Project Canterbury

History of the Church of the Ascension, Chicago, Illinois 1857-1982

By George C. Giles, Jr.

Aberdeen, South Dakota: North Plains Press, 1984.

Chapter VIII. Thanksgiving

The parish's 75th anniversary celebration in 1932 was roughly the midpoint of Fr. Stoskopf's long rectorate. Throughout the 1930s the rector continued to play a prominent role in the Catholic movement in the American Church. In local, regional, and national forums Fr. Stoskopf spoke out for the restoration and strengthening of those elements of Catholic belief and practice which had been exemplified for decades at the Ascension. While strongly opposing schemes for Church unity which violated the Church's essential apostolicity and catholicity, he argued with equal vigor against what he viewed as the errors and presumptions of the Roman Catholic Communion.

In 1932 the attention of American Anglo-Catholics was focused on the centennial commemoration of the beginning of the Oxford Movement, specifically John Keble's Assize Sermon preached at Oxford on July 14, 1833. Fr. Stoskopf and members of the parish became actively involved in commemorative jubilee celebrations conducted in Chicago and Philadelphia.

The Diocesan Convention of February, 1932, adopted a resolution proposed by Fr. Stoskopf to appoint a committee to plan a proper diocesan observance of the Oxford Movement centennial. The committee, of which the rector was named chairman, met regularly throughout the remainder of the year and in the early months of 1933 to consider appropriate ways to celebrate the centennial jubilee.

As planning proceeded, articles in successive issues of the parish magazine, reprinted from other sources, discussed the importance of the movement as providing the genesis of the Catholic revival, firmly established at the time of the centennial throughout the Anglican Communion. Attending monthly meetings of the Catholic Club, the rector and parishioners heard a series of addresses on leaders of the Oxford Movement and their views. The November, 1932, meeting dealt with "John Keble: The Holy Catholic Church." In December members heard a discussion of "Edward Bouverie Pusey: The Catholic Faith and the Sacraments."

The diocesan centennial commemoration took place during the week of July 9-16, 1933. On Sunday, July 9, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated in parishes throughout the diocese with special intention for peace among nations and the unity of the Church. Requiem Masses in commemoration of heroes of the Oxford Movement in Great Britain and the United States were celebrated on Tuesday. Thirty-eight parishioners joined Fr. Stoskopf and other diocesan clergy and laity on a Thursday pilgrimage to Nashotah House, including visits to the graves of Bishop Kemper, James Lloyd Breck, and others; and to Racine in the afternoon to visit the grave of Dr. James DeKoven as well as Taylor Hall at Racine College.

On Friday, July 14, the centennial of Keble's Assize Sermon, at the Ascension and in other parish churches High Masses of Praise were offered in the morning, followed by Benediction and sermon in the evening. High Masses of Thanksgiving were celebrated on the morning of Sunday, July 16.

The culminating event of the Chicago observance of the jubilee was a Great Diocesan Missionary Service in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Oxford Movement, conducted in the Chicago Stadium on the evening of September 29, Michaelmas. The service, at which Bishop Stewart officiated (attended by Fr. Stoskopf, who had been designated chaplain to the diocesan in 1931), was conducted in the presence of the presiding bishop, the Rt. Rev. James DeWolf Perry. Bishop William T. Manning of New York preached.

By the time of the 1933 Oxford Movement centennial, Fr. Stoskopf was widely recognized as a leader of the Catholic movement in the Episcopal Church. In October, accompanied by six parishioners and a sister of the Order of St. Anne, he attended the Catholic congress in Philadelphia ("The Catholic Revival and the Kingdom of God"), a national commemoration of the jubilee. At a Solemn High Mass in the municipal auditorium attended by 10,000 persons, the bishop of Milwaukee presided, assisted by Father Stoskopf, and the presiding bishop preached. On the next morning the rector preached at a Solemn Requiem and Absolution of the Dead celebrated for leaders of the Oxford Movement at St. Clement's Church. The following month at a meeting in New York City of the Central Conference of Associated Catholic Priests, the governing body of the congress movement, Fr. Stoskopf was elected to serve as a member of the committee to represent the West.

