Object: Rev Wilds’ printed Sermon
This sermon was preached at St Aloysius’s Chapel, on Clarendon Square, on Sunday 30 May 1813. The preacher was Rev. William Wilds. Wilds had previously been at a Catholic Seminary in France, Douai. This was the home of various English Catholics, since the accession of Elizabeth I and the restoration of Protestantism in England. The college was suppressed after the French Revolution in 1793 and students and professors, including Wilds, were imprisoned for a year and then sent back to England, where they set up new institutions. Wilds was called upon by the French Catholic settlers in Somers Town. They were some of the first to inhabit the area and, under exiled Abbé Guy-Toussaint-Julien Carron, established Catholic welfare institutions to minister to the poor of the area.
This sermon, delivered at the chapel in 1813, was designed to raise money to pay for a new and larger school next door. It was also to pay for a ‘weekly distribution of a wholesome and a nourishing soup amongst fifty poor families’. These works were intended to support the many orphans in the vicinity. Wilds paints a terrible picture of their fate and the awfulness that will occur if the charities supported by the church cannot carry out their mission, should sufficient money not be raised:
Whether this fateful calamity is to fall or not on the Institution, and on the objects of its tenderest solicitude, will be decided this day, by the result of your contributions. The fate of both is in your hands.
By Esther Leslie