“My Easter Prayer” by Darius M. Ratcliff, 1943

EASTERBLESSING

Easter Blessings Be Thine”, ca. 1912

MY EASTER PRAYER – 1943

Jesus help me know thy love,

Love that brought thee  to our earth.

Leaving realms of brightest glory,

For a lowly manger birth.

Love that chose the hasty Peter,

Cleansed the striken Magdalen.

Patiently endured the traitor,

Made the vilest sinner clean.

Love that led thee to the cross,

Round thee there with fetters strong.

Though a word from thee had scattered,

Those who thought they did thee wrong.

Love that suffered for my sins,

Took their sorrow in my stead.

That I might rejoice in heaven,

Ransomed ever from the dead.

Love that’s mine in this today,

Guiding me while earth I roam.

Shaping me into thy image,

Bringing me to thy own home.

Jesus help me feel thy love,

At this joyous Easter season.

When I view again thy passion,

And thy sacrifice envision.

When I try to comprehend,

Its significance to thee.

Wonder what thou didst endure,

That I might from death be free.

When I seek to understand,

Its significance to us.

How for all who will believe,

This is made our righteousness.

When I would appreciate,

Thy unfathomed love divine.

That I might express my thanks,

That this love is truly mine.

Jesus may I have thy love,

Poured into this sluggish heart.

Filling me with love for others,

Making me of love a part.

That I may this love imbibe,

May I yield my will to thee.

Holding not a purpose back,

Living only thine to be.

That I may with love be filled,

May I linger long in prayer.

That thou mayest possess me wholly,

And have me thy image wear.

Jesus, may I show thy love,

First to thee my loving Lord.

Thou has always so loved me,

I deserved to be abhorred.

Then to those within thy church,

Those whom thou has rendered clean.

These are they beloved of thee,

In their lives thou now art seen.

Next to my own kind and kin,

These my first and dearest charge.

May they have of love my best,

May my heart to them enlarge.

And to others far and wide,

Neighbors, fellow workers, friends.

Enemies who injured me,

Those far off where my light ends.

 

Image above retrieved from:

digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1065612&imageID=1587604&word= easter blessing&s=1¬word=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=12&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=9

Image Details

Image Title:  Easter blessings be thine. Published Date: ca. 1912.Source: Holiday postcards / Easter — Religious. Source Description: 96 postcards : col. ; 9 x 14 cm. Location: Mid-Manhattan Library / Picture Collection. Catalog Call Number: PC POC Easter – ReligiousDigital. ID: 1587604. Record ID: 1065612.  Digital Item Published: 9-10-2007; updated 5-15-2012

“Our Thanksgiving Hymn” by Darius M. Ratcliff

OUR  THANKSGIVING  HYMN

For thy wondrous gift of life,

Crowned with blessings rare;

For the sunshine and the rain,

Tokens of thy care;

Father of love, we thank Thee.

For our homes where those we love

Teach us from thy word,

For the privilege to go

To thy temples, Lord;

Father above, we thank Thee;

Father of love, we thank Thee.

For our land where freedom reigns,

Sacred to our trust;

For our youth who give their all,

But not for greed or lust;

Father above, we thank Thee;

Father of love, we thank Thee.

For the Christ of Calvary,

Through whose cross we gain

Fellowship with Thee, our God,

Thus with Thee to reign;

Father above, we thank Thee;

Father of love, we thank Thee.

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1065820&imageID=1588294&word=thanksgiving&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=268&num=20&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=29#_seemore

Image source:
Image TitleThanksgiving greetings. Additional Name(s): Sander, P. — Copyright Holder. Item Physical Description: 1 postcard : col., embossed; 8.7 x 13.7 cm. Location: Mid-Manhattan Library / Picture Collection Catalog. Call Number: PC POC – Thanksgiving.  Digital ID: 1588294 Record ID: 1065820.  Digital Item Published: 9-13-2007; updated 5-15-2012

“A Welcome to Rev. and Mrs. Frank Sperduto” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Presbyterian Church
Naples, Ontario County, New York


A WELCOME TO REV. AND MRS. FRANK SPERDUTO

You’ve made, by now, your own preview;

My welcome can be hardly new:

I’ll add tonight of words a few:

This for my church I gladly do:

A welcome warm to both of you.

