Project Canterbury

Bishop Grafton

[Commemorative volume by Reginald H. Weller, James O. S. Huntington OHC, William Walter Webb,
William Harman van Allen, George McClellan Fiske, Erving Winslow]

[Fond du Lac:] no publisher, c. 1913.

Second Bishop of Fond du Lac.


Great men are wont to crystallize into a sentence the ruling motive, object, and purpose of their lives. The Right Reverend Doctor Grafton had a habit of bidding farewell to the many clergy who called upon him, both from inside and outside his Diocese, not with the formal "Good-bye" or other ordinary expression, but almost universally with "Press on the Kingdom!"

He was a man of intense industry. Even in the last days of his life here, when the infirmities of age and disease were painfully apparent to those of us who were near him, he was saying his "offices" or studying or dictating letters or planning some fresh effort to "press on the Kingdom!"

The Kingdom to him was always a very definite thing--the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church--the institution which was in the Eternal Mind when He created the heavens and the earth. Temporal things have only one reason for existence, viz: that we might press on the Kingdom. So he planned and built churches, rectories, and altars, and adorned them. So he preached and taught and wrote that men might accept in its entirety the Catholic faith and worship. He never grew despondent, he had a wonderful gift of hope. All things must work together for good to them that love God.


The Last Hours and the Bishop's Life

On Friday, August 30, 1912, the Right Reverend Charles Chapman Grafton, S.T.D., LL.D., the second Bishop of Fond du Lac, fell on sleep.

The end was peaceful. The Sisters and nurses knelt, as a priest recited the Litany for the Dying and then read the commendatory prayers. The breathing stopped and the tired body was at rest. Two weeks before he had been told that the physicians thought his end was near. He took the word with perfect composure. "I have had a hard battle. If it is the Lord's will, I am ready to go," were his words of resignation. Bishop Weller administered Extreme Unction, and two days before his death, Canon Rogers gave him his viaticum.

Twelve years before, on that day and hour, his Coadjutor had been elected, and during his long illness the Diocese was administered without interruption.

Charles Chapman Grafton was born in Boston, April 12, 1830. He attended the Boston Latin School, and later received his LL.B. from the Harvard Law School. He entered the counting-house of Mr. Walker, whose fortune was recently given by his niece to start the Cathedral foundation [5/6] for the Diocese of Massachusetts. Coming under the influence of the Rev. Dr. Croswell and the Rev. Oliver S. Prescott, he was confirmed. Resisting the allurements of business and social preferment, he became a candidate for Holy Orders under the Bishop of Maryland. He was ordained deacon in 1855 and priest in 1858 by Bishop Whittingham. During the Civil war he was curate at St. Paul's, Baltimore, and was chaplain for a Sisterhood that was undertaken at that time.

He refused flattering calls to Washington and Philadelphia, and in 1865 went to Oxford, where he met the unusual group of men that rallied then the Catholic cause of the English Church.

Dr. Pusey had won his fight and was in his prime. Canon Liddon was at Oxford, and Fr. Benson, Fr. O'Neil, Fr. Prescott, and the present Lord Halifax were interested in organizing the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Fr. Grafton gave his inheritance as well as himself to the enterprise. During the cholera epidemic in London he assisted in Fr. Lowder's parish, and was one of the leaders in the first great parochial mission held in London, when many parishes joined and 60,000 people are said to have attended the services. Fr. Grafton still belonged to the Diocese of Maryland, and because of that fact he was able to accept an election as rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, in 1872.

The plan was to organize a branch of the order in America, which, after forty years has at last been realized. The Sisters of St. Margaret were brought out from England, and in 1882 the [6/7] Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity was founded for parochial mission work.

In the autumn of 1888 Fr. Grafton was elected Bishop of Fond du Lac, and on St. Mark's Day, 1889, he was consecrated in the Cathedral at Fond du Lac.

In 1868 Bishop Kemper referred to the plans for organizing the Diocese of Fond du Lac in the following words: "The example of zeal and true Christian faith would be so beneficial, and so encouraging to the whole of the Reformed Catholic Church, throughout the world, that I hereby pledge my cordial support." The words now seem to have been prophetic. In that spirit Bishop Grafton undertook his episcopate, and for twenty-three years, in single hearted zeal and true Christian faith, he labored for the upbuilding of his Diocese. He was in touch with the Catholic Church throughout the world and all acknowledged his truly Catholic devotion and orthodoxy. But his fullest interest and support were always given to each feeble effort in the building up of struggling missions in the Diocese, for which he felt particularly the burden of responsibility.

In twenty years the number of the clergy, the communicants and properties of the Diocese had increased two-fold, and yet, as he fully realized, was still insufficient to minister to the nearly one million souls and diverse races that had gathered in his Diocese from every country of Europe and western Asia, with a large remnant of the native Indians.

He had given away all his own estate and all that friends had given him, and died a poor man.

His obsequies were most impressive. The body was reverently prepared in priestly vestments and white mitre, and a simple plated chalice was placed in his hand. His constant prayer had been that he might be restored to the Altar, now so fully realized. Six priests led by Bishop, Weller acted as pall bearers and walked on either side of the hearse the body to the Cathedral, where it lay in state with a watch of clergy from Monday noon until Tuesday morning. Six lighted tapers surrounded the casket, and litanies and offices for the dead were recited continually, and multitudes passed by to pay their last token of respect to one whom they had learned to love. There was no distinction of creed or color.

