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Monday, 7 August 2017

Father Robert ("Bob") Carden OFM

Those who attended the 2008 Gathering will be sad to hear of the death of Father Robert ("Bob") Carden OFM, on August 1st 2017.

This picture of Bob is taken from a YouTube lecture in 2015.

I wrote the following in 2008:

I greatly enjoyed meeting 80 year-old Father Bob Carden, OFM, of Australia.  The school of which he is chaplain in Perth kindly paid for him to come to the Gathering as a thank-you for 17 years' service.  He would not otherwise have been able to come because of his vow of poverty as a Franciscan brother.  He is a member of my own, Barnane, branch of the family, descended from a Nicholas Carden, born about 1737 at Barnane, who married a Catholic and was therefore omitted from all the family records from then onwards.  Later research showed that most of his descendants emigrated to Australia, all remaining Catholic to this day.

Planning Bob's trip led to the exchange of a great many emails between us, culminating in a telephone call from him on the evening of his first full day in Henfield.  "I am at the bed-and-breakfast you booked for me, it is late at night, the whole place seems deserted!"  What to do?  Fortunately my brother, booked at the same place, soon arrived with keys!

All of those who attended the church service in Henfield will remember him leading the intercessions, in his Franciscan 'habit.' But it was when we arrived in Ireland that he showed his true nature, witty, leprechaun-like and responding vigourously to my irreverent taunts. He immediately struck up friendships with several Catholic priests in Templemore (one aged 95, who came to our major event in the ballroom, and who, we were told, goes dancing every week!).


Perhaps now the story can be told of his half-brother Norman Carden Haylock, born out of wedlock in 1899, 28 years older than Bob. Bob never knew of his existence but Elizabeth Haylock, Norman's daughter, has all the necessary evidence.

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