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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.

Austin, John, 1717-1784, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/884
  • Person
  • 12 April 1717-29 September 1784

Born: 12 April 1717, New Street, Dublin
Entered; 27 November 1725, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 22 September 1747, Rheims, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1753
Died: 29 September 1784, Dublin

Cousin of William Doyle - RIP 1785 - Ordained with William X Doyle (his cousin) at Rheims 22 September 1747 by Bishop Joppensi
Grand-uncle of Myles Gaffney - RIP 1861 and John Gaffney - RIP 1898

1740-43 taught Humanities at Rheims
1746 Read Theology at Rheims
1749 taught Humanities at Poitiers and Prefect at Irish College
1750 came to Ireland by July
1770 mentioned in Nano Nagle’s letters
1784 RIP and buried at graveyard of St Kevin’s Protestant Church - monument erected
In French Dictionary of Musicians he is referred to as “le Père Augustin”

A famous Preacher and Teacher and was Prefect at Poitiers.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1746 At Rheims studying Theology
1750 Sent to Dublin
1754 In Ireland and teaching Humanities for five years.
His monument in St Kevin’s calls him :
“Pious. doctus, indeffessus, apostolicus confectus laboribus. Divites admonuit, pauperes sublevavit, juventutum erudivit, orphanis loco parentis fuit, de omni hominum genere praeclare meruit, omnibus omnes factus”.
Topham Bowden, and English Protestant, in his “Tour through Ireland” in 1791 says : Austin was a very remarkable character, of extraordinary learning and piety. he was a great preacher and injured his health by his exertions in the pulpit etc”. (cf Battersby’s “Jesuits” and Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS for the full Latin inscription)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Place of birth in New Street Dublin was then called Austin's Grounds near Kevin Street.
1737 After his Noviceship studied philosophy for two years at Pont-à-Mousson
1739-1744 Spent the next five years in regency at the College of Rheims.
1744-1747 He resumed his studies at Rheims where he was Ordained 22 September 1747.
1747 Sent to complete his theological studies at the Grand Collège, Poitiers . During these studies he lived at the Irish College and held the post of prefect of Discipline. It is likely that he made his tertianship at Marchiennes before he returned to Ireland in 1750.
1750-1784 Spent all of his Missionary life in Ireland at Dublin. He did many ministries, but is best remembered as a devoted teacher. He died on 29 September, 1784, and is buried at St. Kevin's churchyard, Camden Row, Dublin.

The inscription on his monument aptly sums up his ministry of thirty-four years in the city: “Pius, devotus, indefessus, apostolicis confectus laboribus. Divites admonuit, pauperes sublevavit, iuventutem erudivit, orphanis loco parentis fuit, de omni hominum genere meruit, omnibus omnia factus.”

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from the Myles and John Gaffney Entries :
Their Grand-uncle was the celebrated John Austin, a remarkable Jesuit in Dublin towards the middle of the eighteenth Century.

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

Austin, John (1717–84), Jesuit priest, was born off Kevin Street, Dublin, on 12 April 1717. He showed promise as a youth, and was said to have come to the attention of Jonathan Swift (qv). He went to France and joined the Society of Jesus in the Champagne (27 November 1735). After a period of teaching the humanities and as prefect of the Irish college in Poitiers, he returned to Dublin (1750) and took his final vows (2 February 1754). Austin soon acquired a reputation there as a powerful preacher and as a friend of the poor. After the society was dissolved by the pope (1773), he was one of twelve Jesuits who wrote from Ireland accepting their new status as secular priests. Three years later he and the other fourteen former Jesuits then in Ireland formed a voluntary association to hold their resources in common, thus anticipating the revival of the society after 1800 and enabling it in 1814 to open its famous school at Clongowes Wood, Co. Kildare.

Austin is best remembered as founder (1760) of a classical school, in Saul's Court, off Fishamble Street, Dublin, which was so well thought of that it was used as the diocesan school for Meath as well as Dublin for preparing priests prior to their going to a seminary on the Continent. His pupils there included Daniel Murray (qv) the future archbishop of Dublin and Michael Blake (qv) who was to reopen the Irish college in Rome in 1824. John Austin died in Dublin on 29 September 1784 having acquired an exceptional reputation for ministering to the poor. He was buried in St Kevin's churchyard and a pyramidal stone erected over his grave. His portrait, by James Petrie (qv), was engraved by Henry Brocas (qv) and published by Bartholomew Corcoran (1792).

George Oliver, Collections towards illustrating . . . Scotch, English and Irish members, Society of Jesus (1835), 214; W. J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854), 94–100; Timothy Corcoran, The Clongowes Record, 1814 to 1932 (1932), 35–6, 39–41; M. J. Curran (ed.), ‘Archbishop Carpenter's epistolae, 1770–1780’, Reportorium Novum, i (1955), 164; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991), 108–9

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

FATHER JOHN AUSTIN SJ 1717-1784
We have a great deal of information about eighteenth-century Dublin, much of it trivial or stupid, practically all of it unconnected with the lives of the great mass of the people. In particular, we know almost nothing of the lives of the Irish Jesuits who worked in the Dublin slums. One of the most distinguished was John Austin, who was born in Dublin in 1717. There is a story told about him by Battersby, on what authority I do not know. About 1732 the boy was attending a school near the Deanery where Swift lived. The Dean, after seeing some verses the boy had written in defence of an old but faithful dog, sent for the parents, who said “they wished him to become a priest”. Swift recommended the parents to “send him to the Jesuits, who would make a man of him”.

John Austin entered the Jesuit novitiate at Nancy on 27 November, 1735. He made his vows on 28 November, 1737. He studied logic and physics at Pont-à-Mousson 1737-39. He then went to Rheims, where he was teaching 1739-44, repeated philosophy 1744-45, and studied theology 1745-17. He was ordained 22 September 1747. He studied theology for two more years in the Irish College, Poitiers. After which he presumably made his tertianship. He returned to Dublin in 1750, where he remained until his death: 29 September, 1784.

Of this thirty-four years' ministry in Dublin we know practically nothing. I have been able to find only two contemporary references. The dramatist, John O'Keeffe, who was born in 1747, says: “From the Greek, Latin and French acquired under Father Austin, to whose school in Cook Street I went, my fancy soon strayed to Shakespeare”. An English traveller, after seeing the monument over Father Austin's grave in St. Kevin's graveyard, wrote as follows:

I was surprised such a monument should be erected in this country to a Romish Priest, and was led to enquiries relative to Austin, I was informed he was a very remarkable character in this metropolis about twelve or fourteen years ago, of extraordinary learning and extraordinary piety; that he constantly dedicated all his acquisitions, which were very considerable, to the poor, visiting them in cellars and in garrets; never a day happy that he did not give food to numbers. The principal Catholics, knowing well his disposition, were liberal to him, and he kept his door open to all who were in want; and while the means lasted, was constantly on foot, administering relief to innumerable poor wretches, never resting while he had a single guinea. Besides this, he was a great preacher, and injured his health by his exertions in the pulpit. He was a most affectionate son to an aged mother, she died, and he was overpowered with affliction, he never afterwards raised his head, but dropped into a second state of childhood. He remained in this situation near three years, and would have perished were it not for his brother Jesuits, Messrs, Betagh, Fullam and Mucaile. When he died, his friends who neglected him on the bed of death, erected this monument to his memory.

Gilbert, in his History or the City of Dublin, says:

A portrait of Father Austin, engraved by Brocas, was published by B Corcoran, dedicated to the Roman Catholics of Dublin, and inscribed: “To you the poor were left and you became the guardian of the orphan”. A large house at the end of Archbold's Court in Cook Street was traditionally pointed out as having been occupied by Father Austin, after whose death the court became the residence of Father Magaulay, an excommunicated Catholic priest, by whom nearly all the clandestine marriages in the city were performed and who was commemorated in various popular ballads.

And that is all we know, he worked for thirty-four years in a back street of Dublin, ministering to the poor downtrodden - Catholics of his native city. The fruits of his educational work, in encouraging future priests: and! in forming lay leaders, must have been immense. One of his pupils, afterwards his fellow-worker, was the famous Thomas Betagh, who entered the Society in 1754, and died as Parish Priest of SS Michael and John in 1811.

In the Presentation Convent, George's. Hill, Dublín there have been preserved four letters of Father. Austin, which I have transcribed. As historical documents they are of no particular value. But they have their own interest as a precious memento of this zealous Dublin priest to whom we in these latter days of ease owe so much. In some ways - perhaps in their touch of prim “preachinessi” - they are not very different from the letters which a fervent Jesuit Scholastic might write today. But we see the writer's interest in Catholic education which was later to be his life-work, we can glimpse the life of Catholic Dublin which went on unobtrusively under the shadow of the Castle in spite of persecution. There are passing references to Rev Fr Austin - a well-known Dublin priest - Cousin Will, John Fullam, Peter Bullrill, Peter Cashel and various relatives, whose names, unrecorded in human annals, are written in the Book of Life. These simple letters, redolent of the piety and difficulties of our forejathers, deserve to find a place in an Irish Jesuit periodical :

LETTER I
Pont-à-Mousson, 29 December 1737

Dear and Honoured Parents,

I don't know whether my twelvemonth's silence has been disagreeable to you or not. However it be, I should not have failed to have writ once more this year past, were it not that I expected to hear from you beforehand. But as I waited in vain all the summer and no letter appearing I thought it as good to put off my writing till after my vows; which I have had the happiness to make the 28th of November here in the University of Pont-à-Mousson, where I am to reside in the study of Philosophy for two years, during one of which I shall have the pleasure of enjoying my dear cousin Will's - company for he has been here already one year, but I have not come hither from the Noviceship till the beginning of October last. We have (enjoyed) and do as yet by the grace of God enjoy both a perfect state of health and whether we are together or separated, we find nothing everywhere, both one and the other, but content and happiness. He desires earnestly to tender you his kind love and service.

A little after my arrival here he writ home, for we thought it best to write separately, to the end that if one letter should miscarry, the other might perhaps speed better. I send you this by the post; for though I sent last year's letter - according as I conceived Rev Mr Austin's directions - under cover to Mr. King at Paris, yet as I have received none since from you and consequently am not sure whether you have received mine or not. I have reason to doubt whether that I have not rightly understood the manner of directing which has been marked (for) me, or that it is not very sure, I beg you would be pleased to give my most humble respects to the Rev Mr. Austin, to whose bounty and kindness. I am so gratefully bound. If that manner of directing be sure, I would be glad to know in your first whether I might continue, it at least once a year. I have writ also to cousin Peter Cashel. He will be so kind as to direct yours to me, for I have given him the superscription which might serve whilst I am here, in case you can send by hand anywhere into France.

I should rejoice and give God Thanks to hear that you are in good health and peace of mind; ‘tis, I assure you, the continual object of my poor prayers. But your soul's welfare affects me yet more. Praise be to God I have no great subject of apprehension of that side on your part. I lay He be graciously pleased to augment more and more the care you have for your eternal salvation. It can't be sufficiently deplored how much people forget that only great necessary affair, which ought to be sovereignly preferred to a parcel of frivolous wordly beings that pass and perish every day before our eyes and the which they are sure to enjoy at most, for a short term of years. Pardon a son's boldness who would fain inspire a true sentiment of the necessity of seeking by all means possible. to assure a doubtful eternity - terrible doubt which makes tremble so many persons who live a retired and perhaps innocent life, and which of greater reason ought to imprint a salutary fear in those who are exposed to so many dangers in the world.

'Tis for young persons especially that all is to be feared, and for whom by consequence the most care is to be taken to inspire them . betimes with a great fear of God, a great hatred of vice, and an early love of piety. Redouble, I pray you, your pious industry in that point towards them young children, my dear little brothers and sister. I pray you to embrace them on my part, especially little Dicky - I suppose he begins to read at present. You are to be praised never to let your children want learning according to your means; for no one knows to what God might call him, and though you have too much piety to hinder a child's vocation, yet if he takes even to the world, learning is no burthen. Above all things care is to be taken to preserve his innocence and hinder his. manners from being corrupted; and it is not to be conceived how much one and the other is in danger even already in the very infancy of children, who have too much liberty and who take every ill impression like to wax, The best means you can take is to pray dails for their preservation from sin. Perhaps I make too much the preacher, but I assure you I am so touched with dangers to which I see exposed so many persons whom I love sincerely, that I can't forbear to speak iny mind thereupon. And I would to God that my weak words could prevail upon them who are very near to me and whom I have reason to apprehend stand in need of making such solid reflections for the welfare of their souls. A very pious practice in a family would be the frequent lecture of books of piety; the Introduction to a Devout Life (of S.Francis de Sales) is onė very proper and useful for that end.

I would be glad to hear how it is with my Uncle Simon's family. My love and service to them and all my uncles and aunts, friends and relations, particularly to dear Mrs Doyle and her good family; not forgetting cousin M Dod, to whose prayers I desire to be recommended. My thanks and kind service to all friends who shall be so kind as to inquire after me.

I would seem that I doubted of your prudence if I should caution you not to let inquisitive people know to what design I am away or what I am. You know already what dangerous consequences might hereafter ensue, even where you might apprehend the least. I would not be amiss even if those who know it already were advised to let it drop in silence.

My love to cousin C Maginnis and her family, and recommend to her great care of my little god-daughter. You might please to mark me how that child is. You would do well also to cast a charitable eye sometimes to see how it is with my other little one of Mr Balf's. Be pleased not to fail to let me know the good health of R Mr Austin. I shall expect yours as soon as possible. Don't forget me in your good prayers and those of other good friends. I shan't fail on my poor part, always remaining with God's will and pleasure, dear Father and Mother, your most affectionate .. and dutiful son,
John Austin

Be pleased not to forget my respects to Mr Milon and the other gentlemen

LETTER II
Pont-à-Mousson, September 9th 1738

Dear and Honoured Parents,

I suppose Cousin Will's letter is already received, for he has writ home about a week ago. If that be, I have no need to repeat to you that the Divine will which has joined us so happily is pleased at present to separate us for a while: he being destined to the in Picardy where he goes to teach, and myself remaining here as yet a year in order to finish my course of Philosophy. He parted this morning. Myself and some others accompanied him a small league out of town, where we quitted each other very cheerfully, considering that in our state we should rejoice rather than repine in accomplishing God's will and pleasure in what He ordains us for His greater glory.

