Well, the next thing was to find work. Bishop McLaren frankly said that he had nothing for me, but that he would write to Bishop Nicholson as to possibilities at Nashotah. I was told later that he did write to Bishop Nicholson and warned him that I was a dangerous person. Perhaps I am: I have been told so before and since. I did not want to go to Nashotah, as there was the same family situation to face with the added difficulty that my parents were now ten years older. I knew that Bishop Nicholson did not want me, as we had had rather a tart correspondence on my previous declination of Nashotah when I had frankly said that the house offered me was not fit to live in. One should never irritate bishops, of course, but then--
Webb, who also might have helped me, was then following the custom of all good Americans when they can gather a little cash and was travelling in Europe. So I began seeking a job. The futility of the government of the Episcopal Church is in no way better demonstrated than in its method or rather lack of method in placing the clergy. A man, when he is ordained, has to have a title of some sort; after that he is left to look out for himself. The bishop who ordains him or who receives him into his diocese takes no responsibility for his support then or thereafter. If the priest has no position the bishop says, "I am sorry, but I have nothing to offer you." I had worked in the diocese of Chicago for fifteen years; there was no criticism on my character or ability; but the bishop, having thrown me out of work, could calmly say, I have nothing for you; if you do not want to starve go find a situation. Vestries as a rule seem not to value the episcopal advice--with them the opinion of the bishop is quite subservient to the opinion of the wife of the senior warden. Later on, when trying to have a friend called to a parish, I was told that the wife of the senior warden had heard him preach and did not like him. If bishops had to be responsible for the support of the men they ordain they would possibly be a little more careful as to whom they ordained; they might exercise some supervision over the lives of their candidates for orders. One who has had experience of Seminary life knows that there are sent to the Seminary a considerable number of men who are wholly unfit for the ministry--not only intellectually unfit, but morally unfit for any decent society. Dr. Gold once said to me when we were talking of a case of that sort, "Well, we had better keep him here as long as we can; something may happen. If we send him away he will go to------and be ordained next week." Which was hardly an exaggeration--it might have taken a little more than a week to put him through. On one occasion I succeeded in preventing the ordination of a morally disreputable person by threatening to publicly protest the ordination at the service. The bishop did not know? But whose business was it to know? In this case he at least knew that the man had been expelled from a Seminary for immorality.
But all this is a digression. My present business is to hunt a job. I wrote to a number of bishops stating the nature of my obligations, the ground of my leaving the Seminary, the minimum of support that I should need. The Bishop of Michigan, an old friend of the family who had baptised me, answered that he had nothing for me. The Bishop of Springfield offered me a mission and six hundred a year. The Bishop of Michigan City wanted to place me and no doubt would have done so after a little, but before he could do so I had accepted a position.
I had written among others to the Bishop of Fond du Lac. Delany was then a priest in that diocese and happened to be with the Bishop soon after he received my letter. The Bishop asked him about me and Delany suggested that he should invite me to take the Canonry of the Cathedral. The consequence was that I received a letter from the Bishop, asking me to visit him over the week-end and preach Sunday morning at the Cathedral. This offer I accepted and went to Fond du Lac and preached. Bishop Grafton took me out to Green Lake for a night, probably to get better acquainted with me. The result was that he offered to nominate me to the Cathedral Chapter as Canon of the Cathedral. I was soon elected. I went to Fond du Lac, taking with me Roland, who was then in priest's orders and was visiting me, to look over the ground a little more carefully, especially as to living conditions for my parents. I accepted and arranged to come into residence early in September.
It was no easy matter to leave Batavia after thirteen years of residence. My parents were now very old and had not much longer to live, and it meant taking them away from the friends they had made in Batavia and starting them all over in a strange place. For me, too, it meant breaking off friendships I valued and giving up work that was congenial. It meant also a much more exacting parish life and the consequent reduction of my intellectual activities. But there was no help for it; I simply could not live on one thousand a year. So the plunge was made. I went ahead with a maid and got the house ready, and then my father and mother joined me.
The house provided had once been the rectory, but had been given up and a large addition made to it and the whole converted into a choir school. The choir school had been abandoned just before I came. The Bishop asked me if I would like to revive it, but I thought it unwise as I should have enough to do without spending energy on a school. Therefore we shut up the part of the house that had been added for a school and lived in the part that had been the rectory, which was quite large enough and quite comfortable. But after the first winter I found that the coal bills were so large that I could not handle them on my salary, which was accordingly raised by the Chapter.
Fond du Lac is a manufacturing city of, at that time, about twenty thousand inhabitants. It is situated at the lower end of Lake "Winnebago, but the city is separated from the lake by a stretch of swamp land so that the lake is not visible from the city. I was told that the original settlement had been on a low line of hills some miles distant from the present site and overlooking the lake--a most beautiful situation. One can imagine the city growing up on these hills, looking out over the waters of the largest fresh water lake in any one state, looking night after night into the splendor of the sunsets which are a wonderful feature of the Wisconsin lake region. But in the early days of the settlement someone built a saw-mill down on the banks of the Fond du Lac River, and the city grew up about this mill on this wretched river in the swamp. The sluggish stream flows through the swamp into the lake with almost no fall. Consequently, as the result of heavy rain or melting snow the river cannot carry off the water and it overflows the banks. As the Cathedral property is on the banks of the river, it was usually flooded at least once a year; cellars were filled, fires were impossible, the garth became a lake. I remember that on the occasion of a diocesan council Bishop Weller, who lived across the street from the Cathedral came to the meeting in a boat. The city itself, spreading out on both sides of the river, is very attractive--broad well-shaded streets, comfortable houses set well back with lawns and gardens in front of them. The population was very mixed nationally, as in most American cities today. There was a large French element, descendants of the original settlers, I suppose. There were Irish and a good many Germans and Scandinavians. The result was that, as in most of the rest of Wisconsin, the prevailing religion was Roman Catholic. There were four large Roman Catholic churches and a Sisterhood, the Sisters of S. Agnes. These conducted a very efficient hospital and were always most courteous and thoughtful when one went there to minister to one's parishioners. They always carefully prepared the room of the patient with properly arranged table with Crucifix and candles that the Sacrament might be reverently administered. I never came in contact with any of the Roman clergy. There was also a large Lutheran element in the city and the usual assortment of Protestant sects.