At ten o'clock Tuesday morning the casket was closed. The procession for the service formed in the Cathedral garth: the Business Men's Association, the Twilight Club, the Members of the Bar, the Mayor and Council, the Lay members of Grafton Hall, the Lay officers of the Diocese and Cathedral, the choir, the visiting clergy, the clergy of the Diocese, the Bishops, in cope and mitre, and the sacred ministers. The opening sentences were read by the Bishop of Western Michigan, the choir in toned the Psalms, and the lesson was read by Bishop Toll, Bishop Weller sang the Solemn Requiem with deacon and sub-deacon using holy water and incense at the absolution of the dead. Father Huntington, O.H.C., preached a stirring sermon. One could feel a thrill of affirmation pass over the crowded congregation when he declared: [8/9] "You all know that Bishop Grafton would have died rather than deny the Catholic Religion." The Bishop of Milwaukee read the service at the grave. The interment was in the sisters' lot in Rienzi Cemetery at the foot of the stone crucifix.

May he rest in peace!

A Memorial


[Reprinted from The Holy Cross Magazine.]

It is a natural and instinctive saying that death hides one's friends from one in the grave. It is true; but there is a deeper truth. Death conceals, but, also, it reveals. For as a man passes from time into eternity, all about him that is merely temporal and accidental, the familiar surroundings of his life, his position, his outward associations, fall away, and the man himself, his personal character, stands out stark and distinct, like a building from which the scaffolding has just been stripped. And, if the character has had its own motif, its definite unity, then it may happen that the man begins to be really known in the hour when his body is laid in the ground. "I never knew him till I lost him"--how many have felt that!

And when he who has gone hence was not only a man but a leader of men, when he was one to whom we ourselves looked as the representative of a cause which claims our innermost allegiance, then we have no right to hurry on, heedless and forgetful; then it has something of the baseness of desertion if we do not stop and ask: "What was [10/11] the meaning and significance of his life? What does that life demand of me?"

In the case of Bishop Grafton the answer is not far to seek. No argument is needed, for none will contradict the statement it is ours to make.

First of all, the Bishop loved his Saviour and Redeemer with a direct and personal devotion. Behind all the activities of his life, behind all the varied relations in which he stood to others whether in his Diocese or beyond its borders, behind his unflagging enthusiasm in interests that were dear to him, there burned a passionate loyalty to his Divine Master. One supreme test of that loyalty he was never called to meet. Yet, had he been called, as many a Bishop in old time was, he would have met the test without hesitation or debate. Charles Grafton would have died for Jesus Christ. Men half-consciously believed that while the Bishop was here; when he had gone hence they knew it.

But further, Bishop Grafton looked to Christ with a sense of profound, of unlimited need. It was in this consciousness of utter need that he turned with intensity of devotion to the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood. In the Holy Eucharist he found the continuation, as day was added to day, of the great Act of Love in which Jesus offers Himself to the Father as the Atonement for the sins of the whole world. On that Atonement he rested all his hope, in life and in death. The one desire that remained with him through his last six months of increasing weakness, and the pain, as was known afterward, [11/12] of a broken shoulder-blade, was that he might stand once again at the altar and offer the tremendous sacrifice for himself and his people.

In the Holy Eucharist, too, he found Jesus as his Food, his Strength, and his Stay. The Blessed Sacrament was the Object of his adoring love. All that he did to enlarge and beautify his Cathedral--and he was always planning some fresh adornment--was that it might be a more fitting shrine for the Eucharistic Presence of Incarnate God.

Once more, Bishop Grafton believed in the Church, in which he ministered as one of its chief pastors, as a part of the mystical body of Christ. He knew her failings and defects, and he grieved over them. But he never despaired of her, never doubted that God was with her, never forgot that to her, as to his spiritual mother, he owed his birth into the family of God, and all the richest blessings of his life. In the Church he found the Communion of Saints, the blessed company of all faithful people, the one abode in which all men might, if they but knew it, find their home, for time and for eternity. To the last, as one or another of his clergy after an interview said Farewell, he would send them out with the words ringing in their ears, "Press on the Kingdom!" and the kingdom was for all mankind.

This, in briefest compass, is the answer to the question, "What was the meaning and significance of Bishop Grafton's life?" The other question, "What does that life demand of me?" must be answered by each one who holds his memory dear--answered not in words on a printed page, but in [12/13] deeds yet to be done, sufferings yet to be borne, a victory yet to be achieved by the grace that never failed him, and to which he made such brave response.

Bishop Webb's Tribute


Another year has gone by with its work, its blessings, its mistakes, and its limitations, and we meet together in this sixty-sixth annual council.

Before I speak of those who have died, who have lived in the Diocese, or who have been associated with it, one naturally thinks of the great loss the Church has sustained in the death of the Bishop of Fond du Lac.

One of the greatest Bishops in the House of Bishops! There are very few who have had so large an influence in the Church in this country. His long life carries one back to the days of the later Tractarians; Bishop Wilkinson, Primate of Scotland, in one of his letters, writing about the first great London mission said there was a young American clergyman, whose sermons attracted a great deal of attention, a Mr. Grafton.

He was present at Dr. Neale's funeral, and intimate with Canon Carter, Canon Liddon, and priests of that generation. Throwing himself heart and soul into the Oxford movement, with [14/15] Father Benson he was one of the founders of the Order of St. John the Evangelist.

He was probably the greatest master of the spiritual life in the American Church. I have been to many retreats for priests, conducted by some of the most prominent clergymen of this country and England, but I have never been to a retreat that seemed to me to approach one that Bishop Grafton gave for a body of clergy at Nashotah, in 1893. The marvellous spiritual insight, the deep evangelical piety, impressed us all very deeply.

A man of strong convictions, and absolutely fearless, he naturally at times aroused antagonism, but to few Bishops is it given to have such warm and devoted friends among the clergy.

Used to every luxury, and so situated that it might have been his had he wished it, he gave it all up, first in the life at Cowley, and then in Boston, leading the life of a true religious, and later, at Fond du Lac, his life was simplicity itself. Having been privileged to give a retreat for the Nativity Sisters, just a few days later than this, last year, I lived in his rooms for nearly a week, and I know the absolute simplicity of his life. He was then staying with the little group of men, who were making a trial of the religious life. I called upon him, and he said, "I want to die in a Religious House, in poverty like my Lord."

