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Faith of Our
Frederick William Faber
The words to "Faith of Our Fathers" were written by
Frederick Faber. Frederick William Faber (June 28, 1814 -
Britishhymn writer and theologian, was born at Calverley,
Yorkshire, where his grandfather, Thomas Faber, was vicar. He
the grammar school of Bishop Auckland for a short time, but a
large portion of his boyhood was spent in Westmorland.
afterwards went to Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1835,
he obtained a scholarship at University College. In 1836, he
Newdigate prize for a poem on "The Knights of St John," which
elicited specialpraise from Keble. Among his college
were Dean Stanley and Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne.
1837, he was elected fellow of University College. Meanwhile, he
had given up the Calvinistic views of his youth, and
an enthusiastic follower of John Henry Newman. In 1841, a
travelling tutorship took him to the continent; on his return,
published a book called Sights
and Thoughts in Foreign Churches and
among Foreign Peoples
to his friend the poet Wordsworth.
He accepted the
rectory of Elton in Huntingdonshire, but soon after went again to the
continent, in order to study the methods of the Roman Catholic Church.
After a prolonged mental struggle, he joined the Catholic Church in
November 1845. He founded a religious community at Cotton Hall, also
known as St. Wilfrids', in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, called
Wilfridians (which ultimately merged in the oratory of St Philip Neri,
with John Henry Newman as Superior). In 1849, a branch of the
oratory—subsequently independent—was established in London, first in
King William Street, and afterwards at Brompton, over which Faber
presided until his death. In spite of his weak health, an almost
incredible amount of work was crowded into those years. He published a
number of theological works, and edited the Oratorian Lives of the
This hymn was
sung at the funeral of American president Franklin Roosevelt,
held in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. The tune
is St. Catherine arranged by Henry Frederick Hemy. Hemy was born
November 12, 1818,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. played the organ at St. Andrew’s
Roman Catholic Church in Newcastle, and later taught music at
Tynemouth and at St. Cuthbert’s College, Ushaw, Durham. He died
June 10, 1888, Hartlepool, Cleveland, England and is buried at St.
Lyrics by Frederick Faber
Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!
of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death
Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.