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6 Name results for Alsace

Bellew, Christopher, 1818-1867, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/63
  • Person
  • 25 July 1818-18 March 1867

Born: 25 July 1818, Mountbellew, County Galway
Entered: 11 February 1850, Issenheim, Alsace, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1856, Montaubon, France
Final vows: 03 December 1866
Died: 18 March 1867, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Older brother of Michael RIP 1868

by 1853 at Vals, France (TOLO)
by 1854 in Cologne, Germany (GER) studying Theology 1
by 1855 at Malta College (ANG) for Regency
by 1857 at Montauban, France (TOLO) studying Theology
by 1860 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Son of an Irish Baronet (probably the Galway Parliamentarians of the 18th and 19th Centuries). Older brother of Michael RIP 1868. Their home was frequently visited by Jesuits, and this helped develop a great love in Christopher for the Society.
After his early education in Grammar and Humanities, he went to Trinity. As he was an eldest so, his family wanted to prepare him as the future representative of the family in an understanding of Society and Politics. So he also travelled much in Europe for that purpose.
In about 1840 a “fashionable marriage” was announced in the Press between the eldest son of and old Catholic Baronet, and the eldest daughter of an old Protestant Baronet, Sir John Burke of Marble Hall. All preparations were in place and the bridegroom went to Clongowes to make a Retreat before his marriage. His younger brother Michael, already being in the Society, meant that the interest of the Community is Christopher was higher than usual. he impressed all with his piety. Waiting for news of the marriage, it seemed to have been delayed, and after a while, there was a rumour that he was in a Novitiate on the Continent. Apparently an issue had arisen which had proven a stumbling block, namely Christopher’s insistence that any children should be raised Catholic. He communicated this to his bride whilst on retreat. A suggestion came back from her family that perhaps any girls would stay with the mother’s religion. Christopher responded by saying that he could not accept this arrangement. He wrote again indicating that the only solution was to relieve her of her promise, and to declare arrangements at an end. Her family wrote back acceding to his request that the children would all be Catholics, but this letter arrived too late - he had left Clongowes, and nobody knew where he was. For some years he did not return to Ireland, and when he did, he was Rev Christopher Bellew SJ. In the meantime, Miss Burke had herself become a Catholic, and lead a very holy life, remaining single, and devoting her life to charitable works.
Christopher joined the Society at Issenheim in France, and after First Vows, began studies in Philosophy at Vals, France. He was later sent to teach Grammar at a TOLO College. While there he became ill, and so was sent to Malta, where he remained as a Teacher for two years. He then returned to France and was Ordained there 1856 at Montaubon.
He then returned to Ireland and spent three years teaching at Colleges.
1859 He was sent to the Dublin Residence as Operarius, and remained there until his death 18 March 1867. He had been very zealous in the hard work of the Confessional.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Christopher Bellew 1818-1867
The life of Christopher Bellew reads like some edifying romantic tale. He was born in Mount Bellew County Galway, the eldest son of Sir Michael Bellew, Baronet. From his earliest years he had a great knowledge and love of the Society, for during his father’s lifetime “Ours” used frequently visit the family mansion, and stay a few days there.
Having completed his early studies, he was sent by his family to Trinity College Dublin, where he went through a distinguished course. He then travelled extensively on the continent to complete his education.
About the year 1840, his forthcoming marriage to the eldest daughter of Sir John Burke of Marble Hall, was announced in the Press. The bridegroom came to Clongowes to make a retreat prior to his marriage. Needless to say the Community at Clongowes were intensely interested in the matter, especially as Christopher’s younger brother Michael was already a Jesuit. Weeks passed, and still no account in the papers of this fashionable marriage. At length a rumour started which grew into a certainty, that the bridegroom was in a Jesuit noviceship somewhere on the continent.

