Sorry, one more Titanic story (written Lord David Alton) because it comes full circle to the first one I noted about Fr. Thomas Browne, SJ, who was on the Titanic but providentially left her before she set sail for New York.
The Titanic was operated by the White Star Line whose chairman was J. Bruce Ismay, one of only 710 survivors of over 1500 passengers (and a pariah for his presumed cowardice). His father’s partner in the business was William Imrie who since he was childless, adopted his niece Amy in 1872 and made her his heir.
After her conversion to Catholicism, Amy embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe. While in Assisi at the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, she vowed to give her life to Christ as a Poor Clare. When Imrie died in 1907, a nun of poverty became an extremely wealthy woman.
Amy, known as Mother Mary Clare, used her money to build the stunning church of St Mary of the Angels in Liverpool, England. Mother Mary Clare said that, “Liverpool people will never be able to visit Rome, so I will bring Rome to them.” What a beautiful testimony to the power and purpose of our beautiful cathedrals and churches so often castigated as a waste of money. Her grand nephew said that his great aunt “deliberately located the church in what was, and still is, one of the poorest wards in England. Her dream was to enable those less fortunate than herself to be able to worship in a setting containing architecture and works of art that would stand comparison with the finest in Europe.”
The Church is now closed but is open to the faithful. This year an selection of photos taken of the Titanic by Fr Francis Browne, SJ, who was himself a periodic visitor to Liverpool will be exhibited this weekend.