The first Bishop of Wisconsin was Jackson Kemper, who had been Bishop of Missouri and Indiana, but had been translated to Wisconsin in 1854. In 1875 the state vvas divided into two dioceses--Milwaukee and Fond du Lac. The greater part of the state remained under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Milwaukee, as the plan was ultimately to divide this diocese, a plan that was not carried out till 1928 when the diocese of Eau Claire was established. Milwaukee was a vast diocese territorially, and Bishop Webb delights in telling people in the East that it is as far from one end of his diocese to the other as it is from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine.
The first Bishop of Fond du Lac was John Henry Hobart Brown. I gathered that Bishop Brown was of the strong High Church type of the period of the '60s and '70s. The type was strong on the Apostolic Succession and the two Sacraments of the Gospel, and in favor of an early Communion on Sundays and Saints' days in addition to the late Communion on the first Sunday of the month; they also favored a moderate amount of ceremonial--on the whole, an eminently safe and comfortable religion, above all respectable, suitable to the social and moral standards of the "best people." It was only to "Protestant fanatics" that two candles and colored stoles could suggest Roman tendencies. It also continued the eighteenth century's dislike of "enthusiasm," which still charactised a good deal of Protestantism, though even then Protestantism was beginning to shed its revivalism, especially in the North. Today Protestantism is in grave danger of becoming respectable and even "ritualistic."
Bishop Brown died in 1888 and in 1889 Fr. Grafton, late of the Order of S. John the Evangelist succeeded to the episcopate.
The Cathedral of Fond du Lac is a long, rather low granite building, the creator of which was one of our best ecclesiastical architects, Upjohn, a relation by marriage to Bishop Brown under whom the Cathedral was built. When I came to Fond du Lac Bishop Grafton had carried the decoration of the Cathedral well on. The windows were good--they may have dated before his time. There were wall paintings which were not a striking success. There were wood statues of the twelve Apostles which were very fine. There were, besides the high altar, two others, one in a transept dedicated to S. Ambrose, the other in a side chapel dedicated to S. Augustine. There were adequate vestments and a quite unnecessary amount of lights.
On the east side of the Cathedral there is a small garth across which is the parish house. The two are held together by a high stone wall which cuts the garth off from the street. This makes the garth an enclosed space of green which would be most delightful as a place of outdoor lounging if it were not for the prevalence of the Wisconsin mosquito, which makes outdoor life in Wisconsin intolerable. The parish house is on the banks of the Fond du Lac River--not to me an impressive stream: yet I remember when it was being abused someone retorted that to him it looked very much like the Arno which so many travelled Americans raved about. At the other end of the garth, connected with the Cathedral by a cloister is S. Ambrose's Hall. This is a rather large stone building which I found superfluous. Sometimes we had clubs meet there; sometimes it was turned over to Graf-ton Hall as a schoolroom. When I came to Fond du Lac the Sunday School met there, but I transferred it to the Cathedral.
The parish house was a combination of clergy house and guild rooms. My predecessor had lived there, but at my advent it was vacant. I appropriated a long narrow room away from the street and opening on the garth as a study and office. Here I spent most of my time when I was not on parish rounds. The rectory was quite a distance from the Cathedral and I was there little except to eat and sleep.
The Cathedral of Fond du Lac was in reality a parish church, and the parish was in anything but an ideal state. I suppose that the illusion still exists that a group of dioceses in the Middle West are Catholic. Some years ago a bishop--Peterkin of West Virginia, was it?--gained publicity by referring to a "troublesome belt" of dioceses. The troublesome belt would comprise the dioceses of the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. None of these dioceses were Catholic if by a Catholic diocese was meant one in which a majority of the clergy and laity profess and practice the Catholic faith. If by a Catholic diocese we mean one with a sufficient number of Catholic clergy to secure the election of a Catholic bishop--that is another matter. I had a revelation of the skin-deep Catholicity of the diocese of Fond du Lac while I was Canon of the Cathedral. Most of the clergy were Catholic by profession; most of them had the outward symbols of Catholicity, among others, acolytes. It seemed to me that it would be a good thing to organise a diocesan acolytes' guild with an annual service, as was elsewhere done. The clergy I consulted agreed. But when I put forth a rule that members of the guild should go regularly to confession the only parish which could fulfil the requirement was S. Peter's Ripon, where my friend Fr. Curtis was rector. The acolytes, it turned out, were exhibition pieces, not men and boys practicing the Catholic religion. It has been my experience since. I declined to join a large acolytes' guild in the East after I came to S. Mary's because the rule was less stringent than I would impose on an ordinary Sunday School child.
I found the congregation of the Cathedral of Fond du Lac as far removed as possible from being practicing Catholics, and many of them quite visibly opposed to Catholicity. There was a militant Protestant element in it that made its influence felt in various ways. There were, of course, the usual ignorance and prejudice as to Catholicity. One of the most amusing instances I came across was that of a woman who asserted that the clergy had an image of the Blessed Virgin hidden somewhere about the altar, and that when they genuflected in the Creed they were making an act of reverence and worship to her! It is a little difficult to imagine such a frame of mind.
The situation, as I came to understand it, was that Bishop Grafton had begun by imposing the externals of the Catholic worship on the Cathedral parish without waiting to convert the congregation. The theory that Catholic ceremonial will teach and lead to Catholic practice is the reverse of true. The truth is that Catholic belief will find its natural expression when it has been assimilated in the Catholic life. The crude imposition of ceremonial on an essentially Protestant parish was a conspicuous failure in this case. The congregation had seen unusual services introduced; had been lectured from the pulpit on the wrong of late unfasting communions, on the irreverence of leaving the church in the middle of the Mass, and so on; but unconverted opposition remained. I discovered at the outset that the emphasis was all wrong. On my first Sunday before Mass I asked the Bishop if I was to give out stated hours for confession, and he answered, "Oh no; I would not do that." I was to run across the same attitude in another Catholic bishop later on. I gradually discovered that the reputation that the "troublesome belt" had acquired was due not to the fact that the Catholic religion was practiced there, but to the fact that its bishops made frequent incursions into the East where, attired in cope and mitre, they insisted on a Catholicity that they did not, in fact, practice in their own dioceses.
While I am on the subject of the professions of the bishops and clergy and the practice of the laity, I may as well give my experience of the Cathedral parish as I came to know the situation. There was a small Catholic element, a large indifferent element, and a militant Protestant element. The latter had been making trouble since Bishop Grafton came and, while quiescent during my ministry, made trouble after I left. I am not implying that I temporarily converted them, only that for some reason they did not try active measures against me. In fact, the leaders of the Protestants withdrew from the parish and attended a Protestant church while I was in Fond du Lac.