What had happened was this : All the preliminaries to the marriage had been settled except one, the religion of the children, as the intended bride was a Protestant. According to a custom, which rightly or wrongly existed at the time, the bride’s family insisted that the girls of the marriage should follow the religion of their mother. To this condition the bridegroom would not agree, and he wrote to say that he released the young lade from her promise and that the negotiations were at an end.

The upshot of this was that the young lade became a Catholic and led a holy life in single blessedness, devoting her time to works of charity.

Christopher entered the noviceship at Issenheim in Alsace. He was ordained priest at Montaubon in 1856. Recalled to Ireland, he taught for three years in the Colleges, and then was stationed for the rest of his life at Gardiner Street. There he was an outstanding operarius, zealous and untiring in the confessional.

He died on March 18th 1867. He succeeded his father Sir Michael Bellew in 1855, and is listed in Burke’s Peerage as the Reverend Sir Christopher Bellew.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Christopher Bellew (1818-1867)

Was master at the Crescent from 1860 to 1861 and again from 1862- to 1864. He was the eldest son of Sir Michael Bellew, Bart, of Mountbellew Bridge, Co Galway. After his studies at Clongowes, he entered Trinity College, Dublin and later got a commission in the army. He was heir to the title and family property but resigned his claims in 1850 to enter the Society. The story of his call to the religious life is curious, if not even romantic. From his family's viewpoint, he had made an excellent match in becoming engaged to the daughter of Sir John Burke of Marble Hall, Co Galway. Unfortunately, his bride-to-be was a Protestant, and her family insisted, according to the custom of the time, that any daughters born of the marriage should follow their mother's religious beliefs. Young Bellew, as the time for the marriage-ceremony approached, decided to return to Clongowes to make a retreat under one of his old masters. During his stay at Clongowes, he wrote to Sir John Burke, insisting that all children of the marriage must be Catholics. The Burkes replied that they could not accede to his demands. Bellew now intimated that he felt bound in conscience to terminate the engagement. This time, the Burkes, anxious that the marriage should be gone on with, waived their demands on the religion of their future grand-daughters. But the letter arrived too late to find him. Christopher Bellew had gone abroad. Later it was learned that he had entered the Society in Alsace. On the completion of his noviceship, he entered on his philosophy studies at Vals in the Lyons Province of the Society, and is next heard of as master in a Jesuit College of the Toulouse Province and later in Malta. He returned to France for the study of theology and was ordained at Montauban. Here, it can be recalled, that his former bride-to-be, Miss Burke of Marble Hall, on learning of Christopher's vocation, became a Catholic herself. She never married but spent her life in works of zeal and charity.

Father Bellew's priestly life was short. After his time in the Crescent, he was transferred to Gardiner St Church where he died three years later. Old newspapers of the time refer to him as “The Rev Sir Christopher Bellew, Bart, SJ”. He never used the title himself, although he could not legally renounce it. He was long remembered at Gardiner St Church as a zealous priest, especially in the laborious work of the confessional.

Bellew, Michael, 1825-1868, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/916
  • Person
  • 27 July 1825-29 October 1868

Born: 27 July 1825, Mountbellew, County Galway
Entered: 28 August 1845, St Andrea, Rome, Italy (ROM)
Ordained: 1858
Final vows: 02 February 1865
Died: 29 October 1868, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Younger brother of Christopher RIP 1867

by 1855 in Palermo, Sicily Italy (SIC) studying Philosophy
by 1856 Studying at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG)
by 1859 at Paderborn Germany (GER) studying Theology
by 1868 at Burgundy Residence France (TOLO) health

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Son of an Irish Baronet (probably the Galway Parliamentarians of the 18th and 19th Centuries). Younger brother of Christopher RIP 1867, but Entered four years before him. Their home was frequently visited by Jesuits, and this helped develop a great love in Christopher for the Society.