Just as he was going off, your last letter arrived, so that we were already out of the town when it was sent after us. We have also received all the letters which you have made mention of this year. For since my last of April, two or three came into our hands; some of which had delayed somewhat on the road, as appeared by the date - one from Cousin Doyle was dated even of March, 1737. Don't think, dear Parents, that these letters are of any charge to us. Foe in that point as well as the rest that concerns the temporal, such is the bounty of the heavenly providence for us (that) all is paid and prepared to our hands without any care or other application on our part, besides that of our studies or exercises which may serve to our own proper sanctification and thereby put us in (the) state of procuring that or others.

But my so good fortune, far from being a matter of boasting, should rather give me a subject of humbling myself to think that in quitting the world I find myself in better circumstances than I could naturally promise me in embracing it.

I am really charmed and do heartily thank God for the pious sentiments which He has inspired you touching the education of your dear children, as well as by your personal example as by your wholesome instructions. A very important article, and which many parents neglect very often to their future sorrow, is to render the children supple and obedient to the smallest sign of their parents' good pleasure in whatsoever they bid them: so that as soon as ever they begin to have the usage of their self-will, they should be taught to renounce to it; since it is the only root of all sin and were there no self-will there would be no hell. However, it is rather by mildness than rashness that a child's stubborn humour should be thwarted, in ordering calmly but at the same time seriously and inflexibly even the smallest things - were it but to kiss the ground, to quit or take somewhat against his inclinations, or the like.

As I might seem too bold in suchlike discourse as well now as at other times, you may be pleased to consider that, a principal point of our vocation being the pious education of the youth as well as their instruction in sciences, we are wont to make there upon nore frequent and deep reflections than ordinary. And besides I can learn somewhat by the manner wherewith the children of the best families are elevated (=educated) here, where their parents send them in pension very young that they may be reared up more safely in the piety. To all which if you add that my first and chiefest zeal should be for those whom I am obliged before God to hold most dear, you will rather approve than blame this liberty which a sincere and ardent desire. of eternal welfare inspires me.

Then dear little Dicky can read - which perhaps he can already - without doubt you will make him every evening read a little in some devout book before you. If he be accustomed betimes, he'll do it hereafter of himself. There is nothing more capable to imprint the fear and love of God in the minds of old and young than pious lectures well reflected upon and meditated in the presence of God - such as you night see in the Introduction of St Francis Sales.

I am very sensible to the kindness of all my good friends and particularly of them gentlemen who did me the honour to remember me in your last (letter). I beg you will be pleased to give to them, every one in particular, my most humble respects and service as well as to all my relations: Uncle Christy, Uncle Richard, Uncle Robin, theirs and Uncle Simon's spouses and families; Cousins Mortimer, Magguinis, Savour, and their families, etc. My kind love and service to Mr and Mrs Fullam. I have lately heard from dear friend Johnny, and answered. I have writ to Mrs Doyle by Cousin Will's last, as we have both by the same to Cousin Molly Dodd.

We enjoy always, blessed be God, perfect health and contentment. Pray take great care of yours. I am, dear Father and Mother, your most respectful and affectionate son,
Jn. Austin.

P.S. - You'll please to direct henceforth: a Monsieur Austin demeurant au College, Pont-à-Mousson en Lorraine. I expect to write soon to Cousin Peter. Be pleased to give the following lines with my respects to Mr Austin.

LETTER III
Rheims, 7th October 1742

Most Dear and Honoured Mother,

I received with pleasure your last letter dated the 4th June, and have been obliged to wait ever since for an hour's leisure to write to you. But now that our yearly vacations begin, you may be sure that my first thoughts are to satisfy you. I sent immediately on the reception of your letter that inscribed to Cousin Will, with whom I have correspondence as frequent as we both please, His answer came shortly after; and as far as I can judge, Cousin Doyle need be no way alarmed as she seems to be at the light ailment of Cousin Will.

“Tis a kind of headache which at most hinders sometimes his application to certain studies, but the which neither interrupts his other occupations nor hinders his being as day and jovial as any other. Pray give my kind love and service to his dear mother and family, to whom I wish you may always acknowledge to your utmost power the obligations which bind me eternally to them. You will please to inform them likewise that Cousin Will goes this next year to dwell at Sens, a town of the Champagne, where he is to continue the same career which he has begun at Laôn and which I am to continue here next year also. They must not be Surprised at these changements of dwelling, for nothing is more common in our state which engages us to go to and fro wherever God's will and His glory calls us.

For my part, blessed be the Lord, I have enjoyed hitherto and enjoy still in these parts good health and contentment. When it shall please Him to treat me otherwise, I hope He will give me patience; but hitherto He has favoured my weakness. After a month's rest and recreation in town and at our country house, our usual application begins. Aid me with your prayers, wherein I have very much confidence; a good mother's prayers and blessing are ordinarily efficacious, and I am persuaded that I owe a great deal thereto.

Don't fail especially to pray every day for my little brothers and to offer them to God Almighty, that He may take them under His protection for what concerns their body and soul. Without His aid all the pains you'll take for their education will be employed in vain. But if God blesses then and gives then His love and fear in their hearts, all will surely prosper with them in the time and in the eternity. Tis what I ask Him each day for them and you. Pray never fail in your letters to inform me of their progress in learning and especially of their piety towards God and docility towards you. For what you have already told thereof has given me a great deal of pleasure and consolation.

I shall dwell here this next year with an Englishman of our family, who comes hither from Liège in Flanders for to study in Divinity. We shall prattle together in our tongue, and that will - serve to recall my English, For I have scarce as yet found time to read over two or three English books I brought hither. And though I have found here enough of English acquaintance, yet do I meet them but very rarely, and even then do they speak French, being partly habiting in this town for to learn that language.

For Johnny Fullam, I don't know whether he remains at Lyons next year or no.. He told me about April last that he expected to go to Poitiers, and that Mr Heneys had gave him so to understand. But as I writ since for to demand the confirmation thereof, and his next answer not having said a word upon that head, I am yet in doubt: thereupon. Pray give my kind service to his parents, and assure them that he was in good health about two months ago when he writ last to me.

We have in these parts this year plenty of corn, wine, etc. But we have this time past so wet and cold windy weather that the vintage, which is commonly finished before this time, is not as yet begun hereabouts, where we are just hard by the fine wines of Champagne and Montagne, For the wars, though we be nigher to them than you, yet I believe, you know as much in them parts by the newspapers as we do here.

My humble respects to Messrs Milan, Sweetman and to the other gentlemen as the occasion presents itself. My kind love and service to all my uncles, aunts, cousins and their families in general and in particular when you see them. My love to my dear little brothers, and charge then in my name to apply themselves heartily to their learning, and especially take great care that they know perfectly their Catechism and what concerns their religion and the fear and love of their Maker, and that it were better to die a thousand times than to offend Him.

I would willingly know what are become my uncle Simon's children, etc., as also if you could inform me - when you shall please to write - where is young Johnny Murphy and whether Laurence Walsh is as yet at Paris or no, or what youths you know of my acquaintance are, come overseas; whether you have had news from Cousin Mortimer or not.

Cousin Peter Bullfill has been partly cause that you have my letter so late. Tis above a fortnight ago since I write to him, and I began this letter immediately after. But as I had promised him in my letter to keep this till I could have news from him (which I have not had since a very long time), I have been obliged to tarry till now, whereas I might have had his answer in four or five days. But indeed he is to be excused, for, as he tells me, he has been sick these several months past and is as yet actually very weak and feeble the which has really appeared in his very short though very friendly letter. Be assured, dear Mother, that I am always, with the utmost respect, your most affectionate son,
John Austin

LETTER IV
Rheims, 22nd October 1743

(On Back.) To Mr Francis Fullam, dwelling in Bridge Street, to be furthered to Mrs Austin, Dublin, Ireland,

(At the top of the first page;) The enclosed is for Mr Milan . You'll please to send me his letter enclosed in yours, if he pleases to send me one. Or tell him my address if he desires to know it: à la Mr Jaquinet, Marchand Fabricant dans la rue Barbatre, pour faire tenir a Mr Austin a Reims en Champagne.

Most Dear and Honoured Mother,

I wrote to you a little before Easter, I suppose you have not writ since, for I have received no letter from you since that wherein you gave me account of my Uncle John's strange discovery. I remain here as yet for next year, and never enjoyed better health than I do at present, Pray let me know if yourself and all your family go well. Also especially I pray you to give me an exact account of my brothers' behaviour towards you, and for their other duties above all in what concerns the piety. Do they pray God heartily and exactly? Dicky should now be capable of reading my letters, and of writing to me even upon necessity. He must send me in your next, if you please, a little sketch of (=by) his hand. If he be not fit for learning Latin, he must read, write and cypher as well as possible he can learn. Let him never fail to read each day some time in a good pious book. When he can do it before you in the evening, twere the best, Make him learn the Catechism to his little brothers, which they must all know perfectly well before all things and as soon as they are capable of learning anything whatsoever. This point is very important, and parents in them parts seem not to know enough their great and strict obligations to have their children instructed principally in what concerns their religion. All the rest without that is not worth while, and yet commonly 'tis what's the most neglected.

If your children fear God, they will be also your consolation, Would to God there were means of giving to children in them poor countries the same Christian education which they receive in these parts. My heart bleeds to see and think upon the difference, without being able to amend it. We see here of how much piety and virtue youth are capable, and how much it depends on those who rear them (so as) to render them such, in keeping them from evil example, bad company and occasions, and in giving them early principles of piety, of good and Christian manners. Parents work and slave day and night for to get bread for their children and to establish them well in the world. Tis very well done. But if they are good Christians well instructed in the faith of an everlasting life (and) an eternal establishment, they should take a thousand times more pains for to procure to their children this latter establishment, and that their souls may be better provided for than their bodies. Many notwithstanding, who pass for very honest Christians in all the rest, are often very bad parents on this head, and have thereupon the most terrible accompts to render at God's tribunal. I could wish with all my heart that many persons who are dear to me were well convinced and frightened with this consideration; they would have reason to tremble thereupon but yet more to act in consequence thereon. Sometimes a letter as this or any other, read to a neighbour or relation seemingly without design, might make them take reflections on such a matter which is so important for the salvation of parents and which damns so many.

Cousin Doyle and. John Fullam are both in good health: the first at Sens and the second at Lyons, there they remain next year, They both salute your kindly. Give my kind love and service to both their families, and testify newly my acknowledgments to Mr Fullam's parents on their receiving always my letters, My love and service particularly to my Uncles Richard and Christy and families; Uncle Robin Walsh and family; Cousins Savour and Maginnis and families, And if anything worth while is arrived in those families, I pray let me know it. My love and service to Aunt Bridget and her family. And let me know if you have tidings of my Uncle Simon or not. My Aunt, does she still dwell with you? Are you in good intelligence together? Nothing more easy nor more natural for two sisters and widows.

All things have been abundant this year in these parts, Has it been so in Ireland and with your little spot thereof in particular? You see I am grown very curious. But nothing which concerns you or yours can be indifferent to me. I know not how I lost again my brothers ages; the pain won't be so great to send me then once more, and I’ll be more careful if I can. Embrace them all three for me and assure then that I pray for them and you every day of my life. If they and you remember me often in praying God, I shall prefer that remembrance to all the other tokens of tenderness ye can give me, All that is not good for the soul passes with the body and avails nought.

For you especially, dear mother, be assured that I have very much confidence in your good prayers. We must one and t'other also be constantly mindful to pray for my dear Father's soul. That piety will be better placed and more useful than a silly grief which serves for nothing, neither to the living nor the dead. Your young ones have especially more need of your prayers than you think. Ofter then each day to God that he may keep them in His love and service in the world or take them betimes out of the world. If you love them truly, that must be your constant wish. Wish me the same, I pray you, and believe me to be always with the greatest affection and respect, dear mother, your most loving and submissive son,
John Austin. Reims, the 22nd October, 1743.

Don't forget, I pray you, when occasion offers to tender my best respects to Mr Milan, and send me tidings of his health. What is become of Cousin Molly Dodd? And Mr Keary, lives he as yet? If Mr Atkins asks after me, give him my humble service.

Professor Alfred O’Rahilly

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Austin 1717-1784
Fr John Austin was born in New Street – then called Austin’s grounds – near Kevin Street Dublin on April 12th 1717. We are told that young Austin, who attended the school near St Patrick’s, one day rattled off impromptu verses to prevent some youngsters butchering a dog. Dean Swift heard about this, sent for the boy’s parents, and asked them what they intended for the boy. “The priesthood” answered his parents. Swift then told them to send him to the Jesuits, who would make a man of him. It is thought that the Dean paid for his education.

John became a Jesuit in 1735, returning to Dublin in 1750. He acted as curate to Fr John Murphy, PP of St Michael and John’s. Together with his PP Fr Austin opened a school, in spite of the law, in Saul’s Court in 1760. For several years this was the only and for 50 years the principal school for Catholics in Dublin, as well as being the nearest approach to a Diocesan Seminary.

On the Suppression of the Society, Fr Austin became one of the Trustees of the Province Funds.

He died on September 29th 1784, and was buried at St Kevin’s Churchyard. Two years later an obelisk was erected over his grave by the grateful citizens of Dublin. The following is his epitaph :
“To the Memory of Rev Father John Austin of the City of Dublin, priest and until the Suppression of the Society of Jesus a professed Jesuit. During six and thirty years a pious, learned and indefatigable labourer in the vineyard of the Lord, who after deserving well of the rich whom he admonished, of the poor whom he relieved, of the youth whom he instructed, of the orphan to who he was a father, of all ranks of men, whome he by making himself all in all, was active in gaining to Jesus Christ, on the 29th September 1784, closed, in the 66 year of his age, a life worn out in the sight of the Lord. Religion, weeping for her faithful Minister, on the 8th December 1786 with grateful hand erected this Monument”.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
AUSTIN, JOHN, was born in Dublin on the 12th of April, 1717, and joined the Order in Champaigne, on the 27th of November, 1735. After completing the high er Studies, he was employed in teaching Humanities for several years. In 1750, he reached his native city, and obtained a reputation for talents in the pulpit. On the 2nd of February, 1754, he was admitted to his religious Profession.
This good Father, dying on Michaelmas day, 1784, was buried in St. Kevins Church-yard, Dublin. A plain stone monument, of pyramidal form, stands over his grave ; and the following inscription is read on the West and South Panels of the Pedestal. On the opposite sides there is the English translation:
Viro Reverendo
Johanni Austin
Dubliniensi
Societatis Jesu, dum fuit, Sacerdoti
In Vinea Domini per annos 36,
Pio, Docto, Indefesso Operario,
Qui
III Calendas Octobris, A. D. 1784
Aetatis anno sexto et sexagesimo
Vitam
Apostolicis, confectam laboribus
Cum morte In conspectu Domini pretiosa
Commutavit

Cippum Hunc
Ministri fidelis Rcligio non immemor
VI Idus Decembris, A. D. 1786
Flens Possuit.
Divites admonuit
Pauperes sublevavit
Juventutem erudivit
Orphanis loco Parentis fuit
De omni Hominum genere
Praeclare meruit
Omnibus oninia factus
Ut
Omnes Christo lucrifaceret.

◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.

Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for yopu than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.

There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.

Betagh, Thomas, 1738-1811, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/469
  • Person
  • 08 May 1738-16 February 1811

Born: 08 May 1738, Kells, County Meath
Entered: 03 November 1754, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 24 May 1766, Pont-à-Mousson, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1772
Died: 16 February 1811, SS Michael and John, Dublin

1761 Master of Arts from Metz College and taught Humanities and Rhetoric for 3 years.
1765 Teaching Humanities at Pont-à-Mousson - not yet ordained.
1767 in Ireland

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was of the Betagh family of Moynalty, but “the hospitable mansion, the ample patrimony, had become the portion of plunderers” (Dr Blake’s funeral oration)
A sketch of his life with an engraved portrait is given in “Watty Cox’s Magazine”, March 1811, and in a funeral oration by Doctor Blake, Bishop of Dromore.
His monument, with an inscription, is in the Church of SS Michael and John.
He was Vicar General in Dublin; a celebrated and indefatigable Preacher. A Priest glowing with charity for the poor.
His name in Dublin was still synonymous with learning, piety, zeal and philanthropy (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Received a classical education at John Austin’s school in Dublin.
After First Vows he was sent for studies to Pont-à-Mousson, graduating MA, and then taught for 4 years Regency before being sent for Theology at Pont-à-Mousson where he was Ordained 24 may 1766.
1767 Sent to Ireland and became an assistant Priest at SS Michael and John, Dublin. While there he worked with Frs Austin, Mulcaile and Fullam at Saul’s Court Seminary
1773 At the Supression he was appointed a curate at SS Michael and John, Dublin
1781 Founded a free parish school for boys at SS Michael and John, Dublin
1799 Appointed PP at SS Michael and John, Dublin and Vicar General of the Diocese until his death 16 February 1811
His memorably large funeral took place (temporarily) at the vaults of St. Michan's. Later his remains were brought back for reburial in the vaults of the newly-finished parish church of SS Michael and John

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
The name “Betagh” is Biadhtach” in Irish, which signified a hospitable man. In the early days of Christianity in Ireland, it was customary that the “proprietor of the soil” who lived close to the high roads, to keep an open house for the entertainment of passing travellers, who would otherwise find it inconvenient, and in many instances fatal, to travel through the country. These people were called Biadhtach. It was very common practice, and suggests that communication between different parts of the kingdom must have been frequent.
The Betagh family held possession of a large tract of land in Moynalty, near Kells, undisturbed until 1641. When Cromwell had killed the King, Thomas’ father fought against him, as one of many Catholics who fought against the regicide, and on behalf of the Stuarts. He was requited for his bravery and loyalty. He had also sent his son to Paris at the start of the Cromwellian war for education. The land was taken by Cromwell and given to one of his followers. When Charles II was restored, the dispossessed were invited to reclaim their lands, and an application was received from a young Thomas Betagh, though the English possessor claimed he did not have the right, as he was a rebel, and the possessor prevailed in Court. His father then lived as a tanner in Kells.
In Paris, Thomas received his early education and then entered the seminary at Pont-à-Mousson, and progressed very rapidly through his studies. He became remarkable for his extraordinary literary attainments. he was highly esteemed in the seminary, never contradicting anyone unless it was a mater of dogma or morality. He had great self possession, and was heard to say “from the age of fourteen, Providence seemed to encompass him with an impervious shield, or barrier, which secured him against the attacks of the enemy of mankind”.
He remained in France until the Suppression by Clement XIV, and had been appointed a Professor of languages. He had intended to remain in France but for the Suppression. He returned to Ireland in 1773, and opened a Latin school with John Austin in Sall’s Court, Fishamble St. He was later appointed as curate at St Michael’s, called Rosemary Lane, where he earned a great reputation for sanctity and apostolic zeal. His main focus was the poor, and he seemed to have a great capacity to communicate with them, and at the same time, he retained his scholarship. He subsequently became PP at St Michael’s and also a Vicar General of the Diocese. All of this while he suffered from a severe infirmity, and protests from his physicians. He also established an “Evening School” in Skinner’s Row, primarily for the poor, and in an effort to support them from the punitive laws of the time. From that school he chose a certain number, whom he thought might at some future time be appropriate for the priesthood. In many ways he is the link between the Suppressed and Restored Society. The same year that he died, his protégée Peter Kenney, founder of the restored Society, finished his Theological studies.
An obit in “The Dublin Magazine” March 1811
His death was looked on as a public calamity. On the days of his funeral, many shops were closed, and a huge number followed his remains to their resting place.
Nicholas Sewell SJ to Thomas Betagh SJ 07 July 1809 :
“About three weeks ago I informed you that we proposed, towards the end of this month, sending some of the Irish Eleven to Palermo, in order to finish their studies there, and to obtain ordinations. For this end, we wrote to our friend Mr George Gifford, at Liverpool, to inquire whether there would be any ship sailing from thence for Palermo, about this time. Mr Gifford, finding a good ship, with proper accommodations, ready to sail, engaged with the captain to take six of our young men , binding himself to forfeit the whole passage money if he did not get on board by the 5th of this month. Thus we were obliged by the contract to send the young men immediately to Liverpool, and by a letter from one of them, they were going on board the ship on the 4th, and I suppose the have sailed before this. The names of the young men are : Bartholomew Esmonde from Kildare; Paul Ferley Dublin; Charles Aylmer from Kildare; Robert St Leger, Waterford; Edmund Cogan, Cork; James Butler, Dublin. The first two are not on the Irish Establishment. It was the free voluntary choice of them all to go. They are all young men of abilities, have done very well in their studies here, and are likely to do credit to their country, and Mr Plowden speaks much praise of them all. A time was pressing, we could not wait for your answer to my last letter, which I hope you received. The Rev mr Stone will return home tomorrow. We are all very well, and our new building rises fast and well..........

◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.

Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for yopu than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.

There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.

A letter from the Acting General Father Thaddeus Brezozowski, dated St Petersburg 14/06/1806 was addressed to the only two survivors, Betagh and O’Callaghan. He thanked them for their work and their union with those in Russia, and suggested that the restoration was close at hand.

A letter from Nicholas Sewell, dated Stonyhurst 07/07/1809 to Betagh gives details of Irishmen being sent to Sicily for studies : Bartholomew Esmonde, Paul Ferley, Charles Aylmer, Robert St Leger, Edmund Cogan and James Butler. Peter Kenney and Matthew Gahan had preceded them. These were the foundation stones of the Restored Society.

Returning to Ireland, Kenney, Gahan and John Ryan took residence at No3 George’s Hill. Two years later, with the monies saved for them, Kenney bought Clongowes as a College for boys and a House of Studies for Jesuits. From a diary fragment of Aylmer, we learn that Kenney was Superior of the Irish Mission and Prefect of Studies, Aylmer was Minister, Claude Jautard, a survivor of the old Society in France was Spiritual Father, Butler was Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Ferley was professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Esmonde was Superior of Scholastics and they were joined by St Leger and William Dinan. Gahan was described as a Missioner at Francis St Dublin and Confessor to the Poor Clares and irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross and Summerhill. Ryan was a Missioner in St Paul’s, Arran Quay, Dublin. Among the Scholastics, Brothers and Masters were : Brothers Fraser, Levins, Connor, Bracken, Sherlock, Moran, Mullen and McGlade.

Trouble was not long coming. Protestants were upset that the Jesuits were in Ireland and sent a petition was sent to Parliament, suggesting that the Vow of Obedience to the Pope meant they could not have an Oath of Allegiance to the King. In addition, the expulsion of Jesuits from all of Europe had been a good thing. Kenney’s influence and diplomatic skills resulted in gaining support from Protestants in the locality of Clongowes, and a counter petition was presented by the Duke of Leinster on behalf of the Jesuits. This moment passed, but anto Jesuit feelings were mounting, such as in the Orange faction, and they managed to get an enquiry into the Jesuits and Peter Kenney and they appeared before the Irish Chief Secretary and Provy Council. Peter Kenney’s persuasive and oratorical skills won the day and the enquiry group said they were satisfied and impressed.

Over the years the Mission grew into a Province with Joseph Lentaigne as first Provincial in 1860. In 1885 the first outward undertaking was the setting up of an Irish Mission to Australia by Lentaigne and William Kelly, and this Mission grew exponentially from very humble beginnings.

Later the performance of the Jesuits in managing UCD with little or no money, and then outperforming what were known as the “Queen’s Colleges” forced the issue of injustice against Catholics in Ireland in the matter of University education. It is William Delaney who headed up the effort and create the National University of Ireland under endowment from the Government.from the Government.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Betagh, Thomas
by Dáire Keogh

Betagh, Thomas (1738–1811), Jesuit priest and educator, was born in May 1738 in Kells, Co. Meath, into a family of tanners whose ancestors had lost their estates in the Cromwellian confiscation. He received his early education at Kells, but was enrolled in the Jesuit academy in Saul's Court newly established by Fr John Austin (qv) when his family moved to Dublin. In 1755 he entered the Jesuit seminary at Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, France, where he taught theology and languages following his ordination in 1762.

Betagh returned to Ireland in 1769 and began his ministry as a teacher at Saul's Court. His arrival in Dublin coincided with the revival which characterised late eighteenth-century Irish catholicism; Fr Betagh was in the vanguard of this movement. Throughout, his priority remained education. In 1784 he succeeded Austin as rector of Saul's Court, and his graduates included Daniel Murray (qv), later archbishop of Dublin, and the Jesuit Peter Kenney (qv), founder of Clongowes Wood College. In addition to this academy for the ‘better sorts’, Betagh founded evening, day, and Sunday schools, first in Schoolhouse Lane and finally in Smock Alley. In this ‘Free School’ he was, in the words of his funeral oration, ‘father, physician and director’ to three hundred boys.

Following the suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV in 1773, Betagh served as a priest of the diocese, first as a curate in SS Michael and John in Rosemary Lane. In time he became a vital collaborator of successive archbishops, as vicar-general to the reforming Archbishop John Troy (qv) and advisor to Archbishop Daniel Murray, his former pupil. In Jesuit history he forms a bridge between the Old Society, of which he was the last survivor and guardian of their funds, and the restored Society, whose revival, in 1814, he facilitated by sending a number of his students, including Peter Kenney, Bartholomew Esmonde, and Charles Aylmer (qv), to Stonyhurst and Palermo. A renowned preacher, he was also influential in nourishing the vocation of the young Catherine McAuley (qv), who founded the Sisters of Mercy.

Betagh lived through troubled political times. In the radical politics of the revolutionary age he was ranked, in 1796, among the ‘moderates’ by Dublin Castle informer William Corbet (qv) (d. 1838?). Recommended to the English traveller William Reed as ‘the most learned and best informed man in Ireland’, he was prominent in the anti-veto faction of the post-union era.

Betagh died 16 February 1811 at his home in Cook Street. In an age of increasing sectarianism, an obituary in Walker's Hibernian Magazine celebrated ‘this truly great man . . . as much esteemed by the Protestants as he was beloved by his own flock’. His funeral, attended by upwards of 20,000 people, was among the largest seen in the city. His remains were placed in the Jesuit vault in old St Michan's church. In 1822 they were transferred to the crypt of the new SS Michael and John chapel, Essex Street, the foundation of which he laid in 1810. His resting place was marked by an elaborate monument executed by Peter Turnerelli (qv). In 1990, when that church was deconsecrated, his remains were removed to the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

A stipple and line engraving likeness by John Martyn (d. 1828) (after William Brocas (qv)), published in 1811, is in the NGI, as is a pencil drawing by William Brocas; while the monument by Turnerelli in SS Michael and John, Dublin, has been dismantled, the medallion remains.

NAI, 620/25/170; Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin, Betagh MSS; ‘Prosopography of Irish Jesuits’, Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin; Monologies, 1800–99, Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin; Walker's Hibernian Magazine (Feb. 1811); Cox's Irish Magazine (Mar. 1811); W. Reed, Rambles in Ireland (1815); M. Blake, Sermon preached on the lamented death of V. Rev. Thomas Betagh (1821); W. J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854); G. A. Little, Father Thomas Betagh (1960); ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962 & ◆ Irish Jesuit Directory 1934

FR THOMAS BETAGH, SJ
(And the Popular Schools of the Irish Jesuits in Dublin during the late Penal Times)

The eighteenth century was the epoch of triumph for the English State Church of the Protestant Colony in Ireland. That triumph was seen most strikingly in their joint action against Catholic Education. Evidence of this, as conclusive as it is laconic, may be adduced in the following excerpts from the Roman Records of the Irish Jesuit Mission during twenty-five years, the years when the Penal Code was wrought with care to its iniquitous perfection, 1692 to 1717.

On November 25th, 1694, Father Antony Knoles, SJ, Superior in Ireland (May 15th, 1694, to his death at Waterford, August 14th, 1727), writes to his personal friend, Thyrsus Gonzalez, General of the Order, at Rome : “ Very great is the diligence of our adversaries, and it is nou most intense, to prevent members of the Order from giving education to boys. But their zeal is enough to urge then to face the work and its danger vith courage; they toil in secret”.

Father Knoles writes again to Rome, February 17th, 1695, telling how “at Kilkenny the State officials have committed to prison the colleagues that I had, because they carried on the education of a few boys”.

On February 12th, 1717, the Triennial Account sent to Rome states that “Father Michael Murphy is taking the risks of giving education to young people at this time in the capital of the country. He has taught Greek and Latin throughout the last five years, and is doing so at present”.

