Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)

Frederick William Faber
Frederick William Faber
(Below) Engraving by Joseph Brown, Radio Times Hulton Picture Libary

Frederick William Faber

Frederick William Faber [fā′bər] 1814-1863. British priest, theologian and notable hymn writer, born at Calverly, Yorkshire on June 28, 1814. Educated at Harrow and at Balliol College, Oxford University he was elected fellow of University College, Oxford in 1837. He had given up his Calvinistic views and became a follower of John Henry Newman who later became a cardinal.

Faber was ordained into the Anglican clergy in 1839. In 1843 was appointed rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire (now Huntingdon and Peterborough). Originally a Calvinist, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845, joined a Roman Catholic communion in November 1845, and was ordained a priest in 1847.

In 1846 he founded the Catholic community of Wilfredians at Birmingham (or, Brothers of the Will of God) which was merged with the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, with Newman as superior, in 1848. The Wilfridians were a religious society living in common with vows.

In 1849 a branch of the oratory was established in London, first in King William street and afterwards at Brompton. Faber presided over the London branch from 1849 until his death on September 26, 1863.

It is mainly as a hymn-writer that Faber is remembered, among which are O Saviour Bless Us Ere We Go, Faith of Our Fathers, Hark! Hark my soul, The Pilgrims of the Night, The Land Beyond the Sea, My God, how wonderful thou art and Paradise, O Paradise. Other works are Lives of Modern Saints (1847), Growth of Holiness (1854), The Foot of the Cross (8 volumes, 1835-1860) and Notes on Doctrinal Subjects (2 volumes, 1866)


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