He was sent to Rome for his Novitiate, but he was not long there when his strength began to fail. General Roothaan, seeing how valuable a man he might be in the future, sent him to Issenheim (FRA) to complete his Noviceship. When he had completed his study of Rhetoric, he came to the Day School in Dublin, where he trained the boys to great piety. Then he was sent to Clongowes as a Prefect.
1855 He was sent to St Beuno’s for Theology, spending his 2nd Year at Montauban, his 3rd at Belvedere, and his 4th at Paderborn.
After Ordination he was sent to Belvedere for a year.
1860 He was Minister at Tullabeg
1861 He was an Operarius and teacher in Galway.
1864-1867 He was appointed Rector at Galway 26 July 1864, taking his Final Vows there 22 February 1865.
1867 His health broke down, and he was sent to the South of France - James Tuite was appointed Vice-rector in his place. When he returned to Ireland, he stayed at Gardiner St, and died there 29 October 1868.

Kean, John, 1825-1866, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1494
  • Person
  • 30 April 1825-21 October 1866

Born: 30 April 1825, Keady, County Armagh
Entered: 07 August 1850, Montréal, Québec, Canada - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1858
Professed: 15 August 1864
Died: 21 October 1866, Montpellier, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)

Part of the Issenheim, France community at the time of death

O'Malley, Joseph, 1832-1910, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1925
  • Person
  • 07 October 1832-23 August 1910

Born: 07 October 1832, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1850, Issenheim, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1867, Rome, Italy
Final vows: 02 February 1870
Died: 23 August 1910, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

by 1854 at Laval France (FRA) studying Philosophy 1
by 1862 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying Philosophy 1
by 1863 in Rome Italy (ROM) studying Philosophy and Theology
by 1869 at Paderborn Germany (GER) making Tertianship
Early Australian Missioner 1870 - first to New Zealand 1879

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He made his Noviceship in France with William Kelly, and then remained there for studies with E Browne and Edmund Hogan.
1855 He was sent for Regency to Tullabeg teaching Grammar and the Choir.
1858 He was sent as Fourth Prefect to Clongowes with Joseph Dalton (1st) and William Delaney (3rd)
1859 he was sent to Tullabeg as Lower Line Prefect with Andrew H Rorke as Higher Line
1860/61 He was back at Clongowes.
1861 He was sent to Rome for Philosophy and Theology, and he was Ordained there 1867. William Delaney was a fellow Theologian there
1868-1869 He was sent to Paderborn for Tertianship
1869-1870 He was sent to teach Grammar at Tullabeg, and after his Final Vows 02 February 1870, he was immediately sent to Australia with Frank Murphy
1870-1878 He was sent as Prefect of Studies and Spiritual Father at St Patrick’s Melbourne.
1878-1890 He went to New Zealand with Thomas McEnroe, to Dunedin, at the invitation of Bishop Patrick Moran. There was a College started there which was not a success, and he returned to Australia in 1885 and to Riverview until 1890.
1890 He was sent to St Patrick’s Melbourne again as Spiritual Father.
1892 He was sent to Hawthorn as Operarius.
1899-1903 He was sent to Richmond as Operarius.
1903 He was sent to Norwood, Adelaide and he died there 23 August 1910
He was a holy, learned and hardworking man, and with his death disappeared the last of the Pioneer Irish Jesuits of the Australian Mission. He spent forty years there, but he never forgot old Ireland, and loved to think and speak of “The friends he knew long ago, Where the Shannon and Barrow and Blackwater flow”.
He was a great friend of the working man everywhere, and wrote articles in Michael Davitt’s “Labour World”.

