AN ARCHITECTURAL GEM
IT WAS NOT I but Bishop Garland who called Saint Alban's "an architectural gem." It is a joy to know how many persons have confirmed his judgment. As the Church is often visited by strangers, a description of it may be interesting. And if again the reader asks: "Are such notes really reminiscences?" the answer might seem to be "yes." For surely "reminiscences" may embody memories of places and things as well as of persons and events.
Rarely does a Priest have the privilege and the pleasure--and likewise the responsibility--of being the builder of his own Parish Church; of conceiving and carrying out his chosen ideal! That has been my happy lot as the Rector of Saint Alban's, and the present building is the realization of what I aimed to do. If, however, it was my privilege to suggest, to guide, to direct, to approve all that entered into the work, free and unhampered to carry out my ideas and ideals, it was the enthusiastic and technical cooperation of Architect and Craftsman that made it possible. They saw in the attempt to reproduce the genius and work of mediaeval times, not a whim of the Rector, but a chance to exercise their powers and talents for the Glory of God. Without such cooperation the work would have come to naught. All who worked visualized and approved the ideal and were so large-minded as to subordinate their own ideas.
In this mediaeval setting, where in sculptured stone and carven wood, in storied window and speaking symbolism is found the environment for the glorious offering of Catholic Worship, many who come to see feel that "when you enter Saint Alban's you feel religious." The atmosphere of prayer and worship pervades the silent Church. "Truly this is the House of God."
The Church is set in the midst of lawn, trees and shrubbery. The building is in the shape of a Latin Cross, the arms forming the Nave, the Apse, the Lady Chapel and the Chapel of Saint Cecilia. The Belfry Tower and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament project from the line of the Church like the ends of a base to the Cross.
The building is of stone, the only decoration on the exterior being in the crocketed buttresses and the stone mullions and traceries of the windows. Above the high roof, with its cresting of the conventional French "fleur-de-lys," at the intersection of Nave and Choir is the "Fleche." This is a beautiful, slender spire surmounted by a Cross, copied after the upper part of that on "La Sainte Chapelle," Paris.
As the visitor enters the Church, the interior of which is Indiana Limestone, the building is seen to be different from other Churches. There is an indefinable "something" that gives it distinction, apart from the beauty of form and colour. It has the predominant characteristics of height, grace and charm which remind of French Gothic, and seen as a whole, it suggests the old world Churches. One visitor, well travelled in Europe, enthusiastically said, "It is just like a miniature French Cathedral!" While, of course, this is greatly exaggerated and not literally true, one can easily see how there is a suggestion of these masterpieces of Gothic Architecture.
There is a little verse that reads:
"Straight is the line of duty
Curved is the line of beauty
Follow the one and it shall be
The other shall always follow thee."
which might be said to apply to Saint Alban's in that structural support was never overlooked in aiming for decorative beauty.
One of the first things to be noticed is the line of the roof, and then the beautiful colouring. This roof is lofty, quite a work of art in itself and richly decorated in gold and colour in the mediaeval style. It follows the French custom of extending the height of the Nave throughout the Choir and Sanctuary. This adds greatly to the loftiness of these parts of the Church, enhancing their beauty and dignity and accentuating the importance of the High Altar and Sanctuary.
In the rear wall of the Church directly opposite the Sanctuary, and underneath a beautiful window to my father is a stone tablet, richly carved with the "motif" of the grapevine and bearing in Gothic lettering the following inscription:
"THIS CHURCH IS ERECTED TO
THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
GEORGE LAMBERT KNOWLES
FOR THE WORSHIP AND PRAISE OF ALMIGHTY GOD
ACCORDING TO THE USE OF THE ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND
'THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE'
SPEAK SOFTLY: MOVE QUIETLY: ACT REVERENTLY
AND WHEN THERE IS NO SERVICE LET ALL
'THE EARTH KEEP SILENCE BEFORE HIM.' "
Throughout, three main thoughts have been expressed: those of dignity, simplicity and beauty. Everything is consistent. There is a unity and harmony in all the parts. One mind has conceived the whole, whilst many hands have contributed to the parts. And they were good Craftsmen that did the work, guided by the religious spirit, if not of mediaeval time, at least with true artistic appreciation. For all who laboured at Saint Alban's aimed to feel the atmosphere of Religion that always seemed to reign there. And they admired and praised each other's work.