A lovely lake our border makes,

Its charming shore affection takes:

The sportive trout its water breaks,

To joyous beauties the heart awakes:

A welcome to our land of lakes.

We once were noted for our mills;

We boast some shaded woodland rills;

For those who practice climbing skills,

Our peaks afford real mountain thrills:

A welcome to our land of hill.

If you grow tired of stuffy dens,

And of wise words from prophets’ pens,

And wish a rest from sung “amens,”

We have a world shut out from men’s:

A welcome to our land of glens.

Our orchard trees will you salute,

They with the vines some farms dispute;

Their blossoms preach with voices mute,

Their autumn offerings your taste will suit:

A welcome to our land of fruit.

It matters not what church you’re of,

Our game is not to push and shove;

Our bird is just the friendly dove,

Our model is the God above:

A welcome to our land of love.

Now, I’m a Baptist, through and through,

And I am loyal to that view;

But God loves Presbyterians, too,

And they to Him can be as true:

The Baptist Church here welcomes you.

And as our work together blends,

And prayer to God from each ascends,

And each to work of Christ attends,

And grace from Him to both descends:

May we become the best of friends.

Naples Baptist and Presbyterian Churches
Naples, Ontario County, New York

Reference:
http://www.fultonhistory.com
Newspaper: “The Naples News”, Naples, New York; Wednesday, March 3, 1943, Volume XXXXV, Number 9; “Rev. Sperduto To Be Installed”.

On Thursday, March 4, at 7:30 according to Presbyterian custom,the Rev. Frank Sperduto, will be installed as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Naples.”

 “The participating clergymen at the service will be: Rev. D. M.Ratcliff, Baptist Church, Naples ; Rev..J. Wesley Babock, Methodist Church, Naples; Rev. Luther Bostrom, Seneca  Presbyterian Church, No. 9 and Moderator of the Presbytery of Geneva; Rev.William Halbert Campbell, First Presbyterian church, Waterloo; and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery; Rev. Angus J. MacMillan, Oak Corners Presbyterian Church, Waterloo; and Frederick L. Harper, First Presbyterian Church, Geneva.”

Churches of Naples, Ontario County,  New York (Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist)
Artist: Donald Gelder of Naples, New York

Images above:
 Source – Personal postcard collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

Rev. Frank Sperduto

RACINE – Rev. Frank Sperduto, 86, passed away at Lincoln Lutheran Care Center on Saturday, February 10, 2001. He was born in Sommerville, Mass. on November 18, 1914, son of the late James and Annina (nee: DiTucci) Sperduto. On August 24, 1941, he was united in marriage to Ruth M. Roth. Rev. Sperduto was ordained on July 11, 1939, in Chicago, Ill. He subsequently served churches in Naples, N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y., Ithaca, N.Y., Wichita, Kan., and then in 1962, he was called to Milwaukee to Pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church where he served for 18 years, retiring in 1980. He then came to Racine, where he assisted at the First Presbyterian Church for four years and had remained a member until present. Rev. Sperduto was a member and past President of the Kiwanis Golden K’s. He enjoyed camping, fishing, and traveling with his family. His survivors include his wife, Ruth; his son, Ted (Mary) Sperduto of Wausau; his daughter, Susanne (Keith) Doe of Racine; his five grandchildren, Aaron (Jody) Sperduto of Green Bay, Tim Sperduto of Eau Claire, Jennifer (Tim) Figlmiller of Elk Mound, Robyn (Jason) Gardner of Flagstaff, Ariz., Heidi Doe of Franksville; his great-grandson, Ian Matthew Figlmiller; brother, Rev. Ted (Muriel) Sperduto of Annandale, Va.; sister, Civita (Ray) Trotto of South Weymouth, Mass.; brother-in-law, Albert Roth of Atlanta, Ga.; and nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many dear friends. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his three sisters, Mary Camelio, Rose Camelio, and Nancy CiCicco; and an infant brother, Raymond. Funeral services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 716 College Avenue, on Friday, February 16, 2001, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Randall K. Bush and Rev. Steve Fringer officiating. Interment will follow at Wisconsin Memorial Park in Milwaukee. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the church on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until time of service. Memorials to the First Presbyterian Church have been suggested.

