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Archer, James, 1550-1620, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/877
  • Person
  • 1550-19 February 1620

Born: 1550, Kilkenny
Entered: 25 May 1581, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)
Ordained: c. 1577 Louvain, Italy, - before Entry
Died: 19 February 1620, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

2 yrs Theology in Rome, concentrating on Moral;
In the Roman College 1584; at Pont-à-Mousson as Minister and student confessor, Campaniae Province (CAMP) 1586-7- moved to Nancy 1587 due to danger of war;
First Rector of Salamanca;
famous Missioner in Ireland during “Tyrone war”;
Bruxelles et Castrensis Mission in 1590;
at Salamanca in 1603;
At Bilbao - Castellanae Province (CAST) - in 1614 - Prefect of Irish Mission;
Irish College Salamanca in 1619 and then died in Santiago 15 February 1620.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
First Rector of Salamanca ad great promoter of education; A Most celebrated man whose name was very dear to Irishmen, and with whom he possessed unbounded influence.
He was a famous Missioner in Ireland during the War of Tyrone
In 1617 he was in Castellanae Province (CAST).
Succeeded Fr Thomas White as rector of Salamanca 1592-1605
His name also appears incidentally in the State Papers, Public Record Office, London, 1592, 1594.
He is highly eulogised in a report of Irish Affairs addressed by Capt Hugh Mostian to Louis Mansoni, the Papal Nuncio for Ireland, towards the latter end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. (Oliver’s “Collectanea” from Stonyhurst MSS. Oliver also refers to several of Archer’s letters as still extant)
1606 Archer was constituted the first Prefect of the Irish Mission in the National College, Rome (Irish Ecclesiastical Record April 1872, July 1874 and a biography September 1874)

Note from Bl Dominic Collins Entry
After First Vows he was sent to Ireland as a companion to James Archer, who was a Chaplain to the Spanish invading force sent by Philip III of Spain. He was taken prisoner and rejected the overtures to reject his faith he was hanged (at Cork or Youghal).

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
He had studied at Louvain and was Ordained some time before March 1577. Before he entered the Society he was already a Master of Arts. When he returned to Ireland in 1577, he remained for at least he next eighteen months. He was at Kilmallock, 21 August 1578, when he assisted the Franciscan, Father Conrad Rourke, the eve of his death “in odium fidei”
After First Vows, Archer was deputed to revise his studies at the Roman College and Pont-à-Mousson. At the latter place he served also as Minister of the community and the student-boarders. It would seem that his Superiors were grooming him for professorial duties - However...
1590 By May he was serving as a military chaplain at Brussels
1592 He was sent to Spain to take charge of the newly founded Irish College, Salamanaca.
1596 He returned to Ireland to raise funds there for Salamanca College but his contacts with the Irish chieftains won for him the repute of a political intriguer and the hatred of the administration at Dublin. There can be no doubt that his sympathies lay with the Old Irish whose cause he saw was bound up with the survival of the Catholic Church in the country. He seems to have met Hugh O'Neill about the time of the battle of the Yellow Ford and was later at the camp of the Earl of Desmond. The MacCarthy Mor stated that Archer, by letter, solicited him to rise in rebellion.
1600-1602 He left Ireland for Rome, 20 July, but returned with the fleet of Juan Del Aguila, 23 September 1601 and remained until July 1602. Before his return to Spain he reported to the General on the state of Ireland.
1602-1612 Returned to Spain he held various posts in the Irish College, Salamanca, but seems also to have spent much time questing for the support of the Irish students. For a time he was stationed at Bilbao to win the support of new benefactors of the Irish colleges of the Peninsula.
His later years were spent at Santiago where he died, 19 February 1620

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Archer, James
by C. J. Woods

Archer, James (1550–1620), Jesuit priest and administrator, was born at Kilkenny and belonged, it can be deduced, to a patrician family prominent in that city. To prepare for an ecclesiastical career he went (c.1564) to the Spanish Netherlands, to Louvain, a hotbed of the new militant catholic theology and a strong influence on attempts at extending the counter-reformation to England. On his return to Ireland (1577) he was considered by the English authorities there to be a danger to the Elizabethan church settlement. Undoubtedly he had some sympathy with principals of the Desmond rebellion.

In 1581 Archer entered the Society of Jesus in Rome, continuing his studies there before moving (1585) to Pont-à-Mousson in the duchy of Lorraine, where there was a small seminary for Irish and Scottish students. Showing talent mainly as a confessor and administrator, he was sent (1587) to minister to the 1,200 Irish, English, and Scottish soldiers in the so-called Irish regiment, whom their commander, Sir William Stanley (qv), had persuaded to forsake the English service for the Spanish. The activities of Stanley and his entourage were an aggravating circumstance in the Spanish threat to Elizabeth I's England. Archer was said to have been involved in an alleged plot to murder the queen.

At the close of 1592 he went to Spain. After visiting the royal court at Madrid, he settled in Salamanca, the seat of Spain's foremost university, and took over the administration of the Irish college being founded there. In 1596 he returned to Ireland to seek money for the college and to explore the possibility of re-establishing a Jesuit mission. He was obliged to lie low in the countryside and eventually to join Hugh O'Neill (qv), whose rebellion had been raging since 1593. On all sides he acquired a legendary reputation. Summoned to Rome (1600) to give an account of his mission, he acted also as an envoy of O'Neill. In 1601 he was back in Spain, involved in planning the Spanish military expedition to Ireland as well as settling differences among the Irish at Salamanca. Archer was a member of the force numbering 4,432 men that headed for Kinsale in September. For the defeat of the expedition he blamed the commander, Juan del Águila (qv). Archer left Ireland for Spain in July 1602; his views about the failure of the enterprise were heeded at first, but when Águila was exonerated and peace was made with England (1603) his career as a negotiator for Spanish aid for Irish rebels was over. Although his Jesuit superior would not allow him to return to Ireland, rumours abounded there of his presence.

The rest of his life was given, as ‘prefect of the mission’, to the Irish seminaries in the Iberian peninsula. Once again Archer had to deal with differences among the Irish catholics: the Old English were accused by the Old Irish of unfairness towards them, and the Jesuits were accused by other clerics of self-preferment. Archer's work in Spain bore fruit in 1610 when the Spanish authorities built a new college for the Irish in Salamanca, the Colegio de los Nobles Irlandeses, to which the king gave his support. Archer spent his last years at Santiago de Compostela. It was at the Irish college there that he died on 15 February 1620.

Although he was a man of no more than moderate ability and an indifferent scholar, Archer had qualities that served to make him an important figure in the Irish counter-reformation: he was phlegmatic and a good administrator; he had some influence at the Spanish court and, thanks to his experience in Ireland in the 1590s, the confidence of both of the rival groups of Irish Catholics – Old English and Old Irish. Only a few letters of James Archer survive, and there is no known portrait or even a verbal description.

Thomas J. Morrissey, James Archer of Kilkenny, an Elizabethan Jesuit (1979)

Note from Bl Dominic Collins Entry
In February 1601 he made his first religious profession and seven months later was appointed by his superiors to join the Irish mission, as Fr James Archer (qv) had specifically asked for him, perhaps due to his previous military experience and also his Spanish contacts. Archer had been described by Sir George Carew (qv), president of Munster, as ‘a chief stirrer of the coals of war’ (Morrissey, Studies, 318) and was being constantly sought out by government agents. Collins's association with him was to prove dangerous. He sailed with the Spanish expedition to Ireland on 3 September 1601, one of the commanders being Don Juan del Aguila, to whom Collins had surrendered Lapena in 1598. The flotilla with which he travelled arrived late at Castlehaven due to bad weather. After the defeat of the Irish and Spanish forces at Kinsale, Collins finally met Archer in February 1602 at the castle of Gortnacloghy, near Castlehaven

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-jumping-jesuits/

JESUITICA: Jumping Jesuits

Travellers in the Beara Peninsula will remember the Priest’s Leap, a mountain cliff in the townland of Cummeenshrule, where (around 1600 AD) a priest on horseback escaped from pursuing soldiers by a miraculous leap, which landed him on a rock near Bantry. Was the lepper a Jesuit? One tradition claims him as James Archer SJ; another as Blessed (Brother) Dominic Collins. In view of some dating difficulties, one can only say: pie creditur – a common phrase in Latin hagiographies, meaning “It is piously believed…”!

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1I 1962

FATHER JAMES ARCHER SJ 1550-1625
Few men played a greater part than Father James Archer in the tremendous effort to smash the growing power of England in Ireland that marked the closing years. of the sixteenth century. Arriving in Ireland in 1596, he found the country already in the throes of war. The Tudors. had by this time realised that England could not be safe unless Ireland were subjugated. By the end of the sixteenth century, England had shaken off the last shackles of medieval restraints and had emerged as one or the strongest powers in Europe, The threats of Spain and the Pope had been warded off, and England was looked upon as the leader and head of Protestant Europe. It was at this time that she turned her face in real earnest towards Ireland.

The history of the Reformation in Ireland during the sixteenth century can be told briefly. The reform movements of Henry VIII and Edward, his son, were a complete failure. Neither of these kings had sufficient political control outside the Pale to enforce their authority, and even within the boundaries of the Pale the movement made little progress. During the reign of Mary the Catholic Church again flourished, though the confiscated monasteries were not restored. In 1558 Elizabeth succeeded to the throne of England,. Prior to her succession, she had never shown any remarkable zeal for religion. As queen, what she desired pre-eminently was peace and harmony. For the first years of her reign, her position in England was too insecure to permit her to embark on any intensive persecution of the Catholics, The clergy, however, were subject to a persecution that varied all through her reign; it was intensified or slackened according to the political circumstances of the moment. Up to 1578 religion did not play a vital part in opposing the anglicisation of Ireland. Gradually from that time on, it became more and more important, until finally in the reign of James I the Catholics, both Irish and Anglo-Irish, clung to their faith as the only part of the heritage that had been left. So too it was religion that at the beginning of the next century was to unite the two races, by inciting them both to oppose the alien creed. Later it was on the rock of her Faith, preserved and enlivened at this time, that the nationality of Ireland was founded.

Perhaps before we examine the work of Fr Archer, a word on the state of religion in Ireland during the sixteenth century may not be out of place. It is certain that it was not a very vital force in the lives of many of the people. They were Catholics More by custom than by conviction. Here is one account left by Dr Tanner, who had to leave the Society of Jesus owing to ill-health and who was later appointed Bishop of Cork: “He (Dr Tanner) is assured by grave men that during all this time not a hundred Irishmen in all Ireland have been infected with heresy, though not a few ... attend the profane rites of the heretics, and the demoralisation of the people is such that a pious Catholic is hardly to be found; and no wonder since the clergy are the most depraved or all. Moreover, there is so little instruction to be had in the Christian Faith that few can so much as repeat the Lord's Prayer, the Articles of the Faith, or the commandments, and still fewer understand them. Sermons are so uncommon that there are many that have never so much as heard one. The Sacraments are rarely administered. In fine so gross is the ignorance of the people that there are many who, passing all their lives in the grossest sin, have grown accustomed thereto”.

In general we may conclude that religion was dormant in Ireland at the end of the sixteenth century. The people indeed had the Faith and seemed eager for instructions and there is no evidence of anti clericalism as in England. On the contrary, the priests were generally loved and would always find a safe shelter among the people, who had seen so many of them give up their lives for the Faith. But unfortunately, many of the priests were not active. The morals of the people were often depraved. There was little scope for Catholic education. The monasteries for the most part had been dissolved. The external organisation of the Church was shattered, and the wars had increased the laxity and poverty of the people. But the light of Faith had been kept glowing by the zealous labours of the Friars and the heroic priests and bishops who had endured persecution and death to shield, their flocks. This then was the state of the country, political and religious, when in 1597 Fr James Archer landed in Waterford to inaugurate what was to become the first permanent mission of the Society of Jesus in Ireland.

James Archer was born in Kilkenny in 1550. He attended the school of the famous Dr Peter White or that town, where the young Archer seems to have been a distinguished scholar. Very little is known of his career for the next fifteen years. In 1577 he was at Louvain, but in the following year he was back again in Ireland. On the 25 May 1581 he entered the Society of Jesus in Rome, and the next we hear of him is that in 1592 he was at Pont-à-Mousson with Fathers Richard Fleming, Richard de la Field and Christopher Hollywood, all Irish Jesuits. In the same year he was sent to Spain to collaborate with other Irish Jesuits in the foundation of the famous Irish college at Salamanca, which was instituted for the training of secular priests for the home mission. He remained there until 1596, when he was sent back to Ireland with Fr Henry Fitzsimon to re-open the Jesuit mission there which had lapsed for ten years.

Almost immediately after his arrival in Ireland, Fr Archer went northward to meet Hugh O'Neill, who was already in rebellion against Elizabeth. Archer looked upon the '”Nine Years War” as a crusade against the heretic queen. Therefore, during the few years that he was in Ireland, he strove to the utmost of his powers to unite the Irish under the leadership of Tyrone and to induce the Spaniards to send aid, His influence with the Irish chief's during these years was of paramount importance. He was looked upon by the English as one of their most dangerous enemies, and they laid several traps to ensnare him. If we were to rely on official contemporary documents alone, we should imagine that Archer was a traitorous intriguer and an enemy to all stability and good government. From other sources we can see that he was, first and foremost, a zealous missionary for the Faith.

In his first letter to his General in Rome, written on 10 August 1598, he gives an account of the precarious life he was leading even at this early stage. “The Government”, he says “hates me very much, hunts me very often in frequent raids, and has set a price on my head. This forces me to live in the woods and in hiding-places. I cannot even return to Spain, as merchants are afraid to receive me into their vessels, for they know well that there are spies in every port on the look-out for me”. Then he goes on to describe his missionary work: “I have already heard many thousand confessions, and have instructed an uncultivated and rude people. I brought back some to the Church and reconciled a noble person and his wife, and thus put a stop to dangerous dissentions which existed among members of both families who were leading men in the land, I administered the Sacraments in the camp, and it is marvellous to see the crowds that cone from the surrounding districts to hear Mass and go to Confession”.

In the beginning of the year 1598, the informer William Paule notified Lord Justice Loftus of the activities of Archer. He said that Jesuit lurked sometimes in Munster with Lord Roche and sometimes in Tipperary with Lord Mountgarrett. Paule urged Loftus to induce these Lords to betray Archer. Alternatively he suggested that the Protestant Bishop of Kilkenny should be ordered to capture him when he visited his friends in that town. Warning Loftus that Archer was wary, Paule informed him that the priest knew that his enemies were searching for him. Paule further suggested that he should have no scruple in killing Archer if he resisted arrest. Even at this early date, Fr Archer had attained to a position of outstanding influence with the Irish chieftains. He had already been universally accepted by them and an able adviser and true friend and had won the esteem and affection of the Irish people. He was equally hated and feared by their enemies.

In October 1598, Archer was mentioned in a despatch as “the chief stirrer of these coals (i.e., conspiracies) and promises to many the coming of forces from Spain”. He certainly did not spare himself in his effort to unite the Irish chiefs in their struggle against England, the common foe. In November 1598, he succeeded in inducing the Baron of Cahir to join the rebellion against Elizabeth. He hoped that by Easter 1599 “we, and such as be of our Catholic confederacy, shall be masters of all the cities, towns and forts in Ireland”. His reasons for the war throw a flood of light on his attitude to politics, and afford a convincing refutation of those who doubted his motives. They were first to restore the Catholic Church to its former position in Ireland; second, to repair the injuries done by the English to the Catholic nobility and gentry of Ireland; and finally to place a Catholic Prince on the throne of Ireland. Did Archer hope to set up Hugh O'Neill as High King of all Ireland or did he intend to make Ireland a vassal state of Spain? We do not know. The concepts of nationality, and a national state were only being moulded in the minds of men at this very time. It is even doubtful whether men like James Fitzmaurice or even Hugh O'Neill himself conceived it. Nationality in Ireland takes its origin from the religious persecutions of the seventeenth century; yet undoubtedly there existed in the sixteenth century some tendency towards local patriotism, especially as opposed to English tyranny. It is difficult to state definitely the motives and desires that agitated the mind of Archer during these years. One thing is certain that he considered freedom from English rule as essential to the spiritual welfare of Ireland.

In December 1598, Archer and his constant companion Bishop Creagh were accused of inciting the whole province of Munster to rebel. So great was his influence that his name had already come to the notice of Elizabeth, who charged him with “raising her subjects to rebellion”. Soon afterwards Elizabeth was again informed that the Irish priests, especially Archer “the Pope's Legate”, had assured the lords and chieftains who supported the queen or who remained neutral that after the war they would receive no better treatment from the English than the rebels. In this way they hoped to alienate her subjects from their allegiance. Rewards were offered for the capture of Archer, dead or alive. O'Neill's crushing victory at the Yellow Ford on the 15 August 1598 had shaken the loyalty of many supporters of the English. Archer's influence was more pernicious than ever. He was constantly on the move, visiting now one chieftain, now another. Several attempts were made to capture him, but all miscarried. Soon after his arrival in Ireland he had been arrested. He had managed to escape however and had determined never again to fall into the hands of his enemies. He can easily imagine the precarious position in which he was placed by the constant watch of spies, especially in areas where the Irish chieftains were not openly hostile to the Crown. But, through the goodwill and ever-watchful care of the Irish people, he escaped unscathed - though often at the last moment. His capture was looked upon by the Government as vitally important, his life being deemed of greater value to the Irish than those of the chieftains themselves. In 1600, in a report of Captain Hugh Mostian who had been won over by Archer from the English side, we read that “Archer by his sole authority as a private religious brought more comfort to the Irish than a great force of soldiers could do, and that the voice of the people gave him the title of Legate, At his nod the hearts of men are united and held together not only in the territory of Berehaven and all Munster, but in the greater part of the Kingdom ...”

In 1600 occurred a famous incident - the capture of the Earl of Ormonde by Owny O'More. The circumstances connected with the plot are fully described in the Calendar of Carew MSS. and elsewhere. Fr Archer happened to be staying with O'More when the latter captured Ormonde. There is no evidence to prove the charge that he was the instigator of the act. Naturally enough he was blamed by the English for having contrived the treachery and for refusing to liberate the Earl; although, according to them, some other Jesuits desired his release. He was also described as Ormande's “bed-fellow” and was said to have tried to convert him, which seems to be true. Several years later Ormonde was converted by two Irish Jesuits, Frs O'Kearney and Wale.

Early in 1600 Archer was summoned to Rome to give an account of the Irish Jesuit mission. It is strange that he should have been called away at such a critical juncture in the history of Ireland. Possibly the General in Rome did not fully realise what was at stake at the moment, or perhaps he night have thought that the final victory had already been won by the Irish. In a letter to the General, written by the Superior of the Mission, Fr Richard de la Field, an extremely cautious and conservative man, we read of Archer: “He has been a source of light and help in our work here. He has always lived with these Irish lords who are endeavouring to promote the interests of religion, and in consequence he is the object of an intense hatred of the Queen's officials and of the army. His presence here at the same time is very necessary for the advancement of the Catholic Faith in these calamitous times. It is important for us that he should be sent back as soon as possible. This letter is very valuable as coming from one who, at this time, was himself hesitating as to what side he should support in the conflict. It rightly stresses the spiritual nature of Archer's work, for it was that which predominated in all his other activity.

Of Archer's visit to Rome we know nothing. He was back again in Ireland in a few months, as his spies obligingly informed us. It was falsely reported to Cecil that Archer was returning from Rome armed with a Bull of Excommunication against all those who supported Elizabeth in the war. A few months later Cecil was again informed that Archer had landed in Ireland and was inciting the people to revolt. On his return he was again almost captured; but, as often before, he managed to escape his pursuers, Sir George Carew reported that Archer's arrival foreshadowed the advent of a Spanish fleet and the renewal of the war in Ireland. From an account given by his confrère, Brother Dominic Collins SJ, we learn that Archer actually did return to Ireland with Spanish help. His influence with the Irish soldiers was again evinced when, on the 29 May 1602, Carew informed Cecil that but for Archer many of them would have returned to their homes after the defeat at Kinsale or would have gone over to the side of the English. “Every day”', says Carew, “he devises letters and intelligences out of Spain, assuring them of succour, and once a week confirms new leagues and seals them with the Sacrament”. In another letter written by Carew we find the following amusing passage: “If Archer have the art of conjuring, I think he hath not been idle; but ere long I hope to conjure him. The country of Beare is full of witches; between them and Archer I do believe the devil hath been raised to serve their turn”. Even in defeat the English feared him. They seemed to have believed that he possessed superhuman powers, that he could walk on the sea and fly through the air. His name should have been not Archer but “Archdevil!” One can readily imagine the fate that awaited Archer, had he been captured. Shortly before this time he “was very near taken by a draught laid by the Lord Lieutenant, but happily escaped”.

In a report of Robert Atkinson, an informer and pervert, we got another account of Archer's activities. He says that he met Archer in Ireland when the latter was “chief commander of the Irish troops, horse and foot”. He also states that Archer commanded for his own guard as many men as he pleased, especially for “any bloody actions to be done upon the English Nation”. There is no evidence to show that Archer ever took part with the Irish soldiers in the actual fighting. Atkinson further states that Archer was commonly called the Pope's Legate and was Archprelate over all the clergy of the provinces of Munster, Leinster and the territory of the O'Neills. By others, he says, he was called Tyrone's Confessor, just as formerly he had been Confessor to the Archduke of Austria. For the rest we shall let Atkinson speak for himself: “Of all the priests that ever were, he is held for the most bloody and treacherous traitor, sure unto none in friendship that will not put his decrees in action by warrant of his Apostolic authority, as he calleth it, from time to time renewed by Bulls from Rome. He is grown to be so absolute that he holds the greatest Lords in such awe that none dare gainsay him”.

