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THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE LAND
A series of portraits of great Anglo-Catholics
F
r MOnAhAn’s story, as his Cooper, SSC, (curate 1915-1919)
name suggests, begins in Ire-
Fr William Beattie Monahan, SSC
and was probably the first person
land. His father, William, was to take a group of children on pil-
a Methodist minister with nine
children. William Beattie Mona-
1867 – 1948
grimage to Walsingham while at
St Mary’s, Kettering.
han, the first of four boys, was Fairly late in life, in his 50s, Fr
born in 1867. It was his father’s
Priest, Painter, Poet
Monahan took to water colour
hope that all the boys would fol- painting. He took lessons from
low him into the ministry, and the local artist Leonard Pike and
William seemed set to fulfil this rented a large room in the High
wish. He studied at Trinity Col- child would have only £150 a year. made when, in 1906, his brother to Old St Martin’s. In that week Street for a studio. He could of-
lege, Dublin, and was awarded Furthermore, the Rectory was in Alfred joined him as curate and a hundred converts were made, ten be seen on his folding stool
a B.A. in 1889 and M.A. three poor condition and rat-infested. they took over St Martin’s. To- and the priests were kept for long in some part of the town centre,
years later. He came to England, Mrs Monahan, however, hours in the confession- painting. He was a great lover of
training for the Methodist minis- had a reasonable income als. Many of those re- nature, particularly the Cotswold
try in Cheltenham and Wisbech, of her own, so the offer mained faithful to their country, and he used his brush to
and began his ministerial career was accepted, the rectory dying day. Changes pa- produce a notable series of paint-
at Wesley Chapel, Hagley Road, sold, and a small house tiently prepared were ings descriptive of rural England.
Edgbaston. The course of his life rented. Plans were being then introduced. Gore’s An Obituary in the Guardian
was changed when he heard a ser- drawn up for the widen- successor, Dr Yeatman- commends as “notable for his
mon preached by Charles Gore on ing of the road and the Biggs forbade Reserva- love for human souls, and their
a visit to Birmingham. Gore, Prin- demolition of the church tion in church. So Fr spiritual culture.” He was an ex-
cipal of Pusey House, Oxford, and of St Martin in the Corn Monahan had a spe- emplary parish priest in every
founder of the Community of the Market, the neighbour- cial chapel built in the respect, teaching and preaching,
Resurrection was one of the no- ing parish. Gore selected churchyard. Every year faithful in the daily recitation of
table preachers of the day. He in- Fr Monahan for the task at the Patronal Festival, the Offices and the celebration of
spired Monahan to further stud- of uniting the two parish- Martinmass, there was the Mass. He was Chaplain to St
ies in theology which led him to es. Whilst waiting for the an outdoor procession, Alban’s Home, an orphanage run
seek ordination in the Church of plan to come to fruition visiting preachers every by the Sisters of St Margaret, and
England. The Rev. Messing Rud- Fr Monahan decided to day, and a whole day of to Field House, a penitentiary run
kin, the devout and able Vicar of read for a further degree. Exposition of the Bless- by Sisters of the Holy Name. He
St Mark’s, Birmingham gave him a He was awarded his B.D. ed Sacrament ending was also a prolific writer. A series
title. He was made deacon in 1894 in 1904. Three years af- with Benediction. Fol- of tracts “The Voice from Worces-
and ordained priest the following ter his arrival St Mar- lowing the 1910 Mission ter” included two titles that in-
year. Then, after two years at St tin’s was made a Chapel Fr Kingdon returned dicate exactly where he would
Paul’s, Balsall Heath (1896 - 1898), of Ease to St Swithun’s every year to preach at stand on the issues of the present
he was at St Michael’s, Coventry and awaited demolition Martinmass and wrote day: ‘Rome the Goal of the Ox-
until 1902. There he exercised while a new church of St the Festival Hymn “Holy ford Movement’, and ‘Loyalty to
great influence, particularly by his Martin was built some Martin.” When war the Church of England.’ He was
preaching power. Meanwhile, two distance away. Fr Mona- was declared in 1914 Fr a priest associate of Walsingham,
of his three brothers had come han had now come to a Monahan brought the one of the friends of Fr Hope
over to join him in the Church of decision about the future Sacrament into church Patten invited to give talks at the
England, despite their father’s dis- of the buildings. “I made and explained to the early pilgrimages. His lifelong
approval. Thomas was ordained it clear that while I remained Rec- gether the brothers compiled Bishop that it was there “for safe- study of St Thomas Aquinas led
priest in 1898 and spent his whole tor, no church would be pulled the St Swithun’s Prayer Book, a keeping” for the duration of hos- him to produce for the guidance
ministry in the Worcester diocese. down in this parish.” manual containing daily prayers, tilities. It has remained there ever of the clergy eight volumes of sur-
Alfred, ordained priest in 1905, preparation and thanksgiving for since. Consequently the church veys of St Thomas’s vast range of
