that he hath laid privily, catch himself *
that he may fall into his own mischief.
9 And, my soul, be joyful in the Lord *
it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee,
who deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him *
yea, the poor, and him that is in misery, from him that spoileth him?
11 False witnesses did rise up *
they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12 They rewarded me evil for good *
to the great discomfort of my soul.
13 Nevertheless, when they were sick, I put on sackcloth,
and humbled my soul with fasting *
and my prayer shall turn into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though it had been my friend, or my brother *
I went heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced,
and gathered themselves together *
yea, the very abjects came together against me unawares,
making mouths at me, and ceased not.
16 With the flatterers were busy mockers *
who gnashed upon me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look upon this *
O deliver my soul from the calamities which they bring on me,
and my darling from the lions.
18 So will I give thee thanks in the great congregation *
I will praise thee among much people.
19 O let not them that are mine enemies triumph over me ungodly *
neither let them wink with their eyes that hate me without a cause.
20 And why? their communing is not for peace *
but they imagine deceitful words against them that are quiet in the land.
21 They gaped upon me with their mouths, and said *
Fie on thee, fie on thee, we saw it with our eyes.
22 This thou hast seen, O Lord *
hold not thy tongue then, go not far from me, O Lord.
23 Awake, and stand up to judge my quarrel *
avenge thou my cause, my God, and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness *
and let them not triumph over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, There, there, so would we have it *
neither let them say, We have devoured him.
26 Let them be put to confusion and shame together,
that rejoice at my trouble *
let them be clothed with rebuke and dishonour,
that boast themselves against me.
27 Let them be glad and rejoice, that favour my righteous dealing *
yea, let them say alway, Blessed be the Lord,
who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And as for my tongue, it shall be talking of thy righteousness *
and of thy praise all the day long.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost,*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Psalm 36 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y82f3wv5)
1 My heart sheweth me the wickedness of the ungodly *
that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flattereth himself in his own sight *
until his abominable sin be found out.
3 The words of his mouth are unrighteous, and full of deceit *
he hath left off to behave himself wisely, and to do good.
4 He imagineth mischief upon his bed,
and hath set himself in no good way *
neither doth he abhor any thing that is evil.
5 Thy mercy, O Lord, reacheth unto the heavens *
and thy faithfulness unto the clouds.
6 Thy righteousness standeth like the strong mountains *
thy judgements are like the great deep.
7 Thou, Lord, shalt save both man and beast;
How excellent is thy mercy, O God *
and the children of men shall put their trust
under the shadow of thy wings.
8 They shall be satisfied with the plenteousness of thy house *
and thou shalt give them drink of thy pleasures, as out of the river.
9 For with thee is the well of life *
and in thy light shall we see light.
10 O continue forth thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee *
and thy righteousness unto them that are true of heart.
11 O let not the foot of pride come against me *
and let not the hand of the ungodly cast me down.
12 There are they fallen, all that work wickedness *
they are cast down, and shall not be able to stand.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost,*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Psalm 35 (Plainsong: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-35-MH.mp3)
1 O Lord, plead my cause against my foes;
fight those who fight me.
2 Take up your buckler and shield;
arise to help me.
3 Take up the javelin and the spear
against those who pursue me.
O Lord, say to my soul:
“I am your salvation.”
4 Let those who seek my life
be shamed and disgraced.
Let those who plan evil against me
be routed in confusion.
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind;
let God’s angel scatter them.
6 Let their path be slippery and dark;
let God’s angel pursue them.
7 They have hidden a net for me wantonly;
they have dug a pit.
8 Let ruin fall upon them
and take them by surprise.
Let them be caught in the net they have hidden;
let them fall into their pit.
9 But my soul shall be joyful in the Lord
and rejoice in his salvation.
10 My whole being will say:
“Lord, who is like you
who rescue the weak from the strong
and the poor from the oppressor?”
11 Lying witnesses arise
and accuse me unjustly.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is forlorn.
13 When they were sick I went into mourning,
afflicted with fasting.
My prayer was ever on my lips,
14 as for a brother, a friend.
I went as though mourning a mother,
bowed down with grief.
15 Now that I am in trouble they gather,
they gather and mock me.
They take me by surprise and strike me
and tear me to pieces.
16 They provoke me with mockery on mockery
and gnash their teeth.
17 O Lord, how long will you look on?
Come to my rescue!
Save my life from these raging beasts,
my soul from these lions.
18 I will thank you in the great assembly,
amid the throng I will praise you.
19 Do not let my lying foes
rejoice over me.
Do not let those who hate me unjustly
wink eyes at each other.
20 They wish no peace to the peaceful
who live in the land.
They make deceitful plots
21 and with mouths wide open
their cry against me is: “Yes!”
We saw you do it!”
22 O Lord, you have seen, do not be silent,
do not stand afar off!
23 Awake, stir to my defense,
to my cause, O God!
24 Vindicate me, Lord, in your justice,
do not let them rejoice.
25 Do not let them think: “Yes, we have won,
we have brought you to an end!”
26 Let them be shamed and brought to disgrace
who rejoice at my misfortune.
Let them be covered with shame and confusion
who raise themselves against me.
27 Let there be joy for those who love my cause.
Let them say without end:
“Great is the Lord who delights
in the peace of his servant.”
28 Then my tongue shall speak of your justice,
and all day long of your praise.
Psalm 36 (Plainsong: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-36.mp3)
1 There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked; *
there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 He flatters himself in his own eyes *
that his hateful sin will not be found out.