It was always said of him that he gave every thing away, and his brother hesitated to give him anything because, he said, "Charles gives it away at once." His one thought was our Lord and His Church--it was really his passion, the Catholic [15/16] Faith, the Unity of the Church. Only a few days before his death, he said to a certain New York priest, "You will let me preach at the General Convention, I have a message I want to give." He always had a message.

Many and. many a vocation to the priesthood and religious life he aroused and fostered; many and many a soul he has won for our Blessed Lord. I think it is safe to say, that his life will stand out as the life of one of the great ecclesiastics of the American Church.

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. van Allen.


"Now is he numbered among the children of God; and his lot is among the Saints!" WISDOM 5: 5.

What text could be more wonderfully appropriate than this, from an All Saints' lesson, for the service at which we commemorate the great Bishop of Fond du Lac, for sixteen years rector of this parish, builder of this church, valiant for the truth upon the earth through evil report and good report, who, in the ripeness of venerable age, has entered into his rest? It is appropriate even in what goes just before, as we recall the false judgments he endured, the mockery and scorn and complete misunderstanding on the part of those who should have known better. But it is profoundly true in its award of praise and triumph: numbered among the children of God, his lot, is indeed among the saints; and I find it hard to restrain such panegyric as, in the primitive Church, wrought a popular canonization above the bier. Yet that he would have frowned upon: so [17/18] we offer the Holy Sacrifice for the repose of his soul, praying that "whatsoever defilements it may have contracted in the midst of this miserable and naughty world may be purged and done away, and that it may be presented pure and without spot before God."

It is meet and right to depart from the usual rule against Requiems on Sunday, because of his unique relation to us here. Every brick in this building speaks of him; the glorious tradition of his great work for souls in Boston is still vital, though so few of you are left who actually knew him and profited by his personal ministrations. Wherefore we, who are all in some sense his spiritual children, give God thanks for his good example and blend our intercessions with hymns of praise. There is no room for grief, but only for grateful thanksgivings.

Here is the story of his life in outline.

He was born April 12, 1830 (being the oldest of American Bishops act the time of his death), of a family distinguished in every good way, for intellect, character, and culture. He was educated by private tutors, and at Phillips, Andover, and Harvard. Converted to the Catholic religion by Dr. Croswell, clarum et venerabile nomen, and confirmed in this parish of the Advent, he gave up law, under Father Prescott's influence, and was ordained in 1855 by Bishop Whittingham of Maryland, in whose Diocese he worked ten years.

In 1865 he went to England, where, with Father Benson, he founded the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the "Cowley Fathers." In the first [18/19] great Mission in London he and Father O'Neill bore a conspicuous part. Three years ago an old lady in South Wales said to me, "I owe all that I am spiritually, under God, to Father Grafton; I made my first confession to him in the London Mission nearly fifty years ago."

And multitudes on both sides of the Atlantic can bear the same witness. He returned to Boston in 1872 as rector of the Church of the Advent, bringing with him as assistants other members of the S. S. J. E., and remained at the head of this parish until 1888. We find it hard, in this era of good feeling, to appreciate all that he had to endure, and what obstacles he overcame. Bitterly opposed by his Bishop, jeered at as a "Romanizer" by Protestants and as "a mere Protestant" by Romans, he went on his way serenely and securely, confident of God's favor and his own integrity.

It would be unprofitable, after so many years, to rehearse the story of old misunderstandings which ended in the formation of a new congregation outside this parish, and of a new Sisterhood, with Father Grafton as Founder, and in his own separation from the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Someone has well said that the hardest struggle is not between good and bad, but between good and good; and when good men misunderstand one another, as Paul and Barnabas did, it is not necessary to weigh out precisely praise and blame. The Bishop's own marvellous charity passed over the bitterness of the entire episode in his autobiography. But I can not forbear [19/20] uttering my deliberate judgment that, in the important matters at issue, Father Grafton was right. The establishment of the Sisterhood of St. Margaret as an independent American order; affiliated with the English Community but not subject to it, and the approaching change in the American province of the S. S. J. E., completely vindicated his judgment. "Wisdom is justified of her children."

In 1888 he was chosen second Bishop of Fond du Lac, and for twelve years bore the burden of Episcopal cares alone. Then Dr. Reginald Heber Weller was elected his Coadjutor, who now succeeds him. The history of his administration there has still to be written. The work of the Diocese was peculiarly difficult; it has no large cities, nor great wealth; the population includes a large proportion of foreign folk from many lands, whose traditions are widely different from ours. Yet there has been a steady upbuilding in numbers, influence, and unity; and the devotion of the clergy and people to their Bishop has been singularly lovely. The beautiful Cathedral he adorned and enriched with treasures of art, until it has become one of the most noteworthy ecclesiastical structures of the Middle West; but he rejoiced in the beautifying of every tiny mission chapel, and almost his last act was to arrange for the building of a rectory in a country parish. His large-hearted charity thought no evil; and sometimes wicked men victimized him in imposing on his confidence. But it is no small part of his glory that he never lost faith in his fellows, and that to the very end he was our American [20/21] Monseigneur Bieuvenu, ready to "believe all things, hope all things, endure all things," if only he might minister in love. And his saintliness wrought more miracles than this world will ever hear of, though doubtless they are recorded in the Book of Life. For example, there was a priest who had fallen into degrading sin. Most Bishops, I fancy, would have brought him. swiftly to judgment, and have either forced his renunciation, or deposed him after trial: that would have been justice, doubtless. But Bishop Grafton knew not only the terror of the Lord, but also how to persuade men; and his unfailing, patient love re claimed his brother, overtaken in a hideous fault, to a lifelong penance of faithful and devoted service.