What I found was that in reality there was a rival Sunday School which had been organised in a private house. This was now dropped and the children reappeared at the Cathedral. One reason was, so it appeared to me, that there was in this private Sunday School a group of girls who had arrived at what their Protestant friends considered the proper age for confirmation, though far beyond what I considered proper, and these presented themselves in my first organised confirmation class. I saw the point and concluded that the critical question was going to be confession. I decided that inasmuch as the Bishop did not want me to press confession even to the extent of appointing regular hours for its administration, and as I had no power to enforce confession, I would not raise the point and force the issue that I imagined they were looking for. Of course, as I discovered, I need not have been so suspicious as confession never had been taught at the Cathedral openly from the pulpit and as in fact there were very few members of the congregation who made their confessions. In my instruction of the confirmation class I taught confession quite openly. At the conclusion of the instruction I took each member of the class privately and asked plainly if they wanted to make their confessions. The result was that almost all the boys came, but only one or two of the girls.
I thought that I had quite cleverly avoided a row. But not at all; to my utter surprise a delegation of mothers waited upon me to protest against my teaching their children that they should make their communions early and fasting. As this had always been my teaching it never occurred to me that there could be any question about it. I explained my position to the ladies; I explained that I was the spiritual head of the parish in these matters. They had sent their children to me to be prepared for confirmation; that meant that I should prepare them in my way. If they had not confidence in me to leave the spiritual guidance of their children in my hands, they could of course withdraw them from the confirmation class. I was quite definite in this. They then went to the Bishop to complain and were told that I was in charge of the pastoral work of the parish and he could not interfere. They then went to the Bishop-coadjutor and received the same reply; he had, he told them, nothing to do with the work of the Cathedral. In the end the children were confirmed and with one exception, if I remember rightly, while I was in Fond du Lac made their communions early and fasting. The daughter of one of the mothers who came to me to protest was so insistent on this practice that she made her mother get up early and come with her to Mass.
The Protestant element was quiescent during my administration, not that it was converted, but it did become cooperative in the work of the parish. Of the girls in that first class several made their confessions later; in subsequent classes there was no trouble--all the children came to confession. There is never any trouble with children about confession. They like it. The trouble comes from the parents. There have been moments of exasperation in my experience when I have been ready to say that the greatest obstacle to the propagation of the Gospel is the mother.
There were a few people who continued to make their communions late. This has never troubled me when it has just been the continuation by old people of a lifelong custom. There was one simple old man who came and made his communion at the late Mass every Sunday. He was a good old soul and had no Protestant conviction for which he was testifying; he was simply doing what he had always done. His one grievance was that the clergy would not turn to the congregation at the Epistle and announce what Sunday it was. He always brought that up whenever I called upon him. I could not get it through his head that he might have a Kalendar and look up the Sunday for himself. There was also an old woman, a pious soul, who made her communions late; who came from quite a distance. One of the Sisters in a moment of zeal protested to her against her conduct and told her that she ought to fast for her communions. The old woman was greatly surprised; she always had fasted and never dreamed of anything else!
Let us go back to the organisation of the Cathedral. The governing body was the Bishop and Chapter. The Bishop was dean, after the absurd custom of so many other dioceses. Both in Chicago during the reign of Bishop McLaren and in Milwaukee under Bishop Nicholson, the Bishop was dean. This grasping of authority, this attempt to be everything, was just a piece of stupid egotism, and for the most part was injurious to the Cathedral in that it prevented competent men from being appointed to the office of Canon or whatever was the title given them. They were not wanted because if really competent they would encroach on episcopal autocracy. The Bishop's Church, in the sense in which McLaren and Nicholson understood it, was an absurdity. I will say for Bishop Grafton that so far as I was concerned he left me a perfectly free hand. That was all I wanted. I never found out whether I was sub-dean or not--there was provision for a sub-dean in the statutes--nor did I care. I was willing to refer all questions of services and ceremonial to the Bishop; all I wanted was freedom in preaching and parish work.
The Chapter of the Cathedral consisted of certain clergy, canons, archdeacons, and so on, and of a number of laymen elected by the communicants of the Cathedral. At elections one had to round up two or three laymen in order to have an election in form--in reality the congregation took no interest in the matter and the men were elected whom the Bishop wanted. There were a number of clergy who were in some sense attached to the Cathedral, I am not at all clear how, who were supposed to preach at stated intervals; I figured that if all the people who were supposed to preach in the course of the year really did, I should have little preaching to do. That did not at all suit me, as I have never had much use for visiting preachers and have always found it an awful bore to be one. If I was to have the responsibility for the parochial life I felt that I must do the greater part of the preaching, so the visiting clergy were cut out of the picture. The clergy who were active on the Chapter were the Bishop, Canon Rogers, and myself. The Bishop-coadjutor was not on the Chapter. The meetings of the Chapter were rather amusing. Bishop Grafton would commonly say: "It is moved and seconded that we do so and so; those in favor will say Yes; contrary; it is carried." In fact no one had said anything.
One of the important things to be settled on my arrival was the type of service. I found that all sorts of combinations had been tried in the effort to find one which would at once preserve the Catholic ideal of the Mass and the Protestant preference for Matins. The final result was that the people told me, "We never know what is going to happen when we go to church." There might, I gathered, be High Mass with incense or Low Mass preceded by Matins.
The Bishop asked my judgment. I said that personally I would prefer a Mass with Catholic ceremonial, and if that was what he wanted I would go ahead with it. But that so far as I could judge after a brief experience, that would mean the serious cutting down of the congregation. For some reason (though reason is hardly the word to use in this connection) a good part of the congregation seemed to have settled it in their minds that incense was the chief symbol of the papalism that they feared. This was no doubt quite accidental, any other symbol would have done as well. I knew a priest who imagined he had got all he wanted and then thoughtlessly put a server in a red cassock--and there was an anti-papal demonstration! There was, I told the Bishop, no good arguing against an idee fixe. It was a question of incense and a small congregation and no incense and a possibly large congregation--which did he want? He wanted a large congregation. Very well, then; adopt a certain type of service and stick to it. I would suggest an early Mass, Sunday School, a late Missa Cantata without incense, Vespers without incense. There was some criticism of the omission of Matins from this programme; but if I was to take an early Mass, Sunday School, preach at the late Mass, and occasionally take that, too, I had no time for Matins. If anyone else wanted to take it, all right; I did not find that anyone did. My suggestion was adopted and adhered to all the time I was in Fond du Lac. It was understood that these limitations did not apply to extra-parochial services, such as diocesan synods, and so on. The Bishop could arrange them as he pleased.