Source:

Newspaper: “The Journal Times”, 212 4th St, Racine, WI, 53403; Date: February 14, 2001

http://journaltimes.com/wednesday-feb/article_b302dc0f-bd69-5ee7-b6f5-6f35ed439282.html

RACINE – Ruth M. (nee: Roth) Sperduto, 89, passed away at the Kenosha Care Center Saturday, May 8, 2004.

Ruth was born in Ridgeway, Pa. on January 14, 1915, daughter of the late Albert and Susanne (nee: Kubli) Roth. On August 24, 1941, Ruth was united in marriage to the Rev. Frank Sperduto, who preceded her in death February 10, 2001.

Ruth was a very active member of the First Presbyterian Church. She had previously taught and cared for pre-school children at Trinity Presbyterian Church, where her husband, Frank had served as Associate Pastor for 18 years. Ruth enjoyed her times spent with her family. She will be sadly missed.

Survivors include her son, Ted (Mary) Sperduto of Wausau; her daughter,Susanne (Keith) Doe of Racine; her five grandchildren, Aaron (Jody) Sperduto of Green Bay, Tim Sperduto of Minnesota, Jennifer (Tim) Figlmiller of Eau Claire, Robyn (Jason) Gardner of Parker, Colo., Heidi (Ernesto) Lopez of Racine; five great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Ruth was also preceded in death by four brothers.

Funeral services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 716 College Avenue, Saturday, May 15, 2004, 11 a.m. with Rev. Randall K. Bush officiating.

Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the church Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until time of services. Interment will be held at Wisconsin Memorial Park. Memorials to the First Presbyterian Church or to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee have been suggested.

Source:

Newspaper: “The Journal Times”, 212 4th St, Racine, WI, 53403; Date: May 11, 2004

http://journaltimes.com/news/local/obituaries/article_950b06a7-6967-540c-b073-7a86c5f369d4.html

“Marjory Dear”, “To Rosemary”, and “Shirley” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Girl on Her Way to Church by George Hitchcock (1850 – 1913)


MARJORY DEAR

Here’s a word for Marjory dear:

Summer days will soon be here;

School ‘ll be left to memories dread

Joyous times’ll then appear.

When you’re through with Sunday’s preaching

And your teacher  has done with teaching,

Let the care come out a screetching,

Make it hum till here you’re reaching.

First we’ll start right in to talk,

Then we’ll take a pleasant walk,

Keep it up till ladies balk,

Act as mad as any hawk.

You must plan to stay till night:

That’s the time that skeeters bite,

Cat’s come out and start to fight,

Give the girls an awful fright.

Cats will come a catawauling,

Start the babies all a squalling:

Bugs and worms will come a crawling;

Girls and boys will then be bawling.

Then the night air you’ll be feeling,

Hear the pigies all a squeling:

You’ll be someraults a keeling

Till little head and heels are reeling.

Won’t we have alot of fun.

Get all blackened in the sun,

Scare the cows and make them run.

All get sick, every one.

Won’t we have a lot of funning,

For the day with us is doneing?

Eyes pop out and start to running,

Heads jump off and start to spunning.

Girls like you to Christ are dear,

He would have you ever near.

You should Sunday school attend,

And from church too, never wend.

You should give to Christ your heart,

Of His church become a part.

You should ask Him to take you,

Keep you His your journey through.

You should come to Him in prayer

Let Him meet you often there.

You His word should daily read,

And to what it says give heed.

You should do for Him some work

Never let yourself this shirk.

You should love Him more and more

Till your earthly life is o’ver.

TO ROSEMARY

I’ve not forgotten Rosemary,

Nor lost her pleasant smile

She was a little fairy,

And did my heart beguile.

I send my love to Rosemary,

The little southern maid:

Sweet words take wings and carry,

Nor let your message fade.

Tell her the love of Jesus

Can human hearts adorn;

From ugliness it frees us,

When in our bosoms worn.

Tell her the love of Jesus

Is free from all alloy:

That it from sorrow frees us;

Is freighted rich with joy.