We have gone a long way forward since 1900, when such furious controversy raged in the Church press over the ceremonial at Bishop Weller's consecration; and American Churchmen have learned much of their own heritage of glory and beauty in the stately order of Eucharistic Worship. Bishop Grafton had done much in this parish to restore the waste places, to give beauty for ashes; but he was never "a mere Ritualist, "though the persecuted "Ritualists" found in him a tower of strength. In his ideal, reverent and seemly ceremonial had its place, of course: a secondary one, but still important as setting forth doctrine, historic continuity, and large liberty. He was never a mere ecclesiastical antiquarian, striving to galvanize into pseudo-vitality the relics of ancient long-forgotten custom; and one could not see him [21/22] celebrate the Divine Mysteries without perceiving freshly what the Real and Adorable Presence of an ever-living Saviour means, in that Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood.

As Superior-General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament his influence was far-reaching for good; and his little book, "Plain Directions for the Reverent Celebration of the Holy Communion," widely circulated, has done much to correct the unintentional but painful irreverences which are still too common at our altars.

Of late years his health was so much impaired that he had to give up travel, and devote himself more to work in his library. As a consequence his writings grew steadily more thoughtful, more spiritual, more powerful in their influence for good. The problems of Christian Unity were constantly before his mind. Brought into early contact with the Old Catholic movement, he never lost interest in it and Bishop Kozlowski's presence at his Coadjutor's consecration was evidence of his far-sighted ecclesiastical statesmanship. Pity it is that others, less broadly wise and sympathetic, failed where he began so well!

Bishop Grafton's visit to Russia in 1903, where he was received with brotherly honor and affection, was significant and momentous; and he ever maintained a keen interest in the Orthodox Church and in the writings of its saints and scholars. Like so many of us, he had been accused of "imitating Rome"; and yet, though he never failed in love for all that is good in the Latin Communion, he was unwearied in his defence of our Catholicity against [22/23] Roman attacks, and knew how to assume the offensive in such controversy to good purpose. He saw clearly that reunion with Rome is hopelessly impossible, so long as the monstrous claims of the Papacy are put forth, and his acute criticism was a great factor in bringing to an end the so-called "Pro-Roman" movement among a few American Catholics. "Christian and Catholic" and "The Lineage of the American Catholic Church" are standard text-books of more permanent value, though of no greater interest than his frequent contributions to the Church periodicals and to pamphlet warfare. But, though he was absolutely and serenely confident, he was never bitter and vituperative like too many controversialists. He spoke the truth, but he spoke it always in love.

It is an open secret that his gentle but unyielding courage averted several serious blunders in the House of Bishops, where even those who did not agree with him could not but reverence him. Indeed, there went out from him an effluence of sanctity, of which his own humility was utterly unconscious. He kept the child's heart to the end; and the radiant courtesy of an old-fashioned gentleman was its fitting garment. A priest who once heard him at prayer, through the thin partition in a dormitory, felt as if in the presence of a primitive Christian whose soul opened itself towards God with absolute freedom and ardent love.

The Altar was God's Throne on earth, before which he rejoiced to appear. I shall never forget a sermon of his on that inexhaustible theme, which [23/24] I heard in New York twenty-two years ago, just after I came down from the University; it has affected my whole habit of religious thought ever since.

Though separated from the Order he had helped to found, he always observed the Threefold Rule of the Religious Life; and at the last he was Superior of a Religions House keeping St. Benedict's Rule. How illustriously he exemplified Holy Poverty! Out of large wealth inherited he made himself poor, for the sake of Christ and His Church, so that his total estate at the end was only $1,000. His treasure was laid up in Heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.

More than most men he endured bitter revilings and cruel mockery during his life. Yet, when he entered into rest, the whole city poured out to do honor to its most illustrious citizen; and Roman Catholics and Protestants joined with his own spiritual children in tributes of respectful affection, not a single discordant note sounding. Truly, a great man, a prince of our Israel, is fallen: let us bury him among the kings. He lives still, though he is dead, in all he said and did and wrote--an immeasurable influence for good throughout the American Church.

What can we learn from his life, following him reverently, as he followed Christ? Childlike faith in God and in God's Church; obedience to the Heavenly Vision; self-surrender, self-denial; loyalty to the truth and readiness to contend for it, but always "speaking the truth in love"; courtesy [24/25] and pity; scholarship transfigured by the light of faith; and love as the supreme gift.

Let us offer to God all praise and thanks for the glory of His grace that shone forth in Charles His Bishop, and beseech Him that by a careful, studious imitation of him and of all other faithful servants of Christ, we may be made worthy to receive benefit by their prayers, who are numbered among the children of God, and whose lot is among the Saints.

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Fiske


"Of whom the world was not worthy."--HEBREWS 11:38.

A great spirit passed from sensible communication with us, when, on August 30, 1912, Charles Chapman Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, resting from his labors, fell on sleep.

He has been fitly spoken of already, and it would be difficult to add anything to what has been so aptly and amply said. Yet there are reasons why I have felt constrained to attempt to say a few words here in St. Stephen's Church, of this great prelate. It is now many years ago when Father Grafton became well known in, and a frequent visitor to, this parish. Many who knew and admired and heard his teachings then have preceded him into the better land. Forty years ago more than one home among us gave him welcome as a guest, and kept for him the prophet's chamber. During the present rectorship, too, he has been no stranger here. His relation to the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, as its Founder and Head, has brought him much to Providence. I am proud to say that he was a friend, a close and [26/27] intimate friend, of the present rector of this parish, and it is on the ground of that friendship, by reason of the claim of that intimacy, that I am moved to eulogize him now. The Bishop and the rector of St. Stephen's have been very near and close to each other. We have shared the most sacred confidences that priests can have. It has been my privilege to see him under many difficult and sometimes trying circumstances, and few whom I have known so well as I have known him, have borne themselves in as Christian a manner. Bishop Grafton was a very unworldly man. Yet he enjoyed many distinctions which would have made some men in similar situations very worldly. As I reflect upon what he was and how he showed himself, these words have instinctively come to my mind, "Of whom the world was not worthy." I believe he belonged in that company. You will remember of whom that is said. It is said of the saints and heroes of faith; and first of all, Bishop Grafton was certainly a man of faith. It was simple, child-like, and implicit. It spoke out in all he said, it shone in his eyes, it inflamed his manner with an earnest eagerness, it was manifested in what he did. "Faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect."