There is no need to set out here the ingenious thoroughness of the Penal Laws under which this educational work was being done through the eighteenth century. But it may be serviceable to insist upon the proved fact that the laws on education were being enforced by both the Cromwellian State and its State Church. There are fragmentary portions of the Grand Jury Records available for three or four counties of Munster, 1712 to 1724. They show continuous action by Grand Juries and Magistrates. In County Limerick alone, from 1711 to 1723, nineteen Popish schoolmasters were “presented” by the Grand Jury. With an absolutely Protestant common jury, and a Protestant judge of the new type this indictment meant conviction and transportation for life to serve as a bondsman on the cotton and tobacco plantations in America. Rewards were voted to informers. Scores of Catholic parents were also indicted at Assizes, as we know from the surviving patches of the “Record Books” for Galway and Clare and Kerry. We have the testimony, in “Reports to the Dublin House of Lords, November, 1731”, as to the activities of the prelates of the State Church, testimony given under their own hands and seals, Henry Naule, Bishop of Derry, declares that in his diocese, even in its mountainous areas, no Popish schoolmaster is allowed to teach. If they try to do so, they are constantly threatened with indictment at Assizes: and “they generally think proper to withdraw”. Edward Synge, State Archbishop of Tuam, Administrator of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh, in three separate reports confirms the evidence from Derry in precise detail. Then one Popish schoolmaster was recently convicted, he says, the effect was very salutary; the rest “absconded”.

A new policy of Constructive Aggression dated from 1733. In addition to these persecuting activities, the Parliament and Government at Dublin, with the enthusiastic support of Prelates and Press, Deans and Grand Juries, set on foot the Charter School system in 1733, and gave it liberal public grants from 1714. The Irish Jesuits had in very deed additional reasons for being active in education. Their reports to Rome at this period show fully that they realised this need. Rarely as many as twenty in number, they were at work in many or the former Anglo-Norman cities and towns, places no longer as Catholic as they had been, for they were very thoroughly cleared of Popish inhabitants both under William and under Anne. The need of schools, however, was greatest in Dublin. Aggressive proselytism, both under State auspices and by independent societies, has always been conspicuous in the capital of Ireland. Its preferred region for action has always been the poorest part of Dublin, from the Coombe northwards across the River Liffey to Henrietta Street and Bolton Street. From 1714, Dean Swift was thus active around the deanery house beside the Coombe; he had the constant support of Archbishop Willian King, 1702-1729, from his palace hard by. From 1727-30 the same work was powerfully pressed forward from his town residence by Primate Hugh Boulter of Armagh, the real governor of Ireland, from 1730 to 1750, the originator of the Charter Schools in the years 1730 to 1733.

This work of evil was combated on the spot by the Irish Jesuits, who, in the lanes and alleys of oldest Dublin, conducted schools all through the later Penal period, 1750 to 1810. They combined elementary with classical education, as did the country schools of that epoch, all over Ireland. There was then no talk of the educational ladder for the gifted children of the Catholic poor of Ireland. They had a broad highway, and the enemy knew it well. Samuel Madden wrote of it in 1738 in his “Reflections from the Gentlemen of Ireland, as landlords and as Members of Parliament”. In close collaboration with Bishop Berkeley and with Thomas Prior, he founded in 1731 what became the Royal Dublin Society. The determination of the Irish people to have full opportunities for a liberal education disgusted him. “Crowds of the Irish”, wrote the founder of the Madden Prize in Trinity College, Dublin, “waste their time and their substance as poor scholars. If only their spiritual governors were effectively removed, and their Church government by that means subverted, this would finish the work for us”. This “work” was repeatedly defined, in the Protestant school documents of the epoch, as to make the whole nation Protestant and English.

But even in that sorely-beset region of Dublin, commanded by the Castle, the King's Inns of Court, the two Protestant cathedrals, in addition to their two deaneries and the residences of the State Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh, Catholic schools managed to operate throughout that terrible century. The older Religious Orders, as the Carmelites from 1758, did great work in the cause of popular Catholic education. So did many hundreds of humble Catholic teachers, laymen and women, who conducted illegal schools among the very poor, north as well as south of the river. There was a sequence of efforts to conduct schools in the cities and larger towns from 1690 to 1720 and the ensuing decades. In 1750, John Austin, SJ whose name was long held in reverence, opened in Saul's Court, off Fishamble Street, a classical school. By 1770, with the aid of his brethren, such as James Philip Mulcaile and Thomas Betagh, a boarding house for pupils from the country was set beside Father Austin's school. It became, formally or virtually, the Diocesan School for Dublin, Meath, and adjoining counties. It produced such men as Daniel Murphy and Michael Blake, both determined opponents of the Veto proposals, 1799 to 1825.

The work for Catholic education, thus developed on what may well be termed the front line of action, was maintained all through their long lives by such men as Fathers Mulcaile, Austin, and Betagh. The alteration of ecclesiastical status which supervened for them, when, in the autumn of 1773, the Order to which they belonged was suppressed by the Holy See, made no difference in their daily service of popular education. When thus advanced to the rank of the pastoral or diocesan clergy, they acted as assistant priests in the same populous areas as before. Their school system expanded from Saul's Court into Skinner's Row, Hoey's Court, Smock Alley, Archbold's Court, and Schoolhouse Lane, while Father Mulcaile's energies were spent chiefly north of the River Liffey, in the lanes around George's Hill, Phrapper's, Ball's, Fisher's, and others besides.

Father Austin was the first of these school-men to be called to his reward. His death evoked a wonderful manifestation of regard from Catholic Dublin, Twelve years afterwards, 1789, a Protestant English traveller, Charles Topham Bowden, visited Dublin during an extended Tour in Ireland (London, 1791). Having come upon Father Austin's epitaph in the parish Cemetery of St. James, he recorded its text in full, and added :
“I was led to make inquiries relative to Austin, and was told he was a very remarkable character in this metropolis about twelve or fourteen years ago, of: extraordinary learning and extraordinary: piety; that he constantly dedicated all his acquisitions, which were very considerable, to the poor, visiting them in cellars and in garrets, never a day happy that he did not give food to nunbers”.

Even more remarkable is the record and the popular recollection :of the great educational no less than the great eoclesiastical work done on to the very last week of his long life by the surviving Irish Jesuit of the Old Society, Tatler Thomas Betagh (1738-1811). When the Order was ejected from its 108 colleges in French, in 1762, by the arbitrary decrees of Louis XIV, at the instigation of Choiseul and Pompadour, Betagh was a student in Theology, just ordained at Pont-á-Mousson in Lorraine. The Irish Jesuits were well known at that ducal University as far back as 1592. Then one of their number, Richard Fleming, was Chancellor there, having among his students Pierre Tourier, the staunch Lorraine patriot, who became a notable organiser of schools for the children of the countryside, and who was canonised in our own times. Having given up his whole energies to work among the Catholic poor or St Michan's* parish, Father Betagh became its parish priest late in life, and was also Vicar-General of the diocese of Dublin some years before his death in February, 1811. Two aspects of his career have impressed themselves very distinctly on local tradition. He was a determined opponent of the “Veto” movements that would have subjected the entire religious administration of Catholic Ireland to the intervention of a Protestant, civil power, bitterly hostile in all its official instruments, and in all its political and social connec tions in Ireland, even more than in England, to everything Catholic and Irish. His courageous and outspoken views on this vital issue were a main determinant of the definitive rejection of the “Veto” by the Bishops of Ireland in 1808; and he was naturally a centre, of strength and influence for the whole country on that and on cognate questions. He exercised this influence, no less than he practised the noble work of popular education, up to the end. Unsuspected external evidence has recently been acquired:which sets his position forth very clearly; it may be here drain on in an abbreviated form. Among the numerous English travellers in Ireland who printed some account of their experiences on their return was a Baptist minister, William Reed, of Thornbury, in Gloucestershire. Reed landed at Cork in September, 1810, reached Dublin in November, and the very rare volume of his travels appeared in London, 1815. Of Father Betagh he writes thus:
“I desired to be better acquainted with the real character of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. On arriving in Dublin, I was desired to consult Dr Betagh, who was said to be the most learned and the best informed man in Ireland, and who added to these accomplishments an amenity of manners that was almost enchanting. Accordingly, one morning I knocked at the door of this venerable monk, but could not have access to him then, as he was giving audience to two Bishops. The next morning I found him alone. Requesting to know my business, he desired me to draw my chair nearer to the fire, and we soon entered into the depths of the most serious conversation. I questioned him on the subjects of Purgatory, Indulgences, the use of Holy Water, Praying for the Dead, Transubstantiation, Praying to the Saints, and particularly of the Virgin Mary, whom they call the Mother of God. I found him very eloquent. He defended every part of his system with an acuteness and force, ingenuity and masterly address, that astonished me. He had received me with the greatest politeness”.

His Baptist visitor did not have occasion to see Father Betagh at work in those schools of his, schools of the parish where he laboured and that still bear his name. But we may draw on Mr Reed's text to show how popular education then fared in the South of Ireland, along the roadside. It will serve to illustrate, by immediate comparison, the arduous service which the parish priest and Vicar-General of Dublin rendered during that autumn of 1810, which was to be the last in his earthly life. He taught his scholars in the cellars of Cook Street. The work was thus severer than that seen by Mr Reed on his way to Dublin in 1810, through Munster.

“A desire for education manifests itself, and very generally, among the lower orders of the people. In any wanderings through the country I found several very humble seminaries, called Hedge Schools. Not having any other convenience, the scholars are taught reading, writing, etc., in the open air, under the shade of some embowering hedge, or branching tree; and very often the green bank and the smooth shelves of the rock answer purpose of the bench and the desk”. - (Ramples Through Ireland, London, 1815, p.52).

The urban counterpart of the Munster Hedge Schools was described in the sermon on Father Betagh's life and work. It was delivered on Palm Sunday, 1811, by his own scholar, his colleague in the pastoral work of Dublin City, that Father Michael Blake, who was afterwards Bishop of the northern diocese of Dromore, down to 1860, He recorded with emphasis his experience of the poor among whom he, and his master, had worked for many years. “Our poor”, said Dr. Blake, “are the most interesting people on the earth, the most noble-ininded, the most grateful, and most hospitable, the most considerate, and the fondest of learning”. To that decisive finding may be subjoined two sentences spoken by Dr. Blake on Father Thomas Betagh, the Dublin parish priest whose name and work have survived to this day on the lips of the poor and plain Catholics of the oldest city regions:
“Look to that Free School, where three hundred boys, poor in everything but genius and spirit, receive their education every evening, and where more than three thousand have been already educated. Can you estimate sufficiently the value of the man who established that institution; who cherished the objects of it; who supervised their instruction; who rewarded the most promising of them with a classical education; who, at the age of seventy three, would sit down in a cellar to hear their lessons?”

The Irish Jesuit, the last of the Old Society of 1540-1773, who provided and who taught in that Free Popular School for elementary and for classical education, died in February, 1871, at 92 Cook Street, Dublin. Just a year later, in 1812, Father Peter Kenney SJ, pupil of Father Betagh, the first Superior of the Restored Irish Mission of the Society of Jesus, reached Dublin after completing his ecclesiastical studies at Palermo in Sicily, and took up work at Mary's Lane Chapel, north of the River Liffey. His seven fellow-students, all of whom had been Father Betagh's scholars, followed him home, from 1811 to 1814.

Timothy Corcoran SJ

*Addendum for St Michan's read “St Michael’s”

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas Betagh SJ 1738-1811
Fr Thomas Betagh was the last survivor of the Irish Jesuits of the old Society. Like many another Irish family, his forefathers had been deprived of their estate, Moynalty, near Kells, for their loyalty to the Stuarts and their Faith. They were reduced to the state of peasantry. Thomas’ father was a tanner at Kells. He was born on May 8th 1738, and having received a grammar school education in Father John Austin’s school in Saul’s Court, Dublin, he was sent at the age of fourteen to the Jesuit Seminary at Pont-á-Mousson, in Lorraine, in 1752. He had a brilliant course here and ended up as professor of Classical Languages at the Ecclesiastical University. On the Suppression of the Society, he returned to Ireland and resumed his teaching activities with his old master, Fr Austin in Saul’s Court.He was appointed a curate at St Michael’s parish in Rosemary Lane, and succeeded as Parish Priest and Vicar General in 1799.

His work as a pastor and educationalist was unflagging, in spite of continual ill-health, for which he suffered all his life with a hernia. In addition to the ordinary school at Saul’s Court, which served as the sole source of education for Catholics in Dublin, and as the Seminary for the Diocese, he instituted his famous night-schools for the poor, in Schoolhouse Lane, in Hoey’s Court, Smock Alley, Derby Acre and Skinners Row. With good reason he did become a legend to the people. A friend once voiced the sentiments of the public “Oh Betagh, what will become of us when you go to heaven?” With his brilliant student Peter Kenney in mind, he replied “No matter; I am old and stupid; there is a cock coming from Sicily that will crow ten times as loudly as I could”.

He died at twelve o’clock on the 16th of February 1811, at his residence in 80 Cook Street, Dublin, aged 73. His remains were finally deposited in the old chapel at Rosemary Lane. A monument was erected to him there and subsequently removed to a new Church of SS Michael and John. It is estimated that no fewer that 20,000 people walked at his funeral.

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

Thomas Betagh 1738-1811
Thomas Betagh, born 8 May 1738 of an old Meath family, once Lords of Moynalty, received his classical education at Father Austin’s school in Dublin before he entered the Society at Nancy 3 November 1754. After his noviceship he studied at the University of Pont-à-Mousson where he graduated M.A. He entered on his regency in the same city and having professed rhetoric there for four years he studied theology, He was ordained priest at Spire on 24 May 1766. He was recalled to Ireland the following year and appointed assistant priest in the parish of St Michael and John He also collaborated with Fathers Austin, Mulcaile and Fullam in Saul's Court seminary.
On the Suppression of the Society he was incardinated in the diocese and appointed curate at St Michael and John's. As curate of the parish he founded in 1781 his free school for boys. In 1799 he was appointed parish priest and Vicar General of the diocese. Shortly before he resigned his parish in 1810 he laid the foundation stone of the parish church. He died on 16 February 1811 and was buried temporarily in the vaults of St.Michan's church. His remains were later reburied in the vaults of the new church and remained there until the deconsecration of the venerable church building. He now sleeps in the great Jesuit plot at Glasnevin. He was the last to die of the ex-Jesuits of the Third Irish Mission but he lived long enough to know that the first Jesuit of the Irish Mission soon to be restored, Peter Kenney,one of his own former pupils, was already ordained priest and ready to return from Sicily to Dublin.

