Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Patrimony: St Vincent de Paul - Fr Lowder's inspiration in founding the Society of the Holy Cross

"On arrival at Rouen on May 22, 1854, he wrote to his mother: 'It is a great deprivation to be away from dear St. Barnabas'; however, I must bear it patiently, as it is only my own fault.' Part of his time in France was spent at Yvetot in Normandy, and at the Petit Seminaire, a school for boys, where he was the guest of the Superior, the Revd. M. 1'Abbe P .L. Labbe, to whom he had introductions and by whom he was warmly received. One day in the library of the Seminary, he took up the biography of St. Vincent de Paul, the perusal of which so fascinated him that long afterwards he wrote of the deep impressions made upon his mind by the life and work of the great French churchman, and from that moment he registered his great resolve that henceforth his life should be devoted to work for and among the virtual heathen of the London slums; but not yet had come the definite call to labour in the East End.

When the six weeks' suspension was over he returned to St. Barnabas', but with a somewhat unsettled mind, as the thought of joining some kind of community of mission priests had taken hold of him, and although he performed his parochial duties with the same thoroughness as heretofore, it was with a growing conviction that the time was not far distant when his aspirations would be realized."
from 'Charles Fuge Lowder' [ London: The Catholic Literature Association, 1933.]

"As he read Abelly's life of St. Vincent, Lowder was struck by the resemblance between aspects of the contemporary English Church and the Church in France at the end of the sixteenth century in which, Abelly wrote, the clergy were worldly and undisciplined and the people, in consequence, neither instructed nor assisted in their spiritual duties................ Persuaded that that the remedies which St Vincent adopted in seventeenth century rural France might be applied to England two hundred years later, Lowder determined to form a secular body of priests, roughly corresponding to St Vincent's Prêtres de la Congrégation de la Mission. To this end Lowder consulted five other Anglo-Catholic London clergy................ and with them, on 28 February 1855, founded the Society of the Holy Cross, or S.S.C.  as the Society was known from its Latin initials."
L.E. Ellsworth: Charles Lowder & the Ritualist Movement [DLT London 1982]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will not be published