Those who have travelled abroad will find many bits reminiscent of well-known places there: here a vault after one in Notre Dame; a "fleche" after the upper part of the one at "La Sainte Chapelle"; a window, its traceries following one at Melrose Abbey (itself a replica from France) ; a carved screen copied from a 13th century treasure in a Chateau Chapel in the Val d'Aosta.
At Saint Alban's are three Altars, one of white marble in the Sanctuary, another of white marble in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, the third of wood decorated in gold and colour in the Lady Chapel. All three are quite different from those generally seen and are true works of Art. The High Altar dominates the Church, as it should, set off by the three lofty stained glass windows of the Apse. Above the Altar is the Tabernacle where Our Lord is enthroned.
The front of the Altar is divided into three panels, with borders or "Orphreys" beautifully carved with the grapevine, showing clusters of grapes. (These same panels and borders are reproduced in the "fronts" of the Choir stalls.) The Reredos is divided into seven open Gothic Arches surmounted with an elaborate cresting of "fleur-de-lys," the central Arch being crowned by a canopy and spire rising some twenty-two feet above the Sanctuary floor. In this central panel, under the canopy is a representation of Christ, robed in the Vestments of the Sacred Ministers of the Mass, and with embroidered Cope over all, according to a traditional treatment of Our Lord as the great High Priest and Bishop. The figure of Our Lord in the Act of Blessing is standing upon the Globe with clouds above and beneath, while surrounding Him is an Aureole of adoring Angels. It is a mystical representation of the Incarnation, the Globe symbolizing the earth, the Angels and clouds, Heaven, and Our Lord uniting in Himself God and Man, heaven and earth. This mystical representation and the design and arrangement were suggested by the beautiful statue of "Le Bon Dieu" on the front of the Cathedral of Amiens. In adapting this figure, there was also in mind certain details from the Sistine Madonna, the group in the Lady Chapel of St. Sulpice, Paris, and the work of Delia Robbia. Christ is shown crowned with the Crown of Thorns and with Hands and Feet marked with the nails, for the Risen and Ascended Lord, the King of Glory, ever bears the marks of the Passion!
On Our Lord's right is a statue of Saint Mary the Virgin, crowned and holding the lily, while on the left is that of Saint Alban the Martyr, in armour, with the palm of victory. In the Reredos, at each end, at the termination of the three steps of the Retable kneels an Angel in adoration, facing the Tabernacle. The Communion or Sanctuary Rail is of white marble carved with the grapevine. Elaborate oak screens separate the Choir from the Chapels on either side, as the Rood-Screen does the Nave. On the Altar, specially made for Saint Alban's, in true Gothic style, of ancient brass, are the Crucifix and Standard Lights, and in keeping with these are the Vesper and Eucharistic Candlesticks.
At Saint Alban's the Lady Chapel is at the right of the Choir. It is not merely a side Altar as in so many Parishes. It is a beautiful little Chapel, distinct in itself. It opens from the "south" aisle of the Church, through an archway and is separated from the Choir by a carved wood screen.
The Altar, Reredos and the Statues in the canopies are of wood, richly carved and beautifully gilded and coloured quite in the spirit of mediaeval times. In the centre of the Reredos is a copy of a Madonna by Murillo, brought from Florence by the Rector. It forms a beautiful Altar piece. On either side in canopied niches are Angels, two with swinging censers, two with musical instruments, two engaged in devotion. These figures are carved and decorated in gold and colour with true artistic feeling and religious expression. The Window of the Lady Chapel is particularly noteworthy.
Quite the most beautiful thing in the Lady Chapel is a very lovely statue of the Madonna and Child, with votive lights before it. This statue was made in London. It is really notable for the lines and expression. While not so installed, this Statue may be regarded as a memorial to our dear daughter Mary Clements.
To the left of the Choir, on the Gospel side, and separated from it by a beautifully carved Gothic screen, is what is called the Chapel of Saint Cecilia. It bears this name because in it is the Console of the Organ and a number of additional seats for singers. It is not properly a Chapel, since it has no Altar and is not a separate place for Worship. It is named, of course, after Saint Cecilia, one of the patron Saints of Music.