I took the line that the parish had been sufficiently dealt with in the matter of ceremonial and that I would say nothing about it from the pulpit. My business was to preach the Gospel--other things would take care of themselves. I regarded the situation in the matter of confession as a scandal. Bishop Grafton had been in charge of the Cathedral as Bishop and Dean for over ten years, and had appointed to the administrative and pastoral work of the parish whom he would. Whatever the teaching may have been, there were only a handful of penitents. I regarded the practice of regular confession and frequent communion as the essential expression of the Catholic life. My purpose therefore was to bring as many people as possible to confession, and to see that the children were properly taught and that the number of communions was increased. I think I may say that I was fairly successful in these aims. They were accomplished by careful instruction of the children, supplemented by personal contacts with them so as to gain their affection and confidence. In regard to adults I relied on devotional instruction given through classes and meditations. I do not think that one makes more than a beginning with sermons; one stirs people, but it needs a different sort of contact to carry them on to practice. The soul that is moved by a sermon must not be left at that, but must be guided to action. The next step after the sermon is the more intimate devotional address or meditation, which is addressed not to the general congregation, but to a select group that seeks more advanced spiritual experience.
Soon after I started my work in Fond du Lac I began to give meditations at frequent intervals as a regular part of my parish work. They attracted that element of the parish which desired spiritual advance, and met with increasing success as they went on. Those who came were not only what would be called the Catholic element of the parish, but all sorts of people, some who did not belong to the Episcopal Church at all. I have found in the years that have followed that there is no more profitable feature of parish work than the devotional--meditations, Quiet Days, Retreats. These are the means of developing the spiritual life of a parish and naturally and spontaneously lead to the more frequent use of the sacraments as means of spiritual nourishment and energy.
In Fond du Lac also I began to stress the Bible Class. While a good many people still read the Bible, few understand the background that it is necessary to know if it is to be read intelligently. Today there are two dangers into one of which most people fall. They either, as they were no doubt taught as children, look upon the Bible as in all respects an infallible work and accept its history and science on the same level as its religious teaching; or else, under the influence of ill-understood or imperfectly digested modern theories, think of it as having nothing more than an archeological value. The latter class naturally tend to drop Bible reading altogether.
It becomes the duty of the pastor to counteract both these tendencies by teaching the true meaning of the Bible and its place in the life of the modern Christian. This presents difficulties, as it is perhaps more difficult to draw people to a Bible Class than to other forms of instruction. But it can and must be done. In my experience the best plan is to separate the Bible Class as much as possible from the church. In Fond du Lac rooms in Grafton Hall, the diocesan school for girls, were most kindly put at my disposal. This enabled me to hold my Bible Class on a week-day and also to attract a number of persons who were not members of the Episcopal Church. Elsewhere I have had the drawing-room of a private house. The latter has certain advantages in Bible Class and spiritual instruction class work from the fact that attendance can be based on invitation. If Mrs. John Doe, who is rather an important person in the community, places her rooms at my disposal and invites fifty persons to attend, one is pretty sure of a better attendance than would otherwise be likely, and also sure of making contacts with people who could not be induced to come to a merely announced class in church or guild room. Moreover, one's class is not now limited to that group of pious people who automatically come to anything that is announced whenever the bell is rung. One of the difficulties of parish life is that one is always giving instruction to those who least need it.
I am inclined to think that the sermon at High Mass is the least important of the teaching activities of the rector. I do not at all mean that it may as well be poorly prepared. Nothing that is poorly prepared ought to be tolerated. A priest who does not prepare all his work to the limit of his ability ought to give up the ministry and find some work in which he is interested. The well-prepared and worthwhile sermon establishes contacts with parishioners and with others outside the parish; but if one cannot follow up the contacts made, little is gained: it is what follows that is important. Will the woman who is impressed by your sermon come to the meditation? Will the man attend an instruction class or come to a Quiet Day for men? If not, if he simply says, "What a fine sermon!" what is gained? A sermon is intended, not to evoke admiration for the preacher, but to induce action in the hearer. I recall an amusing instance. I preached one Sunday morning in the Cathedral at Milwaukee. Later in the week a young woman said to the Dean: "Sunday morning when Dr. Barry preached I felt all the time that I ought to be moved by what he said, but I was not moved at all. I feel that there must be something the matter with me." Of course, the fact was that she was stirred very deeply; now she was distressed because she was making no effort to direct the energy that was stirred into any practical action. That is what I mean when I say that the sermon is the least important of the teaching activities of the priest. If he is an effective preacher people are being constantly aroused for the moment, but as the aroused soul is not directed to specific action the effect of the sermon is transient.
But the sermon ought to direct? Certainly--direct to something. But unless there is a "follow-up" the direction is commonly vague and ineffective. One does, of course, get people to the sacraments, or more often people to return to the sacraments than to seek the sacraments for the first time. In some way aroused emotion must be translated into action and the instruction class is here valuable as a continuation of the sermon and the explication in detail of what the sermon gave in generalities.
The most enjoyable part of my parish life was found in my relations with the children. The Sunday School was not large, but it had the advantage of being just large enough to permit of one man's handling it competently. I pursued the same methods that I had used in Batavia, but I now had under my care a large mixed class of boys and girls. With them I kept contact throughout the week by means of guilds and other organisations. They were a most attractive set of children, and some of them, I am happy to say, remain my friends after all these years of physical separation. They were most enthusiastic. I delighted in my mission group of boys and girls who, in addition to their social activities, prepared and read papers on mission topics. I had what for the size of the parish was a large acolytes' guild, which was absolutely devoted to its work; and not simply to the actual work of serving but to the practice of a thorough spiritual routine. One Lent, I recall, there were nine boys who never missed the daily Mass for the whole season. The routine of the guild was a monthly devotional service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by an instruction and then confession preparatory to their monthly communion. I had introduced permanent reservation in S. Augustine's chapel and found it a great help, especially with the children. As I think of those days name after name comes back to me; some are signed at the end of letters which are here on my desk awaiting answer; at the thought of others I can only say: "May they rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon them."
Others, alas, one can only lay at the foot of the Crucifix in faith and hope that one day our Lord will call them back to himself. The parables of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son express at once the tragedy and the hope of the priest's life.