Bishop Grafton was a man of abundant hope. It was buoyant and enthusiastic. It kept him young. It gave him courage. It sustained him and made his life, to the last, rich and helpful. He lived in the nerve and tone of the Catholic Faith, which, as you remember, in the Nicene Creed ends with that superb expression of hope. Men so [27/28] endued with hope make us understand the significance of the inspired word in St. Peter's First Epistle, which speaks of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ having begotten us unto a lively hope. Bishop Grafton was never discouraged. There was a tranquility about him, as he looked out over the waves of this troublesome world, which calmed and reassured his fellow voyagers. His faith kept him calm and sweet-tempered and steady, because trusting in God. Faith was to him, as to all the saints, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."

Bishop Grafton was, again, a man of love, a man of good-will--as the Gloria in Excelsis sings. He was, I make bold to say, one of the most loving natures I have ever encountered. He was a good deal of a target for attack. He had many adversaries. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, even ridiculed; and yet I never heard him utter one bitter or resentful word. When he was reviled he reviled not again. He loved his enemies and prayed for those who despitefully used him. To me, he stood as the St. John of the American Episcopate. He had a Boanerges' zeal for the truth and for the Saviour's honor, combined with a tender yearning for the wanderer from the path of light. He loved men's souls under all circumstances, and this made him a true man and a true Apostle. I remember an incident occurring in my own house, which made a deep impression on me, as illustrating the atmosphere of heart and mind in which the Bishop lived. During one of his visits to me as a guest, there chanced to come in a [28/29] priest who ministered to a country congregation which he reckoned a difficult and trying one to deal with. People were slow and prejudiced and unresponsive, and there was an evident lack of touch between pastor and flock. The priest related his troubles, and poured out his complaints and grievances. Finally, turning to the Bishop, he said: "Now, Bishop, what can one do with people like that?" With warmth and energy the Bishop replied, "Love them, love them." Love was the atmosphere in which he lived. He was a forgiving spirit. He bore no malice nor hatred in his heart. Love was the power with which he waged the battle of life. He died, we are informed, with a smile on his lips.

Another eminent feature of Bishop Graf ton's character was his glowing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. His attraction to it was an obvious vocation. It was an aspiration constantly with him, "Blessed, praised, and hallowed be Jesus Christ on His Throne of Glory, and in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar." With the ardor of a patriot and crusader he saw Jesus under the forms of bread and wine as truly as the shepherds saw Him in the infancy, the rags and straw and manger of Bethlehem. No adoration of man or angel was more whole-hearted, more joyous, more child-like than that of this speaking after the manner of men--high-bred, exalted child of men, kneeling before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. His soul cried out, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thine house and the place where Thine honor dwelleth." This sense [29/30] of the Sacramental Reality of the Presence of the Lord gave him, as it gives to every one blessed with its overwhelming power; a warm, passionate affection for the Church and Altar of God. He loved the shrines of the incarnate Lord. He loved to garnish the places where the Lord abides. In the spirit of the worshippers, of Palm Sunday, he was ready to cast down raiment for the Sacred Feet to tread upon, and in every possible way make the place of those blessed Divine Feet glorious. It is a wonderful fountain of loving impulse, of self forgetfulness, of hallowed enthusiasm, of unreserved self-sacrifice, to see the Lord Jesus with the eye of faith--tarrying among and visiting His people. Such souls, so illuminated, make a path of light and splendor as they pass along in the great procession "of glory, laud and honor to the Redeemer King." Bishop Grafton brought to the praise of Jesus in His Sacramental life all the treasures, native and acquired, of a refined and sanctified taste, intelligence and spirituality. He was a worshipper in spirit and in truth. He was thoroughly possessed by the conviction that all was for God. "Jesus all, Jesus only, all for Jesus" was the sentiment which voiced and absorbed his life and being. He felt that everything mental, physical, material, had been re-consecrated by the Incarnation, by the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us. This made him a beautiful soul. He died a poor man. What a tribute to his love for his Master! For although great riches--as most of us would account them--had been at his disposal, wealth had been poured into his hands [30/31] for the use of the Church, and still greater measures of it had been offered him for his personal use and benefit, yet he died poor. He had verily the spirit of the old saints of the best types of mediaeval piety. He saw this world in the light of another. He lived, as the just and righteous are said to live, by faith. He saw the Lord and served Him. He fully realized what this world could bestow--what it could do for a man. He could understand the temptation of our Lord, when the world and its glory were set before Him; but this follower of the Lord had seen a light that never shone on land or sea, he had tasted the powers of the world to come, he had found a peace which the world cannot give.

The world, of course, is not likely to--cannot be expected to--appreciate such characters, or to think very highly of them. It cannot understand them. They contradict what it esteems its wisdom and its common sense. And so, I say that Bishop Grafton, with his disregard of worldly objects and ambitions, his neglect of its goals and prizes, was one of those "of whom the world was not worthy." When he was gathered to his people and his work was done, the thing about him which to the world appeared the foremost thing was that he was "an extreme ritualist." You read that in all the papers. We know that, as a matter of fact, Bishop Grafton was very little of a "ritualist." As a thorough Catholic Churchman, as one who followed the customs of the Church instead of his own fancies, as one who went by what the Church approved rather than by what he approved, as one [31/32] who studied and accepted the philosophy of the Incarnation, he naturally would feel that the belief of the Church should be expressed in its worship, Accordingly, the degree of ritual which he practised was significant, unmistakably significant yet simple.

