About the Church Service


Smith Mize

Member
Dec 20, 2002
81
0
146
Well, surely there were more religions than just Christianity on the Titanic, right? Well, why didn't they have a church service or whatever? And if they did, who performed it (name of minister, priest, etc.)? It seem kind of ironic to have all these people on the ship, obviously of different religions, and no one has strongly shown in any movie that I've seen (A Night to Remember, Titanic {1950s}, and Titanic {1990s}) or books I've read (A whole lot). Any comments??

- Smith [email protected]
 
Apr 11, 2001
4,565
5
223
It's a good question to be sure. The service held Sunday morning which we see so often, with Capt. Smith doing the hymn leading is what I would call the basic generic Protestant variety. The Episcopal Church (Church of England in America) was the flavor of choice for many of the well-heeled First Class Americans, and of course just right for the Brits aboard too. Col. Gracie gives a particularly glowing account of his superior Anglican faith! Knowing what we know after Henry the Eighth and that business about the Roman Catholics, Mass and Roman priests were something of a "foreign" nature aboard a British ship-the mediteranean cultures, Irish and slavic nations being more in that line. Many movies show a priest saying the rosary on the deck down in steerage-where presumably the largest contingent of Roman Catholics would be found. I would even go so far to say there was a strong anti- Catholic feeling -anything that smacked of pope-ishness was off-putting to the Protestant First and Second class majority. I suspect that minorities were not much of a concern to the Line in 1912- and providing religious services for the Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish contingent aboard was not thought to be required. As Titanic did have aboard a Roman priest, perhaps there may have been a Mass down in steerage- travelling priests did carry consecrated "altar cloths" which were very portable in those days, and bread and wine were easy enough to find. Not knowing very much about other requirements for other faiths, possibly the proper sacramentals and equipment were lacking to offer services for other faiths aboard. I have learned, to my surprise, that some Protestant hymns were well-known by Jewish people- and are indeed today-such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" and others which contain texts suitable for both faiths. One Titanic website on the subject of Nearer My God to Thee claims Jewish passengers may have known the hymn and that the stanza "Even though it be a cross that raiseth me" is not refering at all to the Crucifixion of Christ. Well- enough from me- I sound like The Churchlady!
 
Apr 11, 2001
4,565
5
223
Something else just occured to me- Canon Hind, when sent out from Halifax performed an Anglican ritual at the wrecksite- I am unaware of any other prayers of any other faith being said on the spot. When I organized the religious service aboard Island Breeze for the 1996 RMST expedition, I was literally blessed with a Roman Catholic Priest and a Methodist minister and someone who could recite the Kaddish in Hebrew aboard- all a happy coincidence. So we were able to offer prayers over the wrecksite for many of those lost in their own faith. The Roman Catholic priest from New York even said a special Mass for Michel Navratil and other Catholic passengers, and prayers for the dead at the Halifax cemetery for Mr. Navratil's father who was mistakenly buried in a Jewish cemetery- an experience I will never forget. Someone in the ship's crew made a vestment the night before for the priest to wear to say Mass. The entire Roll of the Dead was read out on that last day, our ship in silence except for the classical and religious background music piped throughout the ship during the reading. Ship's crew took turns reading out the names over the PA system-very emotional I can assure you.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
171
Shelley - can you or anyone else think of who in first class was Catholic? I've often wondered about Catholics in first class, since, in 1912, this would have played a strong part in determining social status, what schools they could go to, etc.

I know that Margaret Brown, Mrs Rothschild and the Baxters were Catholic. I assume Thomas McCaffrey was since he was buried in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery. It's safe to assume that any French or Spanish passengers were, as well as those passengers of Irish descent, such as Will and Daisy Minahan, Mr Flynn, Mr McGough, and Mr Daly.

I'm glad this discussion was started. I've always wanted to raise the issue but was afraid it would look like I considered passengers of my religion more important than other people, which is certainly not the case.

Happy New Year...
-Brian Ahern
 
Apr 16, 2001
443
4
183
Hi Brian,

Rather quickly, I know that survivor Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza converted to Catholicism following his marriage to Mary Racine, who had French ancestry. Charlotte Cardeza, Thomas' mother, was especially distressed by this action which caused a break in their communication for many years.

Miss Marie Young was buried in a Catholic cemetery here in New York - sadly, in an unmarked grave. I don't think she was Catholic however.

