Faber, Frederick William, Dd
Faber, Frederick William, D.D.
an English clergyman and hymn-writer, was born at Calverley, Yorkshire, June 28, 1814. He was educated at Harrow and the University of Oxford, where he became a fellow of University College in 1837. About this time he gave up his Calvinistic views and became an enthusiastic admirer and follower of John H. Newman. In 1841 he travelled on the Continent, and on his return published Sights and Thoughts in Foreign Churches and among Foreign Peoples, a work of great merit. He now became rector of Elton, in Huntingdonshire, but soon proceeded again to the Continent to study the methods followed by the Roman Catholic Church. Returning to Elton he devoted himself earnestly to his parish, but was constrained to adopt the Romish faith in 1845. On leaving Elton his parishioners sobbed out, "God bless you, Mr. Faber, wherever you go." He founded a religious community at Birmingham, called Wilfridians, after the name Wilfrid, which Faber assumed. The community was ultimately merged in the oratory of St. Philip Neri, of which father Newman was the head; and in 1849 a branch of the oratory was established in London, over which Faber presided until his death, September 26, 1863. He was a voluminous writer, although it is mainly as a hymn-writer that he will be known in the future. Among his finest compositions of this class are, The Greatness of God; The Will of God; The Eternal Father; The God of my Childhood; The Pilgrims of the Night; The Shadow of the Rock. Besides the work above mentioned, he published, previous to his conversion to Romanism, Tracts on the Church and the Prayer-Book (1839): — A Sermon on Education (1840): — The Cherwell Water-Lily and other Poems (1840): — The Styrian Lake, etc. (1842): Sir Lancelot, a poem (1844): — The Rosary, etc. (1845), and several other papers. After his conversion he published, Catholic Hynns: — Essay on Beatification and Canonization (1848): —
The Spirit and Genius of St. Philip Neri (1850): — Catholic Home Missions (1851): — All for Jesus (1854): — Groth in Holiness (1855): — The Blessed Sacrament (1856): — The Creator and the Creature (1857): — The Foot of the Cross, or Sorrows of Mary (1858): — Spiritual Conferences (1859), and other works. The only complete edition of his Hymns is the one published by Richardson & Son in 1861 (2d ed. 1871). His Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects were edited by father Bowden, and issued after Faber's death. See his Life and Letters, by father Bowden; Early Life, by his brother; Encyclop. Brit. 9th ed. s.v.