◆ MacErlean Cat Miss HIB SJ 1670-1770
Loose Note : Thomas Betagh
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
BETAGII, THOMAS. This very Rev. Father and Vicar General of the Archdiocess of Dublin, entered into his rest in the Irish Metropolis on the 16th of February, 1811, aet. 74. The vast attendance of Citizens and Clergy at his Funeral Obsequies was a public testimony to his worth and charity. His monument was to be seen in the Old Chapel, Rosemary Lane, and now in the New Chapel of SS. Michael and John, Lower Exchange street, Dublin, on the Epistle side of the Altar. The inscription is as follows :

" Glory to God, most good, most great."
" THIS MARBLE,
CHRISTIAN BROTHER, PRESENTS TO YOUR VIEW, THE LIKENESS OF
THE VERY REV. THOMAS BETAGH, S. J.
(VICAR-GENERAL OF THE ARCHDIOCESS OP DUBLIN,)
AND DURING MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS
THE EXCELLENT AND MOST VIGILANT PASTOR OF THIS PARISH,
WHO GLOWING WITH CHARITY TOWARDS GOD AND HIS NEIGHBOUR,
WAS EVER INDEFATIGABLE IX HIS MINISTRY,
TEACHING, PREACHING, AND EXERTING ALL HIS POWERS
TO CONFIRM THE TRUE CHRISTIAN IN THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS, AND TO BRING BACK THE STRAYING INTO THE WAYS OF SALVATION.
HIS CHIEF DELIGHT AND HAPPINESS IT WAS
TO INSTRUCT THE YOUNG, ESPECIALLY THE NEEDY AND THE ORPHAN,
IN RELIGION, PIETY, AND LEARNING,
AND TO FORWARD AND CHERISH THEM WITH AFFECTION TRULY PATERNAL.
HIS ZEAL FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS CONTINUED TO BURN WITH UNDIMINISHED ARDOUR,
UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT OF HIS LIFE,
WHEN WORN DOWN BY LINGERING ILLNESS, AND INCESSANT LABOURS,
THIS GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT DELIVERED UP HIS SOUL TO GOD
IN THE YEAR OF HIS AGE, 73, AND OF OUR REDEMPTION 1811.
MAY HE REST IN PEACE.
TO THIS MOST DESERVING MAN, THE OllNAMBNT OF HIS PRIESTHOOD AND HIS COUNTRY,
THE CLERGY AND PEOPLE OF DUBLIN WHO ATTENDED HIS FUNERAL,
WITH MOST MOURNFUL SOLEMNITY AND UNEXAMPLED CONCOURSE,
HAVE ERECTED THIS MONUMENT AS A LASTING MEMORIAL OF THEIR LOVE AND GRATITUDE."

N.B. Brocas has engraved the Portrait of this Apostolical Father, whose name is still synonymous in Dublin, with Learning, Piety, Zeal, and Philanthropy. In the Freeman s Journal of the 17th of October 1815, is the following description of the Monument:
"DR. BETAGH’s MONUMENT,
“The Monument erected to the memory of the late Rev. Dr Befagh, in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. John, was Sunday opened for public inspection. It was executed by Turnerelli, of London, who is, we understand, a Native of Ireland. The composition of this elegant piece of Sculpture, consists of two figures in beautiful statuary marble ; the one a female, representing religion in a pensive attitude, with the usual symbol of redemption, the cross ; the other, an orphan whom religion seems to protect, and who is rest ing on an urn that stands between them. The Boy s countenance is expressive of that sorrow, natural to the impression on the mind, when a benevolent protector no longer exists. So far the group is connected : but the Medallion of the deceased, attached to the Pyramid of black marble, appears at the top and this rests on a plinth, supported by fluted pilasters, with the inscription title in the centre. Much simplicity of character pervades the whole of this specimen of art, at the same time the recollection of departed worth, and its grateful tribute, are well sustained by the chaste power of the chisel. And every person of taste will rejoice, that the calm delights of science are not totally extinguished in this country”.

Cahill, Patrick, 1708-1766, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/997
  • Person
  • 06 March 1708-16 December 1766

Born: 06 March 1708, New Ross, County Wexford
Entered: 13 July 1730, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 23 September 1742, Tours, France
Final Vows: 15 August 1746
Died: 16 December 1766, France/Ireland - Campaniae Province (CAMP)

1737 Teaching Humanities at Sens
1741-1744 Studying Theology and Prefect of Boarders at Irish College Poitiers
1746 at Charleville (CAMP) teaching Humanities and Philosophy
1748 Sent to Poitiers and also is in Ireland. Back in Poitiers 1749
1752 Procurator at Poitiers
1763-1767 in Ireland
Some confusion over dates he was in Poitiers and in Ireland - including saying he was said to be still in Ireland in 1767

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1748 Taught Humanities for five years and Philosophy for three at Charleville (in pen)
1752 Procurator at Irish College Poitiers (in pen)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ General Notes
After First Vows he studied Philosophy at Pont-à-Mousson (1733-1735) and then Theology at Grand Collège Poitiers. In the meantime he had spent seven years in regency at Épinal, Sens and Auxerre.
1740-1744 He was sent for Theology to Grand Collège Poitiers, whilst living at the Irish College there. He was Ordained at Tours 23/09/1742
1744-1747 After Ordination and completing his formation he held a Chair of Philosophy at Charleville CAMP
1748-1755 At Poitiers as Procurator of the Irish College for seven years, when it is thought he was to go to Ireland. he is mentioned in subsequent CATS as being in Ireland, but at that time this could also mean at one of the Irish Colleges or Mission

According to CAMP CAT he was living in Ireland up to 1767, but there is no evidence to support this. He may be identical with a Father Cahill living at Bordeaux in 1759, and could have been working with a large colony of Irish there. The date and place of his death are unknown.

Coyle, Richard, 1596-1627, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1119
  • Person
  • 1596-10 June 1627

Born: 1596, Dublin
Entered: 14 November 1619, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)
Ordained: 1625, Pont-á-Mousson, France
Died; 10 June 1627, Dublin

1622-1625 Theology at Pont-á-Mousson - came from Rome
1625 4th year Theology in CAMP
1626 In Ireland (Coyleaus) - sent from Pont-á-Mousson having finished Theology

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1626 A priest in Ireland

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had begun his Priestly studies at Douai before Ent 14 November 1619 Rome
1621-1625 After First Vows and due to health issues he was sent to Pont-à-Mousson for Theology
1625 It was thought that his health issues should prevent him from Ordination, but that was changed and he became a priest in 1625. He was then sent to Ireland and was probably sent to Dublin, where he died 10 June 1627

Doyle, William, 1716-1785, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1217
  • Person
  • 14 April 1716-15 January 1785

Born: 14 April 1716, Dunsoghly, County Dublin
Entered: 15 March 1735, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 22 September 1747, Rheims, France
Final Vows: 15 August 1752
Died: 15 January 1785, Cowley Hill, St Helens, Lancashire, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

Transcribed to ANG 1771

Cousin of John Austin - RIP 1784
Ordained with John Austin (his cousin) at Rheims 22/09/1747 by Bishop Joppensi

1740 Teaching Humanities at Lyon College
1743-1746 Teaching Humanities at Rheims College and Studying Theology
1749 Is a Priest at Poitiers
1754 Is in Ireland
1758 At Autun College (AQUIT) as Missioner and Minister
1761 At Rheims, a Master of Arts, Missioner and Preacher; Also at College of Colmar
1762 At College of Strasbourg
1763 At Pont-à-Mousson
1764 At Residence of Saint-Michiel (CAMP)
1766 At Probation House Nancy

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
The CAMP Catalogue of 1766 gives the dates DOB 14 April 1717, and Ent 15 March 1735, and places him in Tertianship in Nancy in 1766 (perhaps there were two? - cf Foley’s Collectanea)
Taught Humanities; Prefect at Poitiers for one year
1750-1755 On the Dublin Mission as assistant PP
Subsequently transcribed to ANG
1771 At St Aloysius College in the Lancashire District

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
After First Vows he was sent for Philosophy and graduated MA at Pont-á-Mousson
He then spent time on regency in CAMP Colleges until 1744
1744 Studied Theology at Rheims and was Ordained there 22/09/1747
1747-1749 Two years as Prefect at Irish College Poitiers, and completing his studies at Grand Collège
1749-1750 Sent to Marennes for Tertianship
1750-1755 Sent to Ireland and was worked as an Assistant Priest in Dublin
1755-1757 Sent as Prefect at the Irish College Poitiers
1757-1768 Recalled to CAMP and worked as a Missioner for eleven years at Autun, Rheims, Strasbourg and Saint-Michel
1768 Most likely Transcribed to ANG working in the Lancashire Mission certainly by 1771 and remained there working around the Cowley Hill district, near St Helen’s until he died 15/01/1785

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
DOYLE, WILLIAM, of Dublin was born on the 30th of May, 1717, and entered the Society in Champagne 12th of July, 1734. After teaching Humanities for five years, and filling the office of Prefect in the Seminary at Poitiers for one year, he came to the Mission at the age of 33, and for several years was assistant to a Parish Priest in Dublin. I find him labouring in the Lancashire Mission in 1771. This Rev. Father died at Cowley hill, near St. Helen s, on the 15th of January, 1785, and was buried at Windleshaw,

Field, Richard, 1552-1606, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1286
  • Person
  • 1552-21 February 1606

Born: 1552, Corduff, County Dublin
Entered: 1584, Verdun, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: c .1589, Pont-à-Mousson, France
Died: 21 February 1606, Dublin

Alias Delafield
Mission Superior 17 April 1599-1604

Christopher Holiwood Entered at Verdun same year
1587: At Pont-à-Mousson 2nd year Theology, Procurator Convictorum (was there with Fleming and Archer).
1589-1595: Procurator of Boarders and called Pater in 1590; Master of Arts; Prefect of health, Prefect of the Church Confessor.
1595: Came from France to Upper Germany. Minister at Friburg (Peter Canisius in the house at that time).
1596: At Lucerne, Confessor, Prefect of Cases of Conscience, Censor.
1597: Reported to have returned to France and Pont-à-Mousson where he was Procurator, Minister and Confessor.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Son of Lord Corduff.
1579 Was at Douai - “a youth of great promise”.
1599 April, was sent to Fitzsimon and Archer, and was Mission Superior until 1604. Several of his letters are preserved, abounding in interesting details of the affairs of Catholic Ireland. In one letter 25 February 1603, he states that there were five Jesuits in Ireland : two in Munster Andrew Malony and Nicholas Leynach; two in Leinster himself and Fitzsimon in prison as well as his Socius Lenan. With the Spanish troops repulsed and the Irish Chieftains broken and reduced, c sixty Ecclesiastical Commissioners were appointed in Ireland to superintend the business of the Churches. They began in Dublin, making sure they were in good repair, and insisting that people should attend services. Unable to get the Catholics to obey, they fixed a day each week when “Recusants” had to appear before the Commissioners. They resist, and are called traitors etc, and many put in jail for disobeying the Queen’s laws. They can be fined for each refusal to attend Church and which they refused to pay, calling them illegal.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Field (alias Delafield)
Had already studied at Douai and Paris before Ent 1584 Verdun.
After First Vows completed his Philosophy and Theology at Pont-à-Mousson where he graduated MA and was Ordained c 1589.
1589-1596 Appointed procurator for resident students at Pont-à-Mousson.
1596 Minister at Fribourg and later Lucerne, Switzerland.
1599 On the arrest of Christopher Holywood he was appointed Superior of the Irish Mission 17 April 1599. He encouraged Sodalities, thus hoping to consolidate Catholics against Protestantism. He used his influence with the nobility to make common cause with the persecuted “Catholic citizens of Dublin”. He was subsequently succeeded by Holywood again and he remained in Dublin where he died 21 February 1606 .

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Field, Richard
by Judy Barry

Field, Richard (1553–1606), Jesuit priest, was born at Corduff, north Co. Dublin. He was in attendance at the Jesuit college in Paris in September 1579, entered the society in 1584 and was ordained a priest c.1589. He spent some years at the university of Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, where his presence was recorded in 1587 and 1593. This was followed by periods at the college of Fribourg and at Lucerne in Switzerland.

In January 1599, when Christopher Holywood (qv), recently appointed superior of the Irish Jesuit mission, was captured at Dover and imprisoned, Field was ordered to take his place. He arrived in Ireland sometime before 1 September 1599 and worked for the next six years in the vicinity of Dublin, providing a range of pastoral services. In common with other leading Jesuit missionaries, he strongly eschewed links with the Spanish monarchy and gave little support to O'Neill (qv) and the confederates. Writing to the general of the order in 1600, he stressed the need for more missionaries ‘to teach, instruct, and keep from the various excesses and vices to which they are addicted these raw people, who are indeed nominally and in a general way fighting for the faith, but who in their lives and manners are far removed from Christian perfection' (Morrissey, 27). He was optimistic that catholicism would be officially restored, and listed a number of sites in the city and county of Dublin where Jesuit colleges might be located.

On 9 April 1603 news of Queen Elizabeth's death reached Ireland, and the expected accession of James VI gave the recusants new confidence. In all the principal towns of Munster, and in Wexford, Kilkenny, and other Leinster towns, the recusant clergy, with the support of the magistrates, took possession of the churches. On 11 April Field reconsecrated the church of St Patrick in Waterford, and the following day publicly officiated at high mass. He then reconsecrated the cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and on 13 April (Wednesday in Passion week) celebrated high mass there. These proceedings alarmed Lord Mountjoy (qv) who hurried to Wexford with a considerable army and quickly forced the submission of the magistrates.

In 1604 Field was replaced as superior of the Irish mission by Holywood, who had been released from prison on Elizabeth's death. In the following year, when the government initiated its campaign to enforce conformity by ordering Dublin city councillors to attend divine service, Field joined his confrères Henry Fitzsimon (qv) and Holywood in encouraging them to resist the official mandates and in preparing cases for their defence. He did not comply with the proclamation requiring priests and Jesuits to leave the kingdom by 10 December 1605 and, though he was in poor health, continued to preach in Dublin. In a sermon given at the end of the year, he took as his text ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.’ He died in Dublin 21 February 1606.

