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Born: 7 May 1880 –  died: 19 Dec 1962
Clothed - 3 Sep 1900
Solemn Vows- 5 Oct 1904
Priest - 28 Jul 1907

Edward Stanislaus Parker was born in Birmingham into a large and admirably Catholic family on 7th May 1880. Following his three elder brothers he was sent to Ampleforth, and following two of them he sought Benedictine life. Between school and novitiate, however, there intervened three years at Oxford, for he was one of the four who constituted the first generation in our recently-established House of Studies in Oxford.

He took his degree in 1900 and then, as Brother Anselm, began his novitiate and course of studies at Belmont and at Ampleforth. He was ordained in 1907 and in the following year returned to Oxford to be Master of the Hall, which consequently, according to regulations then in force, became Parker's Hall.

This was his first experience of life in a mainly non-Catholic society and his first opportunity to exercise his strong apostolic spirit and his pity for those who had not the Faith. No bushel hid the light that was in him. He was comprehensively geared to make it shine before all men. When he left Oxford twelve years later there were many who were grateful to him for insights which they had derived from him. He was indefatigable too in supporting Catholic causes of many kinds, and was an early and vigorous promoter of the Catholic Social Guild. He collaborated with his brother, the present bishop of Northampton, in translating Cardinal Mercier's Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy.

In 1920 he was lent to Fort Augustus Abbey in order to co-operate in the resuscitation of the Abbey school after an intermission of some years. That difficult task achieved, his parochial work followed: at St Mary's, Warrington, from 1924 to 1928; at St Mary's, Merthyr Tydfil from 1928 to 1930; and for the remainder of his long life at St Mary's, Leyland.

There by wise management and bold enterprise he laid the foundations for the material development of the parish property. By his personal holiness and his unremitting priestly activity he encouraged the piety of his people and made the truth accessible to outsiders. He had a great and practical compassion for the weak, whether for tender childhood, and all children loved him, for the lonely, the sick and for frail old age, and equally for non-Catholics. The history of the pre-Reformation parish church just across the road from his own St Mary's provided the theme for many a forthright but charitable column in the local newspaper.

In 1947 he was relieved of responsibility for the management of the parish, but remained contentedly as a curate. He was far from being in retirement. It is astonishing that he lived so long so actively, adding a large output of writing to the normal work of the parish (and to a perhaps more-than-normal length of time in church). Moreover, he knew everybody and everybody knew him, and found him free, apparently, for lengthy chats.

That he did not die suddenly on the roads was solely due to the care of others, for he used to cycle abstracted and unsteady on the crown of busy streets far too late in life; but traffic lovingly recognised him and gave him a wide berth.

His brethren showed their feelings towards him by obtaining for him the title of Cathedral Prior of Rochester, and later the higher title of the ancient Abbey of Westminster.

Serious deafness and other ailments cramped his activity in later years but drew from him no word of self-pity, nor even dimmed his delightful gaiety. Nor happily did they prevent him from saying Mass, and twice on Sundays, up to the end.

On 19th December, he was found to have passed away gently in his sleep. He was buried in the cemetery of St Mary's which he had bought and planned and laboured in. May he rest in peace.

We offer our warm sympathy to his surviving brother, the bishop of Northampton.


Details from the Abbey Necrology

ANSELM PARKER     19 December 1962
1880    7 May       Born Birmingham
1891-97             Educ Ampleforth
1897-       to 1900 Was in 1st generation at our house in Oxford
1900    3 Sep       Habit at Belmont
1901    4 Sep       Simple Vows
1904    5 Oct       Solemn Vows
1907   28 Jul       Priest
1908      Apr       In charge of Hall at Oxford
1920           Head Master at Fort Augustus
1924           Curate at St Mary's Warrington
1928           Curate at Merthyr Tydvil
1930      Jan       In charge at Leyland
1947      Dec       On account of deafness became Assistant & so continued until his death
1949   28 Jul       Appointed Cathedral Prior of Rochester
1961      Aug       Received title of Ancient Abbey of Westminster
1962   19 Dec       Died at Leyland in his sleep
               Buried at Leyland

Sources: AJ 68:1 (1963) 38
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