On June 2, 1935, a Sunday which fell within the octave of the Feast of the Ascension, the parish celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fr. Stoskopf's rectorate. At the Solemn High Mass the anniversary sermon was preached by the Rev. William A. McClenthen, rector of Mt. Calvary Church, Baltimore. Fr. McClenthen, a seminary roommate and old friend of the rector, congratulated Fr. Stoskopf and the parish on the stability of their relationship of 25 years, a sure sign that the parish had been willing to be led and to be taught and that the priest was capable of leading and teaching. "One of the great results of stability," Fr. McClenthen noted, "is the increase of a silent influence in the community and in the diocese; there is a contribution made to the welfare of the Church at large in the laying of firm foundations for the Catholic faith."

Those long associated with the Ascension, commented Fr. McClenthen, might well believe that the parish had been served by "local saints."

. . . but do you realize that to those outside, your local saints have been the great men of the Church in our day? Do you realize that to those like myself who were young when Arthur Ritchie and Edward Larrabee were in their prime, there is a richness and strength in the memory of these saintly men? They were not merely local people. They belonged to the Church; they belonged to all of us. We in our youth looked up to them and thanked God for them. So I venture to say 'May God grant that when those who are young today grow old, they may add to the venerated names of Arthur Ritchie and Edward Larrabee the name of William Brewster Stoskopf.'

The commencement sermon at Nashotah House was preached by Fr. Stoskopf on May 16 the same year. Following the Solemn Mass the seminary conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa. Commenting on the conferral of the honorary degree, Bishop Stewart wrote, "His name is an honored one in the Diocese and indeed in the whole Church."

In 1936 the rector participated in the founding of the American Church Union, an amalgamation of various Catholic societies in the Church providing a continuation of the Catholic congress movement. In January, 1937, he was elected a member of the union's first executive council of 15 priests and 15 laymen.

The last national Anglo-Catholic congress attended by Fr. Stoskopf was conducted at St. Luke's Pro-Cathedral in Evanston, Illinois, during October, 1938. The rector and parishioners heard addresses reflecting a variety of contemporary interests: "Psychology and Religion," "Catholic Sociology," and "The Catholic Religion and Totalitarian State."

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s clergy and lay members of the parish participated regularly in activities of the Catholic Club, and the club often held one of its regular monthly meetings during Lent at the Ascension. On April 18-28, 1937, the parish church was the site of a diocesan mission under the club's auspices. That year, although Catholic Club members were identified with several parishes throughout the diocese, over half the membership came from the Ascension. The theme of a meeting of the club at the Ascension in April, 1945, was the centennial observance of the restoration of the religious life to the Anglican Communion. [Marian Rebecca Hughes was the first woman in the Church of England to make a religious profession. She did so privately before Dr. Edward Bouverie Pusey at Oxford on Trinity Sunday, 1841. However, the Church's first religious community, the Park Village Sisterhood, was not founded until 1845.] Fr. Stoskopf and parishioners participated in the Chicago Centennial of the Religious Life sponsored by the Catholic Club on October 28 and 29. Participants from many dioceses throughout the Midwest attended a Solemn Mass at St. Luke's Church, Evanston, at which the Rt. Rev. Wallace E. Conkling, seventh bishop of Chicago, pontificated and members of three religious orders served as celebrant, deacon, and sub-deacon.

At meetings of the Catholic Club Fr. Stoskopf often actively participated in discussions which followed addresses to members, not only raising points of interest and importance, but also answering questions from the audience. Mr. Alexander Greene, a parishioner, reported in 1935 that at a meeting at St. Thomas Church in February, attended by over 500 persons and addressed by the Russian Orthodox bishop of Chicago, Fr. Stoskopf "as usual . . . answered questions." No doubt because he spoke with such frequency and authority on matters of faith and practice, the rector had been referred to by some, according to Mr. Greene, as "the Pope of the diocese."

By 1936, although few Americans viewed as a serious possibility the nation's imminent involvement in a second world war, ominous developments abroad were evident. "With the present state of the world, unrest, 'wars and rumors of wars,' persecution of the Church of Christ in at least three countries," wrote Fr. Stoskopf before Michaelmas, "it is now more important than ever that one take one's stand for our Lord and prove one's faith by attending Mass not to mention the obligation on all Christians to pray for their suffering brethren ..."

