Roads to Rome: Father Clarence E. Woodman, C.S.P. (1852-1924)

Roads to Rome: Father Clarence E. Woodman, C.S.P. (1852-1924) October 20, 2010
Born in Maine, Clarence Eugene Woodman graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, and Amherst before studying for the Episcopal Church. He converted to Catholicism in 1877 and joined the Paulist Fathers, a community founded by Father Isaac Hecker, himself a convert, to work for the evangelization of America. He was ordained a priest in 1879, and served in a variety of roles: mission preacher, pastor, and campus minister. In 1909, Georgina Pell Curtis edited an anthology of conversion stories titled Some Roads to Rome. Father Woodman’s entry is the shortest of the book:

The story of my conversion is a very simple one. It is this:—

1. I believed, in the words of the Nicene Creed, that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ “came down from heaven for us men and our salvation.”

2. I believed that He established a Church, to carry on this work of man’s salvation to the end of time.

3. I believed that He appointed the Apostles to govern that Church; and that He promised to be with them, and their successors, “always, even to the consummation of the world.”

4. I believed that He chose out one of these Apostles, to be the chief among his brethren: to be His “Vice-regent on earth” to be His Church’s visible head: to “feed” (as He Himself says) “His lambs and His sheep.”

5. I believed that these lambs and sheep cannot belong to the fold of Christ unless they are of that flock which is fed by Christ’s earthly vicar.

6. I believed that this earthly vicar is, and always has been, the successor of St. Peter, out holy father the Pope.

7. Hence to be in communion with Jesus Christ, it is necessary to be in communion with the See of Rome.

8. Hence I became a Roman Catholic.

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