Aldenham Hall situated near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was the ancestral home of the Acton family. Its chapel served the needs of the people of the district until 1890, when the mission was closed. From 1848 to 1853 the Oblates were in charge of the mission, living in a residence in the Hall’s parkland. The opportunity was offered them by Bishop Ullathorne, Vicar Apostolic of the Central District. He had come to know the Oblates through their mission in Penzance when he was Vicar Apostolic of the Western District.
A letter from Fr. Rouisse to Bishop Ullathorne dated 20 March 1850 reveals that the community consisted then of 2 priests and 2 Oblate Brothers. A third Oblate priest was expected in Easter Week. They established mass centres and schools in Bridgnorth, Wenlock, Middleton and Brosley. The people they served were extremely poor and the mission required subsidies from the District and elsewhere. The Founder visited Aldenham during his 1850 visit to Britain and wrote from there to Tempier on 10 July 1850. In his Act of Visitation dated 22 July 1850 Eugene wrote: “The little community resident in Aldenham, which is composed of 3 Priests and 2 Brothers, serves also Bridgnorth, Wenlock and Middleton and to know if God blesses the work of our Fathers, who are less than two years established there, it suffices to say, that visiting this house, I baptized the 77th convert to the faith of the Catholic Church, and that since my visit 6 others have entered the bosom of the Holy Church. Those Fathers have also signified to me the happiness they experience in labouring in the holy ministry, desert and solitary as is the place in which they live, where nothing is wanting either to their piety or to their bodily support.” Already in 1851 however Eugene was cutting back on the personnel committed to Aldenham, insisting that Fr. Trudeau leave for the missions, but it is clear he does not want to give up the Aldenham mission. Even so, in 1853 the personnel requirements of the new urban missions led to its closure.
Michael Hughes, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Writings I, Vol. 3,
pp.64-66; 83 and 86.
Ortolan I, pp.554-557
Denny, Vincent, Reaching Out, Dublin, 1991, pp.38-41
De Mazenod Record 1955, p.30.