CSPI, 1599; William J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854); Edmund Hogan, Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894); DNB; Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin, SJ, The Jesuit missions to Ireland in the sixteenth century (privately published, c.1970); Thomas Morrissey, James Archer of Kilkenny (1979); Colm Lennon, The lords of Dublin in the age of reformation (1989)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962

Richard Field (1599-1604)

During Fr Holywood's imprisonment, Fr Richard Field, or de la Field, of Corduff, Co, Dublin, acted as Superior of the Irish Mission. He was born in 1553, studied at Douay and Paris, and entered the Novitiate of Verdun in 1584. He completed his philosophy and theology at Pont-à-Mousson, and subsequently acted as Procurator of the University hostel there for eight years. After that he became Minister of the College of Freiburg in Switzerland, and Prefect of Cases and Censor of Books at Lucerne. On the arrest of Fr Holywood he was appointed Superior of the Irish Mission on 17th April, 1599, and reached Ireland at the beginning of June. As Superior he revived Catholic practices through sodalities, and consolidated Catholic resistance to heresy by inducing the nobles and gentry who lived in the country parts to make common cause with the persecuted citizens of Dublin. Always delicate, his health gave way, and two years after he had handed over the reins of
government to Fr Holywood he died at Dublin on 21st February, 1606.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Richard Field 1560-1606
Fr Richard Field was a Palesman, born about 1560.

In 1579 he was attending the University of Paris. The next we know of him he was at the University of Pont-à-Mousson with the Irish Fathers Archer and Holywood. In 1599 he came to Ireland and replaced Fr Holywood as Superior, so that in fact he was the first Superior of our Mission. It was a critical period in the history of our country, and ad first Fr Field adopted a very cautious attitude, but finally supported the Catholic cause and begged the Pope to send aid.

He was a tower of strength to the people of the Pale, both by his advice and example, and so much so that he was beset by spies and finally imprisoned in Dublin Castle. He was released after some time through the influence of his friends, but never recovered from his experience.

In 1604 he fell into consumption, and on June 29th 1606 he died, mourned by the people who had lost a sincere friends and great benefactor.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
FIELD, RICHARD. Of his early history I can learn nothing : but in consequence of F Holiwood s apprehension (of whom more hereafter), he was appointed Superior of his Missionary Brethren in Ireland. He had certainly reached his destination in the Spring of 1599.
Some of his letters have fortunately escaped the injuries of time. The first bears date Dublin, 1st of September, 1599. He acknowledges the receipt of his letters written in April, and speaks in high terms of the successful zeal of F. Henry Fitzsimon. In a second letter dated Dublin, 20th of July, 1600, he states that the population, which was in arms against Queen Elizabeth’s government, and fighting nominally for Religion, were far remote in their lives and manners from practical Christianity and the perfection of the Gospel; nay, were addicted to many gross errors and vices, and he calls aloud for a supply of pious and learned Priests to instruct and correct them. He adds, that in the more civilised part of the Island, where he happened to reside, the poor were exceedingly well affected to Religion.
The third letter is also dated from Dublin on the 25th of February, 1603. It laments the interruption of epistolary intercourse that now it was the fourth year since he had heard from Rome. He states that there are five Jesuits in Ireland : viz. two in Munster, F. Andrew Malony, and F. Nicholas Lynch - two in Leinster; viz. himself and his socius, F. Lenan, and F. Henry Fitzsimon, who was still detained in prison. He then proceeds thus : “since the Queen’s Privy Council have imagined that the war is drawing to a conclusion, for the Spanish troops were repulsed last year, and the forces of the Irish Chieftains were broken and reduced, they have appointed upwards of sixty Ecclesiastical Commissioners to superintend the business of the Churches. They have begun with Dublin, and have ordered the Churches to be put in proper repair, and to be refitted with with seats, &c., in a handsome style. They have divided the City into six parishes, and have endeavoured to urge the people by threats, and allure by promises to attend the service and sermons in the respective parish Churches. Unable to prevail on the Catholics to be present : they fix a day in each week, when the Catholics, (whom they call Recusants), must appear before the Commissioners. The Gentry are asked in the first place, and then the Common people, whether they will frequent the Churches and assist at the sermons? The general answer is, that they will not enter these profane places of worship, or listen to the false doctrines of the preachers : and that by the faith of their forefathers, and by the Catholic Religion, they are prohibited from communicating with them in sacred things. A thousand injuries and calumnies are heaped upon them in consequence : they are called traitors, and abettors of the Spaniards : commitments to jail are made out for disobeying the Queen’s Laws; fines of ten pounds are ordered for each offence or absence from the Church on the Lord s day. The imprisonment is patiently endured; but the citizens will not pay the fines, for they stoutly deny that they can be legally compelled to pay them. This is the condition of the citizens; and their invincible fidelity has stimulated the courage of other Towns”. He adds that the wiser sort of Commissioners think it unfair that a people inured from the cradle to the Catholic Religion, or as they say to Popish Ceremonies, should be punished so heavily merely for Religion, “tantum religionis causo”, especially in such turbulent times, and when a Spanish invasion may be apprehended. For the Irish Chieftains are still levying troops, and announce with confidence that in the course of this very Spring they are infallibly to receive reinforcements from Spain.
The precise date of F. Field s death I cannot recover. He was living when Dr. James White, Vicar Apostolic of Lismore and Waterford, dedicated 25th of July, 1604, to Pope Clement the VIII his Memorial, “De rebus gestis a Catholicis utriusque Ordinis in Regno Hiberniae a morte Elizabethae, quondam Angliae Reginae”.
It seems however, that he died early in the year 1606; for F Holiwood begins a letter on the 29th of June, 1606, by saying “All my brethren, by the blessing of God, with the exception of Richard, (of whose death I have already informed you), are safe and well”.

  • We have sometimes seen it asserted, that Tithes to the present Established Church in Ireland were not enjoined by Statute Law. But the contrary is the fact. For, by 27th Hen. VIII. A.D. 1535. Tithes, offerings, and other duties of Holy Church are required to be paid by every of his Majesty s subjects of this Realm of England, Ireland, Wales and Calais, and Marches of the same, according to the Ecclesiastical Laws and Ordinances of the Church of England, and after the laudable usages and customs of the Parish, or other place, where he dwelleth or occupieth. This is confirmed by the Act of 32 Henry VIII. 1540; and again by Edward VI in 1548.
  • He states in this Memorial that the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death on the 24th of March, 1603. did not transpire in Ireland till the 9th of April! On the 11th of April, he reconciled the Church of St. Patrick in Waterford, and on the next day publicly officiated at High Mass; thence proceeded to reconcile the Cathedral Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity. On the 13th of April (which was Wednesday in Passion-week) High Mass was celebrated in this Cathedral. These proceedings alarmed Sir Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who hurried to the City with a considerable force to overawe the inhabitants.

FitzSimon, Henry, 1566-1643, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1297
  • Person
  • 31 May 1566-29 November 1643

Born: 31 May 1566, Swords, County Dublin
Entered: 13 April 1592, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 1596, Louvain, Belgium
Final Vows: 04 October 1610
Died: 29 November 1643, County Kilkenny

Parents Nicholas FitzSimon and Anne Sedgrave
Cornelius Lapide was a fellow Novice
Studied Humanities at Manchester - being an MA before Ent
Studied 3 years Philosophy 1 year Theology at Pont-á-Mousson
Studied 3 years Theology at Louvain
1596-1597 Taught Philosophy at Douai - gave the Bollandists the Life of St Feichín and other MS
1603 Tertianship at Tournai
Then 4 (or 20?) years as Military Chaplain at Castris
1608-1611 Called to Rome regarding Irish Mission and remained there till 1611. Then sent back to Douai for 5 years writing and confessing
1619 at Liège and 1625-1628 at Dinant
1625 published at Frankfurt a 12 mo on Philosophy of 704pp. It appears that he was an SJ from “Palface” and that such was not a real name - was it a Holy word? Or was it “Fitzsimon” or “White” or “Kearney”? P396 shows he professed at Douai. Hogan thinks it is “Fitzsimon” (Foley "Collectanea" p 524)
1630 To Ireland (7 years, 2 free, 5 captive)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Son of Sir Nicholas, Kt and Senator of Dublin, and Ann née Sidgreaves
Early education was at Manchester School, and then matriculated at Hart’s Hall Oxford, 26 April 1583. He then studied for four years at at Pont-à-Mousson, graduating MA, followed by some months at Douai in Theology and Casuistry, and received Minor Orders.
He was received into the Society by the BELG Provincial Manaereus and then went to Tournai.
After First Vows he was sent to Louvain for Theology and was a pupil of Father Lessius there. He also taught Philosophy for a while.
1597 At his own request he was sent to the Irish Mission. His zeal soon led to his arrest in 1598.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Sir Nicholas and Anna née Sedgrave
Early education was in England and he matriculated to Oxford - though unclear if he graduated there.
He drifted into or was enticed into Protestantism, becoming a convinced one. In 1587 he went to Paris where he met the English Jesuit, Darbyshire, who reconciled him to the Church. He then went to study at Pont-à-Mousson where he graduated MA, before Ent 13 April 1592 at Tournai
After First Vows he studied Theology at Louvain where he was Ordained 1596
1597 Initially he was sent to teach Philosophy at Douai. However, as an Irish Mission was under consideration Henry was chosen to be part of this venture, and duly arrived at the end of 1597. He was based roughly in the Pale, and established a reputation for zeal and success in arresting the growth of Protestantism, and in encouraging the Catholics of the Pale to stand firm in their allegiance to the Catholic Church. His most powerful weapon in this ministry was the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin.
1599-1603 Arrested in December, 1599 he was imprisoned in Dublin Castle at the end of May 1603. Even from his prison cell his influence was felt and he debated theology with bitter opponents of the Church such as Ryder and Hanmer who visited him in prison.He was released and then deported back to the GALL-BEL Province.
1603-1608 He was based at Douai and for five years was an Operarius, a Military Chaplain and a Writer, as well as making his Tertianship.
1608-1611 Sent to Rome to advise on Irish Mission affairs.
1611-1618 He was sent back to Douai and continued his earlier ministries of Writing, Military Chaplaincy and Operarius
1618-1620 He was sent to follow the same ministries at Liège
1620-1623 At the outbreak of the Thirty Years War he left Belgium to minister to Irish soldiers in the Imperial Army (Hapsburgs), and was with them until 1623
1623-1631 Was at Dinant, and by 1628 had served twenty years as a Military Chaplain
1631 He sent to Ireland after a thirty one year exile. Over the preceding decades he repeatedly sought permission to return, but the Mission Superior (Holywood) decided that Fitzsimon's return if discovered by the Government could only jeopardise if not ruin the works of the Irish mission. On return he lived at Dublin as Confessor and Preacher until the surrender of Dublin and expulsion of priests. After a difficult time he eventually arrived in Kilkenny, where he died 29 November 1643

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

Fitzsimon, Henry (1566–1643), Jesuit priest and controversialist, was born on 31 May 1566 at Swords, Co. Dublin, son of Nicholas Fitzsimon, merchant, and alderman of the city of Dublin, and Anna Fitzsimon (née Sedgrave), one of the Sedgrave family of Killeglan and Cabra, Co. Dublin. She was related to Henry Ussher (qv) and James Ussher (qv), both of whom were later Church of Ireland primates. Henry Fitzsimon's paternal grandfather was Sir Knight Fitzsimon.

In 1576 Henry went to England for his education, where he converted to protestantism. He studied grammar, rhetoric, and humanities in Manchester for four years, and on 26 April 1583 he matriculated for Hart Hall, Oxford. By 1587 he had moved to Paris, where he carried out further studies. He also encountered an English Jesuit, Fr Thomas Darbyshire, and after instruction from him, reconverted to the catholic faith. Entering the university at Pont-à-Mousson, he studied rhetoric and philosophy, graduating MA (1591). Further theological studies followed, both there and at Douai, and, taking minor orders, he was admitted to the Society of Jesus at Tournai (April 1592). He completed his noviciate in Tournai and in June 1593 he went to Louvain to complete his theological studies, where he associated with prominent counter-reformation theologians such as Dr Peter Lombard (qv) and Fr Heribert Rosweyde. Appointed as professor of philosophy at Douai, he also began to collect manuscripts with the intention of writing a history of Ireland.

In 1597 he was sent to Ireland at his own request as a member of the first Jesuit permanent mission to the country. He travelled in the company of Fr James Archer (qv), who was being sought by the English authorities, and this made life extremely dangerous for him. Nevertheless, he concentrated his work in the Dublin area, where the greatest efforts were being made to convert the local population to the protestant faith. He began preaching in public, often to large crowds, and was successful in reconverting many catholics who had converted to protestantism. Touring the county of Dublin, he called on prominent catholics, exhorting them to remain loyal to their faith. A catholic nobleman also gave him the use of a house, which he converted into a chapel where he celebrated high mass. The atmosphere in Dublin was so tense at the time that many men came armed to mass, determined to resist any attempts to arrest them.

Fitzsimon was a flamboyant character by nature and rode around the city and county with three or four retainers. Openly hostile to the government's religious policy, he was arrested in 1599, and in many ways his imprisonment served to enhance his public status. Many protestant divines came to his cell to debate points of religion and it soon became known that he was more than a match for them. Among those who debated with him were Dr Luke Challoner (qv), Dean Meredith Hanmer (qv), Dean John Rider (qv), later bishop of Killaloe, and an extremely young James Ussher (qv). These debates resulted in further written exchanges. In January 1601 he sent a manuscript to Dean Rider entitled ‘Brief collections from the Scriptures, the Fathers, and principal protestants, in proof of six catholic articles’. Rider published an answer to this manuscript in 1602 entitled A caveat to Irish catholics. Fitzsimon in turn replied to Rider's Caveat in a manuscript, which he sent him in 1603, Rider publishing his pamphlet Rescript in response to this in 1604. These exchanges only served to create a friendship between the two men, and Rider not only later acknowledged Fitzsimon's superior debating skills, but also began to send him food, drink, and other comforts. Among those who petitioned for Fitzsimon's release was Hugh O'Neill (qv), and in March 1604 James I signed an order that he be freed. In June 1604 he left Dublin and travelled into exile on the Continent.

He spent periods in Spain and Flanders, and in 1608 travelled to Rome. Most of his publications date from this time and he established himself as one of the most erudite minds of the counter-reformation. In 1608 he published A catholick confutation of Mr John Rider's claim to antiquitie and a calming comfort against his Caveat etc., which was printed in Rouen as a last exchange in his debate with Rider. Attached to this publication was another pamphlet, An answer to sundrie complaintive letters of afflicted catholics. By 1611 he was also writing an ecclesiastical history of Ireland, ‘Narratio rerum Ibernicarum’, which, if ever completed, was not published. Later publications included The justification and exposition of the divine sacrifice of the masse (Douai, 1611) and Britannomachia ministrorum in plerisque et fidei fundamentis, et fidei articulis dissidentium (Douai, 1614), a defence of catholic doctrines and a refutation of theories of reform. In 1619 he edited Catalogus sanctorum Hiberniae, published in Liège.