The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is directly opposite the main door of the Church. This Chapel is generally used for the daily Mass and especially on Maundy Thursday when the Blessed Sacrament is carried in Procession from the High Altar to be enthroned here at the so-called "Altar of Repose."
This Chapel is devotionally inspiring. On the entrance doors of bronze are the words: "Lo, I am with you alway." Our Lord seems to say: "Come ye apart and rest awhile." Few Churches possess such a perfect gem in structure and colouring. Clustered columns support four graceful arches and lofty vault, making the Chapel cruciform. The whole is decorated in gold and colour, the designs and tones exactly copied after "La Sainte Chapelle" in Paris.
The Altar is of white marble, with Tabernacle, Spire and Throne, and with Reredos surmounted with the real "fleur-de-lys." At each end is a Canopied Niche, one with a statue of Saint Gabriel, the other with that of Saint Michael. Two small but very lovely stained glass windows are here, one showing Our Lord enthroned in Heaven, the other Christ holding the Blessed Sacrament. On the east wall is a stone Tablet to my mother, similar to the one in the Church to my father, carved with this inscription:
"THIS CHAPEL IS ERECTED TO
THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MATILDA JOSEPHINE KNOWLES
1836 -- 1921
'THOU SHALT SHOW ME THE PATH OF LIFE. IN THY PRESENCE IS THE FULLNESS OF JOY.' "
The Rood-Screen at Saint Alban's is very impressive, and fulfills the requirements of ancient and mediaeval times. For it has a real Rood or Crucifix, a real Rood-Beam, a real "Calvary," and the arches of the Screen below do not detract from the dignity and simplicity of the superstructure. The Figures of Our Lord and on either side Saint John, the Beloved Disciple, and the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Mother, are well carved, particularly that of Christ which was done personally by the late Mr. E. Maene of Philadelphia. This figure of Christ, while being largely modelled after one by Michael Angelo, shows Mr. Maene's own genius and religious feeling and is well calculated to call forth one's love and devotion. It is a beautiful, majestic and appealing representation of Our Lord. It impresses all who see it and seems to prompt to prayer and penitence. It is just such a Crucifix before which a beautiful story says a French peasant used to kneel every day. When asked why he stayed so long and what he did, he simply replied: "Christ looks at me and I look at Him: I speak to Our Lord and Our Lord speaks tome!"
The Rood-Screen replaces one given by Mrs. Knowles and myself in the early years of my Ministry. The present one is the work of Mr. Barber, collaborating with me. We had no Architect, as we were selecting and adapting from some of the great Screens abroad. We frequently consulted the splendid collection of books in the Pepper wing of the Free Library (Philadelphia), and studied various photographs and sketches which I had. Many of the details are copied after those found in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.
The Stations of the Cross at Saint Alban's were the gift of Mrs. Knowles, as is noted on the Memorial Tablet in the Belfry Tower. They were made in Indiana Limestone, at the Whitman Studios, by a most devout Bohemian workman and artist who worked upon these Stations as a "labour of love," even as did the ancient craftsmen of old.
Beautiful in conception, and artistic in workmanship, these Stations may well inspire to devotion and make real Our Lord's Sufferings. There are the usual fourteen. Mrs. Knowles gave the Stations in memory of two devoted servants who had been very attentive and faithful to her when, as a little child, she lost her parents. Few memories embody such a lovely recognition of those in lowly walks of life. "He hath exalted the humble and meek."
Outside the Rood-Screen, on the Gospel side, stands a very graceful marble and limestone Pulpit, but in perfect keeping with the Church, with the same distinguishing characteristics of dignity, simplicity and beauty. The platform rests upon a single foundation pier from which spring the arched supports. Below the balustrade are open panels. In the richly carved hand rail is again seen the "motif" which appears in so many parts of the building, the grapevine. The winding steps to the Pulpit give entrance from the "south" aisle, after the custom of Continental Churches.
The Belfry Tower is an unique feature of the Church and gives an individuality to it. It is semidetached and is largely copied after a Tower in Southern Spain. Above the Belfry is a small copper crocketed spire, surmounted by a Cross. In the Belfry is the Bell, the gift of Mrs. Samuel M. Elliot, bearing this inscription: "The Bell of Saint Alban's Church, (hung in 1898 and replaced in 1916 by the same donor) is given to the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of Joseph Alfred Jones, 1840-1891, that it may call the faithful and the loving and the penitent to the Praise and Worship of Almighty God and to the Privileges and Blessings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." In addition to this Bell is a special one rung at the Consecration: "think when the bells do chime, 'tis Angels' music."