SHIRLEY

(Written for a family who had just lost their baby.)

And have you come and gone so soon?

And have you left us desolate?

We dreamed your life you’d share with us,

But such was not to be your fate.

We will not say that all was vain,

That we have hoped and loved for nought:

Perhaps we do not understand,

Perhaps God’s hand through you has wrought.

Some live for years and some for days,

But all at last will pass away.

Who knows what mansions are above?

And whom God needs in heaven’s day?

Our little one we bid adieu:

Our hearts with heaven now have a tie:

We’ll think of you close to our God,

We’ll plan to meet you by and by.

Public Domain Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Girl_on_Her_Way_to_Church_-_George_Hitchcock_-_overall.jpg

“Morning on the Farm” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Barn, Homestead of Charles Benton and Louise Mitteer Ratcliff, abt. 1910
Hurleyville, Sullivan County, New York

MORNING ON THE FARM

Its morning on the farm,

The day begins to break;

The creatures of the farm world

Are everywhere awake.

The roosters from their perches,

Now near, now far away;

Their challenges repeat

To greet the coming day.

A thousand little birds

Are singing in the trees:

Our friendly robin redbreast

Is loudest of all these.

A plaintive phoebe’s call

Is heard among the songs

Of many feathered songsters,

As she her note prolongs.

A mournful cuckoo adds

A doleful sweet  “oo-OO”

And sparrows chatter loudly

As days comes on anew.

A cow in distant pasture

Is lowing now and then;

And slowly from their dwellings

Come forth the world of men.

The milk pails in the milk house

Give out a cheery sound,

And noises from the big barns

Betray someone’s around.

And early in the morning

I come my Lord to thee.

I ask, O Lord, that thou

Will dwell today in me.

Photo Above: Source – Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

“Trip to Grandmother’s II – Fall, 1942” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Canandaigua Lake, between Canandaigua and Naples,  Ontario County, New York

TRIP TO GRANDMOTHER’S  II

Fall 1942

 All day long those wipers swing,

All day long the rain drops cling,

And then slip down and disappear,

Here wind can toss them to the rear.

All day long in the road side gutter,

The rain strikes sown with tossing sputter.

All day long the rain gray sky,

Seems pressing down to the hill tops nigh.

All day long the trucks come zooming,

Out of the rain made mist glooming:

All day long the cars come gliding,

And to our rear so quickly sliding.

My life is like this rainy trip,

Where every thing’s with wet adrip.

The days frown by with sorrow and pain:

My heart fights back ‘gainst storm and rain.

But I keep the road to the home of God,

I hold my feet to the part Christ trod.

No storm of earth can my faith subdue,

Nor ever close out the heavenly view.

Though storm crushed now, I’ll not complain,

I know what lies beyond the rain:

A goal’s placed there by the God above,

That will make plain  He’s a God of love.

It may be now that joys draw near,

Exceeding those to my heart so dear;

But if grief still my heart must test,

I know full well it’s for the best.

I bathe myself in the gospel light,

My heart find strength in His word’s might:

And I have joy in promised peace;

And I can wait till troubles cease.

And I press on this blood marked way,

And I wait the perfect day,

And I’ll sing now my hymn of praise,

And I’ll thank God for the rainy days.
Photo Above: Source – Personal postcard collection of B.J. Johanningmeier

“My Heart is Turning” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Kingdom of Heaven by Violet Oakley (1903)

MY HEART IS TURNING

 

My heart is turning back to May;

The world was then so young and gay:

The birds seemed laughing in the trees,

And flowers scented every breeze.

The peach tree blossoms all are gone,

And it is now September morn;

The days grow short, the nights are cold,

And nature seems so dead and old.

But autumn has its treasures too,

For autumn brings the harvest new,

The luscious fruit, the ripened grains:

In autumn man his food attains.

If earth were always May,

If blossoms never passed away;

We would not have the apples red,

Nor would we have our daily bread.

I will not mourn the time that’s past,

Nor wish that May could ever last;

For May itself was not complete,

Could not my needs entirely meet.

This is the day the Lord has made:

It matters not if flowers fade;

God gives rich blessings in their stead,

New joys are here, though some have fled.

