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Princess Diana's Uncle: The Servant of God Ignatius Spencer, CP
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Conversion to Catholicism
During his time at Brington, Spencer began to ask questions about his Anglican faith and doubts clouded his mind. He explored each and every tradition, from High Church to Evangelical and even in his own parish he met many Methodists and other non-conformists. George's education was highly scriptural, and he struggled to find a basis in scripture for the doctrines …More
Conversion to Catholicism
During his time at Brington, Spencer began to ask questions about his Anglican faith and doubts clouded his mind. He explored each and every tradition, from High Church to Evangelical and even in his own parish he met many Methodists and other non-conformists. George's education was highly scriptural, and he struggled to find a basis in scripture for the doctrines contained in the 39 Articles. During a holiday on the Isle of Wight Spencer began to read the writings of the early church Fathers, particularly Chrysostom and Gregory the Great. Through this reading, Spencer gradually began to understand the difference between Catholic and Protestant thought.

From 1827, Spencer began to make the acquaintance of several Catholic priests who encouraged Spencer to continue with his reading. Soon afterward Spencer received the first of three anonymous letters from a correspondent in Lille. The correspondent was aware of Spencer's troubles and suggested he give further thought to Catholicism. Finally, a meeting with Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle, a recent English convert to Catholicism, set Spencer on the road to conversion. After several encounters with de Lisle and a number of priests, Spencer resigned his living of Brington, and on 30 January 1830 George Spencer was received into the Catholic Church.

To remove himself from the public eye and to lessen the blow to his parents, Spencer went to Rome to study at the Venerable English College. Here he came into contact with Nicholas Wiseman, later Cardinal, who tutored him on matters of Catholic tradition. Whilst in Rome Spencer also met Dominic Barberi, the Passionist priest with such enthusiasm for the conversion of England to the Catholic faith. Barberi would later have a great part to play in Spencer's life. During his studies at Rome, George wrote an account of his conversion from the Protestant to the Catholic faith that was published in the Catholic journals, and finally he was ordained a deacon in January 1832, and on the feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, 28 May of that same year, he was ordained a priest.