In 1620 he travelled to Bohemia as a chaplain to the forces of Emperor Ferdinand II, later publishing a history of the campaign using the pseudonym ‘Constantius Peregrinus’. He volunteered to return to the Irish mission and travelled in 1630 to Ireland, where he resumed his work among the poor of Dublin. After the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion, he was condemned to be hanged on suspicion of being involved with the rebels. He spent his last years on the run from government forces, finally reaching the relative safety of the confederate camp in Kilkenny. Worn out by work and hardships, his health finally broke and he died in Kilkenny on 29 November 1643.

His papers and writings have remained a focus of interest for historians of the period. Edmund Hogan (qv), SJ, included many excerpts from his papers in his publications on Henry Fitzsimon, and in 1881 edited a collection of Fitzsimon's papers, publishing them under the title Diary of the Bohemian war. This included Fitzsimon's An answer to sundrie complaintive letters of afflicted catholics under the new title Words of comfort to persecuted catholics. There is a large collection of Fitzsimon's papers in the Jesuit archives in Dublin.

Webb; Allibone; Edmund Hogan, SJ, Life, letters and diary of Father H. Fitzsimon (1881); id., Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894), 196–311; Dictionary of catholic biography; James Corboy, SJ, ‘Father Henry Fitzsimon, SJ’, Studies, xxxii (1943), 260–66; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991); information from Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, of the Jesuit archives, Dublin

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1I 1962
FATHER HENRY FITZSIMON SJ 1566-1643

Henry Fitzsimon was born at Swords on the 31 May 1566. His father Nicholas, a Dublin alderman and an eminent merchant of his day, was the son of Sir Knight Fitzsimon. His mother was Anna Sedgrave or Edgrave, and he was related to Henry and James Ussher, both of whom where afterwards Protestant Primates of Armagh, At the age of ten Henry Fitzsimon went to England, where he lost the (faith) and became a zealous Protestant. On the 26 April 1583, he matriculated as a member of Hart's Hall, Oxford. It is not known how long he remained here; but after a few years we find him in Paris, where according to himself he was “so farre overweening of my profession, that I surmised to be able to convert to Protestancie any incounter whosoever ..... At length by my happiness I was overcome by F.Thomas Darbishire ane owld English Jesuit long tyme experienced in the reduction of many thowsands to the Catholic religion”.

After his conversion in 1587 he went to the University of Pont-à-Mousson, where he studied rhetoric and philosophy, becoming. a Master of Arts in 1591. On the 15 April 1592, he entered the Society of Jesus, Having spent only fifteen months in the novitiate of Tournai, he was sent to Louvain in 1593 to finish this theological studies, where he had already begun before his entry into the Society of Jesus. Here he made such great progress, under the able supervision of the famous Fr Lessius, that in a short time he was appointed professor of philosophy at Douai. Here also he made the acquaintance of Fr Rosweyde, the pioneer of the future Bollandist Fathers, and Dr Peter Lombard. In his writings he frequently recalls these two scholars as having been intimate friends. At this time, already interested in Irish history, he says that he “ransacked all the libraries in his way for our country's antiquities, and found a hand-written life of St Patrick in the library of our college at Douai”. He remained at Douai until his return to Ireland towards the end of 1597.

To appreciate the value of Fitsimon's work in Ireland, we must review briefly the political and religious state of the country at the end of the sixteenth century. The Reformation in Ireland during the sixteenth century - i.e., under the Tudor dynasty from Henry VIII to Elizabeth - was primarily a political movement. Not until the advent of James I, was any real attempt made to establish a Protestant mission all over the country. Ireland had been saved from undue religious persecution because the English could not exert political control except in or about Dublin and in some of the other towns. But the results of the Nine Years' War changed the whole aspect of the situation. In 1603 Ireland lay at the feet of her conqueror. Never before was there such an opportunity for propagating the reformed doctrines. It was in these years, so crucial for the Catholic religion, that the Jesuits of the first permanent Mission in Ireland arrived. Among them few had wider influence than Father Henry Fitzsimon.

Although Fitzsimon was imprisoned after the first two years, the result of his work was lasting. During that short period he had visited most of the influential families of the Pale. He has been particularly active in the City of Dublin, where he knew the brunt of the battle was borne. Every Sunday and feast-day he said Mass in the city and preached at least one sermon. On week-days he travelled into the country and visited the houses or the gentlemen of the Pale. His exhortations to remain steadfast in the Faith were generally successful and he converted to a more fervent life several who had grown remiss in the practice of their religion.

One instance typical of his work will suffice to give some notion of the nature of his activities. Describing the actions of the Dublin Council prior to the death of Elizabeth, he says: “A sudden and violent persecution burst upon the Catholics. By order of my Superior (Fr Holywood), I confirmed the chief men of the city by letters of consolation, by messages and by many other ways. The other fathers also performed their duty with increasing care and with ardent zeal and devotion”. But unfortunately the Catholics had not been well instructed in the doctrines of Faith and therefore might easily be duped by the reformers. In several parishes in Dublin the people were ordered to attend the Protestant Services, but all refused. Finally, a number of the inhabitants were summoned to appear before the magistrates. Fr Fitzsimon visited them all personally and instructed them before the meeting. In his own words “all stood firm, rejoicing that they were deemed worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus”. This victory strengthened the Catholics in the other cities of Ireland.

Of his work in Dublin we have an interesting account from the pen of Fr Hamill, a secular priest. Writing on the 25 December 1598 he says: “As the Catholics increased daily, Fr Fitzsimon thought it well to erect a chapel in the house of a nobleman, at which the faithful night assemble. He got the hall lined with tapestry and covered with carpets, and had an altar made, which was as handsome and as elegantly furnished and decorated as any altar in Ireland. In this chapel Fr Fitzsimon celebrated High Mass, an event which was phenomenal in the Dublin of the time”. Fr Hamill, referring to his apostolate, says: “He converts hundreds to the faith. Not to speak of others who have returned to the Catholic Church in Dublin, one hundred persons, who last communicated according to the Protestant fashion, this year received instruction, reconciliation, confession and communion for the good father”. For two years he worked incessantly and indeed most successfully to stem the tide of reform, but his good fortune did not last long. In November 1599, he was captured by the authorities and imprisoned in Dublin Castle.

Had Fitzsimon devoted himself solely to the active ministry of preaching and administering the sacraments, his main work would have ended here and his period of imprisonment would interest us both little. But his apostolate was more varied, and his most notable achievements lay in another field. As a controversialist he scarcely had an equal during his time in Ireland. On his arrival in 1597 We find him issuing challenges to all comers. Like St Paul, he excalimed that he himself had been defiled with almost the very same errors which he now sought out and refuted. “Why do I spend”, he says “so precious time and so much pains? Only to confound my errors and to do satisfaction to truth and religion which I impugnated. This also was the cause that, for two years after my return to Dublin, I was burning to dispute with the ring-leaders of the Reform - I wished it even, for this reason alone, that where my error had given disedification, my condemnation of error might wipe away the stain”.

His imprisonment did not put an end to his controversial activities. On the contrary it seems that it increased his opportunities for disputing with the reformed leaders. Prison life in Ireland at this time was not always a pleasant experience, as anyone will understand who peruses the accounts left of the suffering of Father David Wolfe or Archbishop Creagh. Fitzsimon himself gives us a description of his life during these days and of the hardships he had to endure. “From the time the Spaniards landed (September 1601) care was taken that I should be kept in the closest confinement, and be deprived of books and of every comfort that might alleviate the monotonous misery of prison life. By employing the most savage keepers he (the Governor of the prison) can find, by flogging some for being over-indulgent to me, by dismissing eight of them on that ground alone, and by suborning false witnesses against me, he shows the excess of his hatred against the name we bear (Jesuits) and the end we have in view”. It is a remarkable fact that, before he left the prison-cell, Fitzsimon had made a fast friend of the governor, Yet in spite of these hardships Fr Fitzsimon never ceased to carry on the work of the apostolate. The Protestant historian Wood, speaking of him at this time, says that he was the most able defender of the Catholic religion in Ireland. In prison he was always eager for the fray, and he compared himself to a bear tied to a stake waiting for someone to bait him.

It is interesting to note that Hugh O'Neill, on hearing of Fr Fitzsimon's imprisonment, demanded his instant release. He threatened even to renew hostilities with the government if his request was not granted, saying: “Wherefore as ever you think, that I shall enter to conclude tieher peace or cessation with the State, let him be presently enlarged”. But he added that he was “no more ‘beholden’ to him than to an Irish Catholic that is restrained in Turkey for his religion”. The precise reason for O'Neill's antagonism to him is not clear. Some authors infer that Pitzsimon had no sympathy for the Irish in their effort to withstand by force of arms the efforts of the English to conquer the country. But there is no evidence for these assertions, and all we can say is that Fitzsimon's primary interests lay not in matters of state or politics, but as far as possible in purely spiritual affairs, his love for Ireland rests not merely on such meagre proofs as his desire to write her history and, as an exile, to forward her religion, but above all, as we shall see later, it is shown by his longing to return to a country wherein he knew that death would surely be his destiny if only he were once more captured by the authorities.

During his imprisonment Fr Fitzsimon had controversies with many of the Protestant ministers, including the most outstanding men in the Dublin of the time. Among these were Dr Challenor, Dean Meredith Hanmer, James Ussher and Dean Rider. To assess the moral value of this work, we need only recall the great advantage secured by the reformers in Germany - and by Luther in particular - on account of the lack of outstanding supporters of the Catholic cause. The history of the Catholic Church in France in the eighteenth century evinces the same defect. And we need only glance back over the history of the sixteenth century in Ireland to understand the vital necessity to the Catholic Church of able defenders of the Faith. Fr Fitzsimon fully realised the inestimable advantage that would accrue to Catholics by the overthrow of the most prominent of their opponents. He saw that what the Catholics most needed was leadership. He would seek out their enemies, therefore, and refute their false doctrines, thus strengthening his own people in their Faith.

The language Fitzsimon used in the disputations might be considered unbecoming or even vulgar in our age, but such was the in language of controversy of the time. That he has no personal enmity for his opponents is shown by the extraordinary number of them whom he converted. Even the gaoler, who had been so antagonistic to him, became a Catholic before Fitzsimon was released. Hanmer too, as we shall see, became his friend and never molested him again. Fitzsimon was too good-humoured to be easily upset by criticism and too disinterested in his work to take personal offence at every slight indictment.

Of his encounter with Challenor, Fitzsimon gives us a short account. “As I knew the Protestants considered Challenor as one of their champions, I challenged him. He refused to have any dealings with the Jesuits, because they were disliked by his sovereign. This was an excuse created by his cowardice ...” When Challenor failed, Hanmer, nothing daunted, accepted the challenge. He had already written against Edmund Campion and was esteemed very highly by the reformers. Fitzsimon, with his usual candour, gives us an account of their meeting. “Dean Meredith Hanmer.... came with many high people to my prison. As he remained silent, I, trusting in the goodness of my cause undertook to defend what was weakest on our side and to attack what seemed strongest on theirs”. But Hanmer, unable to uphold his side, yielded and, from that time forward, refused to debate on controversial subjects with Fitzsimon. It is typical of the latter that after their dispute he should make friends with his discomfited rival. Hanmer, on his part, was not ungrateful, as we learn from Fitzsimon, who in a time or great need received from his former adversary a barrel of beer, a sack of flour, and the use of his library.

His next opponent was James Ussher, who was appointed Archbishop of Armagh later. Even at the age of fourteen Ussher had shown signs of genius. At that time he had already made a careful study of Ancient History, the Scriptures and the Meditations of St Augustine. Soon afterwards he made an extensive study of Latin and Greek authors, became interested in polemics, and was eager to read all the Fathers of the Church from the earliest tines up to the Council of Trent. Whether Ussher really understood what he had read is extremely doubtful. But at least the vast learning that he had attained - superficially or otherwise we cannot discuss here - incited him to undertake the defence of the reformed doctrines against anyone who would dispute with him. He visited Fitzsimon in prison and had several discussions with him. Finally Ussher sought a public disputation, which Fitzsimon refused. Many writers, following Elrington, hold that the Jesuit shirked a trial of strength with this brilliant young man of eighteen. But even the Protestant historical Wood is of opinion that Fitzsimon grew weary of disputing with Ussher, as he probably saw that further argument was futile. Even though we admit the talent of Ussher, yet when we compare the age, experience, and theological training of the two, we prefer to accept the statement of Wood, which in fact is corroborated by a letter or Fitzsimon himself. In it he says: “Once indeed a youth of eighteen came forward with the greatest trepidation of face and voice. He was a precocious boy, but not of a bad disposition and talent as it seemed. Perhaps he was greedy of applause, Anyhow he was desirous of disputing about most abstruse points of divinity, although he had not yet finished the study of philosophy. I bid the youth bring me some proof that he was considered a fit champion by the Protestants, and I said that I would then enter into a discussion with him. But as they did not think him a fit and proper person to defend them, he never again honoured me with his presence”. Even a cursory glance through Fitzsimon's writings is enough to convince one of his vast erudition, his prodigious knowledge of Scripture and the Classics, and his innate ability to turn an argument against an opponent.

Fitzsimon's final encounter was with Dean Rider, who later was appointed Bishop of Killaloe. Rider himself provoked the disputation but once Fitzsimon had accepted the challenge, he lost heart and kept postponing the ordeal. Finally Rider was forced to admit of his adversary “that in words he is too hard for a thousand”. Fitzsimon remained in prison for five years, but during that time he defended the Catholic cause with such success that, at the end of the period, he could sincerely declare that the reformers in Ireland were “clouds” without water, wafted by the winds: they are autumn trees, barren and doubly dead”. On the 5 April 1604, Fitzsimon gave an account of his five years' imprisonment. “I have been five years in prison, and I have been brought eight times before the Supreme Court... The Governor of the prison has been my deadly enemy.... At present they deliberate about driving me into exile... this is dearer to me than anything else in this world except death for the Faith”. Soon after this he was released and banished from the country.

