Thursday, October 10, 2002

On Perseverance


“In a work by the amiable Mr. Alban Butler, there is the following anecdote: ‘During the civil War, the famous Marquis of Worcester marching once in Cardiganshire, near the ruins of a monastery, at Strata Florida, a woman who was a hundred years old was presented to him, who had remembered the monks in Catholic times, and had lived above three-score years in great regret for the loss of the public service of the altar, and in constant private devotion, without seeing a priest, nor thinking that any could be found in England. The Marquis asked her, ‘When the religion altered, you altered with the religion?’ She answered, ‘No, master, I stayed to see whether or not the people of the new religion would be better than the people of the old; and could see them in nothing, but grow worse and worse, and charity to wax colder and colder, and so I kept me to my old religion, I thank God, and mean, by God’s grace, to live and die in it.’

When the Marquis told her he would take her to Ragland Castle (his seat in Monmouthshire), where she would find a priest, and might hear Mass every day, she was so transported with joy, that she died before the next morning. The Marquis wept when he heard of her death, and said, ‘If this poor soul died where she might have served God, how joyfully will she serve Him in a place where she will never die.’ “

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from Kenelm Henry Digby’s “Morus”, the third volume of his “The Broadstone of Honour or Rules for the Gentlemen of England”, appearing in 1826-7. This text is taken from that portion excerpted in Francis Beauchesne Thornton’s anthology “Return to Tradition”, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1948)