Sunday, March 12, 2006

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent

    Almighty God who sees that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

When I was 13 and still attending the Plymouth Brethren, my great-aunt came and lived with us for a few years before she died at 98 years of age. Born in the 1870's she and her younger sisters had all attended university. When she was in her 30's her parents were away on an extended trip and she took this opportunity to marry a friend of her father's who was a widower. Her parents would not have agreed with this marriage.

In the 1920's her husband lost a lot of money, some of it belonging to investors from their local Brethren assembly. He was never able to return to that assembly and he lived a few more years in poor health until he died. My great-aunt took up the only profession she knew and became a lecturer of Greek at the University of McGill. She was a faithful wife practising a profession to support her husband.

After her husband died, she continued teaching and ran a boarding house. She then married a man who had been the ambassador of Yugoslavia to Canada. He lost his position and means of support during World War II. He too, was to a certain extent dependent on his wife.

As a widow in her 80's she traveled extensively and was a lively and humourous character, full of stories and worldly wisdom. When she died she left an extensive library of lexicons, grammar books, travel books, humour books, she was a friend of Stephen Leacock, Victorian novels, and her Anglican Prayer Book. After she and her husband left the Brethren they attended an Anglican Church.

I inherited her Anglican Prayer Book. At the time no one else wanted it.

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