Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton, Bishop

Bishop Grafton is one of the Church’s “holy examples” with whom I feel a special bond. Born in Boston in 1830, as a college student, he came under the influence of William Croswell, Rector of the Church of the Advent and there discovered both his faith and vocation to the priesthood, receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation at the age of 21 – much the same path I followed at that same parish a little over a century later.

Although he graduated from Harvard with a degree in Law, he knew his calling to be in Holy Orders and was ordained to the priesthood in 1858, ministering in the diocese of Maryland. At the close of the Civil War, he went to England and, along with two other priests, founded the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (“The Cowley Fathers”) – the oldest post-Reformation monastic order for men in the Anglican Communion. As the order grew, Grafton returned to the United States to found their American Province, serving both as Superior of that group and as Rector of the parish where he had come to faith, The Church of the Advent in Boston.

In 1882, along with Mother Ruth Margaret, he founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, an order for women whose Mother House is in Wisconsin and who also operate a Retreat House in California. In 1889, he was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he served until his death on August 30th, 1912. He was a strong voice and advocate for the Catholic Tradition of the Anglican Church and greatly revered by those who knew him. He was, and remains, one of my heroes. A.T.K.Z.+


A Collect for the Feast of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Charles Chapman Grafton who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock; and we pray that following his example and the teaching of his holy life, and aided by his prayers, we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


To read a sermon by the Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton given at the consecration of the Church of the Advent on December 1, 1894, click here.


This page last modified on Friday, April 11, 2008 09:40 PM