In the entrance-vestibule of the Tower are two small but very interesting windows. One shows Saint Alban as Patron holding in one hand a model of our Parish Church, and in the other the sword of the Roman Soldier, while underneath is the legend, "Hold fast the Faith." The other pictures Saint Alban as the Martyr, with Cross on Staff and the palm of triumph, while underneath are the words: "The Faith once delivered to the Saints."
On the interior walls are Bronze Tablets, with the following inscriptions:
"THOSE WHO ENTER THIS CHURCH
THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
GEORGE LAMBERT KNOWLES
NEVER TO LEAVE WITHOUT A PRAYER FOR THE CLERGY AND CONGREGATION THE FOUNDERS AND BENEFACTORS
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD AND TO HAVE THEM IN REMEMBRANCE AT THE OFFERING OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST."
To the right of this is the Tablet of the gift to the Church of The Stations of the Cross, reading:
"THE STATIONS ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS
SHOWING FORTH THE
PASSION AND DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
ARE ERECTED TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MARY ANN O'BRYAN
MAY GOD IN HIS MERCY GRANT 'THAT THEY
MAY REST IN PEACE AND THAT LIGHT PERPETUAL
MAY SHINE UPON THEM.'
'HE HATH EXALTED THE HUMBLE AND MEEK.' "
The other Tablet is placed near the entrance and has the following blessing upon all of those who come to Saint Alban's.
"THE LORD PRESERVE THY GOING OUT, THE LORD PRESERVE THY COMING IN,
GOD SEND HIS ANGELS ROUND ABOUT TO KEEP THY SOUL FROM EVERY SIN;
AND WHEN THY GOING OUT IS DONE,
AND WHEN THY COMING IN IS O'ER,
WHEN IN DEATH'S DARKNESS ALL ALONE THY FEET CAN COME AND GO NO MORE,
THE LORD PRESERVE THY GOING OUT
FROM THIS DARK WORLD OF GRIEF AND SIN
WHILE ANGELS STANDING ROUND ABOUT SING : 'GOD PRESERVE THY COMING IN.' "
The following letter from Mr. Pearson will be interesting. As all who remember him know, Mr. Pearson was an architect of high standing with many fine works to his credit. He and I became firm friends. He used to say that he considered Saint Alban's one of the finest buildings upon which he had laboured. It takes a large-minded man to carry out in such a whole-hearted way the ideals of another. This Mr. Pearson did.
"Dear Fr. Knowles:
It is but natural for an Architect to feel a great interest in a work to which he has given much thought and time. This has been particularly so in the designing and building of Saint Alban's in which we have acted in collaboration with one another. For not only is it rare that one can plan and complete a Church as a whole, but also is it rare to find a Church in this country reproducing so largely some of the best to be found in the old world.
The work has been a great pleasure to me, and I am glad to hear that it has been called 'an architectural gem,' even if we think that too high praise. But, in justice to both, I think it but fair to say that the conception of Saint Alban's as a whole and the harmony and unity which are found, and likewise many of the lines and details are due entirely to you and came from your mind, my part being largely to blend and adapt the thoughts, ideas and plans suggested, many of them taken from the great models of the old world. Sincerely yours,
GEORGE T. PEARSON."
The Stained Glass Windows are the glory of Saint Alban's. As a tiny garden may have flowers lovely and rare, so a Parish Church may have windows rich and beautiful, if artist and gardener aim to copy the best specimens in their several spheres. I personally am responsible for the choice of subjects, and for their general arrangement.
The windows of the Apse and the shorter windows of the Aisles are beautifully arched and have simple conventional, geometrical traceries. The Clerestory windows are arched lights without traceries. Both mullions and traceries show strong detail and give a fine structural effect.
All of the stained glass is rich in colour and is heavily leaded, and adheres to the traditional treatment. Except in the Clerestory, all of the windows are made with small sections or "pre-dellas" beneath the larger lights.
The following is a very brief "resume" of the windows. First to be noted are the three long, slender windows of the Apse. Each of these consists of two long lights with traceries above and "predellas" underneath.