These points in Bishop Grafton's character of which I have chiefly spoken--his Faith, his Hope, his Charity, his benevolence, his surrender of worldly treasure--of these things the world does not account. It does not feel nor see them. It is not aware of them. We remember that Holy Scripture informs us distinctly that the effect of the god of this world is blindness.

Our Lord said, "I am come into this world that they which see not might see," and "He that followeth Me shall have the light of life." Here was a soul in whom these sayings came true. Bishop Grafton sought and found and followed the True Light. Refusing the uncertain riches of the world, he laid up treasure in Heaven. Forsaking the gropings and guesses of human intellectual pride, he clung to the Faith once for all delivered to the saints, and lived by the word of God and prayer. He was a man of prayer--an Apostle of Prayer. He lived at the feet of God. Devoted as he was to the Blessed Sacrament, discerning in it the pleading of the one pure offering, he saw and used the Holy Sacrifice as the vehicle and instrument of prayer. He taught people to pray. He led his flock into the wonders of prayer and intercession. Such a life as he thus led was not for the world to recognize. It was a hidden life, an interior life, [32/33] the shepherding of souls. And yet he bore his emphatic witness--he was a mighty preacher. None could listen to him without being moved, without feeling that the speaker lived in the depth and height of the knowledge of God.

There are many other things which ought to be spoken of which entered into the career of this great servant of the Lord. He was an author, and his books are a goodly heritage. He was a great Religious. He founded an Order of fame in the Church. His works follow him. Neither the Church nor the world of his time adequately appreciated him, but the name and deeds and words of Charles Chapman Grafton will live and be magnified as the years go on. His services to the Church are part of its history. We may be thankful that the American Church did make him Bishop, that it did call him to one of the poorest and most difficult of its dioceses. Fond du Lac was a poor diocese and a hard field, but its second Bishop gave it a renown which it will never lose--a name to live, which will never die. I predict that Bishop Grafton will be enduringly remembered. The world was not worthy of him, it looked upon him with a mingled indifference, scorn and contempt, of which the best that could be said was that it was for the most part good-natured. Here was well-nigh the ideal Bishop, a saint, a scholar, a keen and exact thinker, an eloquent preacher, an able writer and apologist, a noble specimen of manhood. Physical elegance and grace, charm of manner, culture of mind, courtesy and goodness, met him. He displayed the rarest gifts of body [33/34] and soul. The True, the Beautiful, and the Good, were blended in his personality. We are little likely to see his like again. We thank God for such a gift to the Church--to the American Church. We are thankful for his good example. May we have grace to admire it--to cherish it--and to follow it, as so many have already done, for it was tide of him as it was of an old-time saint, "Out of his mouth, which had drunk of the fountain of Divine wisdom, in the sacred breast of the Saviour, there came marvellous and celestial words, which changed men's hearts and brought forth much fruit in the souls of them, who gave ear unto him.

From The Living Church


At the conclusion of Isaak Walton's Life of Richard Hooker, we find this prayer, which. might with equal propriety have been written in honor of the closing of earth's sunlight for the late Bishop of Fond du Lac in the more beautiful haze of the coming eternal day:

"Bless, O Lord! Lord, bless his brethren, the clergy of this nation, with effectual endeavors to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable meekness, his godly simplicity, and his Christian moderation; for these will bring peace at the last. And, Lord, let his most excellent writings be blest with what he designed when he undertook them: which was, glory to Thee, O God! on earth, peace in Thy Church, and good will to mankind."

A simple prayer for one who had passed to his rest; a prayer for the clergy, his fellow-workers; a recognition of "great learning," of "remarkable meekness," of "godly simplicity," of "Christian moderation"; a prayer for blessing upon "his most excellent writings," coupled with a keen in sight into their purpose--these are such things as [35/36] one would most naturally write in loving memory of the great prelate who has passed to his rest.

Bishop Grafton was a man of the past generation. An aristocratic "gentleman of the old school," he preserved the courtly manners of a generation that valued the niceties of life rather than its strenuousness. Yet, his affections were democratic, and. no man was too mean to enlist the Bishop's sympathy. Indeed few men in the modern episcopate have so thoroughly grasped the democratic idea, or so thoroughly sought to weld together the diverse elements that combine to make the population of an American state, as did he.

The world supposed he was chiefly "Ritualist." It was the most unnecessary of misconceptions. His aristocratic bearing did, indeed, make of every motion of his body a graceful ceremony, and his sense of fitness of things in the House of God made every crudity to him a thing impossible. His ritualism was the ritualism of John Ruskin, but applied to the things of God; an intense appreciation of the beautiful, an overwhelming aspiration for harmony and fitness in every action, which, elevated by his intense religious devotion, made it impossible for the smallest detail of the House of God to be insignificant. Instead of adorning his own home, he adorned God's house. There was no detail of historic ceremonial of the Church; reasonably symbolic of true doctrine, that seemed to him unfitting for use. He loved an elaborate service because he loved the fullest expression of the idea of worship. God was everything; he was nothing. In all his religious life he was intense. [35/36] To few men, probably, was the divine Presence consciously so near, and he lived with God, and communed with angels, in a way that is almost unknown in our prosaic day.

Yet this did not mean that he was a recluse. He had no sympathy with the negative temperament that so often leads the mystic into a selfish life, seeking only the salvation of his own poor soul. Bishop Grafton looked out upon the world and sought, with all the power of his intense personality, to win it for Christ and the Catholic Church. "Press on the Kingdom!" was his constant watchword. He had the zeal of a Francis Xavier in working for this one end.

