Fr. Hugh Thwaites and the Rosary

The English priest, Fr. Hugh Thwaites, died in 2012 at the age of ninety-five. The headline of his obituary summarizes what Fr. Thwaites had come to believe after seeing the Church in decline following the Second Vatican Council, it reads:

“Priest who said the future of the Church rested on the family rosary dies aged 95” 

I am going to post the full text of Fr. Thwaites’s obituary, followed by a link to a talk he gave on the Rosary, followed by another link to an account by a priest who knew him.

There are numerous recorded talks given by Fr. Thwaites (on the internet) on all sorts of subjects pertaining to Catholic life. He had a knack for explaining the Faith in clear and simple terms, and his voice transmits a calm assurance. I have read people on the internet stating that they play his talks before going to bed, because his voice calms. 

Here is the text of his obituary:

A Jesuit priest who inspired Catholics across the country (England, added by SF) has died at the age of 95.

Fr Hugh Thwaites converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism following his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese during the Second World War and later became a Jesuit priest.

He was a strong supporter of the Extraordinary Form Mass and the Legion of Mary, and he linked the abandonment of the rosary with a loss of faith, writing: “If we want in any way to be like Jesus, we must do what His Mother asks. If we do not, can we expect things to go right? We cannot with impunity disobey the Mother of God.”

Following his conversion, Fr Thwaites was passionate about evangelisation and he was renowned for asking people: “Are you a Catholic?” and then adding: “But you would like to be, wouldn’t you?” He also once compared the Anglican Church to “whisky with three parts water”, while saying Catholics were “straight out of the bottle”.

Fr Thwaites was instrumental in the establishment of the annual Rosary Crusade, which will make its 28th year in October. During the crusade, Catholics process from Westminster Cathedral to London Oratory reciting the rosary.

In his booklet, Our Glorious Faith and How to Lose It, Fr Thwaites made a passionate case for the importance of the rosary to the Catholic faith.

He wrote: “I know that Fatima is only a private revelation, but nevertheless the Church has endorsed it, and that makes it rash for us to disregard it. If the Church informs us that Our Lady really did come to Fatima and tell us these things, then we must harken to her words. It really seems to me that those Catholics who do not take Fatima seriously and say the rosary every day in their homes are very akin to the Jews who laughed at Jeremiah.

“If God sends us His prophets and we do not take them seriously – well, we have the whole of the Old Testament to tell us what happens as a result. But at Fatima, God sent us not His prophets, but His Immaculate Mother. So I think that the abandonment of the family rosary is a main reason why so many Catholics have lost the faith. It seems to me that the Church of the future is going to consist solely of those families who have been faithful to the rosary. But there will be vast numbers of people whose families used to be Catholic.”

Priests and laymen have paid tribute to Fr Thwaites following the announcement of his death on Tuesday August 21.

Fr Tim Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, wrote in a blog post: “I had the privilege of meeting Fr Thwaites when I was a young student and from time to time since then. He converted to the Catholic faith as a result of his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese during the Second World War. He never bore resentment for his treatment, reasoning that the Japanese guards did not have the benefit of the Christian faith. His approach to evangelisation was direct and simple because he understood the truth and beauty of the Christian faith and wished others to benefit from it.

“Fr Thwaites always spoke in a kindly and gentle manner while firing off spiritual advice that could blow you off your feet; he was a priest who made many converts almost instantly by his sincerity and holiness, and converted countless lukewarm Catholics to a deeper following of Christ. He was passionately devoted to the rosary, loved the older form of the Mass and remained faithful to the traditional Jesuit daily spiritual exercises.

“May the Lord have mercy on his soul, forgive any sins he committed through human frailty, and bring him speedily into the presence of Our Lord, in the company of Our Lady whom he loved so faithfully and St Ignatius whose way of life he followed with fidelity. Requiescat in pace.”

Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, also wrote about Fr Hugh Thwaites.

He said: “Fr Thwaites has been a familiar figure on the traddy scene more or less forever. Despite his advanced age, by the time I met him, he had an extraordinary air of boyish innocence. Innocence, not ignorance.”

Dr Shaw went on to quote Fr Thwaites’s comments on his conversion to Catholicism. Fr Thwaites had said: “In that first letter home I told my parents I’d become a Catholic since leaving England, and that in spite of everything I’d had the happiest three and a half years of my life. I forget how I tried to explain it, but it would not have been more succinct than King David’s ‘Thou has put into my heart more than when corn and wine abound’ in Psalm 4. I expect my family thought I had gone off my head.”

Fr Thwaites’s funeral Mass was due to take place on Friday at noon at Corpus Christi church in Bournemouth, Dorset.

A Requiem Mass in Latin is also due to be celebrated at noon on Saturday September 29 at St Bede’s Clapham Park, London. source

And, here is the link to his talk on the Rosary:


The Rosary by Rev Fr. Hugh Thwaites

The Rosary by Rev Fr. Hugh Thwaites

Posted by Confraternitas Orandi on Tuesday, August 14, 2018


In the following link you may read an account from a priest who knew Fr. Thwaites: link.  It is interesting that Fr. Thwaites did not shy away from talking about the real existence of Hell (as noted in that link), and the possibility that priests go there on a regular basis. That might shock us, but after reading the news in the past several months, it seems plausible, regrettably so. That is not repeated lightly, that even one priest goes to hell for all eternity is horrible, but to think of many going there….

But, back to Fr. Thwaites: his voice is a voice coming to us as one of our ancestors in the Faith; the voice of a man proven, and faithful, to the end.

In these days of spiritual confusion, let us listen to the voice of a priest who lived the Faith, and do what he (and Our Lady!) said to do: pray the daily Rosary.

There are numerous Rosary crusades popping up on the internet: crusades for the World, for the Church, for family life. We are the Church Militant, we do not give up. We do not let evil have the final say, and we do this by picking up our Rosaries, today and every day.



Rosary Crusades:

Rosary to the Interior for the Purification of the Church: link

Rosary Novena for the Church, public group on Facebook: link

Search “Rosary crusade” on the internet, can find other Rosary crusades to join. The Rosary Confraternity is also good to join: link


•Additional Rosary-themed quotes, because we all need to know what our ancestors knew about the Rosary:

“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”
Pope Blessed Pius IX

“If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.”
Blessed Alan de la Roche

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.”
Saint Francis de Sales

“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessing.”
Blessed Alan de la Roche

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”

Saint Dominic

“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena

“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”

Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
Pope Saint Pius X

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”

Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer

“When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.”

Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

Image, above: Fr. Hugh Thwaites