I organised a very successful branch of the girls' Friendly Society to reach another element in the parish. Girls flocked eagerly to that. As membership is not limited to members of the Episcopal Church there were a number of others who came in, among them several Roman Catholics. To these I said that I was very glad to have them, but that they would have to have the consent of their priest to be admitted. I did not care to have them admitted without his knowledge and then after they were in to have them pulled out. That meant the disappearance of them except in one case. This girl had backbone enough to tell her priest she was coming anyway, and the result was that he said it was all right for her to come and even to attend Mass at the Cathedral, but she must make her confessions and communions at her own church. My experience is that the person who stands out gets what he wants from the Roman clergy. They are not going to lose people uselessly for a matter of small moment. One instance came to my knowledge in Fond du Lac of a person who was received into a Roman parish as though she were simply passing from one parish of her own Church to another.
But to return to the G.F. S. I much wanted to have a summer camp for the members, and a friend in Ripon kindly put at our disposal a cottage on Green Lake, a very beautiful lake not far from Fond du Lac. I raised the money necessary to finance the work and the last summer of my work in Fond du Lac the camp was carried on very successfully. It was in charge of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity and was filled with girls for the summer. I had just been elected to Nashotah and spent the last month of my connection with the Cathedral in the camp at Green Lake. There were a few small boys who lived in a tent on the grounds. We had arranged a chapel in the house and had daily Mass which all attended. I have never spent a more delightful month.
I had just got settled in the work in Fond du Lac when a temptation was offered me to leave it. Through the intervention of Webb, who had now returned from Europe and who was distressed to find me settled in what he considered one of the most difficult works of the Church, I was called to the rectorship of Grace Church, Madison, Wisconsin. It was a larger parish than the Cathedral and there were much less conflicting circumstances. It had no reputation for Catholicity or advanced ceremonial, but as I have shown, these were not altogether to the good in a parish of the varied types of churchmanship of the parish of Fond du Lac. Madison seemed to offer exceptional opportunities. It is the capital of the state and the seat of the state university. But I was not at all sure that it was the place for me. There was a good deal of talk at the time (this was before the student chaplaincy had been instituted) of the need of making contact with students in the university. As I saw the situation the parish would take more than the time of one man to carry it on successfully, and the people of the parish would naturally expect me to do the parish work. Everyone else in the diocese from the bishop down would think it my duty to be in some sense the student chaplain and make contact with the university. I was perplexed and went to see the Bishop of Milwaukee. Dr. Nicholson said quite frankly that I was not his candidate, but inasmuch as the parish had not accepted his candidate he would be glad if I would take it. I talked with him as to the policy to be pursued and finally asked what about teaching confession. He thought it would not be wise to teach confession publicly in sermons and so on, but only privately to individuals. That settled it. That was not my understanding of the Catholic religion. It also settled in my mind for all time the status of cope-and-mitre bishops. I concluded to stay in Fond du Lac. The work was difficult and likely from some angles to become more so. But I was not looking for a soft job, and I liked the people whom I had got to know. So I stayed.
I have left it until now to record my impressions of the bishops and clergy with whom I was brought into intimate contact. First of all, there was the Bishop of the diocese, Dr. Grafton. He had been associated with Fr. Benson in the foundation of the Order of S. John the Evangelist, from which he later withdrew. The story that I was told was that there had been an understanding that when there should be a sufficient number of American priests in the Order an American Province should be set up under the headship of Fr. Grafton. There came to be in the Order three American priests, Fathers Grafton, Gardiner, and Prescott. About 1880 the request was made that Fr. Grafton should be placed in charge of the American house. This was refused and Fr. Hall was appointed. Thereupon the Americans withdrew from the Order. When I came to have any knowledge of American Church affairs, the High Churchmen with whom I came in contact were very critical of Fr. Grafton. Then in 1891 Dr. Brooks was elected Bishop of Massachusetts with the support of Fr. Hall. After that I was amused to find the High Churchmen swinging from Fr. Hall, whom they now criticised in his turn, to enthusiastic praise of Fr. Grafton. Just what bearing Fr. Hall's action had on a ten years old quarrel it was difficult to see. But it is usually difficult to see why people believe anything if one seeks a rational rather than an emotional cause.
When Fr. Grafton left the S.S.J.E. several members of the Sisterhood of S. Margaret with whom he had been closely connected withdrew from that order and under his direction founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity. Whatever we may think of the ground of the action, in the result this move has proved of great value to the Church through the contribution made to its life and work by the new Sisterhood.
Fr. Grafton devoted himself to mission and retreat work and to the guidance of the new Sisterhood until 1888, when he was elected Bishop of Fond du Lac in succession to Dr. Brown. He at once began the work of changing the diocese of Fond du Lac into a thoroughly Catholic diocese. But he went to work, as it seems to me, in quite the wrong way. He assumed that a diocese with a professing Catholic clergy would be a Catholic diocese, and that quite without regard to the character of the clergy, of whom he proved himself a poor judge. He did not begin with the necessarily slow work of winning the laity of the diocese to the understanding and practice of the Catholic life; but he placed clergy, in many cases unfitted for their work, in charge of parishes and missions who at once introduced what was commonly called "ritualism." They got nowhere and today, after more than forty years, the laity of the diocese are largely unconverted--indeed, there has been developed among them a very antagonistic set of men.
Bishop Grafton, as I saw him, was a very strange combination of character qualities which did not at all harmonise. He was very devout, deeply spiritual in thought, in preaching, in personal life so far as one could see it. There was a fundamental evangelical strain in him that sometimes expressed itself in a way that irritated those of his clergy who today would be classed as "spikes." He aroused criticism by appearing on the platform at one of Moody's revival meetings. I remember hearing a story of an incident in a Quiet Day that he gave in Philadelphia in the parish of Stewart Stone. In one meditation he became very emotional in his exhortation of the clergy. At the climax he paused and cried: "Say Amen." This was so unexpected by a group of quite respectable High Church clergy that they were frozen into silence. "Say Amen," repeated the Bishop, and still no one responded. "For the love of God, say Amen," he cried. Stone, apparently feeling the responsibility of the situation as it was his parish where this was taking place, said, in a feeble voice from the back of the church, "Amen."
When I was in Fond du Lac he preached at some sort of a Protestant church for colored people, which called out some criticism. Then one morning, taking up the local paper, I read that on the following Sunday Bishop Grafton would preach in the morning in the Methodist church. That was a bit of a facer; so later on I wandered over to the Episcopal residence to see what it was all about. I found the Bishop-coadjutor already there, and as I came in Bishop Graf ton said: "Here is Canon Barry, he has good judgment; ask him what he thinks." It was about his engagement to preach at the Methodist church, he explained.
The Methodist church and parsonage were on the same street as the episcopal residence, and the Bishop of necessity passed them in going to and from the Cathedral. A few mornings before the Methodist pastor was standing before the parsonage when the Bishop was passing, and they passed the time of day. They fell into some discussion on the meaning of the Book of Revelation, if I remember, and in the end the Methodist pastor invited Bishop Grafton to come Sunday and tell his people about it. The Bishop said he would. Hence the announcement in the paper.