With the commencement of World War II in 1939, at the conclusion of Advent the rector contrasted "(t)his Christmas in the midst of world wars and distress" with the peace and joy of Bethlehem. In his annual charge to the Diocesan Convention the following year, Bishop Stewart noted that Europe had plunged into another war, "... and the whole Satanic process of planetary and self destruction is daily gaining speed." Although America was for the time at least neutral, he observed, Christians were bound to appraise the ethical values involved in the wars then in progress in Europe and the Far East, and categorically to oppose ruthless tyranny, defiance of international law, and predatory raids by strong nations against their weaker neighbors.

In July, 1940, Germany announced the commencement of mass bombing of England, and Suffragan Bishop Edwin J. Randall wrote that ". . . knowing what Germany has done in Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, and France, let us pray unceasingly for our brethren in England."

Let us cry mightily unto God on behalf of that Country and people who are nearest to us in ideals, in home-life, in tradition and heritage and culture and religion, that He will protect them in their day of danger and distress, turn the invading hosts, and stop this futile madness.

Later in the year Bishop Manning of New York headed a special committee to solicit $300,000 from throughout the American Church to aid war-crippled British missions. In the spring of 1941 parishioners may have been reminded of the plight of the English nation by the visit to the Ascension of Lord Halifax, British ambassador to the United States, who received Holy Communion at the 8:00 A.M. Mass on Sunday, May 11. (The ambassador's father had been a distinguished and influential lay leader of the Catholic revival in the English Church.)

Following the declaration of war against the Axis powers in December, 1941, the rector wrote that the parish felt keenly the loss of its young men who had gone into war service or who expected soon to be called. Echoing his comments at the beginning of World War I, Fr. Stoskopf reprinted an article from The Little Chronicle which urged its readers to learn from the nation's experience of unpreparedness, of being taken by surprise, "the necessity of seizing an opportunity, the importance of being prepared, the value of doing things while yet there is time." In a world devastated by war in which people were making great sacrifices for the nation, the season of Lent required personal sacrifices for God and spiritual growth.

Before the end of 1942, twenty men and two women of the parish were either members of the armed forces or engaged in special war work. In October of the following year a service flag presented to the parish displayed 40 stars representing men and women in the military services; at each Mass prayers were offered for their safety, and on the first Wednesday of each month the intention of the Mass was military victory of the Allied cause. A service roll roster was hung on the wall by the Lady shrine, and a prayer desk nearby contained a duplicate list.

As in 1917-1918, parish life was influenced by the war effort. The choir director issued an urgent appeal for men to replace those who had left for service in the armed forces. Parishioners paid $.50 in war savings stamps (toward the purchase of a parish war bond) as admission to a "patriotic card party" and were urged to contribute war bonds to the parish. Because of the stress of war, difficulties of transportation, absence of many parishioners, and food rationing, the annual parish bazaar was cancelled. The American Red Cross acknowledged the receipt of articles sewn by women of the parish and contributions for the provision of food packages distributed to prisoners of war.

Early in January, 1944, the parish was saddened by the news that Frank Chadl, a United States Marine, had been killed somewhere in the southwest Pacific. As a boy, Mr. Chadl had graduated from the choir into the acolytes, where he showed a fine liturgical sense, and later frequently served as sub-deacon at High Mass. He was a faithful and devout communicant. Fr. Stoskopf, markedly moved by Frank Chadl's death in combat, composed these "lines found under the pillow of an American soldier as he lay dead under the Stars and Stripes."

"I lay me down to sleep
With little thought or care,
Whether the waking find
Me here or there.

"A bowing, burdened head
That only asks to rest
Unquestioning upon
A loving breast.

"My good right hand forgets
Its cunning now:
To march the weary march
I know not how.

"I am not eager, bold,
Nor strong--all that is passed;
I am ready, not to do,
At last, at last.

"My half-day's work is done,
And this is all my part;
I give a patient God
My patient heart.

"And grasp His Banner still
Though all its blue be dim;
These stripes no less than stars
Lead after Him."

Throughout the war the rector corresponded with parishioners who served with the military. Their letters provided vivid vignettes of wartime conditions abroad. Ensign James Laylor, for example, wrote that while on shipboard the chaplain said Mass each morning that the sea was sufficiently calm; Laylor prepared the altar and rang the "galley bell" in lieu of a sanctus bell. Margaret Whitton, a nurse temporarily stationed behind the combat line in Pompei, Italy, asked Fr. Stoskopf to pray for her return to the field hospital.