3 The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; *
he has left off acting wisely and doing good.
4 He thinks up wickedness upon his bed
and has set himself in no good way; *
he does not abhor that which is evil.
5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, *
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep; *
you save both man and beast, O LORD.
7 How priceless is your love, O God! *
your people take refuge under the
shadow of your wings.
8 They feast upon the abundance of your house; *
you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the well of life, *
and in your light we see light.
10 Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, *
and your favor to those who are true of heart.
11 Let not the foot of the proud come near me, *
nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
12 See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness! *
they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.
God our Maker,
you crown the humble with honor
and exalt the faithful who gather in your name.
Because you have favored us with life,
we dance before you in our joy
and praise you with unending song
for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Jeremiah 27:1-11
Early in the rule of Judah’s King Zedekiah, Josiah’s son, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: This is what the Lord said to me: Make a yoke of straps and bars and wear it on your neck. Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their representatives who have come to Jerusalem to Judah’s King Zedekiah. Tell them to say to their masters: The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Say this to your masters:
By my great power and outstretched arm, I have made the earth and the people and animals that are on it. I can give it to anyone I please. Now I hand over all these countries to my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I even give him the wild animals as subjects. All nations will serve him, his son and grandson, until the time for his land arrives; then many nations and great kings will conquer him.
As for the nation or country that won’t serve Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and won’t put its neck under his yoke, I will punish it with sword, famine, and disease until I have destroyed it by his hand, declares the Lord. As for you, don’t listen to your prophets, diviners, dreamers, mediums, or your sorcerers who say to you, “Don’t serve the king of Babylon.” They are lying to you, and their lies will lead to banishment from your land. I will drive you out, and you will perish. But any nation that puts its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serves him, I will let stay in its land to till it and live on it, declares the Lord.
HYMN: Julia C Cory, alt.
Tune: Kremser https://tinyurl.com/3xz5zbjd
1 We praise you, O God, our Redeemer, Creator;
in grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before you; we kneel and adore you;
we bless your holy name: glad praises we sing.
2 We worship you, God of our ancestors’ stories,
through trial and tempest, companion and guide.
When perils o’ertake us, you will not forsake us,
but faithful to your promise, you walk by our side.
3 With voices united our praises we offer,
and gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
Our sins now confessing, we pray for your blessing,
to you, our great Redeemer, forever be praise!
Reading: 2 Timothy 2:15-26
Make an effort to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker, who doesn’t need to be ashamed but is one who interprets the message of truth correctly. Avoid their godless discussions, because they will lead many people into ungodly behavior, and their ideas will spread like an infection. This includes Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have deviated from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already happened. This has undermined some people’s faith.
God’s solid foundation is still standing with this sign: The Lord knows the people who belong to him, and Everyone who confesses the Lord’s name must avoid wickedness. In a mansion, there aren’t just gold and silver bowls but also some bowls that are made of wood and clay. Some are meant for special uses, some for garbage. So if anyone washes filth off themselves, they will be set apart as a “special bowl.” They will be useful to the owner of the mansion for every sort of good work.
Run away from adolescent cravings. Instead, pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace together with those who confess the Lord with a clean heart. Avoid foolish and thoughtless discussions, since you know that they produce conflicts. God’s slave shouldn’t be argumentative but should be kind toward all people, able to teach, patient, and should correct opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will change their mind and give them a knowledge of the truth. They may come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap that holds them captive to do his will.
HYMN: Herman G Stuempfle ©
Tune: Land of Rest https://tinyurl.com/4tn67eke
1 Deliver us, O Lord of Truth,
From speech unbacked by deed,
From lives that by their faithlessness
Deny our spoken creed.
2 For you have taught that weightless words
Are like the shifting sand.
When storm and flood come raging in,
They give no place to stand.
3 When we with bold, familiar phrase
Confess that you are Lord,
You ask for lives whose faithfulness
Supports our spoken word.
4 Lord, help us build on solid rock
No floods can undermine.
May actions follow words we speak;
Let creed with deed combine.
Reading: Matthew 7:15-20
Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.”
CANTICLE Rory Cooney; based on Luke 1:46-55
(Performed by The Gentle Wolves https://tinyurl.com/ybox4ctg)
1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?
2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.
3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.
4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.
THE PRAYERS PWC
Teach us, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and lead us in the path of your commandments.
Keep our nation under your care;
and guide us in justice and truth.
Deal graciously with your servants;
teach us discernment and knowledge.
Let not those in need be forgotten;
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Guide the meek in judgement;
and teach your ways to the gentle.
Remember your people;
whom you have redeemed of old.
Setting: Sanford Dole https://tinyurl.com/y7ldq7h5
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today the bread of life;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
We give you thanks and praise, O God of compassion, for the heroic witness of Constance and her companions, who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and dying, and loved not their own lives, even unto death: Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. HWHM
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14
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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © 2010 The Church Pension Fund.
PWC PRAY WITHOUT CEASING Morning and Evening Prayer for Ordinary Time Prepared by the Ven. Dr. Richard Geoffrey Leggett on behalf of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada Authorized by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada July 2019
The three main scripture readings are © 2011 Common English Bible.
The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language version of Psalm 35 is from The Grail Psalter and are from the Manual Hopper YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/manualhopper/featured. Psalm 36 is from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and is sung by Ryland Angel.
Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.
Compilation © 2022 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.