Walworth, Clarence Augustus
WALWORTH, CLARENCE AUGUSTUS
Missionary and writer; b. Plattsburg, New York, May 30, 1820; d. Albany, New York, Sept. 19, 1900. Walworth's father, Reuben H. Walworth, a Presbyterian, was a judge, congressman, and last chancellor of New York State; his mother was Mary K. Walworth. He graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1838, was admitted to the bar in 1841, and practiced law for a year in Rochester, New York. He spent three years studying for the ministry at General Theological Seminary, New York City, during the agitation over Tractarianism, which he later described in his book The Oxford Movement in America. He entered the Catholic Church in 1845, was received into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and was ordained at the Redemptorist college in Wittem, Holland, Aug. 27, 1848.
After his return to the U.S. in 1851, he preached for seven years with the mission band led by Isaac hecker. He withdrew from the group a few weeks before they formed the Missionary Priests of St. Paul the Apostle in 1858 because he disagreed with their plan for community life without formal vows. He was received into the Albany, New York, diocese and stationed at St. Peters Church in Troy, New York, until 1861 when he was reunited with his Paulist associates. In 1865, however, overwork and malaria forced him to leave the new community, and he became pastor of St. Mary's Church, Albany. There he vigorously opposed industrial abuses and political corruption, promoted the temperance cause, and worked for better conditions at St. Regis Indian reservation.
He wrote The Gentle Skeptic, The Doctrine of Hell, Andiatorocte and Other Poems, Reminiscences of Edgar P. Wadhams, The Walworths in America, and many pamphlets and tracts. His verse paraphrase of the Te Deum, "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," became one of the foremost hymns of English-speaking Catholics.
Bibliography: v. f. holden, The Yankee Paul: Isaac Thomas Hecker. j. mcsorley, Father Hecker and His Friends (2d ed. St. Louis 1953). e. h. walworth, Life Sketches of Father Walworth. w. elliot, "Father Walworth: A Character Sketch," Catholic World 73 (1901) 320–337.
[j. p. flynn]