What did I think of it? It was obvious what Bishop Weller thought of it. I said that I thought it of doubtful policy. The Bishop said: "Ubi Episcopus, ibi ecclesia"--where the Bishop is, there is the Church. "No doubt," I replied; "but in that case what is the status of the Cathedral next Sunday morning? Are we in schism?" More seriously I went on to say that while I saw no reason in principle why he should not preach in the Methodist church, as a matter of policy I thought that the Cathedral congregation would be quite perplexed and that they would feel hereafter quite free to attend the Methodist services when they felt like it. The upshot of the matter was that the Bishop received an urgent telegram calling him East and left for New York that afternoon and did not return for some time.
Bishop Grafton's work in the Church, both as a member of the S. S.J.E. and after that, was of immense value. He was an outstanding leader in the development of devotional life of the Church; both mission and retreat work owe a great deal to him. He was a splendid preacher. He was the only man I have known who could preach an expository sermon that did not bore one to death. He could take the Gospel for the day and talk on it for half an hour and hold attention to the end. He was a most helpful confessor--I made my first confession to him long before I knew him personally. Notwithstanding his love of ceremonial, which brought him so much criticism as a "Romaniser," he was extremely anti-Roman. I should not say he was a great theologian, but he had a good working knowledge of theology and a better knowledge of spiritual theology than most Anglicans. Naturally, he understood the Religious Life and that knowledge enabled him to found and develop the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, that most practical of Orders.
But there was another element in his character which did not harmonise with what I have attempted to describe. I think I ought to go into this as it is necessary to the understanding of Bishop Grafton and of the situation in Fond du Lac. The element in his character to which I refer was an overweening and childish vanity. This would have been harmless under most circumstances, but in the present case it enabled those who surrounded him to play upon it and to acquire great influence over him. I was warned of this when I went to Fond du Lac and was told that it would be good policy on my part to see as much as possible of the Bishop, in other words, to play the part of a courtier, if I was to gain his confidence and to have any influence over him. I did not do so, and I never saw that it did me any harm not to do so. Naturally it left me out of Church politics, but then I did not want to be in them; I only wanted to be left alone to carry on my work to the best of my ability. The Bishop always treated me with perfect courtesy and kindness, and I never had any difference with him save once, and that was on a matter that grew out of my position as President of the Standing Committee. I confined myself to parish matters in which, though he remained Dean of the Cathedral, he never interfered. As I wanted no influence in diocesan matters, I did not need to belong to his court. Soon after I came to Fond du Lac an amusing incident occurred. After a clerical meeting of some sort there appeared in the local paper an article on "calling bishops my Lord." It appeared that the writer of the article had heard at this meeting Bishop Grafton and presumably Bishop Weller constantly addressed by the clergy as "My Lord." It was, in fact, becoming customary and Bishop Grafton, at least, liked it. I was interviewed by a reporter of the paper on the subject and said that I was not at the meeting referred to, and that I had never been asked to call anyone my Lord and had not the slightest intention of so doing. The custom continued among those who were intimately associated with the Bishop. I kept to myself and always felt rather an outsider among the clergy, which I was quite content to be.
Bishop Grafton was not at all popular in the city, largely because of what was thought his attitude of aloofness and superiority. He did not receive people cordially; and I was spoken to concerning this attitude as being harmful to the influence of the church in the city. There was nothing to be done about it that I could see. I experienced it myself. If one went to see him, the Bishop gave the impression that he was very busy, and soon got up and walked to the door, which he opened, and there was nothing to do but to go out of it. One very prominent layman, a member of the Cathedral Chapter, complained of this to me. After that had happened once or twice to me I concluded that it was a bit thick. I did not want to see the Bishop; but there were occasions when I had to see him on parish matters. He chose to remain Dean and therefore certain matters had from time to time to be referred to him. Accordingly, after having been shown out once or twice, when I next went to see him on business and when, the business not yet being finished, he got up and moved toward the door, I sat still. There was nothing for him to do but to come back and sit down, when I finished my business and departed. Bishops may be the successors of the Apostles, but there are times when you would not guess it from their conduct.
This element in Bishop Grafton's character enabled quite worthless men to gain and keep his support. He was pretty sure to back anyone who asserted that he was a "Catholic," and he would decline to hear the truth about the man's character. He was no judge of character and was constantly being taken in and the reputation of the diocese injured by quite worthless priests. On one occasion three of us, the most prominent priests in the diocese, got together and told him that unless he got rid of a certain priest we would all leave. He was taken in several times by priests who asserted a desire to live the Religious Life and asked support to begin their work in Fond du Lac. More than once was he taken in by Roman Catholics who asked to be received into the Church and whom he was ready to accept without apparently any adequate investigation into their past. In one case he was very angry because the Standing Committee declined to authorise him to license such a priest without further evidence as to his fitness. It turned out that he had already licensed him, assuming that the Committee would assent automatically. This priest almost at once returned to Rome. Another lived some time in the parish house before he found it convenient to disappear. I did not know him, as I had by that time left Fond du Lac. He certainly had a sense of humour whatever may have been his defects otherwise. Fr. Fay preached in the Cathedral one Sunday morning. After the Mass the ex-Roman said to him, "Father, that is the first Christian sermon I have heard in this place. Rogers preaches on radium and sodium and those things, and Weller gives us flowers off mother's grave." Experience of that sort had no effect on Bishop Graf ton; he was quite ready to receive the next man who turned up and expressed a desire to escape the Roman tyranny or who declared that he was a Catholic persecuted out of a Protestant diocese or parish. It was a great pity because it was by these latter aspects of character that the Bishop was judged by his laity. They hid the fundamental soundness and spirituality of his character.
Bishop Grafton died soon after I went to New York. The last time I saw him he was very ill and obviously not to live long. He himself seemed not to realise it. He said he should be coming to New York when he got well and asked me if I would like him to preach at S. Mary's, Naturally I said I would. Shortly before his death I had a very strange dream. I was at the time in the country and woke after the dream, and as it was light I got a piece of paper and wrote the dream down. It was this. I dreamed that I was in the Cathedral in Fond du Lac, standing by the confessional when I saw some men bearing in a coffin, which they set down before the rood screen. I thought, That is Bishop Grafton's body; I will go and say a prayer for him. I went and knelt down by the side of the coffin. My eye was attracted by an inscription on the side of the coffin. I thought, What a wonderful passage of Scripture: I will preach on that as a text next Sunday. What I read was: "This is not mourning, O thou listener, seeing we are weary and must needs take rest." Though my own creation and not a quotation, I did use it for a text after the Bishop's death.