Even at the eleventh hour Archer's hopes did not give way. On the 14 June 1602 he was again supplicating for Spanish aid. For the next few weeks he remained with the Irish soldiers at Dunboy. Finally, on July 6th he left Ireland to induce the Spanish King to send another fleet to help a broken cause. He was more fortunate than his companion, Br Dominic Collins SJ, who was captured by the English and hanged in Cork on the 31 October 1602, being the third Jesuit to die for the faith in Ireland.

Fr Archer never again returned to Ireland. His life on the Continent we shall only review briefly. On the 6 May 1504 the General of the Jesuits appointed him Prefect of the Irish Mission in Spain. This appointment is clear proof that his Superiors held him in the highest esteem. They paid little attention to the lying reports that had been spread over England and Ireland in an effort, to blacken the reputation of one who was both a zealous priest and a great Irishman. In 1608, six years after his departure from Ireland, his name was still feared by the English. At this time he was accused of making preparations for another rebellion in Ireland. Chichester issued an order that spies be placed in various parts of the country to inform him of the arrival of Archer.

During all this time, Fr Archer was actively engaged in Spain as Prefect of the Irish Colleges. These Colleges were founded by Irish Jesuits. at Salamanca, Lisbon, Santiago and Seville for the training of Irish secular priests. In 1617 he was the oldest Irish Jesuit alive, being seventy-two years of age. He was still Superior of the Mission in Spain. The date of his death is uncertain, but it occurred before 1626. Thus ended the career of one of the most remarkable Jesuits who laboured on the Irish Mission during these years.

If we are to assess the value of Archer's work in Ireland or the magnitude of the task he set before himself, we must not leave out of account the circumstances in which he lived. Although Archer's aim was first and foremost spiritual, he saw clearly that political independence of England was utterly essential to the religious welfare of Ireland. The idea of toleration was not yet born in Europe.
Neither Catholic nor Protestant was ready to brook the existence of the other. Even in Ireland the word “Counter-Reformation” connoted not only a spiritual movement within and without the Catholic Church, but also an effort to compel the return of erring souls by force of arms. Moreover the political and religious state of Ireland itself must also be taken into account. For almost a century the country has been a prey to disunion and internal strife. Religion too was not a vital force in the lives of the people, Had the persecution been as severe as it had been in England, or in other words, had political circumstances been favourable, Ireland might have succumbed to the new doctrines, All these facts were well known to Fr Archer when he arrived in Ireland in 1596. Thus we can understand why he strove to unite the country under O'Neill and to procure aid from Spain and the Pope.

Before concluding this article, it might not be out of place to discuss briefly how far Fr Archer influenced the wars of O'Neill, and, especially, the extent to which he influenced the Great Earl himself. One thing is certain, that Fr Archer was regarded by the English authorities as O'Neill's ambassador and representative not only at all the courts of the local Irish chieftains but in Spain and Rome. It is equally certain that he acted as intermediary between the Irish and Spanish several times, and even for years after the Irish collapse at Kinsale the English feared that he would again organise another Spanish expedition. Several years after that fatal day, the authorities had spies placed in all the Irish ports on the watch for Archer's return. Indeed many false alarms were given, and at one time the English actually believed that he had landed in Ireland. These precautions would not have been taken if the Government had not already experienced the powerful, stay that Fr Archer had over the people. How far were their fears justified? It is very probable that Hugh O'Neill did not realise what was at stake when he first launched his rebellion. In fact it seems that he would never have revolted and there been any alternative, What was he fighting for? An Irish Ireland, or a Catholic Ireland, or local independence? The problem has not yet been solved. But I think it is true to say that, whatever may have been his motive in starting the war, he never fully realised all that that war involved. Probably even he did not foresee that the struggle would take on a national aspect before its close; and it is far less likely that he realised that it would become part of a European campaign and would be looked upon by many nations on the Continent as just another element of the Catholic Counter Reformation. Moreover, if Hugh O'Neill did not realize all this, he would not have been able to combine all these forces in a vast movement against the common enemy. The problem could almost be stated thus: Was O'Neill the unconscious leader of a movement that was indeed begun by him, but whose consequences and ramifications he had not foreseen and perhaps did not even realise up to the last?

This question is difficult to answer. But I think some light is thrown on it by glancing at the part played by Fr Archer in these crucial years. Immediately after his arrival in Ireland, Fr Archer went direct to O'Neill, as we have seen. Coming from Spain, where he was well-known, he was suspected, probably rightly, of bringing a message from the Spanish Court. Soon after this he visited all the Irish chieftains, including O'Donnell, O'Sullivan Beare, Owny O'More, the Earl of Desmond, Florence MacCarthy, James Fitzthomas (who claimed to be the Earl of Desmond), Lords Barry, Roche and Mountgarrett, as well as the Mayors of the southern towns - including Cork, Waterford and Kinsale. The mention of these three towns is significant. They are on the coast nearest Spain. Why did Archer visit these chieftains? The answer is obvious. From the outset, he regarded the struggle as a Catholic crusade against England. Therefore his policy was to unite all the Irish under O’Neill and, if possible, secure help from Spain and Rome. His aim and purpose, as well as the means to achieve the end, were clear and decisive - unlike those of Hugh O'Neill. And it is well to remember here that O'Neill's environment, even if we allow for a period spent in England, was mainly the local life and tradition of a petty chieftain of Ireland with all the narrowness that it entailed. While Archer's background was not only Irish tradition modified by Anglo-Norman ancestry, but also an international education the best that Europe could offer, an almost first-hand realisation of what the Reformation meant to Europe, a partiality for things Spanish with a natural bias against England, and finally a full comprehension of the danger to the Catholic religion in Ireland in an English domination there. Unfortunately we have little reliable evidence to guide us. But from the information we have I think we can safely affirm that Fr Archer was responsible, at least partially, for the change of outlook that is so marked a feature in the development of O'Neill's character as the years went by. It is interesting to note that, in a report sent by the Bishops of Dublin and Meath to the King in June 1603, much of what I have said is corroborated. Having stated that O'Neill had revolted to defend his rights and privileges, they go on to assert that the Jesuits and other priests afterwards induced him to fight for the sake of the Catholic religion and to secure the aid of the Pope and King of Spain. In many other places in the official documents the Jesuits are blamed for spreading the revolt. We know now that, of the Jesuits of the time, only Fr Archer exerted any direct political influence on a wide scale. To him, therefore, we largely attribute the change that took place. Thus, as the English realised only too well, “to have Archer taken were a great service to both the realms (England and Ireland), he being a capital instrument for Spain and the poison of Ireland”.

Hated by the English, Fr Archer won the hearts of the Irish, both rich and poor. In all the references to him there is not one which in any way tarnishes his memory, except those that come from the hands of his political enemies. Had the Irish been victorious at Kinsale, James Archer would probably have been one of the most influential men in the country. But after the defeat of 1601, his position in Ireland was even more invidious than that of O'Neill's himself. The Great Earl could adapt himself to the new conditions and try to begin life all over again, but for Archer there were no alternatives but death or exile. He had been looked upon by the English as the symbol of the rebellion in Ireland, and in his person he crystallised the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the Irish people. He stands forth as one of the foremost champions of his time of the Catholic religion in Ireland. By the English he was believed to be the source of all the discontent in the country. He was the emissary of the King of Spain, the Pope's ambassador and a member of the Society of Jesus. For him there could be no forgiveness.

James Corboy SJ

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Archer SJ 1550-1626
Fr James Archer was known to the English as the Archdevil. So active was he o behalf of the Irish, and so adept at evading capture, that magical powers were attributed to him. He is the only Jesuit of those days of whom we have a personal description, due to the interest of his enemies in him. We read in the report of the spy that “Archer, the traitor, was small of stature and black of complexion, that his hair was spotted grey, that he had a white doublet, and that the rest of his apparels was of some colour suitable for disguise”. Indeed, we may say that we have a photograph of him for an engraving of him may be found in “The History of British Costume” : “He had black mantle, and the high-crowned hat of the times. He appeard in straight trouse”.

Born of one of the leading families of Kilkenny in 1550, Fr Archer was one of the most remarkable Jesuits who laboured on the Irish Mission. What Henry Fitzsimon was to the Pale, James Archer was to the native Irish. By his clear grasp of the political and religious situation, his tireless efforts to unite the country against the sworn enemy of her faith and culture and to enlist in her cause the support of Spain, Fr Archer deserves to be ranked with Hugh O’Neill and Red Hugh o’Donnell as one if the leading champions of national independence and of the Catholic religion in the Ireland of his day.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
ARCHER, JAMES. In p. 301, History of British Costume (Library of Entertaining knowledge), is a delineation of O’More, an Irish Chieftain, and Archer, a Jesuit retained by him, both copied from a map of the taking of the Earl of Ormond in 1600. The Rev. Father is dressed in a black mantle, and wears the high crowned hat of the time. I read in a Report or Memorial of Irish Aflairs, addressed by Captain Hugh Mostian to Lewis Mansoni, the Papal Nuncio for Ireland, towards the latter end of Q Elizabeth s reign, “Unus Pater Archerus major fuit illis (Hibernis) consolatio, quam potuit esse magnet militum copia. Testis sum illius praesentiam tantum profuisse, ut vix aliud tantum : ad ipsius enim Nutum uniuntur et tenentur, corda hominum non solum in teritorio Beerhaven et Provincifc Australis : sed et in majori parte totius Regni.” “Father Archer alone was a greater comfort to his Irish countrymen than even a considerable reinforcement of troops. I am a witness, that his presence was almost more serviceable to the cause than anything else : for at his nod the hearts of men were united and bound together, not only in the district of Beerhaven and Munster, but in the greater part of the whole kingdom”
A few of F. Archer s letters have been fortunately preserved. The first is dated from the Camp, 10th of August, 1598. He states the difficulty of all Epistolary communication the intense anxiety and diligence of the Government to apprehend him; insomuch, that he was obliged to live generally in the woods and secret places, “ita ut in sylvis et latebris ut plurimum degam”. Still he never ceased from exercising the functions of his ministry - he had received two thousand general Confessions - he had instructed and confirmed many in the Faith, and reconciled several to the Catholic Church - that there was every prospect of an abundant harvest of souls, if he had some fellow-labourers; and that the gentry in the North and South parts of the island were most desirous of a supply. It seems that he had been ordered to Ireland to procure assistance for the Irish Seminary at Salamanca, “in subsidium Seminarii Hybernorum”, and that he had succeeded in sending over several youths with funds for their education. In conclusion he says that he was intending to proceed by the first opportunity to Spain from the North of Ireland. Iter in Hispaniam cogito prima occasione ex Septentrionali parte. NB : I find by a letter of F. Richard Field, dated Dublin, 20th of July, 1600, that he as Superior of the Irish Mission, had made F. J. Archer the actual bearer of that very letter to Rome. He recommends to him Mr. Robert Lalour, qui se socium itineris adjunxit Patri Jacobo (Archer.)
The second letter is dated, Compostella, 26th of February, 1606. It proves his active industry in procuring donations for the purpose of educating his countrymen, as also his zeal for the conversion of souls. He had just reconciled to God and his Church three English merchants.
The third letter to F. George Duras, the Assistant for Germany, is dated Madrid, 4th of August, 1607. He was then living at Court, “Ego in aula versor”, and had been successful in collecting Subscriptions.
The fourth letter is to F. Duras, from Madrid, 29th September, 1607. and is only subscribed by F. Archer, who, from illness, “prae dolore pectoris”, was obliged to employ a Secretary. He recommends the erection of an Irish Novitiate in Belgium. After treating of the business of the Irish Mission, he mentions “the conversion of three Scotchmen at Madrid : one was so desperate a Puritan, as often to declare that not all the Doctors of the World should ever withdraw him from his sect and opinion. Truth, however, had conquered : from a lion he became a lamb, and has chosen the life of a Capuchin Friars. I have others in hand in the suit of the English Ambassador, whom I will endeavour to reform”. Further particulars of this Rev. Father I have not been able to collect.

Bathe, Barnaby, 1659-1710, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/908
  • Person
  • 10 June 1659-20 June 1710

Born: 10 June 1659, Athcarne, County Meath
Entered: 15 November 1679, Salamanca, Spain - Castellanae Provine (CAST)
Final Vows: 15 August 1694
Died: 20 June 1710, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Provine (CAST)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1693-1696 Rector of Irish College Salamanca
1696 Rector of Irish College Santiago governing this College with prudence and untiring zeal until his death in 1710 aged 53, He died a victim of charity in assiduous attendance upon Bernard Kiernan, and a student who were sick with the plague (cf Irish Ecclesiastical Record March 1874, which prints a beautiful letter announcing his death and virtues).
His letters written between 1697-1710 are at Salamanca.
A great benefactor of his native land; Beloved by all for open and candid disposition; Most energetic and amiable.
“Un verdadero y sustancial Jesuita”.
He said the Office always on bended knees; Most devout to the Blessed Sacrament (Dr McDonald).

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Andrew Bathe and Mary née Sweetman.
Had studied at Irish College Santiago before Ent 15 November 1679 Salamanca.
After First Vows and his studies and Ordination he was asked for by the Irish Mission but his Spanish Superiors did not accede to the request. He was instead assigned to teaching at Coruña where he remained until 1694.
1694 Appointed Rector of Irish College Salamanca
1695-1710 Appointed Rector of Irish College at Santiago 20 November 1695 and died in office 20 June 1710 during an epidemic in which he is reputed to have proven himself a martyr of charity. His obit-eulogy, which is extant, attributed the flourishing condition of Santiago College to his devotion and self-sacrifice. His students ' tribute to his memory is also extant

Briones, Thomas, 1582-1645, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/955
  • Person
  • 1582-12 February 1645

Born: 1582, Jenkinstown, County Kilkenny
Entered: 21 January 1605, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)
Final vows: 22 May 1622
Died: 12 February 1645, Irish College, Seville, Spain - Baeticae Province (BAE)

Alias Bryan

“Thomas O’Brien - see Briones”
Studied 2 years Philosophy and 2 years Theology
1609 was at Ingolstadt (Bavaria) further studies after 4th year Theology; subsequently Superior of Seminary for 4 years (dates unclear)
1609-1610 sent to Ireland with Daton and R Comeford
1617 was in CAST Province
1619 Master of Irish students at College of Salamanca
1625 College of Montforte (CAST)
1628 Rector of Irish College at Compostella
1633 Rector of Irish College at Seville
1639 at Malaga College
Was Master of Novices at some stage

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1613-1645 Rector of Salamanca and Seville; Writer
1609 Appears in Ireland
Because of the confusion over his aliases (above) he appears as two persons in Foley’s Collectanea : Thomas Brian (O’Bryan) and Thomas Brion (Briones)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Thomas and Joanna née Hoyne
He began his studies at Salamanca in 1600 before Ent 21 January 1605 Rome
After First Vows he resumed studies at the Roman College, and then a final year at Ingolstadt.
1609-1613 Sent to Ireland and worked in the Kilkenny region
1614-1622 Recalled to Spain as Rector of Salamanca
1622-1626 Rector at Santiago
1626-1627 Rector of Salamanca again
1627 Went to Madrid as Procurator of the Irish Mission and Irish Colleges on the Iberian Peninsula
1631-1637 He changed Province from CAST to BAE and immediately appointed Rector at the Irish College Seville
1637-1641 Operarius at the Marchena Residence
1641 Reappointed as Rector of Seville in response to the reiterated demands of the students who resented the government of the College of Spaniards.
1644 Forced by illness and blindness to retire from Rectorship, but remained there as Spiritual Father to Seminarians until his death 12 February 1645.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Note from Richard Lynch (1611-1647) Entry
Lynch was appointed Rector of the Irish College Seville on 1 February 1644, replacing Father Thomas Briones

Brown, James, 1630-1686, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/960
  • Person
  • 26 September 1630-28 August 1686

Born: 26 September 1630, Newtown, Dublin
Entered: 20 September 1652, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 1658/9, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1668
Died: 28 August 1686, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias James Bruno

1655 at Compostella studying Philosophy for 3 years
1658 at Salamanca studying 3rd year Theology
1660 Magister Seminarii at Villagarcía
1665 at León College (teaching Philosophy?)
1669 at Villagarcía Teaching Philosophy and Moral Theology
1678 Teaching Theology at Compostella
1681 Teaching Grammar & Humanities Theology & Philosophy at Compostella

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
After First Vows he was sent to complete his studies at Compostella and Royal College Salamanca and Ordained there 1658/1659.
Immediately following Ordination he taught Humanities at Valladolid, León, the Juniorate in Villagarcía and Copostella.
1674-1686 Teaching Philosophy and Theology at Villagarcía
In contemporary documents he is described as one capable of teaching with distinction the Sacred Sciences as well as Humanities

Collins, Blessed Dominic, 1566-1602, Jesuit brother and Martyr

  • IE IJA J/1071
  • Person
  • 08 October 1566-31 October 1602

Born: 08 October 1566, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 08 December 1598, Santiago de Compostela, Spain (CAST)
Died: 31 October 1602, Youghal, County Cork (Hanged Drawn and Quartered - Martyr)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
He was Chief of the Clan-Colan; Commander of heavy cavalry in France; Captain of Corunna Port; Hanged Drawn and Quartered for the Catholic Faith
(cf IbIg pp89, 102, and which includes also a complete copy of Carew’s examination - 09/07/1602 - of Collins at Dunboy; Tanner’s “Martyr SJ”; Drew’s “Fasti”; IER September 1874))
Parents were a “high family” who owned the property of Labrouche (in France??). His family name was O’Callan, but he changed for humility’s sake to Collins
Age 22 entered the military profession in Europe, spending five years in the French and seven in the Spanish service. He began at Nantes for three years, then he became a dragoon with the League, for eight or nine years, then went to Spain where the King gave him a pension of twenty-five crowns per month.
About a year after he arrived in Spain, he met Fr Thomas White, Rector of Salamanca, and by his advice entered the Society. Two of his fellow novices were Richard Walsh and John Lee He Entered at Santiago de Compostela where had spent two months following an attack of the plague. After First Vows he was sent to Ireland as a companion to James Archer, who was a Chaplain to the Spanish invading force sent by Philip III of Spain. He was taken prisoner and rejected the overtures to reject his faith he was hanged (at Cork or Youghal).
Captain Slingsby, in a report of the taking of Dunboy Castle, July 1602 says “We gained the top of the vault and all the Castle upwards, and place our colours on the height thereof; the whole remainder of the war-men, being seventy-seven men, were constrained to retire into the cellars, into which we , having no descent but by a straight winding stone stairs, they defended themselves against us, and thereupon, upon promise of their lives, they offered to come forth, but not to stand to mercy; notwithstanding, immediately after, a friar, born in Youghal, Dominic Collins who had been brought up in the wars in France, and there, under the League, had been a Commander of Horse in Brittany, by them called Captain de la Broche, came forth and simply rendered himself.” (Carew, Irish State Papers, 1602, Public records Office, London). Carew to the Privy Council letter of 13 July 1602 says “In my journal sent into your Lordships by the Earl of Thomond, I mentioned three prisoners of the ward of Dunboyne (sic) which for a time I respited...the third called Dominic Collins, whom I find more open hearted than the rest (and whose examination I send enclosed) the which, although it does not merit any great favour, ye because he hath so long education in France and Spain, and that it may be that your Lordships heretofore, by some other examination, have had some knowledge of him whereby some benefit to the State may be made, I respite his execution till your further pleasure be signified unto me”

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of John and Felicity O Dril ( O’Driscol or Ó Duala)
He emigrated to France in 1586 he served as a soldier under Philip Emmanuel of Lorraine who soon promoted him commander of cavalry. In 1594/95 he served in the Spanish Army until 1598 - he was with the Spanish Fleet off Portugal in March, 1597 - before Ent 08 December 1598 Compostella
1602 After First Vows on 04 February 1601 he was chosen as companion to James Archer then about to return to Ireland. Dominic sailed there in the Spanish fleet in 1602. He was in the fort of Dunboy during the siege, not as a combatant but occupied with the spiritual and corporal needs of the besieged who eventually chose him to treat for terms with the English. Taken prisoner, he was offered liberty on condition of renouncing his faith and swearing allegiance to Elizabeth 1. He was hanged at Cork, 29 October, 1602, apparently without due form of trial. From the time of his death, Brother Dominic was regarded as a true martyr for the Faith. His cause for beatification is before the Holy See. (NB All contemporary accounts state that he suffered at Cork. The story that he was martyred at Youghal is of a much later date. Details of his execution such as disembowelling and quartering are also found only in later sources).

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Collins, Dominic
by David Murphy

Collins, Dominic (c.1566–1602), soldier, Jesuit, and martyr, was born in Youghal, Co. Cork, son of John Collins, previously mayor of Youghal, and Felicity Collins (née O'Dril or O'Duala). In the aftermath of the passing of the acts of supremacy and uniformity (1560) he was born at a time of increasing religious tension, as the population of his home town was being put under considerable pressure to convert to protestantism. As a child he witnessed the failed rebellion of James fitz Maurice Fitzgerald (qv) in 1579 and it is possible that he attended the Jesuit school run by Fr Goode, and later by Fr Rochford and Fr Lea, in Youghal.