I want to be where our boys truly need care at first. Others can remain back who are afraid of the guns and shells. They don't bother me. For when God wants me He will take me whether I am in the front line or in the background.

In one respect Ensign Laylor's anecdote was unique. On active duty far from the Ascension, his chaplain was a priest of the Episcopal Church accustomed to Catholic liturgical practices. Other parishioners serving in the Armed Forces were not so fortunate. Each man and woman in the military was routinely classified as Protestant, Catholic, or Jew. All Episcopalians, along with Methodists, Southern Baptists and members of other Protestant denominations, were assigned to the first category and expected to worship together. On restricted military bases, if a Roman Catholic chaplain was not available to say Mass, men and women of his denomination were permitted to attend Sunday services with civilians away from the base. However, Episcopalians were not permitted to excuse themselves from the Protestant services at the base in order to attend an Episcopal church.

Fr. Stoskopf referred to this policy as "nothing less than the application of Hitlerism within our own country."

It denies freedom of religion and clamps a despotism as bad as Hitler's upon America. It hints that even after the War, and in the field of religion (as in so many other fields also), we may have to fight to the death against a totalitarianism in America, absolutely foreign to every blessing of freedom and liberty that we have always possessed. The situation is not only intolerable for Catholics in the Church but for every loyal Churchman.

However, these difficulties would not have arisen, the rector admitted, if the Church were as thoroughly Catholic in practice as in theory.

Throughout the war Sr. Mary Eunice and five other sisters of the Order of St. Anne were imprisoned by the Japanese in the Philippines. In January, 1945, the convent received a card dated April 27, 1944, which noted that Sr. Mary Eunice was interned in Philippine Prisoner of War Camp No. 3 and that her health was good, and contained this message: OUR LIFE OF PRAYER HAS BEEN PERMITTED AND THE DAILY MASS POSSIBLE. TRULY WE ARE LIVING IN THE CLOUDS.

Following the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, the president was remembered at the parish requiem on the following Friday, and the Saturday Mass was a special requiem for the repose of his soul. Because V-E Day fell on May 7, the same day as the annual Diocesan Convention, services at the church were as usual with the addition of an 8 o'clock service in the evening. "We give thanks to God," wrote Fr. Stoskopf, "for His great goodness in having delivered us from the hands of our enemies on the western front, but we must continue to pray hard for our brave boys who are still suffering for us in the Pacific warfare."

V-J Day, September 2, 1945, was observed thankfully in the parish with the usual Mass at 7:00, and short services of thanksgiving at noon and at 8:00 in the evening, with special prayers of thanksgiving at 5:30. The following Sunday there were special prayers of thanksgiving for deliverance from the enemy, and at High Mass the Te Deum was solemnly sung.

On Sunday, March 3, 1945, just weeks before the conclusion of the war in Europe, Fr. Stoskopf announced at High Mass that he and his sister, Alice Louise Stoskopf, had made a gift to the parish which paid the entire old debt of nearly $30,000 related to the mortgage on the lot south of the church and the property occupied by the convent. The gift was made in honor of the donors' parents, Louis Stoskopf, M.D., and Caroline Brewster Stoskopf.

On Laetare Sunday, March 10, the mortgage was burned, and a solemn Te Deum was sung as an act of thanksgiving. In his sermon Fr. Stoskopf noted that the burning of the mortgage was a temporal guarantee of the perpetuity of the parish; however, the real guarantee of its stability was the life and grace flowing from the Blessed Sacrament abiding upon the altar. The rector then called upon all the vestrymen who were present to come forward to the sanctuary steps. "The Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Paul Wilbur who is also Vestryman," wrote Fr. Frederick Gratiot, curate, "came bringing the huge golden censer of the acolytes' guild with lighted charcoal, the mortgage was torn in pieces and put on the coals."

It was a picture to be remembered, the gleaming white altar as the background, grouped on one side of the sanctuary steps the Sacred Ministers in their beautiful rose vestments with our dear Rector in the midst of them, on the other side the group of faithful Vestrymen and in the center Paul with the censer swinging vigorously and sending up great clouds of white smoke which suddenly burst into brilliant flame. Then incense was put on the coals and the Te Deum sung in Thanksgiving. Many were the prayers of gratitude which went up to Almighty God for this day which many people had never hoped to see.

