Berkeley, Father Charles

1914, October 26

Date of Birth:   1874, May 9

August 4, 1915

Fathers and Very Dear in Our Lord:

In the United States in the course of the school-year 1914-1915, four of our confreres engaged in our work have died:  Fathers Schwalbach, Berkeley, Chapon, and Dumont. I have been unable up to now to express the traditional tribute of our remembrance. But even late, that tribute remains due, and I herein pay it to them for your edification and as a duty of piety towards those who belong to our family.

Father Charles Call Berkeley was born in Washington on May 9, 1874. He made his early studies at St. Peter’s parochial school, from which he went to the Jesuits’ Georgetown College. He remained there until 1891. Then he went on to continue his studies at our minor seminary of St. Charles. In 1894 he entered the major seminary at Baltimore and was ordained priest on May 21, 1899. While he was in the seminary, he felt himself attracted to our Sulpician life and offered his services to the Superior who at that time was Father Magnien. Sent to the Solitude at Issy in 1903-1904, to make his novitiate there, he was able to stay for only a few months by reason of his poor health. Our confrere, whose constitution was always delicate, was not up to the duties expected of him. 

On his return from the Solitude he was appointed at the minor seminary of St. Charles to teach several courses of English literature and of mathematics. As a teacher he was truly remarkable for his clarity and the liveliness of his presentation. He followed always with interest his students’ work, which he had the knack of making them like thanks to the basic character of his spirit and his heart. Often, he was asked to give conferences on subjects of literature, history, and geography; he did so with acclaim.

Six years ago, his health forced him to spend several months in the hospital, then an entire year in a more moderate climate. Afterwards, he returned to St. Charles in good enough health, so we thought, to take up again his work as teacher. But last summer an attack of typhoid fever so threatened his constitution that lung trouble reasserted itself. The doctor who was looking after him advised him to spend another season in the west of the United States at Colorado Springs where he had recovered his strength after his first attack. But this time the illness was too far advanced, and after two weeks at Colorado Springs his condition worsened. He received the last sacraments on October 25th; on the 29th, he peacefully breathed his last in sentiments of pious resignation to the holy will of God. His body was brought back to the minor seminary, and on November 4th, the patronal feast day [his and the college’s], a solemn Requiem Mass in the temporary chapel was sung for the repose of his soul. Bishop Corrigan, Auxiliary to His Eminence, gave the absolution. The funeral had to be held at an early hour on account of the solemn celebration of the Feast of St. Charles; however, a great number of the clergy attended. Others who could not be there sent their very sincere condolences. The mortal remains of our confrere were temporarily laid in the Cathedral Cemetery, then carried to the cemetery of the major seminary while awaiting burial in the cemetery of the minor seminary of St. Charles.

I recommend to your prayers the four deceased American confreres:  Fathers Schwalbach, Berkeley, Chapon, and Dumont. I renew to you the expression of my very devoted sentiments in Our Lord.

H. Garriguet

Superior of St. Sulpice