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  Themes Homepage > Father Clemente
Famous Slough
Father Clemente

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The arrival in Slough of the Italian priest, Father Joseph Clemente c1883, probably went unnoticed by most of the local residents, yet the entire town mourned his death. Father Clemente came as chaplain to Baylis House School, where the chapel also served as a place of worship for local Roman Catholic families. He soon set about the difficult task of raising money for a church and eventually acquired the freehold on a plot of land on Herschel Street. A disused warehouse and stable were converted to become the first St Ethelbert's church, opening for worship on 4th November 1885.Two sheds became the first St. Ethelbert's school and a Soup Kitchen. Concert supporting  Belgian refugees, Slough. 1914
Concert supporting Belgian refugees, Slough. 1914

Conscious of the poverty faced by so many, Father Clemente founded his Soup Kitchen to serve the poor of Slough, whatever their beliefs. The need was great; during the first few months he organised and provided over 10,000 meals of bread and soup. Work continued for many years, financed by various fund-raising efforts.

Interior of St. Ethelbert's Church c.1930
Interior of St. Ethelbert's Church c.1930
In 1888, Father Clemente gave up his chaplaincy at Baylis House in order to devote himself entirely to his work as priest at St. Ethelbert's. In that same year land was bought for a new church on Curzon Street. Work on the building eventually began in 1907, after the Lady Superior of St. Bernard's Convent donated sufficient funds in memory of her parents. The Consecration and opening of the present church of Our Lady Immaculate and St. Ethelbert took place on April 19th and 20th 1910.

Father Clemente died suddenly on 17th July 1918. Following a Requiem Mass at St. Ethelbert's he was buried in St. Mary's Churchyard.

He had achieved much, both within and beyond the bounds of the parish. To the people of Slough he was a tireless worker, helping all in need. The lengthy articles appearing in the Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer on July 20th and 27th 1918, following his death, amply show the love and respect that he inspired.

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  Themes Homepage > Father Clemente
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