In the short biographical sketch of the Bishop which we published last week, something of the history of his religious experience is shown. It seems strange to read of the struggles of the fifties and sixties, of the re-founding of the religious life in England, of the early days of the Cowley order, and of the great London mission, as events in the life of one who has just died--so rapidly was history made in Bishop Grafton's lifetime and so large a part did he have in the making of it. The bitterness of those middle nineteenth century days left no impress upon the character of Dr. Grafton, but as a survivor of those sad days, he bore, to the last, some of the unmerited distrust that Protestants had felt against the Tractarian leaders when human passions had been at their worst. Yet, at least in his latter years, his most pronounced characteristic was his charity to those who differed with him. The aged St. John was his pattern. [37/38] Reviled, he reviled not again. Few men were more bitterly attacked, from within and from without the Church; but never a harsh word for his critics did he have.

He ardently longed for peace in the Church. He felt especially the enormity of the needless separation, as he viewed it, between Anglican and Eastern-orthodox Christianity, and he sought to heal the breach. He felt that each party needed the other, and that friendliness was the tie that would bind them together. He was the first of American Bishops to seek and to cultivate friendly relations with the Russian Bishop first sent to this country, to make him his friend, and to invite him to an honored place in his Cathedral. But it was not only the ambassador of the great, powerful Russian Church that was the object of his friendship. The poor, obscure Polish-American Bishop, persecuted by his former religious associates, and treated with contempt by Protestant Episcopalians, was made to feel himself a friend of the broadest-minded, least appreciated prelate in the American Church. When Bishop Grafton delivered to the House of Bishops the one favorable response to the Quadrilateral that ever was given--that from the Polish-American Bishop and his associates and those who were pleased to describe themselves as "Broad" refused to allow the Church to "make good" on her own tender to the why Christian world, he settled once for all the question of where "breadth" is to be found in the Anglican Communion. Nor was this an isolated incident. Bishop [38/39] Grafton was constantly picking up men who were under suspicion and giving them the opportunity to try to work out their ideas. How many well-meaning but visionary men--embryo monks sometimes, with visions of religious orders on totally new lines--were given housing by Bishop Grafton and permitted to work on their plans until they met with inevitable failure, nobody knows. The world said the Bishop was being constantly "fooled." As usual, the world was wrong. In his humility and charity, Bishop Grafton was only assuming that perhaps these men had a vision that he, the Bishop, had not had, and was taking the most practical way to prove to them whether they were right or wrong. That he had to pay the bill and receive the criticism for the failure never seemed to occur to him; he would not have considered such trifles worth thinking of if he had. He never discouraged enthusiasts; he was willing to "give them a chance." "Don't publish anything about ----," was his request several years ago concerning one of these enthusiastic attempts to do the impossible; "they want to try out their ideas, and will probably fail, but I want to give them a chance." And so the large-heartedness of the Bishop led to the repeated giving of "chances" to men who have found only frigid reception elsewhere. He was the refuge of the misunderstood. Indeed this willingness to permit ideas to be tried is the explanation of the uniqueness of Fond du Lac Churchmanship; for in some ways it is perfectly true that the very name of the Diocese suggests a certain differentiation from conventional [39/40] Protestant Episcopalianism. Bishop Grafton came to a Diocese that was overrun with foreigners, alien in every way to Anglican Christianity. Many of them were renegade or abandoned Roman Catholics. Following upon a precedent that had been set by his illustrious predecessor, instead of informing these Dearly Beloved Brethren, many of whom could not speak the English language, that the scripture moveth us in sundry places to say the office of Morning Prayer at eleven o'clock of a Sunday morning, he set to work to study their religious difficulties as he found them, with their religious antecedents and predilections, and tried to build upon the foundation that he found. Sometimes he failed; but he succeeded often enough so that Fond du Lac is unique among rural dioceses in the extent of its work among foreigners. Others sighed because their Dioceses or their parishes were filling up with foreigners. He left others to do the groaning, and went valiantly out to make better Christians and Catholics of those who already purported to be both, but who were practically alien to all religious influences.

The centre and sun of his religion was the Holy Eucharist. He could not conceive why men should quarrel about the Sacrament, why any should desire to differentiate it from the Mass of the Christian ages, why any devout Christian should fail to "discern the Lord's Body." His writings on the subject are so devotional, so free from the polemics that have often been injected into it, that they are models of charity and of clarity of [40/41] thought. Bishop Grafton seemed unable to hate.

He felt, particularly in his later years, a very song antagonism to the whole system of Roman Catholicism. That antagonism, fostered by various unhappy experiences, grew upon him, and much of his later writing was directed against that system that he believed to be a dangerous parasite upon Catholicism. He fought Romanism as a Catholic, upon Catholic grounds, and he was a controversialist of no mean power, although one feels that in such writing he was not at his best. Ardently as he longed for the unity of the Church, he could see no hope of repairing the breaches in western Catholicism, and would admit of no cent promise with Rome. Gradually he seems to have lost even the hope of ultimate reunion, pointing out that though our Saviour prayed earnestly that His followers might always be one, He gave no indication that, once broken, the Church's visible unity would. ever be restored. He pointed to the never-healed breach between Israel and Judah as a prophecy of what might be an irreconcilable breach among God's people under the new dispensation. But, pronounced though this anti-Roman sentiment on his part became, it never took the puerile form of antagonism to devout practices or vestments as being "Romish." The distinction, in his mind, was not between Romanism and Anglicanism, but between Romanism and Catholicity. Whatever was Catholic he demanded as the heritage of the whole Catholic Church, and refused to surrender it to Rome. Whatever was only Roman he repudiated, not because it was not Anglican but [41/42] because it was not Catholic. Thus the very growth of his anti-Roman sentiment impelled him to hold tenaciously to practices and to vestments that were proven by history to be Catholic and not. Roman. He perceived the utter weakness and futility of Protestantism as an opponent of Romanism, and his Catholicity was only strengthened by his growing antagonism to Rome.