Since the time of the great depression the financial condition of the parish had been precarious at best. Although parishioners' "future pledges" associated with the parish's 1932 jubilee totalled $32,000, by the spring of 1935 only $1,000 had been paid. At the time of the every member canvas of October, 1934, there were unpaid bills and no money on hand to pay them; in the absence of resources to reimburse the curate, Fr. Ralph Rohr was obliged to commence a year's leave of absence. By December, 1940, the parish had a desperate need for additional income. The sexton had resigned with the parish owing him several hundred dollars. Although Fr. Stoskopf's salary had not been paid since September, 1938, the rector continued to remit to the parish an amount equal to 30% of his hypothetical, unpaid salary.

For the vestry removal of the mortgage debt in 1945 obviated what had been the long-standing, yearly and difficult task of raising enough money to pay heavy interest payments and, in addition, contribute to the liquidation of the debt. One thousand dollars per year was now available in the parish budget for other purposes related to the work of the Ascension.

In 1939 and 1944 the parish celebrated Fr. Stoskopf's thirtieth and thirty-fifth anniversaries as rector. Between the end of the Second World War and his death in 1951, Fr. Stoskopf was specially honored by the parish two additional times. On the first Sunday in Advent, 1947, his thirty-eighth anniversary was celebrated with special music at the Solemn High Mass, including the singing of the Te Deum. Again on Advent Sunday, 1949, Fr. Stoskopf's fortieth anniversary was commemorated. The rector was celebrant at the Solemn High Mass, the bishop of Northern Indiana preached, and the church was filled to capacity. Bishops Conkling and Randall were present at a luncheon honoring the rector which followed the Mass.

In a tribute to Fr. Stoskopf on the occasion of his fortieth anniversary, Mr. Laurance Wilkinson, junior warden, noted that the rector had served the parish through six presidencies, two world wars, and a great depression. During this entire period, he wrote,

. . . there never has been a day when our pastor has not seen to it that Mass and Matins and Evensong were held, never a Saturday nor the eve of a high, holy day when he, or a priest delegated by him did not sit to hear confessions and to give "Godly counsel and advice" and absolution. Among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, fixed points of reference and security are major values, and we of this church have needed only to turn to our own parish church and its rector to have them.

Throughout the 1940s what perhaps best characterized the parish was the introspective character of its continuing liturgical life, unchanged from decades past. As before, the Solemn High Mass was celebrated each Sunday with its traditional and correct forms. The Mass and offices of Morning and Evening Prayer were scheduled each weekday. Confessions were heard at regular and appropriate times.

For Fr. Stoskopf in his final years, however, the scope of the "great internal work of the Parish" increasingly narrowed. Liturgy provided the rector and faithful parishioners with "fixed points of reference and security," but seemed less than ever before to engage the attention and involvement of those to whom the rector had referred in 1909 as "the men, women, and children of this large and constantly increasing population surrounding us, many of whom are now without God in the world."

Near the conclusion of his rectorate, Fr. Stoskopf seemed not entirely focused on the perceptions of visitors to the church. A serviceman stationed at the Great Lakes naval base attended Mass regularly at the Ascension during the war years; he was saddened that the rector not once inquired even his name as they met each Sunday at the door. During the late 1940s the Rev. Bonnell Spencer, O.H.C., was asked to preach at Evensong and Benediction, a service sponsored by the Catholic Club and conducted at the Ascension for young people from parishes throughout the diocese, to interest them in a commitment to Catholic belief and worship. At the beginning of the service, Fr. Spencer reported, the curate very rapidly recited Stations of the Cross. Oblivious to the fact that no parishioners were present, the rector then read Ascension parish announcements for fifteen minutes. The service of Benediction was sung in Latin.

During the 1930s and 1940s, and continuing into the decade of the 1950s, parish life was affected by changes in neighborhoods surrounding the Ascension. By 1940 businesses, factories and rooming houses had replaced once impressive residential structures. Successive in-migrations of Philippine Americans, Nisei Japanese (resettled from the West Coast), Appalachian whites, Puerto Ricans, and blacks were in progress. Although as in the past many parishioners continued to commute considerable distances to attend the Ascension, the congregation grew smaller. The Sunday school diminished in size and by 1951 had virtually ceased to exist. By way of contrast, at the LaSalle Street Church directly across from the Ascension, clergy and parishioners (at the time primarily identified with the Moody Bible Church) conducted a Sunday school for neighborhood youth numbering nearly 200.

