Project Canterbury

From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 4),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 308-309

A Journey Godward
of a Servant of Jesus Christ


ON Friday, AugustĀ 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.

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 bringing 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 intoned the Psalms, and the lesson was read by Bishop Toll. Bishop Weller sang the Solemn Requiem with deacon and subdeacon 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: "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!

Transcribed by David Donnell, A.D. 2001

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