Deciding on a military career on the Continent, he left Ireland in 1586 and travelled to France. He initially lived in Nantes, where he worked in an inn and, when he had accumulated some money, joined the army. Enlisting in the army of Philip Emmanuel de Vaudemont, duke of Mercoeur, he fought with the Catholic League against the huguenots in Brittany, serving for nine years and reaching the rank of captain of cavalry. He captured the chateau of Lapena in Brittany from the huguenots and was appointed by Mercoeur as its military governor. In March 1598 Mercoeur agreed terms with Henry of Navarre and Collins left the service, handing over Lapena to the Spanish general Don Juan del Aguila (qv). He moved to Spain, where he met an Irish Jesuit, Fr Thomas White (qv), at Corunna and, experiencing a change of heart of truly Ignatian proportions, he applied to enter the Society of Jesus. Due to his age and previous career, he was initially refused but was finally accepted as a brother-novice at the Jesuit College at Santiago de Compostela in late 1598. The records of the college for 1601 note that he entered in 1598, was of distinguished parentage, had been a captain of cavalry, and was past 32 years of age. In February 1601 he made his first religious profession and seven months later was appointed by his superiors to join the Irish mission, as Fr James Archer (qv) had specifically asked for him, perhaps due to his previous military experience and also his Spanish contacts.

Archer had been described by Sir George Carew (qv), president of Munster, as ‘a chief stirrer of the coals of war’ (Morrissey, Studies, 318) and was being constantly sought out by government agents. Collins's association with him was to prove dangerous. He sailed with the Spanish expedition to Ireland on 3 September 1601, one of the commanders being Don Juan del Aguila, to whom Collins had surrendered Lapena in 1598. The flotilla with which he travelled arrived late at Castlehaven due to bad weather. After the defeat of the Irish and Spanish forces at Kinsale, Collins finally met Archer in February 1602 at the castle of Gortnacloghy, near Castlehaven. When English reinforcements arrived in June 1602 he was in the party of Captain McGeoghan, which retreated to Dunboy castle. They endured a long siege, which ended on 22 June, and there is some suggestion that Collins was taken prisoner when he made an attempt to negotiate with the besiegers. When the castle finally fell, the remaining members of the garrison were immediately executed and he was one of only three prisoners taken.

He was brought to Cork, where he was imprisoned and interrogated. Tried by court martial, he was sentenced to death, the court finding that due to his arrival with the Spaniards, his association with Archer, and his presence at Dunboy he was a traitor and his life forfeit. He was not executed immediately, however, as his captors urged him to recant his religion, provide information, and also enter into their service. He steadfastly refused and in October 1602 was taken to his hometown of Youghal for execution. On 31 October he was taken to the scaffold and in a last statement exhorted the assembled crowd to remain true to their faith. Before he finished his statement, he was pushed from the ladder and hanged. It is believed that his body was taken away that night by some local people and buried secretly.

It was clear from Collins's attitude and final words that he was convinced that he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs. Carew's account of Collins's statements under interrogation support this and this fact became crucial in his cause for beatification. The Society of Jesus immediately accepted that he had been martyred, and his status as a martyr was soon generally accepted by catholics across Europe. Some miracles were later attributed to him. In 1619 David Rothe (qv), vice-primate of Ireland and later bishop of Ossory, included details of Collins's life in his De processu martyriali quodundam fidei pugilum in Hibernia, and during the next two centuries there were continued efforts to have Collins beatified. In the nineteenth century, Patrick Francis Moran (qv), vice-rector of the Irish College in Rome, promoted Collins's cause and those of the other Irish martyrs. Archbishop William Walsh (qv) of Dublin further promoted the cause, and in 1917 the apostolic process opened with 260 causes put forward for further investigation, Collins being only one of these. Further research was carried out during the terms of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid (qv) and Archbishop Dermot Ryan (qv). Much of this research was carried out by Mgr Patrick Corish, Fr Benignus Millet, OFM (1922–2006) and Fr Peter Gumpel, SJ. Finally, on 27 September 1992, Pope John Paul II beatified Dominic Collins and eighteen other Irish martyrs.

There is a portrait in oils of Dominic Collins in St Patrick's College, Maynooth. This dates from the seventeenth century and originally hung in the Irish College in Salamanca. There is a large collection of papers relating to his cause for beatification in the Jesuit archives in Dublin.

Edmund Hogan, SJ, Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894), 79–114; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991); Desmond Forristal, Dominic Collins: Irish martyr, Jesuit brother (1992); Thomas Morrissey, SJ, ‘Among the Irish martyrs: Dominic Collins, SJ, in his times (1566–1602)’, Studies, lxxxi, no. 323 (autumn 1992), 313–25; information from Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, of the Jesuit Archives, Dublin

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-jumping-jesuits/

JESUITICA: Jumping Jesuits

Tavellers in the Beara Peninsula will remember the Priest’s Leap, a mountain cliff in the townland of Cummeenshrule, where (around 1600 AD) a priest on horseback escaped from pursuing soldiers by a miraculous leap, which landed him on a rock near Bantry. Was the lepper a Jesuit? One tradition claims him as James Archer SJ; another as Blessed (Brother) Dominic Collins. In view of some dating difficulties, one can only say: pie creditur – a common phrase in Latin hagiographies, meaning “It is piously believed…”!

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 36th Year No 1 1961
THE UNVEILING OF A PLAQUE N HONOUR OF FR. DONAL O'NEILLAN, O.F.M., AND BR. DOMINIC COLLINS, S.J., MARTYRS
The old town of Youghal was en fete, gay with flags and bunting, on Sunday, 23rd October, 1960, for a unique tribute of honour to the memory of two martyred sons of the town, Fr. Donal O'Neillan, O.F.M., and Br. Dominic Collins, S.J., who gave their lives for the faith there in Elizabethan times.
There was a Solemn High Mass in the parish church at which an eloquent tribute to the martyrs was given by Fr. William Egan, P.P., Castlemartyr. The greater part of his discourse dealt with the life of Br. Dominic, as very little was known of Fr. O'Neillan. The parish priest of Youghal, Canon Sheehan, presided and with him in the Sanctuary were Fr. Celsus O'Brien, the Franciscan Provincial, and Fr. Pearse O'Higgins, who was representing Fr. Provincial. Canon Sheehan, an old Mungret man, is well-known to our Fathers who served as Chaplains in both World Wars.
After the High Mass, there was a procession through the town to the Clock Gate for the unveiling by Canon Sheehan of a commemorative plaque to the two martyrs. A big number of clergy, secular and regular, marched in the procession and there were also units of the Army, F.C.A. and Civil Defence Corps, as well as a great many of the citizens of Youghal. The music was provided by the Christian Brothers' Boys' Band and by a Pipers' Band, A. 16mm, colour-film of the commemoration is in process of development and the Organising Committee have promised to loan it for showing in our Houses.
The speakers on the platform were Canon Sheehan, who paid glowing tributes to the Society, Fr. Celsus O'Brien, who briefly traced the history of the Franciscan foundation in Youghal from its inception in 1224 and showed that both the martyrs had a common purpose, the glory of God and the welfare of the Irish people, and Fr. O'Higgins.
Fr. O'Higgins, who spoke in Irish and English, in the course of his speech said: “This is a proud day for us Irish Jesuits when we see the great honour accorded to our own Br. Dominic Collins by his fellow-towns people. Our Society has long associations with Youghal, going back to the latter part of the sixteenth century, when our Fathers established a school here and laboured zealously for the greater glory of God and the good of souls. Theirs was not a tranquil nor an easy life, for they were hunted men and lived ever in the shadow of death. But they were dedicated to their noble task and were blessed because, like their Divine Master, they suffered persecution for justice's sake. These were the men who trained Dominic Collins in his early years and it was, no doubt, the example of their zeal and heroism which inspired him in later life to emulate St. Ignatius Loyola by turning away from the glory of a distinguished military career to put on the armour of God. He proved himself indeed a true soldier of Christ and never shirked his duty, even in face of the fiercest opposition”
A recording unit from Radio Éireann was present, and a report of the proceedings was broadcast the following day in the Provincial News.
The Society was represented by the following: Frs. Andrews, Perrott, Cashman, Daniel Roche, Leahy, John Murphy and J. B. Stephenson, and by Brs. Priest, Murphy, Kavanagh, Cunningham, Brady and Fallon.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Brother Dominic Collins 1553-1602
The Irish Province of the Society of Jesus is proud to number among her list of martyrs that of one of its spiritual coadjutors, Brother Dominic Collins.

He was born in Youghal in 1553. His people were wealthy burghers of the town, good Catholics, who had their son educated in all probability at the school run by Fr Charles Leae and Robert Rochford at Youghal. Dominic became a soldier in the French and Spanish armies, rising to the rank of Captain.

Being stationed at Corunna, since famous for its memories of Sir John Moore, he had more time for reflection and decided to become a religious. He was received into the Society as a Brother, at his own unshakeable request, by Fr Thomas White at Salamanca in 1598. Having taken his vows, he was sent to Ireland as Socius to Fr James Archer, and he took part in the famous siege of Dunboy Castle.

On the surrender of Dunboy Castle, he was taken prisoner and lodged at Shandon Castle, tortured and condemned to death. He was led forward to esecution clothed in his Jesuit gown, his hands tied behind his back, all the way from Shandon Castle to his native Youghal.

On arriving at the scaffold, he burst forth into those words attributed to St Andrew “Hail Holy Cross, so long desired by me. How dear to me this hour for which I have yearned since I first put on this habit”. To the people he said “Look up to heaven and be not unworthy of your ancestors, who boldly professed the Faith. Do you too uphold it. In defence of it, I desire to give up my life today”. Thereupon, he was hanged, drawn and quartered on October 23rd 1602.

On October 23rd 1960, his fellow townsmen, proud of his name, erected a tablet to his honour, which can be seen today in the clock tower of Youghal.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
COLLINS, DOMINIC, (his own signature spells the name Collensse) was of a good Irish Family. After embracing the military life, and spending as a Captain five years in the French, and eight years in the Spanish service, he began and finished his Noviceship in the Jesuit’s House at Compostella. I learn from an original letter of F. Richard Field, dated Dublin, the 26th of February, 1603, that this ill-advised Lay-brother accompanied a Spanish expedition, which made a descent on the coast of Munster - that when these forces capitulated to the Lord Lieutenant, on certain conditions, and returned to Spain, Dominic, full of ancient military ardour, remained behind and repaired to a Castle (Dunboyne) - that after a seige of some months it was taken by storm. Dominic was thrown into prison, and on the 3rd of October, 1602, when he could not be induced by threats or promises to renounce his religious Institute, abjure the Catholic Faith, and support Queen Elizabeth s claims to his allegiance, he was executed at Cork ( by Mountjoy), “cum summa omnium aedeficatione, proaequente eum lachrymis tota paene civitate Corcagiensi”. Drews incorrectly fixes his death on the 31st of October, 1604. In p. 34 of Bromley’s “Catalogue of Engraved English Portraits”, is mentioned a small head of Dominic Collins, Jesuit, who died in 1602.

Conway, Richard, 1572-1626, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1096
  • Person
  • 1572-01 December 1626

Born: 1572, New Ross, County Wexford
Entered: 22 July 1592, Coimbra, Portugal - Lusitaniae province (LUS)
Ordained: 1600, Salamanca, Spain
Professed: 06 January 1613
Died: 01 December 1626, Irish College, Seville, Spain - Baeticae Province (BAE)

Studied 3 years Arts and 2 of Theology at Coimbra before Entry
1603 At Salamanca has 3 years Philosophy and 4 years Theology and is a Confessor
1612 in Compostella where he wrote an account of O’Devaney’s in Ireland martyrdom from an eyewitness
1614 At Madrid College
1617 In Province of Castellanae
1622 Rector of Irish College Seville
1624 At Madrid, Prefect of College

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica”:
He was a Rector and a great promoter of the Irish Colleges in Spain; Writer;
He was zealous and pious.
He was tied to a tree by robbers and miraculously freed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and his Angel Guardian (cf Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ:
Son of Patrick and his wife née White
Studied Humanities at Irish College Lisbon 1589/1590 before Ent 22 July 1592 at Coimbra
After First Vows was sent to Spain for studies, to Montforte for Philosophy and Royal College Salamanca for Theology and was Ordained there 1600.
From the completion of his studies until the end of his life he was destined to play an important part in the organisation and support of the Irish Colleges of Salamanca, Santiago, and Seville.
1600-1608 At Salamanca as Spiritual Father but frequently filled in as vice-Rector during the many absences of Thomas White, who was constantly travelling seeking alms for the College,
1608-1613 Rector Irish College Salamanca
1613-1618 Appointed Rector of Irish College Santiago
1619-1622 First Rector of new Irish College Seville - lent to BAE
1622-1625 Freed from Seville to organise the finances of the Irish Colleges from the procurator's office at Madrid.
1625 Appointed Rector of Seville again and died in Office 01 December 1626
Richard Conway, it can ·be justly claimed, was one of the most eminent of Irish Churchmen of the seventeenth century. Under his prudent guidance for over a quarter of a century the three Irish Colleges under the control of the Jesuits in Spain sent forth to the Mission in their home country an army of splendidly trained priests prepared with knowledge and animated by zeal to maintain the Catholic faith in all its purity amongst their countrymen.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Conway, Richard
by Terry Clavin

Conway, Richard (1572–1626), Jesuit, was born in New Ross, Co. Tipperary, son of Patrick Conway; nothing is known of his mother. In 1590 he travelled to Lisbon and studied humanities at the Irish college there. On 22 July 1592 he was received into the Jesuit noviciate at Coimbra. After completing his noviceship at Coimbra, he studied philosophy at Monterey in Spain (1595–8) and theology at Salamanca. Highly regarded by his superiors, he was ordained in 1600 at Salamanca and was preacher and confessor there (1600–08). From 1605 he was often acting rector of the college, as the rectors were frequently absent raising funds. Conway also went on fund-raising missions for the college and became close to influential figures at the royal court and elsewhere. His skill at tapping wealthy benefactors for money facilitated his appointment as rector of the Irish college at Salamanca on 6 May 1608.

By 1608 Conway had been made procurator of the Irish mission. This was an important but burdensome office, which involved variously arranging correspondence between the Jesuits in Ireland and Rome, providing travel expenses for Jesuit novices studying abroad, advising Irish exiles who went to Spain, and promoting the interests of the Irish seminaries at the royal court in Madrid. Further, in the years following the conclusion of the Nine Years War in Ireland in 1603, large numbers of Irish refugees began arriving in Spain, and Conway was heavily involved in providing for them. As a result of these administrative responsibilities, from 1608 he resided for part of each year at Madrid.

Despite his heavy workload, Conway kept in contact with his former pupils who had joined the Irish mission. Their dispatches from Ireland had left him keenly aware of the dangers that faced the catholic clergy there. In 1611 he began writing a book outlining the persecution suffered by Irish catholics at the hands of English protestants. However, his superiors dissuaded him from completing this work, for fear that it would anger the English government.

In 1611–13 he was heavily involved in negotiating the transfer to the Irish Jesuits of the Irish college at Salamanca, which had previously taught both the laity and candidates for the priesthood. The Jesuits intended to use the college exclusively to train priests, but this was strongly opposed by the existing students. In July 1613 Conway took possession of the college and informed all students there that they would be expected to become priests. Many students refused to accept this and were expelled. In 1614 the powerful exiled Irish catholic nobleman Domhnall O'Sullivan Beare (qv) protested at Conway's conduct, but his superiors stood by his actions and he remained rector at Salamanca until 1618. As before, he proved hugely successful at raising funds to maintain the college, which was soon able to support twenty-five students.

In 1618 he resigned his rectorship and moved to Madrid, where he focused on raising money for the Irish colleges in Spain and for the Jesuit mission in Ireland. However, in 1619 he was made rector of the Irish college at Seville. The college was in a miserable condition, but his ability to raise money brought about a rapid improvement. Such was his success that complaints were directed against him for depriving other Jesuit houses in the city of charity. In late 1623 he was replaced as rector in Seville and went to Madrid to resume his role as procurator. He returned to Seville to become rector again in late 1625 and died there 1 December 1626.

John McErlean, ‘Richard Conway S.J.’, Irish Monthly, no. 51 (1923); Francis Finegan, ‘Irish rectors at Seville, 1619–1687’, IER, 5th ser., cvi (July–Dec. 1966), 45–63

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962

FR RICHARD CONWAY, SJ 1573-1626
(Abbreviated from the account published by Fr. John Mac Erlean, S.J. in the IRISH MONTHLY, 1923-24)

The preservation of the Catholic Faith in Ireland during three centuries of brutal persecution was largely due to the colleges and seminaries which patriotic Catholic Irishmen founded in several countries of Europe for the instruction of Irish youths and the education of Irish priests. Such signal service to the cause of God and Fatherland deserves to be remembered with everlasting gratitude. Their work was crowned with success. The most deadly efforts of the persecutors were gloriously defeated. One strange effect, however, of the long continuance of the persecution has been that the lives and works of those who commenced and carried on its triumphal resistance have been forgotten by those who even now are enjoying the fruits of their self-denying labours. To rescue their memory from oblivion is a pious and patriotic task.

Three Irish Jesuits stand out prominently as founders of Irish colleges in the Spanish peninsula: Fr John Howling, of Wexford, founder of the Irish College of Lisbon in 1590; Fr Thomas White, of Clonmel, founder of the Irish College of Salamanca in 1592; and Fr Richard Conway, of New Ross, who with Fr, Thomas White founded the Irish College of Santiago de Compostella in 1613, and that of Seville in 1619. Sketches of the careers of Fr. Flowling and Fr White were published by the late Fr. Edmund Hogan, S.J. in his Distinguished Irishmen of the Sixteenth Century (London, 1094). Fr. Conway is mentioned frequently by the Rev, William McDonald, then Rector of the Irish College of Salamanca, in his articles entitled Irish Colleges Since the Reformation, published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record in 1873, but a consecutive account of his career is well worth attempting for the light it throws upon the ecclesiastical history of the times.

The Conways were one of the leading families of New Ross in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The head of the family in the middle of the sixteenth century was Patrick Conway, who died in 1587, He married a Miss White, by whom he had two sons, George and Richard. Richard, the future Jesuit, was born at New Ross in 1572 or 1573. There is not much to record of his childhood or early years. He left Ireland for Spain when about sixteen or seventeen years of age, but, young as he was when he left his native land, he did not leave without personal experience of England's methods in Ireland, for his mother's house was raided on a forged warrant “to seize upon chalices, money and other things ... in respect of priests and Jesuits that were there harboured to say Masses”. In a note written in 1612 he sets forth clearly the reasons that forced him to seek abroad the education denied him at home. He says: “The greatest injury the English heretics have done, and one which has had the most serious consequences, has been the prohibition of all Catholic schools in our nation, naturally so inclined to learning, except an odd infant school in the principal cities and towns where reading, writing, and a little grammar are taught. Their object was to sink our people to degradation, or fill the universities of England with the children of those who had any means to educate them, where they might become more dependent on heretics and contaminated with their errors. They have also taken singular care that all children be taught English, and chastise them if they hear then speak their own native language. But all the efforts of these crafty heretics do not produce the desired effect. The natives not only did not go to England, but preferred rather to remain in ignorance than run the risk of their faith and religion by doing so, or they went secretly and quietly to many foreign parts, but particularly to Spain”.

It was in the year 1590, seemingly, that Richard Conway landed at Lisbon. There he met many other Irish students, who had come abroad for the same purpose, and whose interests and welfare were the object of the solicitous care of the Wexford Jesuit, Fr John Howling, then resident at the Jesuit house of S Roque, in that city. Fr Howling was at that very time engaged in founding a college for these Irish students, which was opened soon after'. During the next two years, 1590-1592, Richard Conway remained in the Irish College, studying humanities or classics. Then, as a Spanish writer says, “feeling that the end he had in view, the preservation of the faith and the conversion of heretics in Ireland, could be attained with greater security and perfection in a Religious Order, he offered himself to the Society of Jesus, and was received into it”. He entered the Novitiate of Coimbra on July 22nd, 1592.

After completing his two years! noviceship at Coimbra, and taking his vows as. a scholastic on August 20th, 15941, he was sent in the following year to the College of Monterrey in Spain, where he devoted himself to the study of philosophy for the next three years, 1595-1598, During this time he won the highest praise from the authorities of the College for his intellectual gifts, his prudence and skill in the management of affairs, and his progress in philosophy. He is described as being of gentle disposition, and even at this early date is said to be one who would be an excellent labourer in the vine yard of the Lord, and be suited for the office of Superior of his nation.

From Monterrey he passed, in 1598, to the Royal College of Salamanca, where he studied theology for the next four years, 1598-1562, though not without interruption, for, as our Spanish authority says: “The Superiors recognising his remarkable talent for looking after those of his nation, and the holy zeal that he had for their welfare, took him from his studies before he had completed them to employ him in this work, whereupon he began to aid the Irish seminaries”. The Irish Seminary, or College of Salamanca, founded by Fr Thomas White, had been put under the care of the Society of Jesus by King Philip, in 1592, in answer to a petition presented by the Irish gentlemen at the Spanish Court. From 1592 onwards, Fr White and Fr James Archer were in charge of it. As they were often absent on missionary labours, or seeking aims for the support of the College, the duty of loo!:ing after the Irish students devolved on Fr Richard Conway, especially after his ordination as priest in 1600, and though he had still to do two years of his theological course, he acted from time to time as Vice-Rector.