Bishop Grafton was called to be Bishop at the age of 59, when most clergymen are being politely relegated to the post of something-emeritus, and when most men are seeking a way to retire. What a commentary his episcopate has been upon this undue tendency to retire men or to retire voluntarily from work! There was probably no more difficult post in the whole American Church than that of Bishop of Fond du Lac in 1889, when he was consecrated. His episcopate is a lesson in the possibilities of what can be accomplished with the handicap of advancing age upon one.

That he was misunderstood quite generally throughout the Church, especially by those who did not know him, goes without saying; all men who do things that are worth while are misunderstood, precisely as an elephant is misunderstood by the most well-meaning of ants. Out of the misunderstandings and polemics that surrounded him through life, arises this conviction: he was the truest BROAD CHURCHMAN in the American Church. Men who can work only on narrow lines simply could not understand him. Men whose conception of Church extension is that the nations must be taught to be English in their attitude [42/43] toward Almighty God, could not fathom what Bishop Grafton was trying to do. In the midst of all the misunderstanding that was heaped upon him, he had only friendly smiles and fervent prayers for those who treated him uncharitably. He did not even know that sometimes they hated him.

He was a leader. The common episcopal temptation is to drift--which is undoubtedly the easy course for a Bishop to pursue and the one best calculated to lead all men to speak well of him. To lead his Diocese toward a fixed ideal but not to repel men of other ideals, to have a definite policy but not to force it, to be pronounced in his Churchmanship but not partisan in his administration, is the most difficult of all aims, and only one possessed of peculiar graces and gifts can succeed in it. Bishop Grafton succeeded measurably. His leadership, always unquestioned, was a loving leadership, and he attracted his followers not alone by his intellectual vigor but by the greatness of his heart.

He had the defects of his greatness. He was better acquainted with angels than with men. He was not a "practical politician" in Church affairs. He was sometimes disappointed miserably in men whom he trusted, for he could see no guile in any man. It was even related--though the report is not confirmed--that once, when a priest who was wry near to the Bishop, suddenly abandoned his orders for the Church of Rome, Bishop Grafton made a hasty exclamation of impatience. If so, he probably remembered the outbreak to his dying [43/44] day as one of his most heinous sins, and repented accordingly.

Men like Bishop Grafton are the vindication of the Christian religion. They prove what it can do. They preach by their lives and their deaths.

"Bless, O Lord!" Bless him in that place which Thou hast prepared for him, in which he may rest until Thou willest that, clothed in Thine own purity, he may behold the Beatific Vision--which he almost saw in every Eucharist on earth! Bless his brethren, the clergy, and the laity, of his diocese, and all those, in many lands, who were cheered and encouraged by his words! Bless them, "with effectual endeavors to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable meekness, his godly simplicity, and his Christian moderation for these will bring peace at the last. And, Lord, let his most excellent writings be blest with what he designed when he undertook them; which was, glory to Thee, O God! on earth peace in Thy Church, and goodwill to mankind."


The Bishop of Fond du Lac


[Reprinted from The Church Militant.]

It is not purposed to make any record here of Bishop Grafton's life, such as will be made in the proper way and at the proper time.

It was divided into four distinct periods: his parochial priesthood in Maryland, his missionary work and the foundation of the Religious Life, in England, his rectorship over the Church of the Advent in Boston, and the Fond du Lac episcopate. It was a life full of incident and interest and brought Bishop Grafton into contact with all sorts and conditions of people. Some of his most remarkable work was done among women and especially among women of the "upper classes" in London and in America. It was a characteristic remark, in answer to some animadversion upon this fact, that the Bishop made: "The poor rich, the poor rich, why they have no one to care for their souls!"

Worldliness offered a rarely brilliant career to Charles Chapman Grafton in his day and generation. Of the best Boston birth, he was a youth of singular beauty, winning manner, and a pure [45/46] aesthetic taste, when the "choice" offered itself. Had his election been otherwise made we might have only given to-day a moment's regret to the loss of a good friend, a wise professional adviser or worthy citizen, and so passed on unthinking. What might have been said to be Grafton's choice after all was in one sense no choice at all. He was the Vision. He heard and obeyed the Voice. Thenceforward his life was separate, and it became in truth, as he said in simple earnestness: "A journey Godward."

"A saint, a saint, was there,"

in the very genuine meaning of the word.

In natural character the Bishop would have been the first to confess his imperfectness. He had doubtless keen and searching trials and struggles. He once said that during the troubles and anxieties of his London life he often wished, as he left the curb to cross to the Piccadilly Circus, the good Lord would so order it that he might not reach the other side alive. When he thought it his duty to use weapons of conventional diplomacy, and failed, since in his sweet childlikeness he often did, he would smile himself at the ineffectual attempt as he realized that the spiritual combat, not this kind of warfare, was his battle-ground.

Bishop Grafton shared little in the modern spirit of social and philanthropic reform, at least in its every-day manifestations--yet his heart was most tender and loving. To him the healing power still lay in the hem of the Lord's garment, and he sought to disseminate in the fullest and widest way [46/47] the grace of the sacraments. For this purpose he longed and labored for the unity of the Church. He loved St. Borromeo, and among the moderns Isaac Williams, the devotional student of Holy Writ, was a congenial spirit.

His whole life to the observer was singularly picturesque and mediaeval (though essentially so, in his own entire unconsciousness of it). The vestments of his office clothed him with beautiful propriety and no mitered head was ever more venerable.

In his latter days overflowing charity inspired his speech, and his writings and his text, like that of St. John, were more and more often: "Little children, love one another."

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