With Dr. Weller, the Bishop-coadjutor, I had no official connection. As there was nothing to complicate them, our social relations were of the pleasantest. Some of the pleasantest remembrances I have of my stay in Fond du Lac are connected with his family, the three older children of which were my devoted friends. The fast moving life of the United States, the size of the country, the new contacts the priest makes in his changing works, make it difficult to retain anything more than the memories of the friends that one makes in any one period. Nevertheless, I have retained the friendship of Bishop Weller's oldest child, now Mrs. George Nelson.
Bishop Weller had a wide popularity as a preacher and giver of retreats. He by no means always "gave us flowers off mother's grave." He has been one of the outstanding leaders of the Anglo-Catholic party, fearless and definite. His consecration, or rather the photograph of the bishops participating in that ceremony, all vested in cope and mitre, caused one of those silly outbreaks of Protestant prejudice to which the Episcopal Church is constantly subject, of which, indeed, the whole Anglican Communion is a victim. One looking on from the outside might infer from the tone of certain yellow ecclesiastical prints that it was just a question of days before the whole Anglo-Catholic party would "embrace the knees of Peter." Silly as such outbursts are they have certain advantages. They seem to have a purgative effect on the Protestant system, and consequently when the next Anglo-Catholic function takes place the cope and mitre cause a greatly reduced reaction. Moreover, it makes a good deal of difference where "Romanising" manifests itself. In what, parodying the late Bishop of West Virginia, one might call the Protestant Belt, I was visiting a church and discovered over the "Bishop's chair" a papal tiara depicted on the wall! It appeared that the tiara and the mitre were all one to the artist, and probably to the congregation; and the tiara was the more decorative. One pictured the bishop of the diocese, who would no doubt have shuddered at the thought of wearing a cope or mitre, upon his annual visitation sitting quietly under an emblem of the Scarlet Woman. Since the dawn of the nineteenth century copes and mitres have flourished and now excite little comment.
When Fr. Grafton became Bishop of Fond du Lac, he found there a small girls' school which had been established by the Sisters of S. Monica. This Sisterhood unfortunately had but a brief life. It was an order of widows, and one cannot but regret that it was unable to continue. When its community life was dissolved most, if not all, the members (there were only a few) continued to wear the habit and to keep the rule as far as was possible. The widow of Bishop Brown had entered the order and after its dissolution continued to reside in the now reorganised school, which bore the title of Grafton Hall. Sr. Anna, as she was called in Religion, was always in the Cathedral where she had charge of all the sacristy work. A wonderful old lady, gentle and religious in the best sense. Although she was obliged to endure much, she never uttered a word of complaint. One never knew from her what were the difficulties of her life. She was the finest type of the consecrated life. I regard it as a great privilege to have known her.
The school which the Order of S. Monica had established they were unable to carry on because of financial difficulties. Bishop Grafton, who at the beginning of his episcopate commanded a good deal of money, chose, instead of supporting the Order of S. Monica in their undertaking, to take over the school himself and reorganise it. He built a new building and tried to conduct a school on a moderate tuition fee. But the school was not large enough to pay its way and was in constant financial difficulties. Canon Rogers, as he was in his Cathedral connection, became Warden of the School. He was very kind to me in opening his parlours for me to hold Bible and other classes. I enjoyed, too, the friends I made among the pupils. In that way, my rooms across the garth from the school grounds became a little too popular and I was put out of bounds. I was very fond of Mrs. Rogers, and made friends among the teachers in the school, especially with Miss Young.
With the clergy of the diocese my contacts were limited. I was still in touch with Delany, now rector at Appleton. Sanborn, a weirdly humorous person, turned up from time to time at the parish house. He succeeded me as Canon of the Cathedral. He was also an examining chaplain. Very characteristic of him is the following. A man, I think from the vintage of Easton, turned up to be examined for orders. In the course of the New Testament examination he made constant reference to some person or thing which he designated as "Q." This finally got on Sanborn's nerves, he not being a devotee of the Newer Criticism, and he interrupted, to the great scandal of Bishop Weller, with the question: "Who the hell is 'Q'?"
There was another priest whom I came to know very well who was also of a keen sense of humour. This was Fr. Thorne. I remember a story he told of a funeral. Incidentally, I may remark that funerals are the source of more humour in the clerical experience than any other event. Well, Thorne was asked to take the funeral service for a person living well out in the country from his parish. He was asked if he would object to holding his service in the Congregational church, which was the only church building in the neighborhood. He said not at all. He went to the house and accompanied the procession to the small Congregational church. On entering he noticed sitting on the platform a man attired in black. Not raising his eyes, he went up the aisle before the coffin and then turning, conducted the service. After it was over the gentleman in black came from the platform in a good deal of a temper. He thought it was an insult that a funeral should be held in his church and he not asked to participate in any way. "Who are you?" asked Thorne. "I am the pastor of this church," the irritated gentleman replied. "But how was I to know that?" asked Thorne. "Did you not see me sitting lip on the altar?" the man exclaimed.
At another funeral Thorne was cast for the humorous part. Old Dr. Jewell died, quite a well-known priest in the Middle West. It was desirable that the pallbearers should be of his fellow-priests. I was one and Thorne was chosen as another. We came to the grave with the coffin turned the wrong way and were directed by the undertaker to swing it around. We did, with the result that Thorne landed in the grave. Never shall I forget that round, red face, with an expression of mingled fear and astonishment, looking up out of the grave! We pulled him out, and the service went on. We had to contain ourselves until in the motor out of the cemetery, and then--
During these years Brother Louis Lorey, later Fr. Lorey of the Order of the Holy Cross, came to Fond du Lac, after the community with which he had been connected was dissolved, to read for orders. He lived with me in the parish house and I was supposed to direct his studies. He was a lovable character and I enjoyed my association with him. His one ambition was to be connected with a boys' school. Bishop Grafton had partly promised him that he would establish a small school for him in Fond du Lac, but when the time came refused to do so. Lorey, then in orders, betook himself to the Order of the Holy Cross, who soon gave him work in the school at Sewanee, where he stayed till he came home to die. While he was with me there turned up one of those "spikes" who were of frequent occurrence in the diocese of Fond du Lac. He wanted to say Mass and I appointed Lorey to serve him. After the Mass I asked Lorey how it went. He said that he thought it was quite all right, that all the service was said secreta and all the secreta were said out loud. Later, I came to know that that was quite the proper thing.
