This is the story of an Anglican Religious Community established in the parish of Cowley, Oxford, England in 1866—the Society of S. John the Evangelist. From their geographic location they soon became known as “The Cowley Fathers”.
Four years later they expanded their work in America, first in Boston and later in Philadelphia where they were invited to take charge of S. Clement’s Church. Soon after their arrival there was suspicion and misunderstanding on the part of many in the Diocese of Pennsylvania who did not accept this mostly foreign group of priests from England. The deep compassion for the poor and marginalized, the relief work in the face of tragedy and disaster won their critics over and eventually opposition ceased.
The Cowley Fathers whose influence attracted the poor and wealthy soon spread beyond the confines of the parish. Their ministry through teaching, preaching, retreats, missions and spiritual counsel attracted many. Interest in the Society grew. By the end of the 19th century there were branch houses in India, South Africa and Scotland. This book offers a unique account of the SSJE Community in Philadelphia and the parish they served.