and a member of SSC, was Bish- Teaching the Faith Communion, devotions to the was placed under episcopal ban. thought. The value of this work
op of Monmouth 1940 – 45. The The Catholic Revival had not Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred For a while the Bishop would not was recognised by Archbishop
fourth brother, Charles, became greatly influenced either parish. St Heart, Our Lady, and the order licence a curate, and no confirma- Temple. Many of his other little
a Methodist minister, serving for Martin’s was considered High be- for Benediction. (Over the years tions were held there during the books of devotion, for Advent and
many years in India where he cause there were a couple of ban- the manual was revised and en- time of Bishops Pearce or Per- Lent, Stations of the Cross, Medi-
was honoured for translating the ners. Holy Communion from the larged by Alfred who compiled owne. Fr Monahan was told that tations on the Spiritual Life, have
Scriptures. 1662 Prayer Book with the Com- the St Hugh’s Prayer Book, the when Bishop Pearce was dying he proved their lasting worth. Poetry,
mandments at the beginning and 1933 Centenary Prayer Book, and said, “The priest who has given too, was a great love, and he wrote
From Wesley to the Gloria at the end was used in the Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book.) me most trouble is Monahan. But a fine hymn to Our Lady that de-
Worcester both churches. Fr Monahan made On a weekend visit with his family I admire him and have learnt a lot serves to be better known, set to
In 1902 Gore, a Canon of West- few changes at first, but preceded to his friend Fr Reginald Kingdon’s from him.” Not until after the en- the lovely Scottish melody “On
minster from 1894, was appointed every advance in ceremonial with parish his eldest daughter Rhona thronement of Bishop Cash, who the Banks of Allan Water”.
Bishop of Worcester. He offered careful instruction. As a priest of encountered incense for the first said that he would come provided He spent forty-six years as Rec-
the vacant living of St Swithun’s, the Society of the Holy Cross and time and complained about the that the Sacrament was not on tor of the parish, dying in office,
Worcester, to Fr Monahan. The the Confraternity of the Blessed “smoke.” Her father told her she the High Altar, was the ban lift- leaving a legacy of Catholic teach-
retiring Rector was entitled to half Sacrament, it was his aim to have must get used to it, for they would ed. Despite the ban, Fr Monahan ing and practice not only there
the benefice income as pension, so Reservation for adoration and have it at St Martin’s. was seldom without an assistant. but in the parishes served by the
that Fr Monahan with a wife and Benediction. Great advances were In his memoirs, he writes, “What His last curate, who cared for the curates he trained and the son-in-
years it took to get the people parish in the interregnum after law and grandsons who followed
Forms of words for making a bequest
to desire the constant presence Fr Monahan’s death, was Fr John him in priesthood. St Swithun’s
among them of their God and Milburn. has since been made redundant,
to Forward in Faith in your Will
Saviour under his chosen form of but Old St Martin’s, the church
Bread.” The turning point came in A devoted ministry that he saved from demolition,
I GIVE to FORWARD IN FAITH of 2A The Cloisters
1910. His friend Fr Kingdon,( lat- Fr Monahan’s whole family were proclaims the Faith which he de-
Gordon Square London WC1H 0AG the sum of er revered for a long and faithful involved in parish work. His wife fended against an erring episco-
pounds (£ ) and I DIRECT that the receipt of the
ministry in the slums of the Isle played the organ at St Swithun’s pacy. May we continue the fight
Treasurer or other proper officer of Forward in Faith
of Dogs, one of the first Guard- and trained a boys’ choir recruit- for Apostolic Order with the same
shall be good and sufficient discharge to my Executor
ians of Walsingham in 1931, and ed from the day school. She also courage against the same foe!
sometime Master of SSC), was ran a club and cricket team, a Bi-
or due to conduct a Mission in Bir- ble Class and the weekly Mother’s
On 16th September, the sixtieth
mingham. Some disagreement meeting. She also paid for the stat-
anniversary of his death, a Mass of
I GIVE the residue of my estate to FORWARD IN
with Gore, who had become first ue of St Martin that was specially
Thanksgiving for the life of this remarkable
FAITH of 2A The Cloisters Gordon Square London
bishop of the new diocese of Bir- made in London and brought
priest was celebrated in Old St Martin’s, in
WC1H 0AG and I DIRECT that the receipt of the
mingham, carved out of Worces- down on the train by Fr Mona-
the presence of his daughter Bridget, now
Treasurer or other proper officer of Forward in Faith ter, meant that it was called off han. Daughter Bridget taught the
98 years old, from whose booklet printed
at short notice. Instead Fr Reg- Sunday School. Rhona, the eld-
in 1998 much of the information in this
shall be good and sufficient discharge to my Executor
gie and his brother Claude came est daughter, married Fr Douglas
account is derived.
Forward! plus is the quarterly newspaper of Forward in Faith
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