Early in my residence there appeared a Mr. Fay, to whom I was introduced, as a candidate for Holy Orders. He was a Philadelphian with apparently an ample income, who had chosen to be a candidate from Fond du Lac because of its Catholic reputation. He had all the notes of an Easterner. One day he asked a friend where he was born and on receiving the answer, "In Omaha, Nebraska," he could only ejaculate, "Fancy!" He was soon ordained to the diaconate and priesthood and took up his residence in Fond du Lac. He was soon made an archdeacon. Sigourney Fay soon became an intimate friend. He was a most fascinating person; a brilliant talker, and notwithstanding the drawback of imperfect sight very widely read. He had a prodigious memory which, it seemed, retained all that he had ever read or heard. He was life and joy wherever he appeared--the only trouble was to make him disappear: bed meant nothing to him, and some of us, I in particular, liked a few hours sleep.
He was the most perfect example that I have ever known of the "will to believe." Fay seemed to have, apart from the fundamentals of the Christian religion, no opinion that he could not change over night. When I first got to know him well he had just returned from a visit to Russia with Bishop Grafton. In some monastery there, he was placidly walking down the hall whistling, when he saw a horrified monk crossing himself. He came back an enthusiastic devotee of the Eastern Church, as was also Bishop Grafton. The difference was that the Bishop remained so and Fay did not. But for the time the Orthodox were everything and the Anglican Church should do everything it could to achieve union with them. The West? Rome? Not to be thought of! Anglican orders? Indisputably valid. It was, so he would go on, Roman orders that were invalid; he could write a book proving it. I am sorry that he did not. He was riding one day with Bishop Weller and another married priest. The subject of East and "West came up. To Fay's annoyance his companions kept saying: "We are Western." It finally got on Fay's nerves and he broke out: "Western! Neither of you would be permitted to minister at an altar of the Western Church!" Once when Bishop Grafton was enlarging on the story of the Good Samaritan and interpreting the two pence as two sacraments, Fay interrupted: "But, my Lord, that is not Catholic exegesis; there are not two sacraments, there are seven." Once he came in reporting with great glee that Bishop Grafton was much troubled by the fact that our Lord preached from S. Peter's boat. I shall have more to say of Fr. Fay later on.
In the carrying on of the parish work of the Cathedral I was greatly aided by the Sisters of the Holy Nativity. The Sisters taught in the Sunday School and carried on guild work with women and girls and did parish visiting. The S.H.N., created for the purpose of aiding the priest in his parish work and trained in methods of work and to give instruction either to individuals or to classes, is an order of very great value to the Church. I have been closely associated with the order for thirty years during part of which time I was its chaplain-general. I have, therefore, been able to judge its work from all angles and to appreciate its various activities. It is an invaluable aid in the life of a parish, as I found both in my work in Fond du Lac and in New York. Its sphere for good is not confined to what is technically parish work, but is widely extended through the large numbers of associates connected with it. The work of its Retreat House at Bay Shore, New York, is of great spiritual value. The American Church is very slow to understand the possibilities of such work and to provide the means for its extension. Summer camps and conferences are growing up in great numbers; why not make greater provision for spiritual needs?
While I was in Fond du Lac the S.H.N. voted to move its Mother House from Providence, Rhode Island, to the former city. To make this possible Bishop Grafton made over to the order his house and a large addition was built to it to accommodate the Sisters. The Bishop's house thus became the convent. I was very much in favor of this removal to the Middle West because I hoped, as it turned out with mistaken optimism, that it would lead to an increased spread of the Religious life and the work of Religious orders in that region. It seemed to me that the Church in the great Middle West cities would call for the work of Sisters and would prove a fertile field from which to draw new vocations. In this I was mistaken: the time for such growth, it appears, has not yet come. The work of the S.H.N. is still largely in the East and from there the majority of their novices are drawn.
I kept out of diocesan activities as much as possible. In the diocesan synod after my arrival in Fond du Lac I was elected to the Standing Committee. I was then nominated as delegate to the approaching General Convention. I withdrew my name before a vote was taken on the ground that I had just come to the diocese and had already been put on the Standing Committee and did not want to take over all the offices of the diocese. In reality, I loathe conventions of all sorts and have been severely criticised as neglecting my duty in failing to attend them. I cannot bear to sit hour after hour listening to reports or to discussions on points of order. I had watched sessions of the General Convention when it met in Chicago in 188(3, and I could imagine nothing more deadly, and nothing would induce me even to watch again. When the General Convention met the last time in New York I did not go near it. Imagine sitting through a fatuous discussion on the insertion of a rubric in Morning Prayer, or on the vital necessity to the Protestant religion of retaining the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book! There seem to be plenty of people who like that sort of thing--why not let them do it?
My experience of the Standing Committee was not exciting; it was merely routine work for the most part. The only excitement was on the occasion I have already mentioned, when we incurred the wrath of the Bishop because we wanted to know something about an ex-Roman priest before we consented to the Bishop's licensing him. I had then to perform the not very agreeable duty of telling the Bishop that the Standing Committee did not exist for the purpose of registering episcopal decrees. The Bishop apologised and all was quiet after that.
I served for a brief period as examining chaplain, but soon gave that up. I had what the authorities evidently thought a disagreeable and unreasonable habit of declining to Pass a candidate who plainly did not know anything of the subject of the examination. As the authorities usually fixed the date of the ordination and made the preparations for the service before the examination was held, I admit that my action was inconvenient. They then adopted a policy of sending the candidate whom I had declined to pass to be re-examined by someone else--usually to a retired priest, Dr. Jewell, who lived in Fond du Lac. Dr. Jewell apparently disliked to have a candidate answer a question. He liked him to express ignorance, which gave the old Doctor an opportunity, which he much appreciated, to explain the whole matter, to expatiate at length on the subject. He then regarded the candidate as quite qualified. After one or two experiences of the sort I resigned.
While I was living in Fond du Lac both my father and my mother died. Mother died first at the age of eighty-two. Father then went to Chicago to live with my brother, and I gave up the rectory and moved into the parish house, taking my meals at a hotel. Soon after father died and was brought to Fond du Lac for burial. He was ninety-two. I had never been separated from them save for one year in all my life--the first year that I was in Chicago. It is a great comfort to look back on those long years of happy life and to think that in their old age I was able to surround them with all they needed and to insure the peace and happiness of their last days. Their bodies lie in the cemetery in Fond du Lac. Their souls rest in peace and light perpetual shines upon them.