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Birthdays on July 16

Clare of Assisi (1194 to 1253)
Roman Church
She Eloped Secretly at Night to Join Francis

Clare was born in the Italian city which was home to Francis. As a young girl, Clare fell under the spell of Francis' preaching and determined to live a life for Christ. She fled home, refused to return, and became founder of the Poor Clares, the most faithful follower of the Franciscan way. Her writings and manner of life show that Christ was truly the center of her spiritual being. Hers was not a formalist profession or salvation by works.

Howard E. Smith (1863 to 1918)
Barely Known but Often Sung

Howard E. Smith was born in Norwalk, Connecticut. Little is known of his life beyond the fact he was for many years an organist in a Connecticut church. He composed the tune to "Love Lifted Me." Smith died August 13, 1918.

Isaac Watts (1674 to 1748)
Watts behind the Modern Hymnal?

Birth of Isaac Watts, hymnwriter. He boldly called for a new kind of psalm, rewritten in light of the New Testamentgospel. "We preach the gospel and pray in Christ's name, and then check [stifle] the aroused devotions of Christians by giving out a song of the old dispensation." Suiting his action to his word, he published a collection of Christianized psalms in 1719. Even before this, in 1707, he published his Hymns and Spiritual Songs. They include "Joy to the World." Charles Wesley and others drew inspiration from hymn. There is hardly a Protestant hymnal in the English-speaking world that does not include his songs.


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