Note from Thomas McEnroe Entry :
1878 He was sent with Joseph O’Malley to found a house in New Zealand which ended up being closed. Joseph O’Malley lived at Dunedin and Thomas lived at Invercargill.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Jesuits in New Zealand
There is no Jesuit house in New Zealand, though there have been false starts. There was a short-lived Jesuit mission in Invercargill, and Jesuits taught philosophy in the Christchurch seminary. Wicklow-born Bishop Moran of Dunedin wanted a Jesuit school, and in 1878 welcomed two Irish Jesuits, Joseph O’Malley and Thomas McEnroe, who opened St Aloysius’ College in Dunedin (pictured here), with fifteen boarders and six day-boys. But it was the bishop rather than the people who wanted the school, and it lasted only five years. The site became a golf course, in which the 14th hole is still called (incongruously for Jesuits) “the Monastery”.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph O'Malley was educated as a secondary student at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, 1844-46, and entered the Society in France, 30 September 1850. He completed his juniorate there before regency which was done partly at Tullabeg and partly at Clongowes, 1855-61. He went to the Roman College for philosophy and theology, 1861-68, and to Paderborn, Germany, for tertianshdp. He returned to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg in 1869 teaching physics, and directing the choir. He arrived in Melbourne in May 1870, and until 1878 taught at St Patrick's College. He was also involved in pastoral work. In 1878 he was sent to New Zealand as superior of a college at Waikari, Dunedin. He remained there teaching until 1883 when he returned. He taught senior English at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, until 1890, organised a choir, instructed music and prefected the library. He was spiritual father for some years. In teaching he devised a system of mnemonics for the use of students. The system aimed at combining topical rhymes with catch words, each letter of which had a numerical value. He had a pamphlet printed for English history from the date of the Conquest, and another for European geography. Later, he was sent to St Patrick's College for two years, where he also helped the editor of the “Messenger”. Parish work followed at Hawthorn, 1892-98, Richmond, 1898-03, and Norwood, 1903-04. He returned to Riverview, 1904-5, and finally was in the parish of Norwood, 1905-10. From written accounts he seemed to have been a humorous, whimsical and original character, as well as a hardworking and self-sacrificing Jesuit. He wrote extensively about the education question in Victoria during the 1870s, and many articles in the Advocate. In 1875 he published a pamphlet Secular Education and Christian Civilization, and it would seem that this work had a large influence. It became something of a textbook for the Catholic protagonists pressing for a review of the Secular Education Act, a campaign that resulted in the second Royal Commission on Education. He was also an eloquent and vehement, not to say fiery, orator, and on at least one occasion displeased superiors for speaking too forcefully on some socio-political question. He was a great displeased superiors for speaking too forcefully on some socio-political question. He was a great friend of the working man everywhere, and wrote articles in Michael Davitt's Labour World. This did not please the Father General Anderledy or Father General Martin, the latter describing him as “Dyscolus turbulentusque”. However, this did not prevent him from being appreciated and loved by the faithful to whom he ministered. He was a popular retreat-giver for the clergy (by 1872 he had given the Melbourne priests retreat three times in a row. Apart from mnemonics, articles of his in the press covered the topics of temperance, smoking, “Modern Thought”, music, the Catholic Press, St Patrick, and the Catacombs. He attended the 1885 Plenary Council of Australasia as theologian to Bishop Moran of Dunedin - one of the seven Jesuits present at that Council in various capacities. O'Malley was a musician of real distinction, hence his involvement with choirs and music in whatever house he resided. He wrote a volume of compositions which was passed for publication, but which the publishers to whom it was offered - Sampson, Lord, Marston and Co - did not think would pay.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, Golden Jubilee 1880-1930

Riverview in the ‘Eighties - A McDonnell (OR 1866-1888)