The window on the Gospel side has the inscription: "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of John Clements Stacker, born August 5, 1833, died January 6, 1877." "Underneath are the Everlasting Arms." The subjects represented are: the Annunciation, the Nativity, and below in the predellas, the Visitation and the Flight into Egypt.
The window on the Epistle side is: "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Katharine Myers Hale Stacker, born March 19, 1833, died May 9, 1876." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Here are shown the Resurrection, the Ascension, and in the predellas below, the Entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden.
Back of the High Altar, and partly showing above is the other Apse window with the inscription: "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Almy Augusta Stacker Purves, born February 26, 1859, died May 11, 1892." "She hath done what she could." Both the long upper lights and the predellas represent the various Choirs of Angels and the Worship of the Heavenly Host.
The effect of the beautiful colouring of these windows in contrast with the white marble of the High Altar and Reredos and the soft cream of the stone interior is wonderfully lovely. These three windows were given by Mrs. Knowles, as a memorial to her father, mother and sister, who died when she was young.
At the other end of the Church in the rear and facing the Altar is the large South Window, put in as an offering by me in honour of my father. It bears the inscription: "To the Glory of God and in Memory of George Lambert Knowles, 1834-1914." "The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." It consists of three large lights, with predellas below and elaborate traceries above. The theme is the Transfiguration of Christ, treated in quite the mediaeval fashion. The three panels are as one whole, in the centre being represented Our Lord standing in Glory in a "vesica" of light, with hands raised in blessing. On one side is Moses, on the other is Elijah. Below are the figures of the three Apostles, Saint James, Saint John and Saint Peter, still on earth but witnessing the Transfiguration. It is interesting to note that Christ is within the Rainbow standing for the Church Triumphant in Heaven. Moses and Elijah are on the Rainbow typifying the Church Expectant in Purgatory, and the three Apostles are below the Rainbow signifying the Church Militant on earth. Underneath in predellas are representations of prophetical types of the Transfiguration: Moses and the burning bush, Moses descending the mountain, Elijah in the chariot of fire. In the traceries above are the figures of Angels.
In the Lady Chapel there is a window especially interesting. It is quite in character for such a chapel and fitly illustrates the life of the Blessed Virgin. It is the gift of Mrs. Knowles, in memory of her Aunt. The inscription reads: "To the Glory of God and in memory of Margaretta Stacker Lewis, June 17,1820--November 18,1886." My wife had a great attachment for her Aunt.
In the predellas in the lower part of the window are seen the types or prophecies fulfilled in the larger lights above. The lower left depicts Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden, showing Eve treading upon the serpent, as the prophesy is made, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Above this in the large left light is the Annunciation, as the Angel greets Mary, announcing the mystery of the Incarnation. In the predella to the right is seen the prophet Isaiah having a vision of the Incarnation, "behold a Virgin shall conceive." Over this in the large light is the Visitation wherein Saint Elizabeth salutes Mary, who has conceived by the Holy Ghost, and at this visit sings her hymn, "My soul doth magnify the Lord" In the centre predella is shown Hannah bringing her little son Samuel to Eli, the High Priest, "and Hannah brought Samuel unto the House of the Lord." Above is the Presentation, showing the Blessed Virgin with the Holy Child and accompanied by Saint Joseph as they meet Saint Simeon coming into the Temple, to which they had gone. "They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord" Over these long lights are some very beautiful traceries, where, in the three largest openings, the Blessed Virgin is shown respectively: (1) as the Mother of Sorrows, "a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also"; (2) in the Assumption, "a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet"; (3) and in the Coronation, "and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." The other openings contain representations of Angels.
