It was fifty years ago today that Fr Elias Lynch, O.Carm - founder of the National Shrine of Saint Jude - died, a few weeks after his seventieth birthday. In his last letter to the friends of Saint Jude, Fr Elias wrote:
"On September 25th, I celebrated my seventieth birthday. In the religious life we hardly ever celebrate our birthdays, but it seemed to me that on that day, I would be three score years and ten, that God would have given me grace to live so long. It isn't a long time perhaps in your estimation, but we are a short lived family; I think it is because we all had a bee in our bonnet and that eventually buzzed our lives away...."
"..So I thought I would celebrate my seventieth birthday in case God was a little tired of seeing me around and would decide to take me away before my next Feast Day/. Therefore I set my mind to worry out what I should do and the whole problem was settled for me by [a] nice old lady who wanted to give me a chalice and I started off a chalice fund asking her to contribute £10. Some three hundred people subscribed to the fund and it was over subscribed, so I had another idea.."
In an impulse of generosity, Elias found a beautiful Italian eighteenth-century chalice which he gave to Aylesford for concelebrations. Within a few weeks of his seventieth birthday, Elias had died. He died in the Cottage Hospital in Faversham on All Saints Day, 1 November 1967.
Thank you God for bringing this man to the Carmelites - we have a lot to be grateful for. You can read more about Elias in Friar Beyond the Pale by Fr Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm via our online shop.
May Elias Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.
Saint Jude, pray for us.