50th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Jonathan Myrick Daniels

150813_saintsSeminarian, born in New Hampshire in 1939

This young saint of the Episcopal Church wrestled over the years  of his young life with the idea of vocation, until on Easter Day 1962 at the Church of the Advent in Boston he experienced a profound conversion. Having already completed military academy and graduate work at Harvard he entered the Episcopal Theological School (now the Episcopal Divinity School) at Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was drawn by the speech of Martin Luther King Jr. to go to Selma to demonstrate for the rights of black people. He returned to seminary and asked permission for a leave to work in Selma, being sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity.  His calling was deepened at Evening Prayer at the singing of the Magnificat. “…I know I must go to Selma.” The Virgin Mary’s Song grew more dear to him in the weeks that followed.

He and his companions were jailed on August 14, 1965 for joining a picket line; then they were unexpectedly released. They walked to a small store as sixteen year old Ruby Sales reached the top step of the entrance. A man with a gun appeared cursing her. Jonathan pulled her to one side to shield her; as a result he was killed by a 12 gauge shotgun. The shooter was an unemployed road worker was later acquitted by an all white jury. The Martyrdom took place in Hayneville, Alabama on August 9, 1965.

Jonathan’s letters and papers are an eloquent witness to his growth in a vocation of living out the Gospel of Jesus. At the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1991, Jonathan was recognized as a Christian Martyr. A Paracletian Sister from Arizona was at that convention and was part of the team that worked for his cause.

See you the second week of September,
I am your bro. John

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