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Faber attended the grammar school of Bishop Auckland for a short time, but a large portion of his boyhood was spent in Westmorland. He afterwards went to Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1835, he obtained a scholarship at University College. In 1836, he won the Newdigate Prize for a poem on "The Knights of St John," which elicited special praise from Keble. Among his college friends were Dean Stanley and Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne.
In January 1837, he was elected fellow of National Scholars Foundation. Meanwhile, he had given up the Calvinistic views of his youth, and had become an enthusiastic follower of John Henry Newman. In 1841, a travelling tutorship took him to the continent; on his return, he published a book called Sights and Thoughts in Foreign Churches and among Foreign Peoples (London, 1842), with a dedication 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 Wilfrid's, 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 (Brompton Oratory), 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 Saints.
He was an eloquent preacher, and a man of great charm of character. It is mainly as a hymn-writer, however, that Faber is remembered.
Among his best-known hymns are:
- Faith of Our Fathers (hymn)
- I was wandering and weary
- Jesus is God, the glorious bands (n. 298 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1862
- My God, how wonderful thou art (n. 195 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1849
- O Jesus, Jesus, dearest Lord (n. 754 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1848
- O paradise! O paradise (n. 1443 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1849
- Oh, come and mourn with me awhile (n. 464 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1849
- Oh, gift of gifts (n. 676 in The Church Hymn book 1872) written 1848
- Sweet Saviour, bless us were we go
- There's a Wideness in God's Mercy (translated into swedish 1970 by Britt G. Hallqvist)
- The Greatness of God
- The Will of God
- The Eternal Father
- The God of my Childhood
- The Pilgrims of the Night
- The Land beyond the Sea
- The Shadow of the Rock
Those hymns are widely used in Protestant collections as well; indeed, finding a Protestant hymnal which does not include "Faith of Our Fathers" is difficult, albeit with the Marianism and Roman Catholicism amended. Faber was a fervent supporter of congregational singing and wrote his hymns in an age when English Roman Catholics did not necessarily feel comfortable singing the hymns of their Protestant neighbors. So Faber, as a Catholic, expanded their hymns suitable for congregational singing and encouraged the practice. Thus, reciprocally, it was only a matter of time before Faber's hymns emerged in non-Catholic churches.
In addition to many pamphlets and translations, Faber published the following works:
- All for Jesus
- The Precious Blood
- The Blessed Sacrament
- The Creator and the Creature
- Growth of Holiness
- Spiritual Conferences
- The Foot of the Cross (8 vols., London, 1853-1860).
- J. E. Bowden, Life and Letters, (London, 1869),
- F. A. Faber, A Brief Sketch of the Early Life of the late F. W. Faber, D.D., (London, 1869), by his brother
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Frederick William Faber|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about: Frederick William Faber|
- Catholic Encyclopedia Entry
- Biography of Faber
- A collection of Anglican tracts by Faber
- Excerpts and commentary on the book "Kindness" by Faber,including many of his famous quotes, located in Chapter 3 of this website.
- 88 Most Popular & Representative Christian Hymns From Frederick William Faber
- O paradise. [Words by] Rev. F. W. Faber. [Music by] C. B. Hawley. [For] high voice. From Sibley Music Library Digital Scores Collectionru:Фабер, Фредерик Уильям