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Spiritual Conferences

Spiritual Conferences

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  • ISBN-13: 9781519377814
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Nov 20, 2015
  • Pages: 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.64 x 9.0 x 6.0 inches


THERE is little to tell about the author of this book. He himself saw to that with a grim resolution. It was almost impossible, except by the repudiation of some hazarded guess, to get any information from him. His being a contemporary of the late Bishop Brownlow, in Plymouth Diocese, was hardly a pleasure to him, as the Bishop had known him at Rugby School. Desiring to efface all tracks, he was resolute towards Bishop Graham, out for the raw material of diocesan records. "I am a dead man as far as the world goes. Surely it can let me be." Yet it was only himself that mattered: for it was impossible to forget, after a first experience, the strange pull he had upon others. In appearance I remember him as a fine, upstanding man of frank manners, with a remarkably clear look which saw everything without betraying any curiosity. He took a direct interest in any topic, and gave one the impression of having a full and hard-thinking mind. There was, however, a strange aloofness with regard to general topics which let him drop conversation in the impersonal way a receiver is put back on a telephone. This marked independence of everything conveyed the impression of being sufficient without self sufficiency. It was not the coolness of indifference, for it was all the other way. It all came from the great reality of his life. Father Austin was a very holy man and nothing else. Very little intercourse was necessary in his case to receive a deep and lasting impression of his real holiness, for spiritual things do not always require prolonged experience of life or abnormal wisdom to be guessed at. A mere hint, a stray intuition, a seemingly inconsequent act, a mere peep through the chinks of the clouds, may be channels of a very complete information. All sorts of people at Stapehill knew what he was. Wrapped up in contemplation and the intimacies of a Divine life he looked upon all things in its haze. Hence everything in this passing world he would look upon if charity demanded it, but as merely passing-. Young men in Religion and in the Priesthood. Who are not yet fully aware of their own minds, could not well help his fascination. To such the simple, upright, constant man-like S. Vincent, "always true to himself" -seemed a very desirable companion and a guide to that life which at one time seems far away, until it has become the closest, warmest, and most intimate reality on earth to, one is glad to think, a crowd of our people. His departure from Stapehill was characteristic. Having made some arrangements privately I received a postcard from the station to say he had gone. On arriving at his Abbey he said he had come to prepare for death. As I have been told by Father Carew: "He entered on what was practically a new life for him, with all the zeal and fervour of an earnest novice, edifying the whole community by his obedience, humility, simplicity, and devotion in public and private prayer. He strictly persevered in these dispositions to the end as far as the infirmities of age and health permitted him. It was astonishing how vigorous he was in mind and body until about seven months ago, when his memory became so much impaired that he could no longer venture to say Mass. This privation he felt keenly, for it was a daily joy to him to offer the Holy Sacrifice, which he habitually did about 4 a.m., after assisting at Matins and Lauds in the choir. He was highly gifted, and so redolent of the religious spirit and solid piety as to exercise a charm for those who shared his sentiments. He continued to move about pretty much as usual. I thought it advisable to have the doctor see him, and he considered that owing to his great age-ninety-one-he might succumb. Accordingly the Last Sacraments were administered, and on the following morning-January 29-he breathed his last whilst his Confessor was reciting the prayers for a departing soul."

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