Thus began Fr Conway's work on behalf of the Irish seminaries. He was stationed at Salamanca as preacher and confessor from 1600 to 1608, and often acted as Vice-Rector, he had full charge of the Seminary of Salamanca as Rector from 1608 to 1613, then of that of Santiago, 1613-1618. In 1619 he became Rector of the newly-founded Irish College of Seville, a position he held until 1622, and to which he was again appointed in 1625, and which he continued to hold till his death in 1626. Nor did this exhaust his labours. During these same years he acted as Prefect of all the Irish colleges in Spain, and as Procurator of the Irish Mission, in which capacity he was called to attend to the financial and other affairs of the Irish Mission in countries so far apart as Rome, Germany, Spain, Flanders, France, and Ireland,

When first he took up these multifarious duties it was a time of extraordinary difficulty. The victory of the English arms in Ireland in 1603 not only cut off all hope of receiving alms from Ireland, such as Fr James Archer had collected for the colleges in 1596, but threw upon the shores of Spain in the succeeding years destitute crowds of Irish men, women, and children, fleeing in ever-increasing numbers from the cruelty of the English, while continuing the main work of providing for the necessities of the colleges, Fr Conway strove hard to relieve the distress of these helpless refugees. Of the religious and scholastic fervour of the Irish Seminary of Salamanca in these years the Annual Letters of the Province of Castile for the year 1604 bear : striking testimony. There were then four Jesuits living in the College, filling the offices of Rector, Confessor, Professor, and Spiritual Director respectively. The students numbered twenty-two, of whom eight were studying theology and four philosophy. Eight students had entered the Society of Jesus, and four had entered other Religious Orders. All students made a week's retreat, some even made two weeks, and all were assiduous in religious practices. The Bishop, the Magister Scholae, and other Doctors testified in laudatory terns to the doctrine, conduct, and training of the students.

But, meanwhile, those to whom was due whatever provision for Irish students existed were subject to a new and unexpected trial. The administration of the Irish Colleges was bitterly and unreasonably assailed. These institutions were so necessary, and the good they were doing for the preservation of the faith in Ireland was so striking, that some well-meaning persons forgot, no doubt unconsciously, the ceaseless efforts required to procure for them the limited and uncertain resources which they possessed; but the bitterest critics were those who had done nothing towards the founding of the Colleges, and had never contributed a penny towards their support. The history of the two centuries that followed offers many examples of similar attacks on the administration of the Irish Colleges in Spain and Rome. The motives in the main were provincial animosities, suspicions of partiality, and the interference of ill affected outsiders, who for their own ends fomented dissensions and encouraged insubordination within the college walls.

This agitation was begun in 1602, when a memorial against the continuance of the Irish Fathers of the Society af Jesus in control of the Seminary of Salamanca, drawn up in the names of O'Donnell and O'Neill, was presented to King Philip III, and demanded: (1.) that half the students of the Seminary should be selected from Ulster and Connaught; (2) that Fr Thomas White should be removed from the rectorship as being one who could not be trusted to carry out such a selection, or who would ill-treat those students whom he would be forced to receive; and (3) that a Spaniard, who would see to the punctual execution of this decree, should be appointed Rector.

The plot was skilfully conceived and vigorously carried out. The malcontents dared not go so far as to demand that the seminaries should be handed over to themselves, but yet they hoped by appealing to Spanish prejudices to oust the Irish Jesuits. The controversy continued for more than two years, memorials and replies alternating. In defence of the Irish Jesuits, the Irish nobles and gentlemen residing in Valladolid refuted the accusations and defended the existing administration; the Provincial of Castile denied that there was any preference against Northern students; the Bishop of the place testified to the good conduct of the students and the discipline observed in the government, and said he had never heard any complaints of the rule of the Irish Fathers. Finally, the Rector of the Royal College, to whose supervision the Irish College was subject, declared that all the charges made by the memoralists were false and wholly destitute of foundation.

In spite of these testimonies in favour of the Irish Fathers, the government of the Irish College was by order of the King taken from then and a Spanish Jesuit was appointed Rector. This royal order remained in force for only three years, 1605-1608. The arrangement was found by experience to be unsatisfactory both for the finances and the discipline of the College, Indeed, it would have proved ruinous to the College had not Fr William Bathe, Fr Richard Conway, and, later, also Fr Janes Comerton, who dwelt in it as confessors and preachers, exerted all their influence to keep things quiet, and in general to promote the interests of the College.

The efforts of the Irish Fathers to help the Irish students in the midst of numerous difficulties were fully appreciated by the Jesuit General, Fr Claudius Aquaviva, who on April 3rd, 1607, complimented Fr Conway on what he was doing for them. But the state of affairs brought about by the royal interference rendered all efforts well nigh futile. Soon the General came to see that if the Seminary was to do efficient work it would have to be committed to the charge of the Irish Fathers, and wrote to this effect to the Spanish Provincial on July 24th, , 1607. The Spanish Rectors themselves readily admitted their unsuitability for the position, and the last of the three who held office during those three years appealed to the Provincial to appoint Irish Rectors in future. Finally the King was requested to revoke his former order, which he did on March 24th, 1608. Fr Richard Convay was chosen as the person most fitted to take on the government of the College, and he entered upon his office as Rector on May 6th of the same year.

During the time of the Spanish Rectors, as well as during the whole of his subsequent career, Fr Conway continued his activity on behalf of the Irish students and refugees. In a contemporary account we read that he often went to the Court and other places to seek alms for the support of his seminarists and by his zeal, pleasant manners, and exemplary life succeeded in getting large contributions for their relief, many other students and priests, for whom the Seminaries had no room, he assisted by giving them enough to enable then to pursue their studies in Salamanca, Alcala, Valladolid, Granada, and Cordova. His zeal did not confine itself to students, ecclesiastical or lay, but extended itself to relieving a large number of Irish girls who fled from Ireland for religion's sake to Spain. He sought alms for them all, and settled them in good positions. Some entered convents, while for others he begged dowries, and left then honourably and virtuously married. In the matter of getting alms, he was greatly helped by the fact that he had easy access to the houses of the highest gentlemen at the Court, including even the King and Queen, and the Prelates and Chapters, all of thom he won over by his good example and by his conversation. Thile seeking to relieve the material necessities of his countrymen, he did not neglect their spiritual needs. He preached not only to his seminarists, but also to externs, gave them the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and sought their society only to win them and improve them spiritually.

His interest in the students did not cease when they left college, He followed then with paternal anxiety, and supported them by his advice when they had returned to their dangerous mission, and they on their part kept up a filial correspondence with him. Their letters shout the spirit with which they faced the danger's that surrounded them. The Rev Eugene O'Brien wrote to Fr Conway from Galway on September 30th, 1606, to tell him of the efforts made to take him when the persecutors found that he was an alumnus of the Spanish College. From Waterford the Rev John Wadding wrote in October of the same year, praising the constancy of the Mayor and Councillors of that city, several of whom had been taken prisoners by the heretics. Another former student, Rev Luke Bennett, a relative of his own, writing from Dunmore, in Leinster, in April, 1607, describes the persecution in his native New Ross, and tells how the faith is preserved in the district by the ministrations or four other priests from the Slamanca College, The Licentiate, Thomas Wise, who had gone from Salamanca to Rome, wrote to Fr Conway in June, 1607, telling hin of the barbarous cruelties inflicted on another former pupil. Thady Dimiran, because he refused to abjure the faith.

In 1611 the General wished Fr Conway to go to Rome and assist him with his advice in matters concerning the Irish Mission; but he yielded to representations made by Fr Thomas White and others, who explained how much his services were required in Spain.

In the year 1610 the Irish College of Salamanca was the recipient of several privileges and favours, A new building was presented to the Irish by the States of Castile, etc. A slab was placed over the door to commemorate the event. A new title, Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses (College of Irish Nobles), was given to the new establishment, which was formally made a royal college, and placed under the protection of the Kind, and, in addition to the ordinary annual alms given by the King to the College, Philip III undertook to pay every student his travelling expenses back to Ireland on the completion of his studies. These grants, largely due to Fr Conway's intercession, secured the future of the College.

But the government of the College, the begging of alms for its support, the solicitation of royal favours, did not exhaust the activities of Fr. Conway. Whilst engaged in these absorbing occupations, he compiled a work on English tyranny in Ireland, the publication of which was stopped lest the irritation of the King of England might endanger the lives of the Jesuits in Ireland and England and lead to a more violent persecution of the Catholic priests and laity in these countries. Whether the book was ever completed or not is not known, but certain short tracts, which may have been intended to form chapters of the complete work, have been preserved. Among these, his treatise on Irish saints marks him out as one of the pioneers of Irish hagiography.

During the last two years of Fr Conway's rectorship at Salamanca he was much occupied with the negotiations that transferred the Irish College at Santiago de Compostella to the care of the Irish Fathers or the Society of Jesus in Spain. This College had been founded in the year 1605 by the King of Spain, at a time when thousands of Irish exiles fled to that country to escape the persecution of the English heretics. £100 per annun was granted to the students by the King, and the Rev Eugene MacCarthy, a secular priest, was appointed Rector of the College. This arrangement did not work satisfactorily, and Philip III determined to entrust it to the Irish Fathers. He wrote to this effect to the Provincial of Castile, Fr Gaspar de Vegas, and the Governor of Galicia, D Luis Henriquez. Owing to the straitened circumstances of the Province of Castile the Provincial hesitated about accepting the additional burden. Fr Conway forwarded to the General a statement of the case, giving the reasons for and against acceptance. The General in his reply favoured acceptance. Meanwhile Fr Eugene MacCarthy undertook the defence of the existing arrangement, and in a letter to the Provincial accused the Irish Fathers of being actuated by motives of ambition and self-interest in attempting to capture the College. Fr William White, SJ, had no difficulty in refuting these charges; the Provincial's opposition weakened, and in April, 1613, the question was finally settled by an express order to the Provincial from the Duke de Lerma, on the part of the King, for the Fathers to take charge of the College.

In consequence of this order, Frs Thomas White, William White, and Richard Conway sent to Santiago and took possession of the College, and on the 16th July the General wrote to the Provincial to order Fr Conway to take up the government of the Seminary of Santiago.

Fr Conway occupied the position of Rector from 1613 to 1618, though his other office of Procurator of the Irish Mission often compelled him to be in Madrid, especially towards the end of his term. He threw llimself with characteristic energy into the work of establishing and developing the new Seminary. The royal allowance of £100 per annum sufficed for the support of a small number of students, but by alms which he succeeded in obtaining from the clergy and the faithful he was able to maintain as many as twenty-five. He drew up plans for linking up the Seminaries of Salamanca, Santiago, and Lisbon, to prevent overlapping, by having humanities taught in one, philosophy in another, and theology in the third. He looked after the spiritual interests of the Irish in Santiago, and as many of them were soldiers from France and the Low Countries, he arranged for the sending of Irish Jesuits who understood French and Flemish to minister to them. Another favourite idea of his was to unite the two Colleges of Salamanca and Santiago at the latter place. This would have economised on the staff and would have been beneficial to the health of the students; but no change was made.

Some disagreements and disputes arose during these years between O'Sullivan Beare and Fr Contay. In 1614 the former complained to the General of the expulsion of certain students from the Seminary, which, he said, had been established by the royal bounty, and with his consent transferred to the Society of Jesus. After full examination, however, Fr Conway's action was approved by his Superiors. Another complaint was in respect of a house granted him by the King, of which he had been deprived by Fr Conway. This dispute was brought into the courts, and the claim of O'Sullivan Beare was upheld. It was a curious example of a double grant. In the decree of the Royal Camera, dated 29th July, 1617, it is said that the Camera, when it granted the house in question to the Seminary, was not aware that a grant had previously been made of the same house to O'Sullivan Beare, and that consequently the house was adjudged to him. There is no imputation against the good faith of Fr Conway in this law suit,

During the progress of the case, O'Sullivan Beare petitioned the King to have the former semi-laical character of the College of Santiago continued, maintaining that there was greater need of Catholic gentlenen in Ireland than of priests. Fr Conway resisted this interference, and his action received the approval of the General, Fr. Mutius Vitelleschi, who succeeded Fr Aquaviva on the latter's death in 1615. In April, 1618, on the appointment of Fr James Comerfort as Rector of Santiago, Fr Conway was left free to act as Procurator of the Irish Mission in Madrid. He had been carrying on the duties of this position since 1608, and had to deal with many important matters concerning the welfare of the Irish seminaries in Spain. Between 1613 and 1624 he carried on a good deal of correspondence about what is termed “the Sicilian money” - a legacy of the late Queen, amounting to between 6,000 and 7,000 ducats, half of which was to be invested for the support of the Mission. The exhausted state of the Sicilian treasury caused the payment of this sum to be deferred, and finally all hope of receiving it was abandoned.

Another important affair entrusted to the care of Fr Conway was that of the pension of Archbishop David Kearney, of Cashel. As the Archbishop was for many years at the beginning of the seventeenth century the mainstay of ecclesiastical organisation in Ireland, Philip III of Spain, in order to enable him to promote the interests of the Church, assigned to hin a pension of 2,000 ducats on the Bishopric of Cadiz. With the approval oi the General, the Archbishop in 1611 appointed Fr Conway his agent to conduct the necessary negotiations. These negotiations continued until the Archbishop's death in 1621, and the subsequent arrangements to carry out the disposal of the money in accordance with his wishes, and to resist the claims of the English and Scotch Colleges in Spain, occupied the attention of Fr Conway till his death, two years later, and dragged on for four years after that time.

In 1619 Fr. Conway vas recalled from Madrid, and sent to take up the position of Rector of the Irish College of Seville, which in that year was handed over to the Irish Jesuits. Eight years previously the General had been asked by Don Felix de Guzman, a Sevillian nobleman, Archdeacon and Canon, to undertake the management of such a college, but the General was unwilling to do so, as an English College already existed in the same city, and he wrote to that effect to Fr Conway, who as then in Lisbon, on December 6th, 1622. In the following year the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain gave leave for the collecting of alms for the Irish students of Seville, but again in this year, and in the two succeeding years, the General expressed his unwillingness to have the Society associated with the projected College.

The College was duly opened, and for the next few years was governed by a succession of secular priests, of whom the first two were Irish and the next four Spaniards. As the numerous changes indicate, the arrangement did not prove satisfactory, and Don Felix de Guzman and Don Geronimo de Medina Ferragut renewed their exertions to induce the Jesuits to take over the government of the College. Don Felix offered to support the Fathers sent, and Don Geronimo offered to make over the house which the students occupied, on the sole condition that the College should be called the College of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God and of the Holy Catholic Faith, which name it retained ever afterwards. Fr Conway was now in favour of the Society taking over the College, and the King wrote expressing his desire that this should be done. In April, 1619, the Provincial and his Consultors agreed to accept, notwithstanding the grave difficulties which presented themselves, and this decision was approved by the General on June 19th. On the same day he wrote to Fr Richard Conway telling him to proceed to Seville to take charge of the new College.

The Society took possession of the College on August 20th, 1619. Fr Conway and Fr Michael de Morales (Cantuell) drew up an inventory of its goods and a list of the students. The effects left by the preceding administration were valued at only £12, and several large debts had been incurred which had to be paid afterwards. Fr Conway mentions the names of six students. The names of six others are known, and another account says that there were in all fifteen.

In view of the necessities of the Irish Seminary of Seville, the Holy See on September 9th, 1619, granted, in answer to a petition of Fr Conway, permission to the fishernien of Andalusia to fish on șix Sundays and holidays in the year, on the understanding that “the fruit of their toil should be given freely and without condition to the Irish College of Seville for the support of the Rector and students and persons employed in their services”.

To raise funds for the Irish Seminaries, all of which, but especially that of Seville, were in great need, Fr Conway proposed that some Irish Fathers should be sent from Spain to the Indies, that is, to Mexico and South America, with a view to collecting alms. When that proposal was not favourably entertained, he begged the General to write to the Provincials of the Indies to ask then to do whatever they could, and he suggested that the Provincial of Mexico should be requested to set aside Fr Michael Godinez (Wadding) for that work. The first part of the proposal was agreed to, but what the ultimate success of the project was we do not know.

During the years 1622-1623 complaints were made to the General of the way in which Fr Conway was running the College. The matters complained of were not of serious import. He is said to have admitted more students than the revenues of the institution could support, and to have allowed confessions to be heard in the church of the Seminary instead of sending the penitents to the Casa Professa, according to the regulations already laid down. Another complaint was that “the students of the Irish College went one day during the summer months in their collegiate gowns to bathe in the river, and returned home two hours after nightfall”. The real reason underlying all the complaints were seemingly Fr Conway's zeal in collecting alms, and new regulations were made with regard to requesting support for the College in the city. Fr Conway's alms-questing was not without some exciting experiences, for at least on one occasion, when going along the road for this purpose, he was set upon by robbers, who deprived him of everything he had, beat hin severely, and left him with his hands tied at the foot of an olive tree, where he lay for some time before he was able to free himself and make his way to a neighbouring village.

Towards the end of the year 1623, Fr Luis Ramirez was appointed Rector of the Irish College of Seville, and Fr Conway returned to his forner office of Procurator of the Irish Mission at the court of Madrid. On the 22nd December of that year he laid before the General a new plan for increasing the provision made for the education of the Irish secular clergy. This was to petition the Holy See to allow the Chapters of the Churches of Spain to receive tho Irish students each for the Irish Missions into the seminaries founded by order of the Council of Trent, notwithstanding the decree of that Council that the seminarists should be natives of the dioceses. The General deferred the consideration of this suggestion until the approval of the Chapters should have been obtained.

Another prospect for the development of colleges for the Irish secular clergy opened when towards the end of 1623 the Grand Prior of England of the Order of St. John set aside 2,000 ducats as a beginning of a foundation of an Irish College in Rome. Fr Conway was directed to forward the sum to Rome, so that it might be used to buy a site or be allowed to lie at interest until there would be enough for the end intended. In the following year, 1625, the General announced to him that the foundation of an Irish Seminary in Rome by Cardinal Ludovisi was taking shape slowly, but that it was not known when it would be put into execution.

On June 2nd, 1624, Fr Conway informed the General that the King and Council, recognising that the Irish Seminary at Douay was not being well administered by those who had charge of it, wished to entrust it to the Society. In reply, the General told him that, if the matter was as represented, the King and Council would be sure to give some sign of their desire, but that meanwhile he was not to speak about the subject or try in any way to have the Seminary entrusted to the Society. Similarly, when he announced in the following year the foundation of a new Irish Seminary at Alcala, he was told to have nothing to do with it: “Better improve those of Salamanca, Seville, and Santiago, so that they may be able to support more alunni”.

In 1624 he appealed to the Catholic King to recommend the needs of the Irish students to the bishops of Spain, and in a letter dated St Laurence (the Escorial), 31st October, 1624, King Philip III wrote recommending them to the Bishop of Zamora, as he had already recommended then, he says, to the prelates of Seville and Jaen.

Meanwhile affairs were not proceeding well in the Irish Seminary of Seville, Before a year elapsed Fr Ramirez asked to be relieved of the rectorate. The Spanish Fathers were not able to manage the Irish students. On the 7th July, 1625, Fr. Conway was ordered to proceed to Seville and take charge of the Seminary, as soon as he had settled up his affairs in Madrid; but it was not until Christmas that he arrived in Seville, and entered upon his duties as Rector of the Seminary for the second time. Under his management the disorders ceased, and he was congratulated on the zeal with which he looked after the interests of the College.

In January of the following year, 1626, the Seminary suffered great loss from the overflowing of the river. A good part of the building collapsed, and Fr Conway's efforts for the welfare of his students won considerable praise. He found accommodation for them in different places, but remained on in the house himself, and when he had collected what was necessary for their support he carried the food to them every day on foot. A few months later, in August, 1626, he became seriously ill, and he died on the lst of December, after having received the last Sacraments.

In this sketch of Fr. Conway's life and work little has been said of his spiritual life. From the difficulties he overcame and the greatness of the work he accomplished it has been possible, no doubt, to form some idea of those interior forces which supernaturalised his external activities, but there is abundant testimony given by those who lived with him to his religious virtue and holy life. Especially remarkable was his constancy in prayer. As the hours of the day did not suffice for his many devotional exercises, he devoted to them a large part of the night. We are told, that, though it was generally twelve or one o'clock when he retired to rest, he rose before four in the morning. His spiritual note-books, which reveal the daily life of his soul, contain so many prayers and devotions, distributed by days, weeks, months, and years, that it would seen he had nothing else to do. His fasts and other mortifications were also noticed by his contemporaries. He slept three nights a week on the ground; he fasted every Saturday, and each day he gave a large part of his food to the poor. He wore clothes cast off by others, and at his death the only thing that he seems to have possessed was a small cross, half broken. As a final example of his spirit of detachment and abnegation may be mentioned the fact that, although for many years he had leave from his Superiors' to return to his native land, he never made use of it, lest by doing so he might neglect the Irish exiles abroad.

Fr Conway was not only a devoted son of the Catholic Church, but a great lover of Ireland. In the heat of controversy O’Sullivan Beare spoke of him as Anglo-Irish. Geoffrey Keating was accused of being the same, and his reply to the accusation might have been penned by Fr Richard Conway. For Fr Conway spoke the Irish language, and was as familiar with Irish history and tradiions as any O'Sullivan. By his words and writings he revived the name and fame of Ireland on the Continent. It was through him, as far as we can discover that the Codex Salmanticensis, from which Fr. John Colgan, OSF, and the Bollandists derive so much of their knowledge of Ireland's early saints, came into possession of the Irish College of Salamanca, and was thus preserved for future ages. The seminaries he founded frustrated the British plan of perverting Ireland through enforced ignorance.