Fr Joseph O'Malley was like Fr Nolan, an old man. He was the Professor of English, History and Geography, and he was well qualified to discharge the duties of that office. He was a purist in English, but not a pedantic. one. He frequently pointed out that terms, which some considered “slang”, were perfectly legitimate words, which had become displaced by more unworthy ones. One Sunday at Religious Instruction class, one of the boys remarked that he would be satisfied if he had Fr. O'Malley's "show" of going to Heaven. Immediately one of the senior boys, who dearly loved to see a debate develop, broke in with: “Order penal studies for him, Sir, for using slang”, Fr. O'Malley said: “Tom, I should not make too certain of that. Many such words are perfectly classical. Take for instance the common expression “hard lines”, which most people would regard as slang, is a Scriptural expression, for we read of one whose “lot was cast in hard lines”. Fr, O'Malley devised a system of Mnemonics for the use of the students in the study of History and Geography. The boys rejected such aids with scorn, at first, but very soon they were convinced of the utility of the system, which aimed at combining topical rhymes with catch words, each letter of which had a numerical value. He had a pamphlet printed for English History, from the date of the Conquest, and another for European Geography. He forced into the service every letter of the alphabet, which gave a greater range in the formation of suit able catch words. The great advantage of this system was that its key could be mastered in about five minutes, and once mastered, was never for gotten. It was not intended to displace the ordinary text books on the above subjects, but to act as an aid to their study. For the purpose of teaching European History Fr O'Malley had special large sized, linen bound, exercise books, specially ruled and bound. Each page was divided into one hundred divisions, each of which represented a year. These were ruled with lines for the entry of important events of that year, with its catchword incorporated. The page was also divided into halves and quar ters by heavier boundaries. In addition each page had a strip of coloured paper pasted at the top, and this was different on each page. The idea was to form a mental record, or photograph, of each page, and of the facts recorded thereon. In class there was a competition in the forming of the most suitable catchword for each important event, and when the best avail able was ascertained, it was duly entered up. The system worked splendidly, and even those most opposed to it were soon forced to admit its merits.

Fr O'Malley was the best preacher of all the Fathers in the house in my time. He was indeed a most impressive preacher, of the quiet, restrained type, and he used no gestures. He had so thoroughly applied his memory system to his own work, that if, six months after he had delivered a sermon in the chapel, one of the students quoted a short passage of that sermon from a note made at the time of delivery, Fr O'Malley could supply the context, both before and after the extract quoted. I have known this to take place many times. As I remarked before, Fr O'Malley was at this time an old man, and a heavy one, and I was, therefore, very much surprised to see him put his hand on a fence, and vault over with the agility of a boy. His mental activity and vigour were even more striking. With us he enjoyed and merited the reputation of a saint. It was said that since his ordination, thirty-five years before, he had celebrated Mass every day with the exception of one day on the voyage to Australia, when the sea was too rough to attempt it. Like nearly all the Fathers he had a strong practical turn, and was an artificer, and possessed a fine set of tools. These he would willingly lend to those who understood the working of them, and would take care of them. On each tool, cut into the woodwork with an engraving tool, appeared the words “To be brought back”. If the tool was wholly of metal, the same words would appear, etched upon the metal with acid. When he inspected his kit there were no “absentees”.

Pölzl, Franz, 1825-1913, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/360
  • Person
  • 07 February 1825-08 April 1913

Born: 07 February 1825, Steyer, Steyerland, Austria
Entered: 01 January 1852, Baumgartenberg Austria - Austriae Province (ASR)
Final vows: 02 February 1862
Died: 08 April 1913, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
1863 Franz arrived on the Austrian Mission to Australia at Adelaide 04 November 1863 with Francis Lenz and Ignacy Danielwicz. They were all skilled in various branches of domestic service. One who knew him well before his death wrote : “Brother Pölzl was a very pious Brother, and had a great reputation for having been a great worker, he never spared himself”.

The writer of an interesting article entitles “The Society in Australia”, which appeared in the “Woodstock Letters”, refers to Brother Pölzl : “as being one of those, together with Father Polk, to whom we are indebted for the details of the events which led to the founding of the Mission of the Society in South Australia. Both Father Polk and Brother Pölzl were assiduous in collecting full and correct data of what had happened in the early years and in committing to writing the events of which they were eye-witnesses”.