As you mentioned, the Spanish, French and Irish first-class were most likely Catholic - and that would include others such as Dr. Brewe, Mr. Colley, Mr. Artagaveytia, the Carraus, Mr. Uruchurtu and, of course, most of the first-class servants.

Hope this helps.

Mike Findlay
 
May 12, 2005
3,109
2
163
Brian,

Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon was reared Roman Catholic until his teens when the family joined the Church of England. His Italian-born mother, Maria Antrobus Duff Gordon, became a strong supporter of the High Church party and was fiercely opposed to his marrying Lucy because she had been divorced. They waited to marry in fact until after his mother, who was in very bad health, had died. In his later years, Cosmo was a member of Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) in Brompton, London.

Lucy Christiana Duff Gordon was raised Catholic by her strictly religious Irish grandmother, Lucy Anne Wilcocks Saunders, but she never adopted the faith in adult life and in fact rejected Christianity. Like her sister, Elinor Sutherland Glyn, Lucy became interested in the metaphysical and was a follower of the New Thought movement of the early 1900s.

Lucy was converted to Christianity in 1915, following a serious illness, through her friendship with Baptist evangelist Billy Sunday.

At her death, Lucy Duff Gordon was also a member of Holy Trinity in London.

Randy
 

Phillip Gowan

Member
Apr 10, 2001
1,128
1
221
Brian, one small correction--John Irwin Flynn, although of Irish extraction, was not Catholic.

Regards,
Phil
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
171
Thanks to all those who replied,and to you Phil, for the correction.

I actually have a correction too. Mike, Mr Colley came from a very aristocratic Anglo-Irish family (descended from the Duke of Wellington, according to Senan Moloney) and was not Catholic. And though Dr Brewe was born in Ireland, for some reason I don't think he was Catholic either.

George Brereton might have been Catholic since he (I believe) had an Irish-born father and a German-born mother. Irish and Germans often married because they shared the Catholic faith (as was the case in my family).

Thanks for the info from everyone. That's especially surprising about the Duff Gordons.

Regards,
Brian
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
8
223
South Florida
I am interested in knowing whether Dr. Alice Leader was Seventh-Day Adventist, as research shows that she practiced medicine at the Florida Sanitarium in Orlando, FL, a forerunner of the SDA's highly respected Florida Hospital in service today. (Best hospital food I ever ate!)

Kyrila
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
171
Thanks, Colleen.

Kyrilla, Dr Leader's another passenger I've always wanted to know more about. Forgive my naivete, but isn't Seventh Day Adventist an offshoot of another branch of Christianity? If so, which one? I tend to think of Dr Leader as coming from a WASPy old New York family. Probably because she was friends with the very WASPy Mrs Swift.
But, then, being a doctor, she was clearly a very forward-thinking individual and could have converted.
Her obit here on ET states that a "Father O'Farrell" officiated at her funeral. This sounds very Catholic, but I doubt she belonged to that faith.

Switching gears, does anyone know what religion the Stengels were? I've always assumed Henry Stengel was Jewish. In fact, I think I've come across a post-disaster article where he discussed what an inspiration Ida and Isidor Straus were to the Jewish community (I could be confusing him with another survivor). But Annie May Stengel's indignant references to "the Hebrew doctor" (Frauenthal) who landed on her in the lifeboat have always thrown me because they sound rather disparaging, as if being Hebrew implied something.
I know Mrs Stengel herself wasn't Jewish because her funeral was a "Solemn High Requiem Mass" at the Church of Good Counsel in Newark. I ought to know what religion this indicates but I don't. It would be interesting to know if she was married to a Jew, though, in light of her remarks.

Or at least the remarks attributed to her by the papers...

-Brian
 
Feb 18, 2003
19
0
71
I just wanted to say something about the last church service on titanic. In the movie Jack goes to the service but is not allowed in. But I heard somewhere that the church services were opened to all the classes on the ship. Please give some feedback.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,045
61
308
UK
Nothing on the Titanic, or any other 'immigrant ship' was open to all classes. US immigration laws required that 3rd Class passengers were kept apart from 'cabin' passengers at all times, in order to minimise risk of the spread of infectious disease. On arrival in New York, 3rd Class passengers were subject to stringent health checks but 1st and 2nd Class were spared this indignity. Had they been allowed to mix, ALL passengers would be regarded as potential health risks and treated accordingly.
 

Similar threads