Fall at the friary


When you are a parish priest, especially a Catholic priest, Lent and preparations for Easter are one of the most important and busiest times of the year.

Understandably, it is a common looming fear for everyone living alone that they might have an accident or fall seriously ill and find themselves incapacitated and without assistance when they need it.

Father Matthew Chadwick

Father Matthew Chadwick, Catholic parish priest of Rye, who is here from America and lives alone in the small friary attached to St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Watchbell Street, fell at home on Saturday, March 26 breaking his hip and elbow. Father Matt says he tripped on a chair leg, fell onto the hardwood floor of the friary and “hit the floor harder than a boxer with a glass jaw.”

Finding himself in excruciating pain, Father Matt was luckily offered immediate help by his neighbours, Michael and Graham, who live directly opposite the church.

Father Matt says “My across-the-street neighbours, Graham, who helped me to my feet, and Michael, who called the ambulance many times” were of immediate help and stayed with him offering support and help during the six-hour wait for an ambulance.

St Anthony’s Church in Watchbell Street is not the most accessible building by any means, but when the ambulance finally arrived the crew were, as usual, remarkably professional and compassionate and were successful in loading the stricken priest with as little pain as possible.

At the Conquest Hospital, Father Matt had a hip replacement on the following day. He says “Everyone at the hospital was wonderful, compassionate and competent, from the surgeons to the persons who bought my food and swept the floor. They came from all over – England, Nepal, Canada, India and other spots all over the globe.”

Father Matt wishes to thank everyone for all the good thoughts, kindnesses, emails, cakes, phone calls and visits made to him during this period. He is back at the friary now and supported by his parishioners and brother friars.

A brother friar from America, Father Louis Maximillian, will be arriving on Thursday, April 7 to stay in Rye for one month to help Father Matt and the parish during the recovery period. This will ensure all the special Easter services, the Triduum, to which everyone is welcome, will be celebrated as usual.  Details at http://www.stanthonyrye.com.

Image Credits: Mags Ivatts .

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    • Thank you – but it was definitely a collective effort … and it must be said new Watchbell St residents David and Alex (welcome!) helped greatly as did Ita and some members of the congregation. Pleased Father Matthew is on the mend!


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