To Salamanca, the first of the seminaries which lie ruled, he transmitted that tradition of learning and love of Ireland which such men as Fr Paul Sherlock and Fr Peter Reade afterwards handed on. Ireland may well be proud of him, and so may the Society of Jesus. At a time when the memory of the canonisation of St Ignatius and St Francis Xavier was still fresh in Spain, a Spanish contemporary does not hesitate to compare him with both these illustrious saints : “Fr Richard Conway”, he says, “was one of the true sons of our glorious Father, St Ignatius, and a true imitator of that zeal for souls that consumed the heart of the glorious Father, St Francis Xavier, on the eve of whose feast he was called to his reward by God, leaving to us who remain after him his exemplary life for our initiation and consolation”.

John MacErlean SJ

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Richard Conway 1572-1626
Fr Richard Conway, together with Fr John Houling and Fr Thomas White, may be reckoned as one of the Saviours of the Faith in Ireland. This claim is based on his work of founding and maintaining Irish Colleges, mainly in Spain and Portugal, by means of which a steady flow of secular priests, Jesuits and educated Irish gentlemen was poured into the country, when all means of higher education had been eeradicated by the English authorities

Richard Conway was born in New Ross in 1572, and he sought the education, deniend him at home, in Lisbon, at the age of sixteen or seventeen. There he met Fr John Howling, and under his aegis became a Jesuit at Coimbra in 1592. Thenceforward, his whole life was dedicated to the education andservice of trhe countless Irish refugees flybing from persecution at home. He founded the Colleges of Santiago and Seville, and by a lifetime questing alms and wisely governing various Irish Colleges, fought the good fight, which prompted Fr MacErlean to say of him “Ireland may well be proud of him, and so may the Society of Jesus”.

Some time before his death, while collecting alms, he was waylaid by robbers and deprived of everything he possessed.He was neated severely, and he was left with his hands toed to the bottom of an olive tree. He cried aloud for help but noone came. He invoked Our Lady and his Guardian Angel, whereupon his bonds were loosened, and he made his way to a nearby town.

On his death bed, December 1st 1626, before he closed his eyes forever, Christ Our Lord appeared to him, and as a foretaste of the glorious reward in store for him, led him unto a charming region, where he beheld strange and secret sights.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
CONWAY, RICHARD. I learn from two letters of Dr. David Kearny, Archbishop of Cashell, of the 15th of July, 1616. and the 30th ot September, 1616, that this confidential Agent was actively employed In Spain in his Grace s service. The Father was at Madrid in October, 1624.

Gorman, Thomas, 1690-1767, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1377
  • Person
  • 29 December 1690-19 June 1767

Born: 29 December 1690, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Entered: 09 March 1714 , Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 1721, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1726
Died: 19 June 1767, At sea, Gulf of Corsica - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Taught Grammar 4 years
1737 On the Irish Mission
1761-1762 At the Irish College Poitiers

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Studied Humanities at Compostella beginning 1709 before Ent.
1724 Sent to Ireland serving in Clonmel, Limerick and Cork, and he was in the latter in 1755 (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
1728 Fixed his Residence as Limerick (cf White’s “History of Limerick)
1763 At Poitiers (Arret de la Cour du Parliament de Paris, 1763)
“Of uncommon talent”; A Good Preacher; Stationed at Clonmel, Limerick and Cork

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Edmund and Margaret née Meagher
He studied Philosophy at Santiago 1709-1712 and having begun Theology at Salamanca Ent there 09 March 1714
After First Vows he was sent to Santiago to teach Humanities and then to Royal College Salamanca for Theology where he was Ordained 1721
1721-1724 Teaching Humanities at Logroño when he was sent to Ireland
1724-1728 Returned to Ireland and sent to Clonmel and worked for four years under Thomas Hennessy
1728-1737 Sent to re-open the Limerick Residence and was there for nine years.
1737-1761 Sent to Cork where he continued his Ministry of Administering Sacraments, Catechising, Preaching and preparing young men to enter the Irish Colleges in Europe.
1761 With Fr General’s permission he retires to the Irish College Poitiers as his health was in decline. He arrived there only a few months before the Society was expelled from France and the College (Irish property) was seized by the state.
1762 He found refuge in his origin Province of CAST and was sent to St Ignatius Church, Valladolid where he lived until the Society was expelled from Spain in 1767
On a journey to an unknown destination - including to the passengers / fellow exiles - he died of hardship at Sea near the Gulf of Corsica 19 June 1767. He was buried at sea.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
GORMAN, THOMAS, born in Munster, on the 29th of December, 1691; was admitted in the Castile Province of the Society, on the 12th of March, 1714 : and ten years later came to the Irish Mission. His services were bestowed at Clonmel, Limerick, and Cork, when he shone as a Preacher. I believe he ended his days at Cork, where I leave him in 1755.

Gough, James, 1700-1757, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1379
  • Person
  • 25 July 1700-25 January 1757

Born: 25 July 1700, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Entered: 11 September 1721, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 27 November 1729, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1737
Died: 25 January 1757, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias St Leger

1754 At Compostella teaching
Was a Doctor of Divinity. Taught Grammar, Theology and Philosophy

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Writer and Professor of Theology
1725 Father Gorman desires to be remembered to Father James St Leger (McDonald’s “Irish Colleges Abroad” and de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”)
His Theological MSS are at Salamanca

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of William and Joan née St. Leger - like many Irishman in Spain he used his mother’s name (such practice was used by Irishmen in Spain in an attempt to outwit the English authorities who were intercepting correspondence between Irish families and their sons in Spain)
Had studied at Santiago before Ent 11 September 1721 Villagarcía
After First Vows completed his Philosophy at Palencia, and then went to Royal College Salamanca where he studied Theology and was Ordained there 04 December 1729. He continued his studies there graduating with a DD
1732-1738 Professor of Philosophy successively at Royal College Salamanca, Mithymna, Medina del Campo, Valladolid.
1738-1741 He then returned to Royal College Salamanca to hold a Chair of Theology
1741-1757 At Compostella where he had a Chair of Theology until his death there 25 January 1757
Ignatius Kelly and Thomas Hennessy tried to have St Leger sent to the Irish Mission. The Provincial of CAST agreed with the proposal but only on the condition that Ignatius Kelly should return to Spain to take up the Rectorship of the Irish College, Salamanca. The clergy and people of Waterford prevented the exchange of the two Jesuits

Harrison, John, 1682-1738, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1412
  • Person
  • 29 September 1682-20 February 1738

Born: 26 September 1682, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford
Entered: 29 November 1702, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1711
Final Vows: 15 August 1720
Died: 20 February 1738, Huesca, Spain - Aragoniae Province (ARA)

Alias Henriquez

Son of Peter Harrison (Henriquez) and Joan née Grace. Brother of James Harrison (Henriquez) RIP 1768

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1724-1728 Rector Santiago (succeeded “James Harrison perhaps should read James O’Connor alias Henriquez)
1728-1730 Rector Santiago from 17 October 1728 (should read Salamanca)
1729 Irish Mission Superior expressed his regret that he is being kept at Salamanca, as he was wanted or himself desired for the Irish Mission
From letters written to him he appears to have been well liked and rendered good service. (cf letters written to him from Joseph Delamer and Thomas Gorman - IER March 1874)
Documents of his are preserved at Salamanca
He wrote a petition to the King of Spain giving an account of the College of Salamanca (Dr McDonald’s “Irish Colleges Abroad”) (though this sounds more like Joseph Delamer?)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Peter and Joan née Grace. Brother of James Harrison (Henriquez)
Had studied Philosophy at Compostella before Ent 29/11/1702 Villagarcía
After First Vows he was sent to Compostella to complete his studies
There is no knowledge bewteen 1705-1714, but he was a priest by 1711
1714-1724 At Valladolid teaching Philosophy after two years post graduate studies and was Chair of Dogmatic Theology
1724-1728 Rector of Irish College Santiago and remained there until he succeeded Joseph Delamar (on his death) as Rector at Irish College Salamanca
1728-1731 Rector of Salamanca, but was deposed after three years later due to ill-considered judgements communicated to others. He had come in for extreme criticism by his Spanish Superiors for his administration at Compostela, and it was suggested that the College became burdened with huge debt and the discipline had become very relaxed. This caused significant embarrassment for the Irish Mission Superior, Ignatius Kelly. He wrote to Ignatius Kelly suggesting that there were eight places available at Compostela for 1730. Ignatius Kelly duly informed the local Archbishops, so that they might choose candidates. Meanwhile Harrison’s Spanish successor as Rector at Compostela wrote to Ignatius Kelly suggesting that there were in fact only four places.. At this point also, Harrison began to question the suitability of candidates for Salamanca sent to him by the Spanish Rector at Compostella. Meanwhile the Archbishops in Ireland wrote to the new General (Retz) both congratulating him and informing him of their concerns regarding the management of the Irish Colleges, and in particular the work of John Harrison.
1731 He fled, unauthorised and unannounced to Ireland and Dublin but was persuaded by Ignatius Kelly to accompany him as far as Poitiers, from where Harrison said he would travel to Rome to meet the General. He didn’t in fact go to Rome. he eventually arrived at Madrid where he stayed two years (1733-1735). After this he was withdrawn by the General from CAST and sent to ARA where he worked at the Church in Huesca until his death 20 February 1738
He was clearly a very talented man, but understood little of the ways of administration or diplomacy. His removal from CAST was damaging both to himself and the way this affected the Irish Jesuit Mission, especially in the Colleges of Spain. As a result of the anger and suspicion, no Irishmen were received in CAST for ten years.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Harrison SJ 1702-1738
Not every Jesuit who becomes a Rector becomes an Earl at the same time. This was the fate of Fr John Harrison, born in Kilmuckeridge, Diocese of Ferns, who entered the Society at Compostella in 1702. It happened in this way :
Fr Harrison became Rector of Salamanca in 1728 after the death of Don Dermitio O’Sullivan, who had made our College at Salamanca his universal heir. So Fr Harrison became ipso facto Earl of Beare and Bantry.

He had previously been Rector of Santoago from 17245-1728.

Kearney, James, 1601-1648, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1499
  • Person
  • 27 January 1601-13 June 1648

Born: 27 January 1601, Cashel, County Tipperary
Entered: 26 January 1621, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1627, Salamanca, Spain
Professed: 1634
Died: 13 June 1648, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias O’Carney

??Studied Literature, Humanities Philosophy and Theology??
1619 Teaching Grammar at León College, Spain
1625 Teaching at Valladolid College
1639 Rector at Compostella
1645 Rector at Compostella

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was Rector of Santiago, of brilliant talents and solid piety.
Rector and preserver of Irish College Salamanca.
Held in the highest of esteem by the Bishops of Spain for extraordinary learning and piety
(cf Irish Ecclesiastical Record sketches of him by Dr McDonald and Hogan)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Philip and Helen née Sall. Nephew of Barnaby O’Kearney.
He had completed two years Philosophy at the Irish College Salamanca before Ent 26 January 1621 Villagarcía
After First Vows (Noviceship was both at Villagarcía and León) he resumed studies at the Royal College Salamanca where he was Ordained c 1627
1628-1631 Operarius at Valladolid
1631-1646 Rector of Santiago. About this time Robert Nugent tried to have him applied to the Irish Mission but he was kept as Rector at Santiago until 1646
1646 Sent to the Jesuit College at Compostella as Spiritual Father where he died 09/06/1648
Notable amongst contemporary tributes to his memory is the letter of Peter Redan : “For all his intellectual gifts, he abitiononed purely spiritual work such as Preaching and other opportunities of an Operarius”.
He was a noted missioner also and throughout his long association with Compostella was one of the Bishop's examiners for candidates for Holy Orders

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Carney (Kearney, O'Carney), James
by Patrick M. Geoghegan

Carney (Kearney, O'Carney), James (d. 1648), Jesuit priest and rector, was born in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. As a youth in Cashel, he studied classics before being sent to Spain, because of legal restrictions, to complete his education. He read philosophy at the Irish college of Santiago de Compostella, in Galicia, before studying theology at Salamanca. He is mentioned in some accounts as a priest at the college of Salamanca in the early 1610s. He left Salamanca in 1612 to assist Theobald Stapleton (qv) with the formation of an Irish college at Seville, of which Carney and Maurice Regan became the first superiors. The Jesuit order took over the college in 1619, and it later became attached to the college at Salamanca. Carney followed this example and joined the Jesuits himself in 1620. Possessing extreme modesty throughout his life, Carney insisted that he wanted to join the Jesuits to allow more intelligent and talented men to concentrate on important duties, leaving the menial work to him. Nevertheless he was considered the most outstanding student of his generation, and when called upon to defend his theological theses he impressed the doctors of the University of Salamanca with his intelligence, his arguing ability (especially the fact that he never lost his temper), and most of all his modesty. He was extremely talented and pious; his fellow students respected his holiness, noting that he never disobeyed a rule of the order. He professed his four vows in 1634.

As his fame spread throughout Spain, he won the respect of the bishops of Spain with his learning and piety. Appointed president and rector of the Irish college at Santiago, alongside Fr Richard Conway (qv), he was credited with maintaining its existence, and enhancing its reputation, through his extensive work in raising money and by his prayers. His reputation ensured a steady stream of pilgrims from all classes, and he was always willing to give his blessing. He would also engage, in any spare time, on religious missions throughout Spain. He engaged in long fasts and passages of penance, including self-mortification, and sometimes would pray throughout the night. His superiors in the order were regularly forced to intervene for the sake of his health and urge moderation. During an illness in 1643 he made a number of prophecies, one (apparently correctly) predicting the time and nature of his death; because of this he was credited with the gift of prophetic sight. He died 10 June 1648 at Santiago. There were scenes of mass grief at his funeral, which was attended by the dignitaries of the town, and large crowds paid their respects outside.

William MacDonald, ‘Irish colleges since the reformation’, IER, viii (1872), 469; ix (1873), 208–9, 212; x (1874), 174–7; Edmund Hogan, ‘Irish colleges since the reformation’, IER, ix (1873), 1–5; id., ‘Chronological catalogue of the Irish province of the Society of Jesus’, Henry Foley, Records of the English province of the Society of Jesus, vii (1893), 29; id., Distinguished Irishmen of the 16th century (1894), 63; J. Walsh, The Irish continental college movement (1973)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Carney 1598-1648
Fr James Carney was born in Cashel in 1598 of very respectable and pious parents. Having received a solid classical education in his native town, he then went to Compostella for philosophy, and then to Salamanca for Theology. During this time of 1620/1 he entered the Society.

With the exception of two years as Spiritual Father at Compostella, his whole life was spent governing the irish College of Salamanca.

He wrote the preface to Fr Reddan’s Commentary on the Maccabees, and also the epigram “Rupes et Nardus”, found in the same Commentary.

He died on July 26th 1648.

Kiernan, Bernard, 1646-1710, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1536
  • Person
  • 13 March 1646-22 May 1710

Born: 13 March 1646, County Louth,
Entered: 24 February 1668. Salamanca, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 01 May 1678, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1685
Died: 22 May 1710, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias MacTiernan

1678 At Salamanca
1681 Teaching Grammar at Compostella
His “Sodality Book” was sold as waste paper and is at Clongowes

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Two Entries (1) Bernard Kiernan, (2) Bryan McTernan
Bernard Kiernan
1686 Teaching at Drogheda
1696 In Dublin as Superior and Prefect of Sodality - his Sodality Book is at Clongowes.
1708 In Dublin, but deported. He died 1710 of the plague at Compostella
Bryan McTernan
1697 In Dublin, living in the Parish of St Catherine’s (Report of a spy, in St Patrick’s Library, Dublin V 3.1.18)
Possibly is the same as Bernard Kiernan

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
After First Vows he was sent Regency for two years and then for Philosophy studies at St Ambrose, Valladolid
He was then sent to Royal College Salamanca, where he was Ordained by 01 May 1678
He then taught Humanities at Compostella and Oviedo until he was sent to Ireland
1686 Sent to Ireland and to Drogheda, where he taught Humanities until the town fell to the Williamites. So he went to Dublin and became Superior at the Dublin Residence. His particular Ministry was the promotion of Christian Doctrine circles and the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. The Sodality register presented to him in 1696 is at Clongowes archive
1697 After the Proclamation against the regular clergy in 1697 he went into hiding in St Catherine’s parish but was discovered and deported. He was received back into CAST and for the next three years taught philosophy at Pontevedra. He was then sent to the Irish College, Santiago and taught Humanities there until his death 22 May 1710.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
KlERAN, or KlRWAN, BERNARD.This excellent and well disposed Missionary, “insignis operarius et bonae voluntatis”, had returned from Spain to Ireland early in 1686. Twelve years later I find him labouring in the Dublin Mission. This “pious and irreproachable Father” died abroad, early in the last century.

Lisward, Edward, 1715-1791, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1581
  • Person
  • 01 February 1715-13 September 1791

Born: 01 February 1715, Clonmel, County Tipperary
Entered: 04 May 1741, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: Salamanca, Spain - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1755
Died: 13 September 1791, John’s Lane, Dublin

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He died in the Augustinian House at John’s Lane
Great Preacher; Professor of Humanities
1752 In Dungarvan
1761-1766 Rector at Salamanca
Note from Gaspar Stafford Entry :
1739 One of the Examiners of Father Lisward (Dr McDonald and de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Hugo and Kathleen née Norris
Had studied at the Irish Colleges of Santiago and Salamanca where he was Ordained before Ent 04 May 1741 Villagarcía
1743-1745 After First Vows sent to Royal College Salamanca for further studies
1745-1750 Taught Humanities at León and for a time was Minister
1750-1761 Sent to Ireland and Dungarvan where he worked for eleven years
1761-1765 Rector of Irish College Salamanca
1765 Sent to Cadiz to arrange the business of the Mission and then to Ireland and the Dublin Residence. There is little record of his work in Ireland after his return until the suppression of the Society.
He was one of the signatories to the instrument accepting the suppression and became incardinated in Dublin diocese. he was a Curate at St. James's parish but in consequence of some difference with the PP he went to live with the Augustinians in John's Lane and ministered at their chapel, where his sermons attracted large numbers, until his death 13 September 1791

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edward Lisward 1715-1791
Fr Edward Lisward was the pioneer of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Ireland. He was Parish priest of our parish in Waterford from 1750-1761. There he founded a Confraternity of the Sacred Heart, the first in Ireland, anticipating by more than fifty years the Confraternity founded in Dublin by Archbishop Murray in 1816.

Fr Lisward had done his studies in Spain, and there he had drank in the devotion from Fr Bernard de Hoyas, who in turn had imbibed it from Fr Gilifret in France, who himself was a disciple of Blessed Calude la Colombière. So, the devotion came to Ireland in a direct line from its original sources.

Fr Lisward was born in Clonmel, the son of Hugh Lisward and Kathleen Morris. He entered the Society in 1741, and was Rector of Salamanca after his period in Waterford from 1761-1766.

He died in Dublin on September or December 13th 1791, in the Augustinian House at John’s Lane.

◆ Clongowes Wood College SJ HIB Archive Collection - SC/CLON/142

Edward Lisward 1715-1791
Edward visward, son of Hugo and Kathleen née Morris was born in Clonmel in February, 1715 and made his ecclesiastical studies at Santiago and Salamanca He was already a priest when he was received into the Society at Villagarcia, 4 May 1741. After his noviceship he was sent to complete his theological studies at the Royal College,Salamanca. From 1745 to 1750 he taught humanities and was also Minister at the College of Leon. On his return to Ireland he was assigned to work in Dungarvan and district and exercised his ministry there until summer 1761 when he was appointed rector of the Irish College Salamanca. Three years later he returned to Ireland. On his return to Ireland he seems to have settled in Dublin, certainly after the suppression he lived and died at the Augustinian monastery at John's Lane. He had already officiated at St James’ Parish but he left it in consequence of some difference with the Parish Priest.

Note, St James's Parish registers C of I “Burials: September 15 Rev. Mr Lisworth, Thomas St”.

◆ MacErlean Cat Miss HIB SJ 1670-1770

Loose Note : Edward Lisward
Those marked with
were working in Dublin when on 07/02/1774 they subscribed their submission to the Brief of Suppression
John Ward was unavoidably absent and subscribed later
Michael Fitzgerald, John St Leger and Paul Power were stationed at Waterford
Nicholas Barron and Joseph Morony were stationed at Cork
Edward Keating was then PP in Wexford

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
LISWARD, EDWARD, was born at Clonmel on the 1st of February, 1715, and joined the Society at Salamanca, on the 5th of May, 1741. Nine years later he revisited his native Country as a Missionary, and was placed by Superiors at Dungarvan. After his Profession of the Four Vows, on the l5th of August, 1755, I can no longer trace him.