The Clerestory windows illustrate the continuity of the Church and the continuous witness to the "Faith once delivered to the Saints" First there are seen four windows high up in the Choir, picturing the four Evangelists, Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke and Saint John, each with the open Gospel in his hand. Next come windows in the Nave showing opposite one another the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the first with the Keys and the Fisherman's Net, the latter with the Sword of Martyrdom and the Book of the Epistles. Then come two windows representing respectively the Greek Fathers and the Latin Fathers of the 4th Century, in Saint Athanasius, clad in the Episcopal Vestments of the Eastern Church, and Saint Augustine, vested as a Bishop of the Western Church. Continuing, there are windows to Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great mediaeval "schoolman and theologian," and Saint Bernard, representative of the Monastic Orders and the preacher of the Crusades. Then come four windows picturing Saint Dionysius (or Saint Denys), the patron Saint of France, Saint Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, and Saint Andrew, the patron Saint of Scotland. These four windows show the sources which influenced the Anglican Communion: France which gave to ancient Britain the Christian Religion and the Gallican Liturgy; Ireland and Scotland, from whence came the Celtic Monks who evangelized four of the seven heathen Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in what is now England; and Rome, which sent Augustine to convert the country not already won to Christ, taking there also the Roman Rite, which later modified the ancient Gallican Liturgy, the two eventually going through various "uses" to form the present service of the Mass. From these four sources, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Rome, came those several "lines" of Apostolic Succession which make the Anglican Church absolutely certain of her descent. One other window in this "series" is that above the large south window, where there is pictured a remarkably fine Archangel as Herald.
The Aisle windows are likewise very beautiful and particularly interesting. They show very lovely tracery and leading, and are notable for their exquisite colouring. Beginning on the Epistle side, next to the Lady Chapel, these windows are as follows:
(a) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Isaac Dadeker and Mary his wife." Our Lord as the Carpenter's Son at work: "The Grace of God was upon Him"; The Return to Nazareth after the Finding in the Temple: "He was subject unto them"; The Going up to Bethlehem for the Taxing: "And Joseph and Mary went unto Bethlehem"; The Repose on the Flight into Egypt: "Out of Egypt have I called My Son."
(b) "To the Glory of God and in grateful memory of George Lambert Knowles and Matilda Josephine Knowles" (Installed by the Congregation. ) Christ calling the little Children: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God"; Christ's Missionary Charge: "Go ye unto all the world and teach all Nations"; Christ feeding the Multitudes: "/ am the Bread of Life"; Christ's Commission to Saint Peter and the Apostles: "Feed My Sheep, Feed My Lambs"
(c) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of George Tyrrel Pearson, June 7, 1847-January 9, 1920" (Subject: Architecture.) Saint Louis offering the Crown of Thorns and La Sainte Chapelle to God: "This is the House of God: the Gate of Heaven"; The Blessed Virgin and Saint Alban offering Saint Alban's Church to Christ: "My House is the House of Prayer"; Moses before the Tabernacle: "And Moses entered the Tabernacle"; Solomon dedicating the Temple: "And Solomon stood before the Altar"
(d) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Isaac Lea Nicholson. Bishop: 1844-1906." (Subject: Music.) The Blessed Virgin Mary singing the Magnificat, and about her Saint Ambrose, Saint Gregory and Saint Cecilia: "My Soul doth magnify the Lord"; the Angels singing the Gloria in Excelsis to the Shepherds: "Glory to God In the highest"; David playing the Harp before Saul: "O come let us sing unto the Lord"; The Angel holding the Live Coal to Isaiah as he hears the Sanctus: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts."
(e) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Mary Koch Franz, 1847-1874, and Henrietta Ringe Backer, 1848-1921." (Subject: Worship and Sacrifice.) The Offerings of the Wise Men: "They fell down and worshipped Him"; Christ Adored in Heaven: "They shall see His Face"; The Sacrifice of Abel -."Offer ye the sacrifice of righteousness"; Zacharias at the Offering of Incense: "His lot was to burn Incense."
(f) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of William Vincent Turner, 1852-1927 and Elizabeth Annie Turner, 1864-1924." (Subject: the Religious Orders.) Saint Benedict and with him the British Saints Columba, Hilda, Etheldreda and the Venerable Bede: "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me"; Saint Francis, Saint Dominic and Saint Clara: "Go ye, preach the Gospel to every creature"; and in the predellas: Eli and Samuel.
(g) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Emily Baker Elliot, October 28, 1849-March 21, 1918." (Subject: Good Works.)
Saint Mary anointing Our Lord's Feet: "She hath done what she could"; Our Lord feeding the Multitudes: "He went about doing good"; Saint Elizabeth of Hungary ministering to the Poor, and the Miracle of the Roses: "Blessed are the merciful".; Saint Martin of Tours giving half of his Cloak to the shivering beggar: "Naked: and ye clothed Me."
