Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Priscilla Lydia Sellon *


O God, fountain of truth and the giver of spiritual knowledge, who leads us from year to year in unchanging love, we bless you that when by sight we can not gaze upon your glory, by faith we can know you and lay hold on that truth which gives light to the soul. Especially we thank you for him in whom the true light shines on every man that comes into the world. And we ask from the treasures of your grace for a more childlike trust, a more faithful spirit, a more loyal will. May our obedience open to us all spiritual knowledge. May the truth of our own lives lead us into communion with your spirit of truth. May we be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and so, renew your image on the earth and hasten the coming of that kingdom of truth and liberty and love. Amen.

( Henry W. Foote )


Happy are the people
who have the Lord for their God.

Blessed be the Lord my rock,
who teaches my hands for war
and my fingers for battle;
my steadfast help and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield in whom I trust.

O Lord, what are mortals
that you should consider them;
mere human beings,
that you should take thought for them?
They are like a breath of wind;
their days pass away like a shadow.

Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
touch the mountains and they shall smoke.
Cast down your lightnings and scatter them;
shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar.
Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and take me out of the great waters,
from the hand of foreign enemies,
whose mouth speaks wickedness
and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.

O God, I will sing to you a new song;
I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp,
you that give salvation to kings
and have delivered David your servant.

Save me from the peril of the sword
and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies,
so that our sons in their youth
may be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters like pillars
carved for the corners of the temple;
our barns be filled with all manner of store;
our flocks bearing thousands,
and ten thousands in our fields;
our cattle be heavy with young:
may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth,
no cry of distress in our streets.

Happy are the people
whose blessing this is.
Happy are the people
who have the Lord for their God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Happy are the people
who have the Lord for their God.

God our deliverer, stir our weak wills, revive our weary spirits and give us the courage to strive for the freedom of all your children, to the praise of your glorious name. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Priscilla Lydia Sellon,
“no ordinary woman”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Priscilla Lydia Sellon, who is credited with establishing the first organisation of religious sisters in the Church of England. They served the poor and sick, orphans and victims of cholera.

It is hard for us to understand the controversy she stirred up over the issue of religious sisterhood. These were the days when the Tractarian (Oxford) Movement was in full throttle. This was the beginnings of the high church movement in the Church of England when several prominent clergy argued for a revival of catholic practices that had been abandoned in the years following the Reformation. Many feared that there would be an attempt to restore the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in England again. One of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, John Henry Newman, left the Church of England in 1845 and was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

It was in 1848 that Priscilla Lydia Sellon decided to set to work in Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse. Soon other women joined her, and they established themselves as a community and took to wearing simple black dresses adorned with a black wooden cross. They called themselves “The Society of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Trinity.”

In 1849 there was an outbreak of cholera. The vicar of the parish most heavily affected sought, out of kindness, to prevent their work.

She told him straight out, “We are no ordinary women.”

Their work commenced.

Several clergy and lay leaders did the English Church a real disservice by starting a pamphlet war and vilifying the sisters. Sellon refused to engage them, saying she had more important work to do.

The order of sisters spread to many industrial centres in England. One group of sisters journeyed to Hawaii where they opened a centre there. Sellon’s sisters served in the Crimean War under Florence Nightingale. They distinguished themselves for heroic service in London during the cholera outbreaks in 1866 and 1871.

Sellon’s own health declined and she was for many years a paralytic living, what she called, “a life of calm.” She died on this day in 1876.

Scripture. In "The Second Letter to the Corinthians," chapter four, verses eight to eleven, we read:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for members of female religious orders, in particular for those pursuing their vocation within the Anglican denomination of the Church.

... for peace and understanding between the various traditions of the Church.

... on Transgender Remembrance Day, for those members of the transgender community who have been murdered over the years due to the widespread hatred of transgender people and for an end to all violence and prejudice against transgender people and their full inclusion within society.

... for the people of Zimbabwe, for peace on their streets and for the resignation of the tyrant, Robert Mugabe; that his rule will not be replaced by more of the same.

... for those who have survived cancer but who now live in debilitating fear of its return and those who still suffer mentally due to the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer. DETAILS

... for those killed or injured in a stampede in the town of Sidi Boulaalam, Morocco, while food aid was being distributed. DETAILS

... for those who were sexually abused as children within the Jehovah's Witnesses cult. DETAILS

... for the LGBT people of Turkey, in particular those living in Ankara where all gay festivals, screenings, forums and exhibitions have been banned. DETAILS

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From Sisters of Mercy in the Church of England," published in London in 1850 by Joseph Masters:

When almighty God raises up in his church the spirit and power of self-devotedness for Christ's sake, and the sake of those souls for whom Christ died, it is a source of deep thankfulness to every Christian heart. For the spirit and power of self-devotion are gifts of God, talents committed to our charge, bringing with them their burden of responsibility both to individuals and the Church.

True it is that this spirit must be possessed in a lesser or greater degree by every disciple of him, who leaving us an example that we should tread in his steps, said "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily."

But it pleaseth him who when he led captivity captive gave gifts unto men for the perfecting of the saints and for the edifying of the Body of Christ, to cause diversities of gifts but the same Spirit; and as to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; so is the power of self-devotion given in larger measure unto others, to be used, as all the rest, in the service of God, to the furtherance of his glory, and the, salvation of men.


O God, your son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world. Inspired by the life and work of Priscilla Lydia Sellon, lead us to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help; through the same Jesus Christ, your son, our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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