Lynch, Andrew, 1627-1694, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1596
  • Person
  • 30 November 1628-01 January 1694

Born: 30 November 1628, County Galway
Entered: 06 April 1655, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: Salamanca, Spain - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1668
Died: 01 January 1694, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

1658 At Santander College - remarkable talent of mature judgement; In Philosophy and Theology
1668 Has charge of Irish Seminary Compostella and lives in Spanish College
1669 In CAST
1672-1675 Has been Rector of Irish College Compostela
1690 Rector of Irish College Compostela

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1672 Rector at Santiago, between whom and Father Andrew Lincol, Rector of Salamanca, Father Patrick Lynch was arbitrator in the case of Nicholas’ Wise’s will in 1672
Father Morris’s Louvain “Excerpta” give the RIP date - perhaps he entered before 1672, even in 1654

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Luke and Joan née Kirwan
Had already studied at Salamanca where he was Ordained before Ent 06 April 1655 Villagarcía
1657-1660 Taught Humanities at Santander
1660-1668 Came back to complete his studies at Salamanca and then spent five years teaching at Burgos
1668 Rector of Irish College Santiago and died in office there 01 January 1694
He had been invited to join the Irish Mission, but his Spanish Superiors made representations, suggesting that he would work for the Irish Mission at one of the Irish Colleges. So he never went back to Ireland to work.

Lynch, Patrick, 1640-1694, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1606
  • Person
  • 08 April 1641-06 February 1694

Born: 08 April 1641, County Galway
Entered: 06 March 1657, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 1666/7, Valladolid, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1674
Died: 06 February 1694, Dublin

Superior of Mission 30 April 1689-06 February 1694

1660 At Oviedo College
1665-1678 At Valladolid 2nd year Theology teaching Philosophy
1678 At Medina del Campo (CAST) Teaching Philosophy and Theology
1681 At Valladolid Teaching Philosophy and Theology
There were two of this name - see letter of Fr General April 1689 to Fr De Burgo, Superior of Mission

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Writer;
1693 Superior of the Mission and living in Dublin
Four volumes of “Institutuines Philosophicae” of his are in Salamanca (de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”)
Note from Andrew Lynch Entry :
1672 Rector at Santiago, between whom and Father Andrew Lincol, Rector of Salamanca, Father Patrick Lynch was arbitrator in the case of Nicholas’ Wise’s will in 1672

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had already studied Philosophy at Santiago 1655-1657 before Ent 06 March 1657 Villagarcía
After First Vows he then was sent on regency to Oviedo before resuming studies at St Ambrose, Valladolid where he was Ordained 1666/7.
1667-1670 He then did further studies at Royal College Salamanca, after which he taught Philosophy at Valladolid for three years.
1675-1685 After Tertianship he taught Theology at Santiago, Medina del Campo and Valladolid
1685 Sent to Ireland and made Superior of the Mission 30/04/1689. It was a period of uncertainty and hardship for the Mission following the Williamite victory in 1692.He left Dublin for Galway, but by Spring 1692 he was back in Dublin. Already four of the Mission’s Residences had been destroyed, and the others were under threat. Most of the Jesuits at this stage were dispersed, some had been arrested and deported. In the middle of all this, he died unexpectedly 06/02/1694

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
Patrick Lynch (1689-1694)

Patrick Lynch was born in Galway on or about 27th October, 1640. Having studied philosophy for two years he entered the Novitiate of the Society at Villagarcia in Castile. He taught grammar at Oviedo, finished his course of philosophy, and studied theology at the College of St Ambrose in Valladolid, He was then given a couple of years (1667-69) to repeat his philosophy and theology at the Royal College of Salamanca. Having made his tertianship, he began his professional career by lecturing for four years on theology at Santiago, where he made his solemn profession of four Vows on 15th August, 1674. After the interval of a year spent in the College of Medina del Campo, he returned in 1678 to the College of St Ambrose in Valladolid, where he lectured on philosophy for four years and on scholastic theology for three. Some theological treatises of his are still extant in manuscript. He was recalled to Ireland in 1685, and four years later was appointed Superior of the Mission on 30th April, 1689. The years that followed were years of warfare and disaster. On 8th September, 1690, Fr Lynch reported from Galway, whither he had retired, that four of the Jesuit houses had been destroyed, and the rest were on the point of dissolution; the Fathers were dispersed, and several had been arrested. After the defeat of the Catholic army at Aughrim, Fr Lynch, retired to Limerick, but returned to Dublin early in 1692. The indigence of the Fathers was great, and they had to depend on occasional alms received from foreign Provinces. All religious who were caught were banished, and slavedrivers seized young boys and girls and shipped them to the West Indian plantations. In the midst of scenes like this Fr Patrick Lynch died unexpectedly at Dublin on 6th February, 1694, after nominating Fr Antony Knoles as Vice Superior.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Patrick Lynch SJ 1640-1694
Fr Patrick Lynch was Superior of the Irish Mission from 1689-1694.

He was a native of Galway, entering the Society at Villagarcia in Spain. For quite a number of years he was Professor of Theology at Santiago and Valladolid. A copious writer on philosophical themes, many of his manuscripts are still extant.

Being recalled to Ireland in 1685, he was appointed Superior four years later. His term of office was marked by warfare and disaster. In 1690 he wrote from Galway, where he had taken refuge, that 4 of the Jesuit houses had been destroyed, and the rest on the verge of collapse.

After the Battle of Aughrim Fr Lynch came to Limerick and then on to Dublin in 1692. In the midst of all the calamity and ruin, Fr Lynch died suddenly in Dublin on February 6th 1694 after nominating Fr Anthony Knoles as Vice-Superior.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
LYNCH, PATRICK, was Superior of his Brethren in Dublin, in 1693, and 1694.
Query. Was he not related to John Lynch, Archdeacon of Tuam, Author of that rare octavo volume, printed at St.Malo, in 1669. “Pet Antistititi Icon, sivc dc Vita et Mortc, Rmi D Francisci Kirruani Auadensis Epiacopi” It fetched at Heher s sale, December, 1834. 181. 10s.

MacEgan, John, 1599/1600-1666, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1627
  • Person
  • 1599/1600-27 July 1666

Born: 1599/1600, Streamstown, County Meath
Entered: 05 April 1620, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1627, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 21 September 1636
Died: 27 July 1666, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

First Vows 05 April 1620??
1625 At Salamanca College teaching Grammar and studying Theology and Philosophy for 5 years - good for Missions
1633 At Monreal College CAST has been Minister and Procurator
1646 in Kilkenny (1650 Catalogue CAST says on Mission from 1638)
1655 Professor of Moral Theology at Oviedo
1665-1667 At Compostella Teaching Theology, Philosophy, Grammar.
No dates given for Teaching Theology at Segovia, Ávila and considered as Superior of Irish Seminaries

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Two Entries
1625 At Salamanca (in pen)
1634 Procurator as Castile
1649 In Kilkenny teaching Philosophy
He was a distinguished Preacher, and is styled “truly learned and good, modest and humble” Knew English, Irish, Spanish and Latin. Taught Philosophy for four years, also Professor of Theology at Ávila and elsewhere, and a Preacher and Confessor for ten years.
“A model religious; most learned in human and divine science, distinguished Preacher, truly learned, modest and humble” (Mercure Verdier, Visitor to Irish Mission 1649)
Names in a list of Irish Jesuits 1650 (ARSI)Called “MacEgan” in Peter Walsh’s “Remonstrance”
Suggestion that his name was “MacGeoghegan” of Westmeath
(cf a Sketch of him in “Irish Colleges Abroad”; Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ ;
Son of Robert and Marcella née Coffey
Had studied Philosophy probably at Santiago before Ent 05 April 1620 Villagarcía
After First Vows he was sent on Regency for two years teaching in CAST Colleges, and then resumed his studies at Royal College Salamanca (1623-1627) and he was Ordained there in 1627.
1627-1637 Sent teaching Humanities, first to Segovia, then to Monforte de Lemos, and finally to Monterey where he was both Minister and Operarius in the Church. During these years he was keen to be sent to Ireland, but permission to go did not arrive until 1637.
1637 Sent to Ireland and Kilkenny, where he devoted himself once more to teaching and on the establishment of a school of Philosophy and where he taught.
In the controversy between the Supreme Council and Rinuccini, MacEgan took the part of the latter but kept as far as possible out of the disputes. The author of the “Aphorismical Discovery” states that he was “the only Jesuit not to swerve from his fourth vow” (This was perhaps untrue, as only a very small minority of Jesuits, but a vocal one, opposed the Nuncio).
1653 He returned to Spain - probably deported. He was appointed to a Chair of Moral Theology at the College of Oviedo
1660 He was appointed to a Chair of Moral Theology at the Irish College Compostela
1662 Fr General gave his permission for him to return to Ireland, but the permission was not acted on probably because of poor health, and he died at Compostela 27 July 1667

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
EGAN, JOHN, was living at Kilkenny in 1649, and then 55 years of age. He was teaching Philosophy,and was a superior Preacher; but what is more, he deserved the character of being “truly learned and good, modest and humble."

Murty, Stephen, 1584-1621, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1811
  • Person
  • 1584-21 February 1621

Born: 1584, County Waterford
Entered: 03 April 1602, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 1609/10, Salamanca, Spain
Died: 21 February 1621, Baiona, Spain (Salamanca) - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Part if the Irish College Salamanca community at the time of death

1611 At Valladolid College Age 27 Soc 9
1617 Stephen Murtye in Ireland

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
A “miracle in the matter of learning” and “admirabilis ingenii”; a very holy man; was buried with great honour near the high altar of the Franciscan Church of Baiona (cf McDonald Irish Ecclesiastical Rcord of 1873)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Joan née Grant
Had previously studied at Salamanca before Ent 1602 CAST
1604-1607 After First Vows he began Philosophy and then had a short Regency at Monforte de Lemos.
1607-1613 He was sent to Royal College Salamanca for Theology and where he was Ordained 1609/10. He then was sent for further studies to Valladolid, during which time he began to teach Philosophy. he was considered by his contemporaries to be exceptionally gifted, but all this was impaired by poor health
1613-1619 He was sent to Ireland and he spent four or five years in his native Waterford, but probably because of his health did not engage much in active ministry there.
1619 As his health improved it was thought that he could return to teach at Salamanca, and he was appointed to a Chair in Theology at Royal College. Unfortunately when he was there he contracted consumption. early on. So he headed back to Ireland for his health, but died at Bayonne, France while travelling home 21 February 1621

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Stephen Murty SJ 1580-1637
At Bayonne in 1637, on his way back to Ireland died Fr Stephen Murty. He entered the Society in 1601 and in 1617 he was labouring in Ireland, where his zeal bore great fruit, bringing back a great number of heretics to the Church.

He was afterwards a professor of the Seminaries of Salamanca and Santiago, and was esteemed as a man of great holiness and learning. The Spanish Jesuit, Ferdinand de Castro writing f his ways “He never did an action which savoured of vanity, nor uttered a word to his own credit, though he had splendid talents, as we all know. He possessed a remarkable gift from heaven for bringing back heretics to the Church, and this he exercised during the seven years he spent in his native land. None ever saw him angry or heard him say a rash word, and in his long and painful illness, he was never heard to complain. On the contrary, his great characteristic was his conformity to the will of God. His confessor goes so far as to say that he had never committed a mortal sin in his whole life”.

He was buried with much honour and solemnity near the high altar of the Franciscan Church in Bayonne, and his funeral was attended by the Governor of the city, surrounded by his guard of soldiers, by the Mayor and other civic authorities.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
MORTY, Stephen In a letter of F. James Quemerford, dated Madrid, the 2nd of September, 1607, he says “B. Murtie was all these three months sick, he is now well, and like to prove a miracle in matter of Learning”. He united with great wit and capacity a remarkable share of industry, and an extraordinary grace of delivery.

O'Connor, James Henry, 1679-1724, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1880
  • Person
  • 24 July 1679-04 January 1724

Born: 24 July 1679, County Wexford
Entered: 10 January 1703, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 25 March 1713
Died: 04 January 1724, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias Henriquez

A Priest on Entry
1706 at Soria CAST teaching Grammar

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Two Entries for James Harrison (there is another called James Harrison who uses the alias Henriquez, but perhaps this is more correctly an Entry for James O’Connor)
Studied at Santiago and Salamanca. Was prudent, zealous, energetic (Dr McDonald)
1712-1724 Rector of Santiago (cf Foley’s Collectanea) Professor of Rhetoric, and converted many Protestants. Held in great esteem at Compostella (cf euolgium in IER March 1874 written by a Spanish Jesuit). A Spanish Father had been appointed in 1710, but did not get on well with the students, who petitioned for a Rector from their own nation.
See a beautiful account of him in a letter of Père Joseph Payral, 09 January 1724, announcing his death (Irish Ecclesiastical Record ER March 1874, p 251)
Letters of his are at Salamanca

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of James and Mary née Harrison (in Spain he was known as Henriquez, a Spanish form of his mother’s surname)
Had studied at Salamanca where he was Ordained before Ent 10 January 1703 Villagarcía
1705-1712 After First Vows he was sent to Soria to teach Humanities
1712 Rector Irish College Santiago and died in office 04 January 1724
His obituary notice paid tribute to his ability in government and the inspiring example of his religious life.

O'Meagher, Daniel, 1706-1772, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1928
  • Person
  • 11 October 1707-24 March 1772

Born: 11 July 1707, San Sebastián, Spain
Entered: 23 May 1723, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 30 November 1732, Valladolid, Spain
Final Vows: 06 January 1741, Bergara
Died: 24 March 1772, Castel San Giovanni, Piacenza, Italy - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Younger brother of Dominic RIP 1772

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of John and Julia née Cruise (de la Cruz) brother of Dominic
After First Vows he studied Philosophy at Palencia and Theology at St Ambrose, Valladolid where he was Ordained 30 November 1732
1737-1740 After Tertianship he held a Chair of Philosophy at Bilbao and later at Orduña.
1744-1750 He held a Chair of Philosophy at Santander.
1750 He lost his memory completely and had to be cared for in the community, yet notwithstanding this infirmity he accompanied the exile of his Spanish brethren in 1767
He died at Castel San Giovanni 24 March 1772
The superior of the Irish Mission, Ignatius Kelly, asked the General to have the Meagher brothers assigned to the Irish Mission but Spanish Superiors determined to hold on to these brilliant brothers

Sherlock, Patrick, 1583-1614, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2126
  • Person
  • 1583-18 August 1614

Born: 1583, County Waterford
Entered: 10 April 1602, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c. 1612, Salamanca, Spain
Died: 18 August 1614, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

1607 At Compostella College
1611 At Salamanca College
1614 Age 30 Soc 13 has studied Theology 4 years - died suddenly

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
RIP in Spain probably between 1609 and 1617

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Walter and Bela (Beatrice) née Leonard. Brother of Paul
Had begun his Priestly studies at Irish College Salamanca before Ent 10 April 1602 Villagarcía
After First Vows his career is not clear but he was sent to Royal College Salanmanca for Theology and was Ordained there c 1612
After his formation was complete he was sent to teach Philosophy at Irish College Santiago, and died suddenly there 18 August 1614
From the contemporary correspondence we learn that he had volunteered to serve on the Irish Mission

Sherlock, Paul, 1595-1646, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2127
  • Person
  • 14 August 1595-08 August 1646

Born: 14 August 1595, County Waterford
Entered: 30 September 1612, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 05 June 1621, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Final Vows: 18 October 1628. Irish College Salamanca, Spain
Died: 08 August 1646, Irish College, Salamanca, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias Sherlog

1614-1622 At Valladolid Age 18 Studying Theology, proficiency above mediocrity
1617 In CAST Age 18 Soc 4
1625 At Compostella Age 28 Soc 13. More than ordinary ability for preaching. He is confessor and Preacher
1626 In Spain
1633-1645 Rector of Irish College Salamanca. Has been Lecturer on Controversial subjects. A man of much learning with a talent for composing commentaries on the Scriptures. Excellent disposition, talent and judgement. Best talent for Government, teaching and commenting on Scriptures. In addition excellent at conducting business with people of the world. Much prudence and learning, firmness in dealing with others. Talent for writing and governing. A Religious spirit.
Left his books to the Irish Jesuit Mission, but especially for the Residence at Waterford.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Was of a Waterford family, but it has been seen stated that he was born in Wexford; Writer of commentaries on Holy Writ; Professor of extraordinary virtue and held in great esteem in Spain. (Foley’s Collectanea)
He obtained a high repute both as a Theologian and Administrator, and was Rector at Salamanca and Compostella for twenty years.
1631-1646 Rector of Salamanca (Irish Ecclesiastical Record September 1874). he was also a Professor of Controversy for seven years, and also for a time of Sacred Literature and Theology, wit a great repute for learning. As a result he was chosen as Censor of Doctrine by the Sacred Inquisition. he assiduously applied himself day and night to a study of the ancient Fathers. Weak health prevented him from leaving even more evidence of his learning and erudition.
He was a man of austere life, who subjected his body to severe inflictions in daily disciplines, hair-cloths and other practices; was much given to prayer and devoted to our Blessed Lady, fasting and other mortifications on the vigils of her feasts. Some are of the opinion that he received Divine Illustrations in prayer, and assistance in the rapid composition of his writings.
A Catalogue of Irish Jesuits for 1617 ((Irish Ecclesiastical Record August 1874) states his age at that time to be 18, and four years in Society.
He is identical with a Fr “Paul Shirley” noticed in “Records SJ” Vol V p 475, in a note citing Dodd’s “Church History”, who mistranslates the name given by Southwell as Sherlogus into Shirley.
Southwell in “Biblio Script SJ” makes an interesting note about him : he was of a family of clan of Waterford (Menapiensis); born on the vigil of the Assumption 1595, of devoted Catholic parents; was admitted to the Society on the day before the Kalends of October 1612 at the Irish College Salamanca
(In pencil) Wrote a sketch of William Bathe
(cf de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ” for his writings) (cf Archivum Hibernicum Vol VI pp 157-74 for a biography)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Walter and Bela (Beatrice) née Leonard. Brother of Patrick
He had spent three months at Irish College Salamanca before Ent 30 Septmber 1612 Villagarcía
He completed his Noviceship at Medina del Campo
1614-1617 After First Vows he was sent to St Ambrose, Valladolid for Philosophy.
1617-1621 he then was sent for Theology first at Valladolid and then to finish at Compostela where he was Ordained 05 June 1621, and graduated with a “Grand Act”
1621-1622 He was then sent to Valladolid to teach
1622-1624 He taught at Monterey and Pamplona
1624/25-1628 Rector of Irish College Santiago after the death of William White
1629-1646 Rector of Irish College Salamanca 01 May 1629, succeeding Thomas Briones. For most of his active life in the Society he was occupied with administration but this did not prevent him from engaging in the deeper study of theology, particularly in Holy Scripture. (His published works are listed in Somervogel) For the historian, however, the 'autobiographia' written in 1643 is of most interest. He died in Office at Salamanca 08 August 1646
Like his brother Patrick, Paul also volunteered for service on the Irish Mission

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Sherlock (Sherlog), Paul
by Deirdre Bryan

Sherlock (Sherlog), Paul (1595–1646), Jesuit priest and theologian, was born in August 1595 at or near Waterford city, reputedly the son of Walter Sherlock and his wife Beatrice Leonard. He was a descendant of James Sherlock of Gracedieu who, in 1494, was granted extensive lands in Co. Waterford by Henry VII in reward for his family's loyalty to the Tudor monarchy. The Sherlocks, who served frequently as mayors of Waterford city between 1492 and 1642, were one of the foremost catholic mercantile and landowning families of east Waterford.

As a young boy Sherlock attained a proficiency in Latin under the tutelage of a catholic schoolmaster in Waterford. Like many of his contemporaries, he left Ireland for Spain, aged 16, to study at the Jesuit-run Irish College at Salamanca. He landed in Bilbao in May 1612 and reached Salamanca at the beginning of July. Together with Thomas Vitus (Wyse), a fellow-student from Waterford, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus at Salamanca on 30 September 1612. He spent the first two years of his novitiate at Villagarcia and Medina del Campo before travelling to Santiago de Compostela in 1614. Over the next seven years he studied philosophy and theology at the Jesuit college at Valladolid and at Santiago, where in 1621 he was ordained. In 1624 he succeeded Thomas White (qv), who had died in 1622, as rector of the Irish college at Compostela; four years later he was appointed rector of the Irish college at Salamanca, where he remained until his death in 1646.

A highly educated man, Sherlock taught scholastic theology and divinity both at Salamanca and Compostella. He published many theological works which earned him considerable praise from scholars in Spain and France. His most important work was a combination of ecclesiastical history and devotional commentary based on the text of the Song of Solomon; it was published in three folio volumes: Anteloquia ethica et historica in Canticum Canticorum (Lyons, 1634), Commentarium in duo priora capita Cantici Canticorum (Lyons, 1637), and Commentarium in reliqua captia Cantici Canticorum (Lyons, 1640), all three volumes being reprinted in Venice in 1641. He dedicated the work to Fernando de Vera, bishop of Cuzco, whose financial generosity, combined with the earnings accrued through publication, were sufficient to enable Sherlock to found a library at the Irish college at Salamanca. Two other works, written under the pseudonym of Paulus Leonardus, were also published: Responsio ad expostulationes recentium quorundam theologorum contra scientiam mediam (Lyons, 1644) and Antiquitatum Hebraicarum Dioptra (Lyons, 1651).

In April 1642 and again in February 1643, Robert Nugent, superior of the Jesuits in Ireland, wrote to the general of the order, Viteilleshi, requesting the return to Ireland of Sherlock and another Irish Jesuit, Luke Wadding (a professor at Salamanca and cousin of the Franciscan Luke Wadding (qv) (1588–1657)), declaring both priests to be ‘absolutely necessary to this mission’ (Grogan, 94). Neither priest returned.

Sherlock's religious practices of flagellation, wearing hair shirts, and fasting eventually eroded his health. It was believed by some that he received direct communication from heaven while praying and writing. He died 9 August 1646 at the Irish college, aged 50 years, and was buried in Salamanca.

