…… About ……

How this Website Came to Be
~ Father John Keep

More than twenty years ago—it was the early 1980s and I was stationed as a parish priest at St. Philip Neri Church in Northport, NY. I was reading a favorite periodical when I came upon an advertisement for a series of audio cassette tapes, retreat conferences it seemed, by an unnamed priest whose talks were praised as being positively addictive.  For $25 one would receive five tapes.  Always looking for new spiritual resources, I ordered a set of five, and then another five just to make sure this priest was consistently as good as he’d been on the first set.  He was.
By now I knew his name--Fr. John Keep was written on the label of each tape--but I knew nothing about him; so I wrote the publisher in England, asking if he could tell me anything about this marvelous man of whom neither I nor anyone I knew had ever heard.  Receiving no response, I wrote again, and waited.

One day the parish secretary buzzed me on the intercom and said I had a call from England.  It turned out to be John Whelan, the publisher of Fr. Keep’s talks.  He was very apologetic about not getting back to me sooner, promised some biographical information about Fr. Keep in the mail; and then invited me to come to England as his guest, at which time he’d arrange for me to meet this elderly priest whom he considered the most holy and insightful spiritual director he knew.


Fr. John Keep and Fr. Charles Fink, July 1991

I was so taken aback that I said I’d have to think about it. Next day there was a full page ad in the newspaper:  American Airlines, Round-trip to London, $600.  I took it as a sign from God, talked to my pastor about when I might get some time off that summer, and called John Whelan.
It was all arranged, and that July I flew to London, where John Whelan picked me up and drove me to his home on the Southeast coast of England.  I stayed with him and his family for a week, in the middle of which, he took me to meet Fr. Keep, with whom I spent two days at the Visitation Convent in the English countryside where he was chaplain.  When I got home, I found that John Whelan, whose home was small and simple, had slipped five 100 pound notes in my luggage, more than paying for my trip.  He explained later that he was so thrilled at my interest in Fr. Keep, whom he esteemed so highly, that it was the least he could do to thank me for coming all that way.
Both John Whelan and Fr. Keep have since died, but I’ve stayed in touch with the Whelan family and the Sisters of the Visitation, who asked if I’d be interested in making Father’s work more widely known.  When I jumped at the chance, they sent me copies on CD and in ten large notebooks of nearly everything Fr. Keep had written over the course of more than thirty years.  The material on this website is excerpted from that material.
 When I think of how all this came about I’m reminded of a saying I heard from another priest friend of mine:   Coincidence is a miracle God performs when He wants to remain in the background.

~ Fr. Charles Fink



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