He was for several years confined to his room and was very grateful when anyone paid him a visit. He was always occupied with prayer or a pious book. The only time he left his room was when he dragged himself to the chapel close by for Mass and Holy Communion.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Francis Poelzl's father was a tailor in good standing, and he himself did his apprenticeship and became a master tailor; but from boyhood he wished to be a religious. In 1845 he took a vow of perpetual chastity. After that he offered himself, first to the Brothers of Charity, a nursing congregation, and then to the Franciscans; but both refused him. Only then did he approach the Jesuits, whom he preferred. They accepted him, and he entered at Innsbruck, 1 January 1852.
At that time the Austro-Hungarian province was still dispersed owing to the troubles of 1848-49, and he began his noviciate with the French novices at lssenheim, but, the Austrian noviciate being re-established at Baumgartenberg, it was there that he completed his two years and took vows, in 1854. He was then stationed at Tyrnau as a tailor. In 1859 he began to petition to be sent on the South Australian Mission, and his request was finally granted in 1863.
He arrived at Sevenhill, 4 November 1863. and remained there most of his life as sacristan tailor, infirmarian and buyer. He spent short times at Norwood, Georgetown and Jamestown cooking and performing domestic duties.
Poelzl's real contribution to the Austrian Mission and Australian province was the “History of the Mission” that he compiled and wrote on the orders of his superiors, and which was illustrated with his own photographs, coupled with the volumes of news cuttings that he made between 1866 and 1903. He was also much appreciated as an infirmarian, and his services were sought after, even to caring for the bishop of Adelaide, Dr Reynolds, when he was dying. He nursed the bishop for three months. He was totally dedicated to his vocation, and was a hard worker.

Note from Patrick Dalton Entry
He translated many of the early German documents, such as the letters of Father Kranewitter and the diary of Brother Pölzl.

Routh, Bernard, 1695-1768, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2073
  • Person
  • 12 February 1696-18 January 1768

Born: 12 February 1696, Guttermanstein, Alsace, Germany
Entered: 01 October 1716, Paris, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 04 May 1727, Paris, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1734, La Flèche
Died: 18 January 1768, Mons, Belgium - Franciae Province (FRA)

1730 At College of Bourges FRA teaching Humanities, Rhetoric and Philosophy. Is a Doctor of Arts
1736-1737 Vice Rector Irish College Poitiers (enters himself as “Hibernus”)
1743 At College of Paris, Scriptor
1757-1761 At Professed House Paris
“A man of distinguished talent, highly proficient in all subjects - fit to write or transact business”

Remark in details of Thomas Ronan :
“Bernard Routh says he was born in France of Irish parents (MS p99 and Exaten Vol V p75) - does this refer to Ronan or Routh himself??, as he was born abroad himself at Speyer Dioc is mentioned first beside Ronan”

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Perhaps a relative of his fellow Irishman Dr Routh (cf “Biographe Universelle” and Webb’s “Irish Biography”)
A Historian; A Critic; Professor of Irish College Poitiers
Converted Montesquieu (principle source of the theory of separation of powers)
One of the writers of the “Journal de Trécoux” from 1734-1743 (cf about 10 of his books in de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ” under Routh and Mareuil)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Capt William Rothe Kilkenny, and Margaret née O’Dogherty
Had studied at Irish College Poitiers before Ent 01 October 1716 Paris
1718-1724 After First Vows he was sent to La Flèche for Philosophy and then for Regency to Compiègne.
1724-1728 He was then sent to Collège Louis le Grand Paris for Theology, and was ordained there c 1727
1728-1732 After Theology he was sent to Bourges for studies and graduated D Phil, continuing on there to teach.
1732-1736 Sent to teach Philosophy at La Flèche
1736-1738 Rector of Irish College Poitiers.
1738 Over the previous decade his tastes had been developing for literature and he had now some half dozen books to his credit. He was now recalled to Paris and until the dissolution of the Society in France devoted himself to Letters. He was a friend of Charles de Montesquieu, whom he reconciled on his death-bed to the Church.
He died at Mons, France 18 January 1768 and his published works are listed in Somervogel
In spite of his birth abroad, he was regarded by his Irish and French contemporaries as Irish. His name was proposed amongst those of Irish Jesuits abroad for nomination to the Irish Mission and it had even been suggested that Routh should be made Superior of the Irish Mission.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Routh, Bernard
by Patrick M. Geoghegan