After his death the Jesuits claimed that the library he founded at the Irish college was the property of their society and not the university. Four Irish students of the college took proceedings in the court of the chancellor of the university, successfully recovering the books acquired by Sherlock. In 1919 a six-foot brass plaque was erected in Waterford's catholic cathedral commemorating a unique group of priests, native to the diocese, who were eminent in the church both at home and abroad. Paul Sherlock is among those commemorated.

J. Ware, The writers of Ireland (1764), 120–21; DNB; Anon. [attributed to Mother Mary Berchmans / Margaret Mary Sherlock], ‘Distinguished Waterford families: Sherlock’, Journal of the Waterford and South East Ireland Archaeological Society, ix (1906), 120–28, 171–5, x (1907), 42–4, 171–83; Amalio Huarte (ed.), ‘El. P. Paulo Sherlock: una autobiografia inédita’, Archiv. Hib., vi (1917), 156–74; P. Power, Waterford saints and scholars (1920); K. Kelly, ‘Father Paul Sherlock S.J.’, Decies: Journal of the Old Waterford Society, i (1976); William Nolan and Thomas P. Power (ed.), Waterford: history and society (1992), 189, 218; Patrick Grogan, ‘The Sherlocks of Waterford’, Decies: Journal of the Old Waterford Society, lvi (2000), 81–94; ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Paul Sherlock 1593-1646
Paul Sherlock of Waterford entered the Society at the age of 17 at Salamanca. As a Theologian he gained a great reputation, and was equally successful at government. For twenty years he was Rector of the Irish Colleges at Salamanca and Santiago.

He had very weak health, nevertheless he led a very austere life, and subjected his body to severe inflictions in daily disciplines, hair cloths and other penances. He himself says in a diary meant for publication :
“Here in Santiago I determined to wrote on the Canticles of Solomon, and to that end I have studied indefatigably, desiring in this way to imitate the Fathers of the Church. I did without a great part of my sleep at night. I continued in Salamanca for two or three years with greater rigour, for the cold nights of that place were especially mortifying. In 1629 I began to prepare the first volume of the work on the Canticles of Solomon for the press. To this end I received great strength from a vision of St Brendan the Irish Abbot”.

He died on August 9th 1646 at the age of 51, with a great reputation for holiness.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
SHERLOCK, PAUL, was born at Waterford, on the 14th of August 1595. Well grounded in Classical literature, he entered himself in the Irish College at Salamanca, in 1612, and on the 30th of September the same year enlisted under the banner of St. Ignatius. As a Theologian he attained to the highest reputation; for his ability in governing he was equally distinguished; and for the long period of 20 years, during which he was Rector at Salamanca and Compostella, he secured the esteem and attachment of his Brethren and Subjects. Application was made to the General of the Order on various occasions by F. Robert Nugent, the Superior of the Irish Mission, that his services might he confined to his native country; but, under the circumstances, it was judged expedient to continue F. Sherlock in Spain, and at Salamanca he terminated his useful career on the 9th of August, 1646. Gifted with talents of the first Order, and indefatigable in labor, he would have left numerous evidences of his genius and erudition, if his constitution had been stronger, or his life more extended; still we had from his pen,

  1. “Antiloquia in Canticum Canticorum”. 3 vols. fol. Lyons, 1633, 1637, 1640, under the borrowed name of Leonardus Hibernicus.
  2. “Vindiciae Scientiae Media”. 4to, Lyons. 1644.
  3. A posthumous work, “De Hebraeorum Republica”. Fol. Lyons, 1651
    *I believe the Family of Sherlock or Schyrlock came from Chester, with the Bagots. - From Devonshire emigrated the Cogans, and Fitz-Stephens.

St Leger, William, 1599-1665, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2143
  • Person
  • 1599-09 June 1665

Born: 1599, County Kilkenny
Entered: 08 October 1621, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 20 March 1627, Cambrai, France
Final vows: 15 August 1635
Died: 09 June 1665, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias Salinger
Superior of Mission 29 June 1652-December 1652 and 16 July 1661-09 June 1665

Mother was Margaret Duingyn (Duigin?)
Studied Humanities at home and at Antwerp, Philosophy at Douai, was MA
1625 in 1st year Theology at Douai
1637 ROM Catalogue Good in all, fit to teach Humanities
1649 In Kilkenny (50 after his name)
1650 Catalogue DOB 1697. A Confessor and Director of Sodality BVM. Prefect of Residence many years and Consultor of Mission. Age 53, Superior of Kilkenny Residence and of Seminary at Compostella for 6 years
1654 Exiled from Clonmel
1655 Rector of Irish Seminary St Iago CAST
1658 At Compostella Age 57 Soc 36. A Superior at various times in Ireland. Rector and Provincial in Ireland. Rector Irish College. Taught Grammar.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Studied Humanities, two years Philosophy and four years Theology in Sicily before Ent. Knew French, English, Irish and Latin.
Taught Humanities for many years; Was Confessor and Director of BVM Sodality; Superior of Residences and Consultor of Irish Mission for many years.
1650 Superior at Kilkenny College, and then moved to Galway when Kilkenny was captured.
1651 He was obliged to flee Ireland, escaped to Spain and succeeded John Lombard as Rector at Compostella, and he died there 09 June 1665 aged 66
He wrote the life of Archbishop of Cashel, Thomas Walsh. 4to Antwerp 1655 (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
Writer; Prisoner; Exiled with great cruelty; Professor of Humanities; Rector of Compostella Residence; Superior of the Irish Mission; Of great gentleness and prudence; Educated in Sicily and Belgium (cf Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan :
Son of Thomas and Margaret née Duigan
Early education was at Antwerp. He also graduated MA and D Phil at Douai before Ent 08 October 1621 Tournai
1623-1627 After First Vows he was sent a year of Regency at Douai and then stayed there for Theology, and was Ordained at Cambrai 20 March 1627
1628 Sent to Ireland and Kilkenny, and was later Superior at the Kilkenny Residence, and then Rector of the College. He identified himself with the small group of Ormondist partisans in the Kilkenny community whose approval of the Supreme Council's defiance of Rinuccini was reported to Rome and caused the General to send Mercure Verdier on Visitation to the Irish Mission.
1652 Superior of the Mission on 29 June 1652, but six months later was deported to Spain. He arrived in San Sebastián and was then sent to the Irish College Santiago, where he continued as Superior of the Irish Mission until 27 June 1654.
1654-1661 Rector of Irish College Santiago an Office he held for seven years
1661 Reappointed Superior of the Irish Mission 16 July 1661 but ill health prevented him from returning to Ireland. This meant there were two Superiors of the Irish Mission - William in Spain, and Richard Shelton in Ireland. He died at Santiago 09 June 1665

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
St Leger, William
by Terry Clavin

St Leger, William (1599–1665), Jesuit, was born in Co. Kilkenny in September 1599, the son of Thomas St Leger and his wife Margaret Duignan. He left Ireland to study classics at Antwerp and philosophy at Douai and graduated MA and D.Phil. On 8 October 1621 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tournai. Ordained a priest at Cambrai on 20 March 1627, he was professed of the four vows of his order on 15 August 1635. In 1628 he had returned to Ireland, where he taught at Kilkenny city. Following the 1641 rebellion and the establishment in 1642 of the Catholic Confederation of Ireland, St Leger was prominent as a supporter of an alliance with the protestant royalists led by James Butler (qv), earl of Ormond. Nonetheless, in 1646 St Leger supported the decision by GianBattista Rinuccini (qv), papal nuncio to Ireland, to excommunicate those who adhered to the peace between the supreme council of the confederation and Ormond.

However, when Rinuccini excommunicated the supporters of the supreme council's cessation with the protestant forces in Munster in the summer of 1648, St Leger strongly opposed him. Rinuccini was particularly bitter over the refusal of St Leger, and the Jesuit order in general, to back him in 1648. After the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–52), St Leger was appointed superior of the Irish Jesuits on 29 June 1652, but he was obliged to flee to Spain in January 1653 after the authorities banished all catholic clergy from Ireland upon pain of death. He settled in Spain, where he became rector of the Irish college at Compostela. In 1655 he published a life of Thomas Walsh (qv), archbishop of Cashel during the confederate period. This work was criticised by Rinuccini's supporters for failing to mention the controversies of 1648 and St Leger's own role in them. In 1661 he was re-appointed head of the Jesuit mission in Ireland but ill health prevented him from returning home to assume this position. He died 9 June 1665 at Compostela.

Comment. Rinucc., vi, 188; Edmund Hogan, Chronological catalogue of the Irish members of the Society of Jesus (n.d.), 30; The whole works of Sir James Ware concerning Ireland, ed. and trans. W. Harris (1764), ii, 144; Gilbert, Contemp. hist., i, 277; Gilbert, Ir. confed., vi, 69, 277, 314; Michael J. Hynes, The mission of Rinuccini (1932), 131, 265; ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
William St Leger (1652-1654)
William St Leger, son of Thomas St Leger, or Salinger, and Margaret Duigin, was born in the county of Kilkenny in September, 1599. He went to Belgium in 1617; studied rhetoric at Antwerp and philosophy at Douay, where he gained the degrees of Licentiate and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. He entered the Novitiate of the Society at Tournay on 8th October, 1621. After teaching grammar a year at Douay, he studied theology there for four years, and was ordained on 20th March, 1627, at Cambray. He returned to Ireland in 1628, and was usually stationed at Kilkenny, where he made his solemn profession of four vows on 5th August, 1639. He was Superior of the Kilkenny Residence and Director of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin for many years. Then he became Rector of the College at Kilkenny, Consultor of the Mssion, and, finally, on 29th June, 1652, Superior of the Mission. When on 6th January, 1653, an edict banishing all priests from Ireland within ten days was published, Fr St Leger was lying ill in a friend's house at Kilkenny, but his weakness won him no respite. He had to be carried on a stretcher for twenty Irish miles to a seaport, where he was put on board a ship bound for San Sebastian, where he arrived before 26th April, 1653. After some time he took up his residence at the Irish College of Santiago. He continued Superior of the Mission, though resident in Spain, until 27th June, 1654, when he became Rector of the Irish College of Santiago, a position he held for the next seven years.

William St Leger (1661-1663)
Fr William St Leger (for whom vide supra 1652-54) was appointed Superior of the Irish Mission on 16th July, 1661, but was prevented by ill-health from returning, so that for the next two years there were two Superiors of the Irish Mission, one in Spain, Fr William St Leger, and one in Ireland, Fr Richard Shelton. Fr St Leger died at the Irish College of Santiago on 9th June, 1665. He was an accomplished Latinist, and to his pen we are indebted for many treatises which throw light on the state of the Catholic religion in general, and on the history of the activities of the Society of Jesus in Ireland in particular, from the earliest times down to the year 1662.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father William St Leger 1599-1665
William St Leger was born in Kilkenny in 1599.

Having joined the Society at Tournai he returned to Ireland after his ordination in 1628. He was a fluent speaker of English, Latin and Irish and taught classics for many years. He became Superior of the Kilkenny Residence, Director of the Sodality, Consultor of the Mission, and finally Superior in 1652. His zeal for souls made him a special object of hatred for the Puritans.

When an edict was published in 1653 banishing all priests from Ireland within ten days. Fr William was lying ill at a friends house, He was transported on a stretcher to the nearest seaport and put on a ship bound for San Sebastian. He made port in April, having been at sea since January. He took up residence at the Irish College Santiago, where he became Rector for seven years.

In 1661 he was again appointed Superior of the Irish Mission, but through ill health never returned to Ireland. For two years there were two Superiors, Fr St Leger in Spain and Fr Richard Shelton in Ireland. The difficulty was resolved by Fr St Leger’s death at Santiago on June 9th 1665.

We are indebted to him for many treatises on the State of the Catholic Religion and of the Society of Jesus in Ireland at that period. He is also the author of a life of Thomas Walsh, Archbishop of Cashel who died in Compostella.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
ST. LEGER, WILLIAM. The 1st time that I meet with him is in a letter written by him from his native place, Kilkenny, on the 3rd of January, 1646-7, wherein he speaks in the highest terms of the merits of Peter Francis Scarampi, the Oratorian, and Envoy of the Holy See to the Irish Nation. Pere Verdier found him two years later superior of the College at Kilkenny. When that City was taken, he removed to Galway. In 1651, the success of the Puritan faction compelled him to seek safety in flight. Retiring to Compostella, he ended his days in peace, on the 9th of June, 1665, aet. 66. We have from his pen the Life of Thomas Walsh, Archbishop of Caascll, 4to. Antwerp, 1655, who died at Compostella.

Stafford, Nicholas, 1663-1695, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2147
  • Person
  • 27 January 1663-10 August 1695

Born: 27 January 1663, A Coruña, Spain
Entered: 28 March 1680, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1686, Valladolid, Spain
Died: 10 August 1695, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
(cf Father Morris’s Louvain Transcripts “Catal. Defunctorum”)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Philip and Catalina
After First Vows he was sent for studies to Valladolid and was Ordained there c 1686
After his formation was complete he taught Humanities for a while at La Coruña, and later sent to teach Philosophy at Logroño
1692 He was sent to teach Philosophy at Irish College Santiago, where he died 10 August 1695

His “carta necrologica” mentioned his zeal for the preservation of the Faith in Northern Europe, and the example of sincere piety which so impressed the students from Ireland

Stanihurst, Peter, 1599-1627, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2149
  • Person
  • 01 November 1599-27 May 1627

Born: 01 November 1599, Brussels, Belgium
Entered: 18 September 1616, Mechelen, Belgium - Flanders Province (FLAN)
Ordained; 15 March 1625, Antwerp, Belgium
Died: 27 May 1627, San Sebastian, Spain - Flanders Province (FLAN)

Brother of William - RIP 1663

Son or Richard and Ellen Copley (Richard - -RIP Brussels 1618 - studied for 6 years after the death of his wife) brother of William
Fellow Novice of Jan Berchmans
1626 A P Stanihurst is in the FLAN-BEL Province
In 1639 he wrote 10 “distichs in Theobald Stapleton’s “Irish Catechism” where he signs P Stanihurstus, Societ. Jesu, Hibernus
An Eloquium on him in “Arch de l’état, Brussels", Carton 1005 I, died 29 June 1627

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Richard and Helen née Copley and cousin of Protestant Bishop Ussher. Brother of William
Studied Humanities at Brussels under the Jesuits before Entry.
Fellow Novice of Jan Berchmans
Irish Mission Superior asked the General to send hoim or his brother William to teach at the irish College Compostella
Death date RIP 27 May 1627 Spain (before FV - Carton 1005 I. Archives de l’État, Brussels; Hogan’s Irish List; Mechelen Album)

Note regarding Peter and William Stanihurst taken from the leaves of Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS by Fr Morris SJ :
1644 Stanihurst : since about the year 1630, a good Father of the Society that lived in this town (Louvain) preached here on holidays. He was cousin german to the Superioress and her sister; he was named Father Stanihurst, whose mother was their father’s own sister, married to an Irish gentleman of good worth in his own country (St Monica’s Chronicle p 497) The Superioress, elected 25/02/1637, was Sister Mary Copley (St Monica’s Chronicle p 497). She and her sister Helen were daughters of William Copley of Gatton, Surrey, and heir of Lord Thomas Copley, Baron of Wells (ibid p120), that is Sir Thomas Copley who claimed the Barony of Wells. Richard Stanihurst, the father of Peter and William, became Chaplain to their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess Albert and Isabella, after the death of his wife Helen Copley (ita P Waldack). Of James Stanihurst, the father of Richard, Father Edmund Campion says in the preface to his “History of Ireland” : “Notwithstanding, simple and naked as it is, it could never have growen to any proportion in such post haste, except I had enterd into such familiar societie and daylie table talke with the worshipful esquire, James Stanihurst, Recorder of Dublin, who beside all courtesie and hospitality, and a thousand loving turnes not heere to be recited, both by word and written monuments, and y the benefit of his own library, nourished most effectively mine endeavours. Dublin 1633, reprinted 1809”
Richard Stanihurst was uncle to Ussher and cousin to Henry Fitzsimon. He wrote several works on which we see Sir J Ware’s “Irish Writers”, Webb’s Irish Biography. he became a priest upon his wife’s death, and Chaplain to the Archduke of Austria.
Barnaby Rich, Gent, in his “Description of Ireland” says R Stanihurst was a great alchymist. Father Holiwood often wrote to the General to have Peter and William sent to Ireland (Hogan)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Helen née Copley. Brother of William. His Grandfather James was sometime Recorder of Dublin.
Contemporary in Noviceship of Jan Berchmans
1618-1623 After First Vows he was sent first to Antwerp and then to Bruges for studies. The he was sent on a year of Regency at Bergues Saint Winoc. Although born in Belgium, he was considered eligible for the Irish Mission, and in fact the Irish Mission Superior had hoped that he might do a Regency at the Irish College Santiago.
1623-1625 He was then sent back to Antwerp for Theology and he was Ordained there 1625
1625 He was then appointed a Naval Chaplain and so was living at Dunkirk. During the year 1626/27, when his ship put in at San Sebastian, he set out for Madrid. It is known that he preached to the sailors in Holy Week (Easter Sunday was on 4 April 1627, and that he died shortly after.

Sweetman, Jerome, 1634-1683, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2168
  • Person
  • 30 September 1634-07 October 1683

Born: 30 September 1634,County Meath / County Dublin
Entered: 15 August 1652, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 1659, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1669
Died: 07 October 1683, Talavera de la Reina, Castile-La Mancha, Spain - Toletanae Province (TOLE)

1655 At Compostella Age 22 Soc 3. Studying 3rd year Philosophy.
1660 At Pamplona College as Minister. Good talent and judgement
1665-1672 At Oviedo CAST teaching Grammar and Minister
1675 Not in Catalogue
Taught Philosophy and Theology at Ávila (no dates)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1674 Procurator of Irish Mission, Madrid
Names in a letter of Christopher Mendoza, Madrid dated c 1675 -He was procurator at Madrid (A Copy at the Archives de l’État, Brussels, is given in “Collectio Cardwelli” Vol iii Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
Accused by Titus Oates and mentioned in the false narrative (cf : “Records SJ” Vol v, pp 97 seq)
Mentioned occasionally in the “Note and Letter-book” of Father John Warner, ANG Provincial, and now in the Cambridge Public Library.
His letters are in Salamanca

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
1654-1659 After First Vows he was sent for studies first to Compostella and then Salamanca where he was Ordained 1659
1659-1664 Sent as Minister and teaching Humanities at Pamplona and then Oviedo
1665-1669 Rector Irish College Santiago. He was known also to conduct parish missions from there.
1669-1672 Taught Moral Theology at Oviedo and later at Avilá.
1672-1682 General appoints him as Rector at Irish College Seville, at the request of the students, but he pleaded his indifferent health against acceptance of the post. Instead, on the representations of the Superior of the Irish Mission, Jerome was appointed Procurator of the mission and of the Irish Colleges (Santiago, Salamanca, and Seville) at Madrid, and against the opposition of the Provincial of TOLE
1682 Out of the blue he was commanded by a Royal Decree to leave Spain forthwith. The charges against him cannot now be specified but it can be surmised that the sum of his offence had something to do with his success in winning financial help for the Mission and Colleges to the (alleged) detriment of the Spanish Jesuits establishments. Protests and memorials from the Irish in Spain failed to move the King. The General pronounced him innocent of the charges and arranged for him to settle in the province of Portugal. He died on his way there at Talavera 07 October 1683

Wall, James, 1586-1640, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2214
  • Person
  • 1586-18 November 1640

Born: 1586, County Waterford
Entered: 23 April 1601, Oviedo, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1611 Salamanca, Spain
Final vows: 18 February 1618
Died: 18 November 1640, Co Waterford

Alias Wale

1617 “James Waleus” in CAST Age 35 Soc 15
1618 Prof 4 Vows, teaching or taught Philosophy 3 years
1619 At Compostella
1622-1625 At Oviedo College CAST teaching Philosophy and Moral Theology
1628-1633 At Compostella Minister Age 45 Soc 27. Fit to teach and preach (1633 Age 54)
1637 Is declared good in all and fit to teach Philosophy
Also stated in Catalogue that O Valle died in 1628
O Valle was Superior of Irish College St Iago in 1628 (cf letters in Franciscan Archives Dublin under word “Compostela” (Cat Chrn 35)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was a learned and hardworking Missioner;
1617 Was in Spain (Irish Ecclesiastical Record)
1622 Came to Ireland
In Spain was known as “Diego Ovalle” (cf Foley’s Collectanea)
Came to Ireland eventually with a broken constitution, and after a few years service died in Waterford 18 November 1640. Irish Mission Superior Robert Nugent, in a letter 22 September 1640 praises him for his integrity, learning and zeal. A beautiful sketch is written of his life by Fr Yong, his director (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
There is at St Isidore’s Rome a letter from Diego Ovalle to Luke Wadding

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Margaret née Lynet
Probably studied for a short time at Salamanca before Ent 23 April 1601 CAST
1603-1611 After First Vows he was sent for studies first to Compostella and then Royal College Salamanca where he was Ordained c 1611
1612-1616 After Ordination he taught Latin at the Irish College Salamanca
1618-1621 Sent to Irish College Santiago to teach Philosophy
1621-1633 Sent to teach Moral Theology first at Oviedo, then Salamanca and then Santiago. During these years he frequently helped out the Missions staff of his Province or worked in the local Church
1634 Sent to Ireland and Waterford, and he worked as Operarius until his death there 18 November 1640

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WALLE, JAMES, returned to Ireland from Spain with a broken constitution, and after a few years service, died in November, 1640. F. Robert Nugent, in a letter of the 22nd of November that year, eulogizes this Father for his integrity, learning, and zeal.

