Frederick William Faber

1814-1863. English hymnwriter. Although his upbringing was Calvinist, Faber was influenced at Oxford by J.H. Newman,* and collaborated in work on The Library of the Fathers. He took orders in the Church of England in 1837, became rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire, in 1843, but seceded to Rome in 1845. With others he formed a community in Birmingham, which was merged in 1848 with Newman's Oratory of St. Philip Neri. In 1849 he started a branch of the order in London, which developed into Brompton Oratory. He wrote many devotional books and several collections of verse and was an ardent propagandist for the Roman Catholic Church. His enthusiasm for Italian styles of devotion sometimes lapsed into sentimentality. His 150 hymns, collected and published as Hymns (1861), were intended to have the same popular appeal as those of Newton and Cowper. A number appear in the Roman Catholic Westminster Hymnal (1940). Among those sung also by Protestants are “Hark, hark, my soul”; “My God, how wonderful Thou art”; “O come and mourn with me awhile”; and “Souls of men, why will ye scatter.”