By Fr. H. P. Currie
Parish priest of Tenterden The Cetholic Church in East Sussex has lost a great member in the sudden death of Mrs. T. Penrose Fry, better known as Miss Sheila Kaye-Smith.
She and her husband, who was formerly an Anglican clergyman, were received into the Church at the Farm Street Jesuit Church in London in 1928. They then settled near the village of Northiarn. in East Sussex, where they gave nearly an acre of their land for a church and Catholic cemetery.
The little church dedicated to St. Teresa of Lisieux was opened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1935, and the cemetery was consecrated shortly afterwards.
The parish priest of. Tenterden, the writer of this short memoir, has supplied the St. Teresa's from Tenterden ever since it was opened. and before that the hayloft chapel at Little Doncegrove, the novelist's country home.
Mrs. Fry was a fervent Catholic without making a parade of her piety. She joined the Tertiaries of St. Dominic some years ago and followed their Rule very carefully; and indeed she was buried in their habit.
Of a very retiring disposition she never allowed her left hand to know what her right was doing. Well do I remember many years ago taking quite a considerable sum of money to a family in need with the firm request that it should he given as a gift from the Little Flower. Others, too, got a gift or a kind message of sympathy when in sorrow.
She was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, and most days paid a visit to the church or made the Stations of the Cross; and was a frequent communicant.
Just towards the end of her life, when her breathing had become very bad—she suffered from bronchial asthma—she still toiled up the rough lane leading from her house to the church.
On one occasion she was seen holding the hedge until she regained her breath, but the daily visit was made nevertheless.
She loved the Sussex countryside and understood its people, as her many novels so eloquently testify. It was a great grace and certainly would have been her wish to die in the surroundings she knew and loved so well.
She is buried in the cemetery in front of the church she built on the spot she herself had chosen many years ago.
May Our Lord and His Blessed Mother have woven for her the crown of unfading glory. R.I.P.