Walsh, James, 1646-1695, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2220
  • Person
  • 19 March 1646-02 January 1695

Born: 19 March 1646, Dublin
Entered: 07 January 1671, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: Salamanca - pre Entry
Final Vows: 02 February 1682
Died: 02 January 1695, Bilbao, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Had studied 3 years Philosophy before Ent
1675 At Compostella teaching Grammar and Philosophy - talented teacher
1678 At Monreal “ing-opt”
1681-1685 At Pamplona - a talent for teaching Theology. Has taught Grammar, Philosophy and Theology (Moral and Scholastic). Progress in preaching.
1690 Was Rector at Salamanca and taught Theology

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Patrick and Isabel née Russel
He had made Priestly studies and Santiago and Salamanca and was ordained at Salamanca before Ent 07 January 1671 Villagarcía
1673-1677 After First Vows he was sent to teach Philosophy at Irish College Santiago
1677-1678 Sent to teach Philosophy for a year at Monterey
1679-1686 Sent to teach Dogmatic Theology at Pamplona
1686-1692 Rector Irish College Salamanca, and held Office for six years until his health determined he should relinquish it.
1692 Sent to Bilbao to teach Moral Theology and he died there 02 January 1695

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WALSH, JAMES Another Father of this name was living at Compostella, in 1686.

White, James, 1660-1722, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2246
  • Person
  • 28 September 1660-05 October 1722

Born: 28 September 1660, An Daingean, County Offaly
Entered: 08 March 1680, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1685, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 28 August 1693
Died: 05 October 1722, St Ignatius College, Valladolid, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

1690 At Logroño CAST teaching Philosophy
1715-1716 Prefect at Irish College Poitiers (With, Witus)
1720 A St Ignatius College Valladolid, Operarius
Was a Doctor of Divinity, taught Grammar, Philosophy and Theology 19 years

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1703-1709 At Salamanca
1721 At Valladolid
He was in CAST when Hugh Thaly, in a letter of 20 February 1686 earnestly requests that he be sent to the Irish Mission
A letter of his in 1720 is preserved at Salamanca.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Patrick and Isabel née Wafer
Born Sragh, near Philipstown
Had studied at Santiago and begun Theology at Salamanca before Ent 08 March 1680 Villagarcía
1682-1686 After First Vows he was sent on a brief Regency and then to Royal College Salamanca for Theology where he was was Ordained c 1685
1686-1696 After his Tertianship representations were made to have him sent back to the Irish mission but his Spanish superiors, who appreciated White's exceptional ability, detained him. So he was sent to teach at Logroño and then to take a Chair in Theology at Valladolid
1696-1711 He was sent to Compostella, where he held a Chair in Theology and graduated DD
1711-1720 Because there was some dispute between the Cathedral Chapter and the University (where he was teaching) he returned to Valladolid again to a Chair of Theology.
1720 He resigned from teaching and was sent as Operarius to the Jesuit Church at Valladolid where he died 05 October 1722

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WHITE, JAMES, was in the Province of Castile, in the early part of 1686, as I find in F. Hugh Thaly’s letter of the 20th of February that year. His services were then urgently demanded for the Irish Mission.

White, John Michael, 1724-1755, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2247
  • Person
  • 01 July 1724-18 February 1755

Born: 01 July 1724, County Meath or Dublin
Entered: 23 March 1746, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: 21 September 1751, Royal College Salamanca, Spain
Died: 18 February 1755, Dublin Residence

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” : :
1750 Was in Dublin

His letters 1740-1753 are at the Irish College Salamanca

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
A Meath family but probably brought up in Dublin as he received his early classical education at the Dublin Jesuit School under Milo O’Byrne and John Ward. He also made some Priestly studies at Santiago and Salamanca before Ent 24 March 1746 Villagarcía

1748-1752 After First Vows he was sent to Royal College Salamanca and was Ordained there 21 September 1751
1752 He was sent to Ireland immediately after Tertianship and sent to a parish in Dunboyne (temporary or permanent is uncertain). he was already in poor health and he died in Dublin Residence 18 February 1755

(A long interesting letter describing his return journey from Spain and his first experiences in Ireland, has survived in the Salamanca papers).

White, Nicholas, 1598-1628, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2253
  • Person
  • 1598-03 October 1628

Born: 1598, Clonmel, County Tipperary,
Entered: 15 April 1615, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1623, Salamanca, Spain
Died: 03 October 1628, Irish College, Santiago de Compostella, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

1617 In CAST Age 18 Soc 2
1625 At Logroño, Spain
1627-1628 At Logroño (??) - Rector being Paul Sherlock - Concinator and Confessor

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
DOB 1599 Clonmel; Ent c 1609 or c 1615; RIP pre 1626 or November 1628 Santiago
He was Rector at Compostella before 1626 or 1628 (cf Foley’s Collectanea where DOB is given as 1599 and Ent 1615)
(Letter of Diego Ovalle alias for James Wale, to Luke Wadding OSF, in St Isidore’s, Rome)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Joan also née White
Had spent a little while at the Irish College Salamanca before Ent 15 April 1615 Villagarcía
1617-1623 After First Vows he was sent for studies first to Monforte for Philosophy and then Royal College Salamanca for Theology where he was Ordained c 1623
1623-1625 He was briefly teaching at Logroño
1625 He was appointed Prefect of Studies at Irish College Santiago. In his brief career while there he proved a tower of strength to the students who were not always sympathetically treated by the Spaniards. He also made representations o the General to use all his powers to expand the work of the Irish seminaries by setting up a Procuratorship at Madrid. He also succeeded Paul Sherlock there as Rector (1628), and died there 03 October 1628.
He had volunteered for the Irish Mission, but this was never taken up.

White, Thomas, 1556-1622, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2256
  • Person
  • 1556- 07 May 1622

Born: 1556, Clonmel, County Tipperary
Entered: 11 June 1593, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: pre Entry Valladolid, Spain
Died: 07 May 1622, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Older Brother of Stephen - RIP 1647; Uncle of Peter White - RIP 1678; Cousin of William White - RIP 1625

Brother was Mayor of Clonmel
Before he entered he was Rector of Irish Seminary (Salamanca??). Salamanca SAT 1592 “Este Padre es Irlandes y està fuera “T or Y”)??) no se sabe lo particular del” C 08/09/1601
Studied 3 years Casus.
1606 Age 50 Soc 12 - was 9 years Rector of Irish Seminary Salamanca. Helps in Irish, English and Scotch business
1617 Ib CAST Age 60 Soc 24
His portrait is at Irish College Salamanca
In Irish Ecclesiastical Record 1922 pp578-597 there is an article on Fr Thomas White and the Irish College Salamanca. It appears to contain some first hand information and would be read to advantage by anyone wishing to give a life of him (JPR)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
First Rector Irish College Lisbon 1593
With William White and Richard Conway he took possession of Santiago, Compostella (cf IER September 1874)
Mentioned honourably in a letter of Henry Fitzsimon 26 October 1611 (Irish Ecclesiastical Record March 1873)
Founder of Irish College Salamanca 1592, which was the first, or one of the first establishments the Irish Catholics obtained on the Continent after the Reformation
Juvencius (“Hist SJ” xiii p215) says he was an elderly secular priest at the time, and that he entered the Society, after putting the College (Salamanca) under the charge of our Fathers, under whose charge it remained until 1762 (expulsion of Jesuits from Spain). He was a man of great piety and zeal, and a great pillar of the Irish Church.
(cf his life by William McDonald DD in IER 1873)

Note from Bl Dominic Collins Entry
About a year after he arrived in Spain, he met Fr Thomas White, Rector of Salamanca, and by his advice entered the Society. Two of his fellow novices were Richard Walsh and John Lee

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Priestly education seems to have been provided mostly by an unknown Bishop uncle at Santiago and otherwise at Valladolid (according to Luis de Valdivia who wrote his obituary).
What seems certain is that members of White's family had settled in or near Santiago, e.g. Baiona. The year of Thomas's ordination cannot be determined but if we can trust all
the details in the obituary notice it was the Bishop uncle who Ordained him. It was at Valladolid that White first conceived the idea of organising a regime of life for wandering Irish scholars who wished to study for the priesthood. But it was at Salamanca 22 August 1592 that his work was placed on a permanent basis by the generous foundation effected by the King of Spain. All this before Ent 11 June 1593 Villagarcía.

After First Vows the whole of his life as a Jesuit was to be devoted to the education of Priests for Ireland.
1596-1603 First Rector Irish College Salamanca
1604 He visited the General at Rome to discuss the future of Salamanca and ways and means of promoting the Jesuit mission in Ireland. It seems he also visited Ireland that year but his stay cannot have been for more than a few weeks
1606-1608 Rector Irish College Lisbon
1612 Acting Superior at Santiago
1619 Acting Superior at Santiago until his death there 07 May 1622

The foregoing summary of his periods of offices seems almost to indicate periods of enforced leisure after his extensive journeyings in quest of alms for the support of his students or for that matter of any needy Irish student who wished to pursue his Priestly studies. His success as an organiser was known to Dr. Christopher Cusack who repeatedly asked the General to send White to help him with his own work for Irish seminarians in Belgium.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
White, Thomas
by Terry Clavin

White, Thomas (1556–1622), Jesuit and founder of Irish colleges in Europe, was the son of Pierce White of Clonmel and was born into one of the most staunchly catholic families in Ireland. A younger brother Stephen (qv) was a celebrated Jesuit antiquarian. His uncle Peter ran a famous catholic school in Waterford, where Thomas White was probably first taught. By 1582 he was studying theology in Valladolid and in 1593 he became a Jesuit. The city had a small community of Irish scholars at the time, most of whom were in great want. White took them into his house, providing for them out of his own resources. In the summer of 1592 he brought the students before King Phillip II at the royal villa of St Laurence; the king granted them some money. However, White sought another audience with the king, petitioning that he endow the Irish with a college. On 2 August 1592 the first Irish college on the continent was established at Salamanca, with White as its vice-rector and spiritual director.

Thereafter White dedicated himself to organising and furthering Irish academic life in Spanish territory, being also greatly pre-occupied with the Irish colleges founded in Lisbon, Santiago and Seville, acting as rector for the latter two. His stewardship of the college in Salamanca provoked controversy in May 1602 when ‘Red’ Hugh O’Donnell (qv) and Florence Conroy (qv) petitioned on behalf of the provinces of Ulster and Connaught against him. The northerners won out and in 1605 a Spanish superior was appointed. But the new system was not a success and in 1613 White was reinstated as head of the college. Although he never returned to Ireland, he received a steady stream of reports from missionaries there, many of whom were educated in his colleges, who constantly drew attention to the persecution of Irish catholics. He died 28 May 1622 at Santiago.

John Coppinger, Mnemosynion to the catholics of Ireland (1608); Edmund Hogan, Distinguished Irishmen of the 17th century (1894), 48–70; Patrick Power, Waterford and Lismore (1937), 25; T. Corcoran, ‘Early Irish Jesuit educators’, Studies, xxix (1940), 545–60; William Burke, History of Clonmel (1983 ed.), 464–9

Note from Paul Sherlock (Sherlog) Entry
Like many of his contemporaries, he left Ireland for Spain, aged 16, to study at the Jesuit-run Irish College at Salamanca. He landed in Bilbao in May 1612 and reached Salamanca at the beginning of July. Together with Thomas Vitus (Wyse), a fellow-student from Waterford, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus at Salamanca on 30 September 1612

Note from Bl Dominic Collins Entry
He moved to Spain, where he met an Irish Jesuit, Fr Thomas White (qv), at Corunna and, experiencing a change of heart of truly Ignatian proportions, he applied to enter the Society of Jesus. Due to his age and previous career, he was initially refused but was finally accepted as a brother-novice at the Jesuit College at Santiago de Compostela in late 1598

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1I 1962
EARLY IRISH JESUIT EDUCATORS
Thomas White of Clonmel (1556-1622)

The outstanding figure in the constructive work for Irish Education, done by Irish Jesuits within the century 1540-1640 either within Ireland or abroad, was that of Father Thomas White of Clonmel. The two historians of his birthplace and of his diocese, Canon William Burke (History of Clonmel, 1907, pages 457-469) and Canon Patrick Power (Waterford and Lismore, 1937, page 24), following up the researches of Dr Edmond Hogan SJ, agree in giving the year of Thomas White's birth as 1556, the year of the death of St. Ignatius of Loyola. They also concur in stating that Thomas White and the more celebrated Father Stephen White SJ, (born 1574) were brothers, sons of Pierce White and brothers of James White, Vicar-Apostolic of Waterford; another brother, chief magistrate of Clonmel, was deposed from that civil office in 1606 as being a recusant Catholic. Near relatives, Patrick and Nicholas White, were heavily fined in Castle Chamber, at Dublin Castle, for refusal to attend Anglican services. In the entry lists (1601 1619) of the Irish College, Salamanca, more than one White is set down as a Waterford diocese student, coming from the school of Master John Flahy, who sent some fourteen students to the University of Salamanca in those years. In 1608 John Coppinger (Mnemosynion to the Catholics of Ireland) tells of how Father Thomas White, a Jesuit since 1593, devoted himself to the most practical academic service of organising Irish student life at Valladolid, Salamanca, Lisbon, Seville, and St. James of Compostella.
Was it not great charitie of Father Thomas White, naturall of Clonmel, seeing so many poor scholars of his nation in great miserie at Valladolid, having no means to continue their studie nor language to begge, having given over his private commoditie, did remcollect and reduce them to one place, which he maintained by his industrie and begging ?

Thomas White, as Canon Burke notes, was at Valladolid by 1582. Having in the summer of 1592 presented his assembled students to King Philip II at his Royal Villa of St. Laurence beside the city, he got from the King a large initial sum for housing, an annual grant for maintenance, and this Royal letter :

To the Rector, the Masters, and the Members of the University of Salamanca.

The young Irishmen who have been forming a kind of community in the city of Valladolid have decided to go to your city, in order to avail of the advantages there placed at their service for progress in Letters and Languages. A house has been prepared for them, in which they purpose to live under the direction of the Jesuit Fathers.

Besides providing for them a substantial annual grant, I desire them to deliver to you this letter, to charge you, as I now hereby do, to regard them as highly recommended to you. Favour and assist them to the utmost of your power. They have left their own country and all dear to them there for the service of God our Lord and for the preservation of the Catholic Faith; they declare their determination to return there to preach it and, if need be, to suffer martyrdom for it. They are to have in your University the good reception that they promise themselves. I am certain that you will see to this being done. With your aid and with what I feel sure of from the City of Salamanca (to which also I now write), these young Irishmen will be enabled to pursue their studies in content and freedom, and so will give full effect to their purpose.

Given at Valladolid, this second day of August 1592
Yo el Rey

Hieronimo de Cassell
A Secretis

Over the following thirty years (1592-1622) Thomas White laboured indefatigably at this great Catholic and national service. He was thus the initiator of the Irish Colleges in Spain, rapidly succeeded by those of France, Italy, Flanders, Bohemia. Always associated with the great Catholic Universities, they secured for our students, that fine university training, general and professional, which easily enabled them to outrank over all Europe, as at Paris, Louvain, Salamanca, Prague, the work essayed at the decadent Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and other heretical centres. The prestige thus everywhere achieved for Catholic Irish students, both in academic training and office, as well as through published works, on the lines initiated and on the foundations well laid by Thomas White or Clonmel and his Irish collaborators in Spain, was expanded and enhanced down to the destructive years of the French Revolution. Fr White's death at Santiago, on 28 May 1622, was thus most fittingly recorded by a Spanish pen “

This day, Sunday, at seven in the morning, Our Lord called to the reward of his labours and merits Father Thomas White. He died of fever, at the age of sixty-four and in the thirty-fourth year of his religious life. During that period he had worked with apostolic spirit in the service of God and of the Catholic faith, which, through the means of the Colleges which he had founded in Spain, has been preserved in Ireland. His life and virtues, so well known in the Society of Jesus, cannot receive full justice in this brief letter, His thoughts and desires were all for the glory of God and for the progress of the Colleges for which he toiled unceasingly. On the road and in the duties of an external character on which he was almost constantly engaged, Father White was a singularly recollected man, assiduous in prayer and meditation. Always resigned to the will of God, he never asked Him for anything (so he said shortly before his death) which was not accorded to him. God always blessed his petitions by moving the minds of Chapters, Prelates, and Princes with whom he was brought into contact to aid his work by their alms and gifts; they knew him well for a man of great zeal and rare virtue. He practised great mortification, and even in advanced years kept in use every day the hair shirt and discipline.

He was most simple both in dress and in manner; his usual food every day was a little bread and cheese, which he ate while journeying along the roads. To the lay fold whom he met he gave great edification; to his students he was a living model of piety. Through his efforts many religious institutes were filled with excellent members, and his native country received many holy priests and bishops, who acknowledge that under God they owe everything to Thomas White.

In his last illness he gave great evidence of the holiness of his life; and though death came unexpectedly while he was still organising this College of Santiago, he made very perfect acts of
conformity to God's will, bewailing his not having served Him more fervently. In the fifteen days of his illness he received Holy Communion three times and had Extreme Unction in good time. As we closed the commendation of his soul to God, he peacefully breathed his. last; his countenance retained all the appearance of life, All this gives us a special pledge of heaven; but we are greatly grieved for the loss to the Colleges of this Father, the Protector of his country. His death has caused a profound sensation in this City, where it is deeply lamented.

Father White's opening period of work for the new Irish College at Salamanca extended almost continuously from 1594 to 1605; it was often varied by his apostolic questings, described in this letter of Father de Castro SJ, composed and despatched from Santiago de Compostella on the very day of his holy and happy death. He was again Rector at Salamanca from 1617, and was constantly concerned with the sister Irish foundations : Lisbon stabilised by 1593, Santiago founded in 1612, Séville founded 1619. Midway in those three decades of unremitting toil, King Philip III had given its full formal rank as a foundation of the Spanish Crown to the “Royal College of Irish Nobles” (El Real Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses), the title borne to this day by this ancient and most fruitful foundation for our race and faith.

Timothy Corcoran SJ

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Thomas White 1558-1622
Fr Thomas White was born in 1558 of a family in Clonmel which gave many priests to the Church. His brother James was Vicar-Apostolic of Waterford, and another brother was the famous Fr Stephen White SJ. Thomas entered the Society when already a priest at 30 years of age.

His name should ever be held in benediction, for it was he who first started the idea of founding Colleges for the Irish on the Continent. In this way, he was instrumental in founding Valladolid, Salamanca, Lisbon, Seville and Santiago. It was he too who petitioned the General to establish the office of Procurator General for the Irish Mission, which post Fr James Archer was first to fill.

Fr Thomas died on Sunday May 28th 1622, 64 years of age after 34 spent as a Jesuit. In his obituary by Fr de Castro we read : “we are left overwhelmed with grief for what all the Colleges have lost in this Father and Protector of his country, and his death has created a profound sensation in this seminary and city, where it is bewailed with tears.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WHITE, THOMAS.The only occasion that I find this Father mentioned is in a letter of the 22nd of August, 1607. He was then in Spain, with F. James Archer. I cross him again six weeks later. F. Fitzsimon, in the Preface to his Treatise on the Mass, printed in 1611, mentions him.

White, William, 1583-1625, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2257
  • Person
  • 1583-19 September 1625

Born: 1583, County Waterford
Entered: 1605, Seville, Spain - Baeticae Province (BAE)
Ordained: 1611, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 15 September 1622
Died: 19 September 1625, Irish College, Santiago de Compostela, Spain - Castellanae Province (BAE)

Cousin of Thomas White - RIP 1622 and Stephen White - RIP 1647

Had read Theology
1614 At Santiago Missioner and Confessor
1617 In Ireland Age 34 Soc 13
1621 In Ireland Age 39 Soc 17 Mission 8. Now Valetudinarian
1622 In East Munster
1625 At Compostella Age 41 Soc 23. Missionary and Superior of Irish Seminary at Compostella
In Carlow College there is a book marked “Missio HIB SJ Waterford Guliemus White”

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
A Writer; Brough up in Andalusia;
In the company of Thomas White and Richard Conway he took possession of Irish College at Santiago de Compostella, April 1613, the King having ordered that it should be place under the care of Irish Jesuits.
1613-1622 In East Munster
A good Theologian and Preacher
He is named in a letter of Christopher Holywood (alias Thomas Lawndry) Superior of the Irish Mission 04 November 1611 (Irish Ecclesiastical Record January 1874)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of John and Anastatia née Comerton. Cousin of Thomas White (RIP 1622),
Had studied Humanities and Philosophy under John Flahy in Ireland, and then he entered the Irish College Salamanca 06 March 1602 before Ent 1605 Seville
1607-1611 After First Vows he was sent to studies at Royal College Salamanca, was Ordained there c 1611 and then sent to the Irish College Salamanca as Confessor.
After that he was sent to the Irish College Santiago as Minister and on the Missions in Parishes locally
1615-1622 Sent to Ireland and Waterford where he worked as Operarius for seven years.
1623 Sent to Irish College Santiago to succeed his cousin Thomas White as Rector following his death September 1623. He was in declining health and the General decided he should go back to Ireland as soon as his successor could be nominated, but he died in Office 19 September 1625
His Spanish Superiors regarded him as endowed beyond the ordinary for government and preaching .