By the early 1940s, as parish life became relatively quiescent, the rector had completed over 30 years of vigorous leadership. On July 3, 1941, as Fr. Stoskopf was driving along an open road, suddenly a car came out from behind a truck and met him head on. The rector sustained a scalp wound in which 20 stitches were taken. Apart from injuries associated with this accident, however, he had remained in perfect health until he suffered a coronary heart attack in September, 1944. Following a period of hospitalization and convalescence at home, he slowly regained his health and with the help of medicines was able to remain fairly active for the next seven years.

In mid-May, 1951, Fr. Stoskopf said his last Mass at the Ascension before entering the hospital for special tests which his doctors wished to give him. The day before the rector was to come home he was struck by another heart attack. Although he rallied briefly and was able to receive the Last Sacraments, shortly after he fell into a coma from which he did not recover. Fr. Stoskopf died at the Presbyterian Hospital at 7:30 A.M. on June 2, 1951.

The rector's body lay in state in the church from the morning of June 4 until his funeral the next day. A watch was maintained by members of the vestry. The burial office was read by the Rt. Rev. Charles Larrabee Street, suffragan bishop of the diocese and nephew of Fr. Edward Larrabee. With Bishop Conkling presiding and giving the Absolution of the Dead, three former curates officiated at the Solemn Requiem Mass. Mr. Paul Wilbur, whom the rector had baptized, married, and whose children he had baptized, served as master of ceremonies. The bishop of Northern Indiana was in attendance, and the church was crowded with clergy, parishioners, and friends. Fr. Pond, rector of St. Barnabas Church, officiated at the interment of Fr. Stoskopf's body beside those of his parents in Oakwood Cemetery, Freeport, later the same day.

The public record of Fr. Stoskopf's rectorate at the Ascension does not fully communicate how he is remembered as pastor and friend by those who knew him as parishioners. For members of the congregation who suffered the sorrow of bereavement, illness or distress of any kind, his response conveyed genuine sympathy and comfort, but also strength to confront the occasion of crisis. A parishioner still remembers vividly the rector's comforting and strengthening presence at the hospital during the last hours of her husband's life 40 years ago.

Parishioners and many others from throughout the diocese, frequently availing themselves of Fr. Stoskopf as confessor, experienced in the confessional a striking sense of personal renewal in the Faith. Following the Mass of the Presanctified, Bishop Stewart preached the three hours' devotion at the Ascension each Good Friday during his episcopate. At the conclusion of the service he and Fr. Stoskopf regularly retired to the back of the church, where each priest heard the other's confession.

Although he occasionally preached at inordinate length and beyond the comprehension of his listeners, Fr. Stoskopf's sermons are remembered at their best as remarkably lucid expositions of Catholic faith and practice. Speaking without notes in ringing tones, the rector Sunday after Sunday expounded from the pulpit what he viewed as the basic and unambiguous teachings of the Church.

Participating in social activities of the parish (particularly in parties which involved the playing of cards, an activity which the rector greatly enjoyed), Fr. Stoskopf displayed conviviality, good humor, and the gift of being able to tell an amusing story appropriate to any occasion. An avid football fan, he followed closely the fortunes of the football team of his alma mater, Yale University, as well as those of the Chicago Bears. (For several years, accompanied by parishioners Paul Wilbur and Kenneth Ruhling, he attended all the home games of the Chicago team; the three had reserved seats on the 50-yard line.)

Fr. Stoskopf and his sister, Miss Alice Louise Stoskopf, resided with their mother in a private apartment on Clark Street from 1909 until Mrs. Stoskopf's death in 1933. At the time of his death, the rector and his sister lived together in the rectory located adjacent to the convent of the sisters of the Order of St. Anne on LaSalle Street. Miss Stoskopf's death occurred in November, 1951, just five months after that of her brother.

During the difficult years of the great depression, parishioners were keenly aware of the rector's confident, forward-looking attitude and much encouraged by his optimism. In reviewing the financial condition of the parish, it is fair to conclude that without Fr. Stoskopf's assistance at the time and throughout the remainder of the 1930s and 1940s, the Ascension would have closed its doors. For the past quarter of a century, the parish has derived more than half its yearly income from the Stoskopf estates, and the witness and work of the Church of the Ascension during that period and today are to a large extent the legacy of William Brewster and Alice Louise Stoskopf.

Project Canterbury