Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers' Union

9 August -- Lesser Festival -- of any Saint -- White

Mary Elizabeth Sumner (née Heywood) was born in 1828 at Swinton. In 1848, she married a young curate, George Henry Sumner, nephew of Archbishop Sumner, who was himself to become Bishop of Guildford in 1888. A mother of three children, Mary called a meeting in 1876 at which the Mothers' Union was founded, providing a forum in which to unite mothers of all classes in the aim of bringing up children in the Christian faith. Baptism and parental example were its two basic principles. At first a parochial organisation, it grew steadily into an international concern, encouraging the ideal of a Christian home. Mary died on this day in 1921.


Faithful and loving God,
who called Mary Sumner to strive
   for the renewal of family life:
give us the gift of your Holy Spirit,
that through word, prayer and deed
   your family may be strengthened and your people served;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

If you say, "Look, we did not know this," does not God, who weighs the heart, perceive it? Does not the one who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds? My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find her, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 24. 3-4, 12-14

Responsorial Psalm

RHappy are they all who revere the Lord,
[and who follow in his ways].
How shall the young cleanse their way?
By keeping to your words.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commandments. R

I treasure your promise in my heart,
that I may not sin against you.
Blessèd are you, O Lord;
instruct me in your statutes. R

With my lips will I recite
all the judgements of your mouth.
I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees
than in all manner of riches. R

I will meditate on your commandments
and give attention to your ways.
My delight is in your statutes;
I will not forget your word. R         From Psalm 119

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

This is the word of the Lord.         Hebrews 13. 1-5

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Jesus said to his disciples, "I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 11. 9-13

Post Communion

God, the source of all holiness
   and giver of all good things:
may we who have shared at this table
   as strangers and pilgrims here on earth
be welcomed with all your saints
   to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.