Nor will I dread tomorrow’s dawn,

Nor think that good will then be gone;

For God will me tomorrow love,

And I’ll have blessings from above.

Eternal is God’s love for me,

And I shall never winter see;

My path is like the morning ray,

That brightens on till perfect day.

And I can smile at childhood’s days,

They had the charm of earthly Mays.

But I have treasures richer still

In place of childhood’s morning thrill.

My heart is set beyond the grave,

Beyond the Jordan’s mystic wave:

My life then be all complete,

For there the Prince of Life I’ll meet.

In place of blessings that have flown,

In place of fragments I have known;

I’ll then possess the perfect whole

That lasts while times eternal roll.

Should you who’ve had a later birth

Outlast my days upon this earth;

And should you think you’re called to mourn,

When I in silence hence am borne:

Think then of blessings I have gained,

And of the joys I have attained;

And think how long my race I’ve run;

That I have now the victory won.

This earthly life I must resign,

Or heaven never will be mine:

God’s best for man is never given,

Till death this earthly frame has riven.

You do not mourn the blossoms cast,

When you enjoy the fruit at last;

So why lament what’s left behind,

When you the consummation find?
Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?833496

Image Title:  “The kingdom of heaven.”
Creator: Oakley, Violet, 1874- — Artist

Published Date: 1903

Original Source: From Century magazine.(New York : The Century Co., 1870-)

Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Heaven and hell

“The Riddle” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Light of the World  by William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910)
John 8:12

THE RIDDLE

Birds of a feather flock together,

Thus has is always been:

Crows flock with crows, and wrens flock with wrens:-

Like, is the nearest of kin.

Christ is the head of a new-born race;

Children of light are they:

Earth knows them not, and the world loves not; –

Darkness cares not for the day.

Christ is the light, and Christ the way,

Christ the salvation of men:

Once let the dreamers turn to the light,

True is their fellowship then.

Pray for the eyes fast blinded by night;

Hope for the straying feet:

Patiently teach them by word and by deed;

Patiently mercy entreat.

Swift speeds the time, another today,

Birds now with us are flown:

Thanks to our God will fill our hearts is

Seeds for a harvest we’ve sown.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHunt_Light_of_the_World.jpg
William Holman Hunt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“My Pathway” by Darius Mitteer Ratcliff

View of a rustic bridge and stone house. From Central Park Album, 1862

MY PATHWAY

My pathway led through a field of stones,
I staggered on the bitter groans:
The cruel stones I needs must meet
Left mangled limbs and bleeding feet.

And I’d had many a bruising fall,
And life was turning to wormwood all: –
Oh why does God such field allow?
And hadn’t I suffered enough ere now?

And then by chance I looked one day,
To where a neighbor made her way:
She too was caught in the field of stones
Yet I heard laughter, instead of groans.
When she in the stony field had come
She’s used the stones to build her home:
The field to her was smooth and sweet,
And she tripped along with joyful feet.

‘Twas God who gave the field of stones,
Which I had used for mournful groans:
If I had built of stones a shrine,
A joyous heart would now be mine.

 

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1804112&imageID=1659460&word=stone%20house%20%20new%20york&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=47&num=20&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=33
Image Title:  View of a rustic bridge and stone house. From Central Park Album, 1862 / J. Rau, 381 Pearl St., N.Y. ; from nature by G. W. Fasel ; lith. by G. W. Fasel & E. Valois.
Source: The Eno collection of New York City views.

Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

“I Weep” by Darius M. Ratcliff

“Christ Weeping Over Jerusalem”
Ary Scheffer, (1795 – 1858)
Luke 19:41

I WEEP

I weep, but there has been no church bell’s knell;

Nor is my sadness the sadness of farewell:

Oh, if my loved were only absent, just away!

Of, if my loved had entered heaven’s day!

Then I could bear it, and once more rejoice,

Though I might often miss a long loved voice.

There is a fate than that of death more sad,

A fate that can new sorrow ever add;

There is an absence that is absence from the heart

When those we love from ways of life depart.

I have great sorrow and unceasing pain,

But may my prayer at last, not be in vain.

Image above retrieved from:

Ary Scheffer [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons