Edward Bouverie Pusey (commemorated 16th September) was a leader in the Oxford Movement in the Church of England. The movement sought to restore Catholic teachings and vision to the heart of the Victoria Church of England. Pusey was born in 1800 and in 1819 went to Oxford, and Oxford was to remain the centre of his life.
John Henry Newman, who until he joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 was a leader with Pusey of the Oxford Movement said; ‘Dr. Pusey gave us at once a position and a name … He was a Professor, and Canon of Christ Church who had a vast influence in consequence of his deep religious seriousness, the munificence of his charities, his Professorship…’
In 1828 Pusey married Maria Catherine Barker with whom he had fallen in love before he went to Oxford. She died in 1839. Pusey never recovered from her death. He retired as much as possible from the world. He declined to attend official dinners, and refused to enter his own drawing room because he and his wife had used it so much together. He dedicated himself to deep study and academic writing, as well as, often anonymous, acts of charity. He sought retirement, study, prayer and a private ministry to individuals. However, at times he felt compelled to publically champion doctrinal truths. He defended growing ritualism in the church, and helped establish new sisterhoods – orders of nuns.
He lived an austere life – even at the age of 70 he made appointments for 7am and worked until midnight. With his bishop’s permission he celebrated Holy Communion in his study each day usually at 4am.
In September 1882 his health declined and he took to his bed. On Saturday September 16th he was heard murmuring the Te Deum and he died at three in the afternoon, with the words ‘My Lord and My God’ on his lips.
Although Pusey’s character and austerity have made him a less attractive character than some of the leaders of the Oxford Movement his scholarship, dedication to truth and Catholic principles and his spirituality have had a significant impact in the Anglican Church.
At St Chrysostom’s he is commemorated in a fine stained glass window in the south aisle of the church.