(h) "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Harold Hamerton, 1866-1924." (Subject: Confession and Communion.) Our Lord giving the "Power of the Keys": "Whose sins ye remit are remitted"; Our Lord instituting the Holy Eucharist: "Whoso eateth My Flesh hath everlasting Life"; Naaman washing in the Jordan, cleansed: "And ye shall be clean"; Our Lord in Glory: "And they shall see His Face."
The following letter is interesting in connection with the windows:
"My dear Father Knowles:
As the series of windows in Saint Alban's Church is nearing completion, I desire to express to you the great pleasure experienced by my firm of Heaton, Butler and Bayne, of London, throughout the work and especially by myself. That your windows are extremely and exceptionally beautiful is undeniable and perhaps, I may say with safety, that no finer can be produced.
It has been a great privilege to have collaborated with you in these windows and I wish to say that your choice and conception of the subjects, so varied, so devotional, and so very unusual, illustrating in a most impressive and inspiring way our Religion, gave us an unique opportunity of developing the thoughts in a truly artistic and devotional manner.
I believe that the mediaeval craftsman was inspired by such thoughts and it has been our prayer to be so guided. No time or effort has been spared to accomplish the desired end, viz., to produce for Saint Alban's Church that of which the present and future worshippers may be proud and which may bring to their minds for all time, the glories of the Ministry of Christ and His devoted followers.
For myself and my part in this work, may I say that your ever present suggestions, appreciated and understood, have made my collaboration of the utmost pleasure and esteemed privilege. They have inspired me to use the utmost endeavours, artistically and mechanically, to realize their ideals. Nevertheless, I am conscious that these lovely windows, in beautiful Saint Alban's, stand not only for models of artistic excellence, but especially for that spirit which made us work together for the Glory of God. Yours faithfully,
ALEX. C. A. HIGERTY."
As I close these "reminiscences," which in a way is a kind of review of my life work, I cannot but feel how much happier has been my lot than if I had sought place and distinction in larger spheres of labour. I would never have made a Church politician, or have been content in a great Parish. The rivalries and jealousies which so often abound, the ambitions and efforts to win recognition, the allurements and attractions of prominent place, are all foreign to my ideals and standards! I make no criticism of others, I make no claim to a higher spiritual plane, but to me the Sacred Ministry is an adventure in which the real thrill and the real joy is the knowledge of walking along the same paths as did the Saints of old, in the same Catholic Church, ministering the same Sacraments, preaching the same Gospel, holding the same Faith, and humbly trying to bring souls to God.
I would not be anything but an Anglican, much as I may admire many things about the Roman Communion, for it is a matter of fact, and not a matter of opinion, that we Anglicans are a true part of the Holy Catholic Church and have all of the blessings and privileges of the Catholic Faith if we will use them. Yet there is no sense in shutting our eyes to the fact that a large proportion of our people know little about the Church or her teachings, rarely try to live a real sacramental life, and have very little spiritual perception of or yearning for the things that make life really worth while.
I feel so sorry for those who go through their days without having or practising religion. Such a life is without rhyme or reason. It is meaningless and joyless in an enduring sense. And it lacks that spirit of adventure which leads on to a definite goal and reward.
I never had much patience with the type of mind that thinks it cannot believe! David knew it when he wrote: "the fool hath said in his heart that there is no God." Anselm knew it, when commenting upon this psalm he wrote: "he says that there is no God because he is a fool!" Only a sluggish mind, a stubborn will, and a defective reasoning prevents one accepting in its fulness: "the Faith once for all given to the Saints." It is this, the True Religion, that gives zest to life, that carries one through sunshine and shadow, that brings real joy to the great adventure. Yes: I am so sorry for those who miss all of this! And I am so thankful that I was born and bred an Anglican and consequently am a Catholic.
In a small Parish one gets close to the people in loving service and forgets worldly ambitions and the compensations are many, not material but spiritual. If my sphere of work had not been limited or if I had been occupied in more prominent activities, very probably I would never have had the joy of building Saint Alban's Church or of writing "The Practice of Religion," through which so many souls have been reached and helped. Yet whether we do much or little, whether our field is far-spreading or limited, in using our God-given talents to the best of our ability we must ever remember Our Lord's counsel: "When ye shall have done all these things, say: we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."