Routh, Bernard (1695–1768), Jesuit in France and confessor to Montesquieu, was born 11 February 1695 at Godramstein, Alsace, France, son of Capt. William Rothe, soldier, and Margaret Rothe (née O'Dogherty). From an early age he decided on a career in the priesthood and, after being educated at the Collège des Jésuites Irlandais in Poitiers, he entered (1 October 1716) the Society of Jesus. He studied at La Flèche, then at Compiègne, and finally at the Jesuit college in Paris. An excellent scholar and poet, in 1725 he published ‘Ode à la reine’, in a collection of poems to celebrate the marriage of King Louis XV. He taught at Bourges until 1732 and after that at La Flèche. Ordained a priest (1734), he expressed a preference for the Irish mission and was appointed rector of the Irish college at Poitiers (1736). He loved teaching and revelled in his role as a professor; around this time he also began publishing works on philosophy and theology which would help establish him as one of the leading literary figures in France. His Recherches sur la manière d'inhumer des anciens á l'occasion des tombeaux de civaux en Poitou (1738) was hailed as an important dissertation and displayed much insight and erudition. The Jesuits were impressed with his scholarship, and in 1739 he was summoned to Paris to serve on the editorial staff of the Journal de Trévoux (1739–43). In 1748 he was asked by the Jesuits to visit the Austrian court to represent the Irish catholics.

It was in 1755 that Routh achieved notoriety throughout Europe. The philosopher Montesquieu had contracted a terminal fever and asked for a confessor. The Jesuit Castel was chosen and he, in turn, sent for Routh, who already knew the dying man. Montesquieu decided to make his final confession to Routh, who insisted on permission to publish an account of the proceedings afterwards. Before administering the final sacrament, Routh interrogated Montesquieu about his attitude to the catholic church and its beliefs and demanded a pledge of public conformity in the event of his recovery. Routh remained with Montesquieu for five days in order, as he later said, to assist him on the path to devotion. According to Madame d'Aiguillon, Routh also bullied Montesquieu into handing over all his private papers; while this is disputed, it is clear that Routh had been ordered by his superiors to secure a literary repentance. Routh's treatment of Montesquieu in his final days was the subject of much criticism and was seized on by opponents of the Jesuits and the church.

When the Society of Jesus was suppressed in France in 1764, Routh settled at Mons in the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), where he was asked to become confessor of the Princess Charlotte de Lorraine. This was his final role before his death on 18 January 1768 at Mons.

James Roche, Critical and miscellaneous essays by an octogenarian (1850), i, 28; O. R. Taylor, ‘Bernard Routh et la mort de Montesquieu’, French Studies, iii (1949), 101–21; Robert Shackleton, Montesquieu: a critical biography (1961); Francis Finegan, ‘The Irish college of Poitiers, 1674–1762’, IER, civ (1965), 30; ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Bernard Routh SJ 1695-1768
Fr Bernard Routh was a relative of David Roth, Bishop of Ossory, and was born in Ireland on February 11th 1695. He was sent to France in his youth and was educated at the Irish College in Poitiers. On the completion of his studies, he became a Jesuit in 1716.

He taught at Poitiers, where he became noted for his learning and critical talents. He was author of numerous works and editor of a paper in Paris. On the Suppression of the Society in 1762, there were about three thousand Jesuits to be provided for. King Stanislaus provided a refuge for twenty Jesuits in his Duchy of Lorraine. He was one of those who attended Montesquieu in his last moments. The statement he unjustly secured for himself some of that great man’s manuscripts is said in the Biographie Generale to be without foundation. The same dictionary enumerates his works, the principal of which appears to have been “Recherches sur a manière d’Inhumer les Anciens en Poitou” (1738), said to be a rare and interesting memoir.

He died at Mons on January 18th 1768 aged 62.