For the next twenty-six years Fitzsimon worked on the Continent. Many of his written works belong to this period, and he attempted even a History of Ireland, which unfortunately is not extant. He was chaplain to the Emperor in the Bohemian Campaigns of 1620 and was an intimate friend of the greatest generals on the Austrian side. Little is known of his activities during these years, but in 1630 he was sent back to the Irish Mission. He was then about sixty-four years old. From casual references here and there we can gather that age had not damped his zeal or enthusiasm. In 1637 it was reported that he was in good health for his years (he was then seventy-one) and that he still preached and heard confessions. In 1660 his contemporary Fr Young wrote a sketch of his life where we find a description of his last years.

In the winter of 1641, Fitzsimon then about seventy-five years old was condemned to be hanged. In company with many other Catholics he fled to the Dublin mountains, where he sought shelter in a shepherd's hut, Even at this time he did not remain inactive, but went from house to house instructing the children of the poor and administering the sacraments. At last, worn out by fatigue, and hardship, he was taken to the quarters occupied by the Irish army - probably at Kilkenny. There he was entrusted to the care of his religious brethren, but in a few months he was dead. The date of his death is uncertain, but it was probably the 29 November 1643. Writing of Fr Fitzsimon, Fr Young says that heresy feared his pen, and that Ireland admired and loved him for his piety and for the great gifts of nature and grace with which God had endowed him.

Fr. Fitzsimon's end was marked with a note of tragedy and even of apparent failure. An outlaw on the hills, he died far from the scene of his constant toils. Probably no priest had done more for the Catholics in the Pale than he had. No opponent had ever encountered him and gone away victorious. Yet, despite all his controversies, he had very few personal enemies. “By his death” says Wood “the Catholics lost a pillar of the Church, being esteemed a great ornament among them, and the greatest defender of religion, and the most noted Jesuit of his time”. From these facts it is clear that Fitzsimon played a large part in the Catholic counter-reformation in Ireland.

Perhaps, before concluding this brief sketch of the life of Fr Fitzsimon, it might be well to refer to his literary activities. He was one of the most voluminous writers of the time. Two of his books were written in refutation of the theories put forward by Dean Rider, whom we have already mentioned. These are “A Catholic Confutation of it, M John Riders clayne of Antiquitie” and “A Reply to M Riders Postscript!” These and another book, “An Answer to certain complaintive letters of afflicted Catholics for Religion”, were printed at Rouen in 1608. The latter has been edited by Fr Edmund Hogan, SJ, under the title of “Words of Comfort to Persecuted Catholics”. It gives a description of the persecutions which Catholics had to endure at the beginning of the seventeenth century in Ireland.

His next book was a treatise on the Mass. Printed at Douay in the year 1611, it is entitled “The Justification and Exposition of the Divine Sacrifice of the Masse, and of al rites and Ceremonies thereto belonging divided into two bookes”. In the words of Fitzsimon, his first book treats of “controversies and difficulties, and devotion belonging to the Masse”, while in the second book “the first masso in the missal is justified, and expounded for all and everie parcel thereof”. This treatise, which contains almost 450 pages, displays remarkable intimacy with Sacred Scripture and with the writings of the Fathers of the Church.

The next work we know of is entitled “Britannomachia ministrorum in Plerisque et Fidei Fundamentis, et Fidei articulis Dissidentiunt”. Divided into three books it contains a defence of Catholic doctrines and a refutation of the theories propounded by the reformers. In 1619 Fitzsimon edited at Liège the “Catalogus Sanctorum Hiberniae”, which has been annotated by Fr Paul Grosjean, SJ, in "Feil Sgribhinn Eoin Mhic Neill”. The “Bohemian Campaign” he published in 1620 under the pseudonym of “Constantius Peregrinus”. This work is really a diary written during the wars in Bohemia. He also published another work, in connection with this campaign, under the title of “The Battle of Prague”. After his return to Ireland in 1630, Fitzsimon was so harassed by persecution that no opportunity was given him for further literary work.

James Corboy SJ

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Henry FitzSimon 1566-1643
Our ablest and unsurpassed controversialist was Fr Henry FitzSimon. He was born at Swords County Dublin on May 31st 1566 of wealthy and prominent parents. These latter, dying when Henry was young, he was brought up a Protestant.

He got his early education at Manchester, and studied later at Christ Church College, Oxford. He was converted to the Catholic faith in his infancy by Fr Thomas Derbyshire in Paris. He retained one relic of his Protestantism, an aversion to holy water. One morning however, on his way to Mass, having a violent pain in his thumb, he plunged it into the Holy Water font, and was instantly cured.

In 1592, at Tournai, he entered the Society, and he came to Ireland with Fr James Archer in 1597. Most of his work was carried on in the Pale. He displayed a fearlessness in the face of Protestants in Dublin, which in the opinion of his Superior, almost amounted to recklessness. For example, he set up a chapel in the house of a nobleman, and had High Mass celebrated with a full orchestra, composed of harps, lutes and all kinds of instruments, except the organ. The like had never been seen in Dublin for years, and hundreds flocked to the ceremony. Most important of all he founded the Sodality of Our Lady, the first in Ireland.

Arrest followed in 1599 and he was lodged in Dublin Castle. But “stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage” was certainly true of him. He held conferences in prison with the leading Protestant divines, Challenor, Ussher and Dean Rider. On the naccession of James I, he was released and banished to Spain.

In Spain he did trojan work for the Irish Colleges from 1604-1630. In that year he returned to Ireland. In the Confederate War, he was forced to take to the Dublin hills, where he ministered to the people for a year. Finally, overcome by old age, exposure and hunger, he collapsed, and being conveyed to Kilkenny, in spite of tender care, he died on November 29th 1643.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
FITZSIMON, HENRY, was born in Dublin, in 1567,his Father was an eminent merchant. He was matriculated at Hart’s-hall, Oxford, 26th April, 1583. Nine years later, at the age of 25, he associated himself to the Society of Jesus at Douay. Under the instructions of the great Lessius, he soon was qualified for the chair of Philosophy, which he filled for several years. An ardent zeal for Religion urged him to solicit his return to his native Country; and I find that he reached Dublin late in the year 1597. Here he gave abundant evidence of commanding talents as a Preacher, of a fearless spirit and unbounded charity. Strange to say, he ventured to have a solemn High Mass, performed with great variety of musical instruments a sight that Dublin had not witnessed for Forty years before : and he also instituted a Sodality or Confraternity in honour of the B. Virgin Mary. But he was at length apprehended and detained in prison for five years, during which period, at eight different times, he was brought into Court; but was always remanded. Soon after the Accession of K. James, great interest was made for his discharge, and alter much negotiation, he was hurried as an exile on board a ship bound to Bilboa, without being allowed to take leave of his friends. Before he left the jail, he had reconciled many to the Catholic Church, and during the voyage his zeal produced the happiest effects among the crew and passengers. On the 14th of June, 1604, he landed at Bilboa. Rome, Liege, and the Low Countries admired his devotion to the labours of his Ministry : it was his pleasure and delight to visit the sick, to attend the infected, to assist prisoners and persons condemned to death; but his heart panted to re-enter the field of hardship and danger in his beloved and afflicted Country; and at last Superiors allowed him to follow his own inclinations. Like the giant he exulted to run his course : and the fruits of his industrious activity everywhere appeared in the numerous conversion of heretics, and in the strengthening of Catholics in practical religion. The Civil and Military Authorities marked him out for vengeance. In the winter of 1612, in the darkness of the night, he effected his escape from Dublin. Winding his way through sequestered woods and dells, he took up his quarters in a wretched cabin that he found in a Morass, where he was safe from those who hunted after his blood. Though exposed to the pitiless storm, and suffering every privation, this blessed Father never lost his serenity and elastic gaiety, and was always ready to administer consolation to others. But this Winter campaign broke down his constitution. Removed to a place of comparative comfort, he was treated by his brethren with the most affectionate care and charity; nature however was exhausted, and after a short illness, full of days and fuller of merits, he passed to never- ending rest, with the name of Jesus on his lips, on the 29th of November, 1643, or as another account has it, on the 1st of February, 1844. “By his death the Roman Catholics lost a pillar of their Church, being esteemed a great ornament among them, and the greatest Defender of their religion, in his time”. Wood’s Athenae. Oxon, vol. II. p. 46. This eminent writer left to posterity,
1 “A Calholic Refutation of Mr. John Rider’s claim of Antiquity”. N.B. This Rider was Dean of St. Patrick, and subsequently appointed to the See of Killala.

  1. “Reply to Mr. Rider s Postscript”.
  2. “An Answer to certain Complaintive Letters of afflicted Catholics for Religion”.
    All these were printed in a 4to. Vol. Rouen, 1608.
  3. “The Justification and Exposition of the Divine Sacrifice of the Masse, and of all Rites and Ceremonies thereto belonging”. 4to. 1611, pp. 356. I think printed at Douay.
  4. “Britannomachia Ministorum in plerisque et fidei fundamentu a Fidei Articulis dissidentium”. 4to. Douay, pp. 355.
  5. “Catalogus Sanctorum Hiberniae” Svo Liege, 1619, pp. 117.
    This was appended to the Hibernice sive Antiquioris Scotiae vindicia adversus Thomam Dempsterum, an 8vo. printed at Antwerp, 1621. Its author adopted the initials G. F.

Fleming, Richard, 1542-1590, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1314
  • Person
  • 1542-26 August 1590

Born: 1542, County Westmeath
Entered: 1561, Louvain, Belgium - Franciae Province (FRA)
First Vows: 24 June 1563, Louvain, Belgium
Ordained: 16 December 1569
Professed: 14 June 1576, received by Peter Canisius
Died: 26 August 1590, Pont-à-Mousson, France - Franciae Province (FRA)

1565-1566 Theology in Roman College and German College. Master of Arts
1567 CAT Teaching Logic at Dillingen - sent from Rome by Fr de Borgia. Peter Canisius at Dillingen then - Fleming brought a letter to him from Borgia in Rome
1570 Licenced, Teaching Theology at school. Confessor
1572 At Ingolstadt
1576 Was Professor in France (Vatical Arch Inghilterra). Rector of Bordeaux College
1577 Sought by Fr Genat from Fr General for Pont-à-Mousson
1583 In Pont-à-Mousson teaching Theology Doctor of Philosophy and Theology. Chancellor 1584-1585
Wrote first Catalogue of Irish Saints - published by Fitzsimon
Fr General wrote to him at Bordeaux referring to him as Socius to Maldonatus

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica”
He was a man of great virtue; A Writer; First Chancellor and Professor of Theology at Pont à Mousson, also Professor at Clermont and Paris (succeeding the celebrated Maldonatus)
The Blessed Virgin revealed to him in Paris that Fr Aquaviva would be elected General of the Society (cf Fr Hogan’s Irish list). Sacchini Part V Hist. Soc. mentions this prediction at Paris in 1581, of the election of Fr Claudius Aquaviva as general of the Society. He is mentioned in the “L’Université de Pont-à-Mousson” by Fr Nicolas Abram SJ (publised by Fr Carayon SJ, Paris 1870) - “He was of a noble Irish family and of noble and religious bearing”; Probably the “Richard” mentioned in Shirley’s letters; Stanihurst in “Description of Ireland” 1586 says “..of him I hear agreat report, to be an absolute Divine and Professor thereof”. His name stands first in the list taken from the original in Vol II Anglia Hist. in ARSI. He appeared to Fr Derbyshire after his death.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Richard Fleming 1540-1592
Our most eminent and honoured Theologian of the early years of the Penal times was Fr Richard Fleming. Born in 1540, in what was afterwards known as Westmeath, he came from the family of the Lords of Slane, a family which later have an Archbishop to the See of Dublin. Richard entered rthe Society in 1561, the year the first Irish Jesuit, Fr David Wolfe, landed at Cork.

He became the first Chancellor of the University founded at Pont-à-Mousson by the Cardinal of Lorraine in 1573. Two years later he was called upon to fill the chaor of Theology at the College of Clermont, Paris, vacated by the celebrated Maldonatus. This eminent post he held for nine or ten years, professing with ever increasing success amid the full blaze of Parisian party spirit.

He retired to Pont-à-Mousson wher he died on August 25th 1590. Before his death he had a vision of Our Lady, in which he was lefd into the General Congregation then in session in Rome, and heard Our Lady say to the Electors “Choose Claudio Acquaviva as General”.

Grene, Martin, 1617-1667, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1388
  • Person
  • 1617-02 October 1667

Born: 1617, County Kilkenny
Entered: 1638, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: c 1646, Pont á Mousson, France
Final Vows: 23 November 1654, London
Died: 02 October 1667, Watten, Belgiumm - Angliae Province (ANG)

Novice Master Angliae Province (ANG)

1645-1646 In 4th year Theology at Pont á Mousson, not yet a priest
1646-1647 A Priest. Prefect of Philosophers at Rheims
1648-1649 Not in CAMP Catalogue
Is Called “Hibernus” in ANG Catalogue 1639

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of George and Jane née Tempest - who had retired to Kilkenny from their native land (England?) due to persecution. Older brother of Christopher.
1655 Serving on the English Mission at St Mary’s, Oxford district
Appointed Novice Master and Rector at Watten and he died there 02 October 1667
He rendered good service in collecting materials to assist Fr Bartoli in history of the English Province
(cf his biography and literary works in “Records SJ” Vol iii pp 493 seq, where two letters from him to his brother are printed.; de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ” for his literary works)
(cf note by Fr Morris inserted in Foley’s Collectanea and Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS regarding a relic of the “Crown of Thorns” and it’s connection with Martin Grene)

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
GRENE, MARTIN (for so he spells his surname). How he should have been passed over by Dodd is surprising. According to F. N. Southwell, p. 586. Bibliotheca, &c., and Harris, p. 158. writers of Ireland, this learned Father was born of English parents in the Kingdom of Ireland : but we prefer the authority of the Provincial’s returns of 1642 and 1655 expressly vouching for his being a native of Kent. He was, however, born in 1616 : after studying Humanities in St. Omer’s College, he was aggregated to the Society in 1638, and whilst serving the English Mission, was promoted very deservedly to the rank of a Professed Father, 3rd of December, 1654. During the twelve years that he cultivated this vineyard, he endeared himself to his spiritual children and acquaintance by his discreet zeal, unaffected piety, and varied talent and erudition. Recalled to Watten to take charge of the Novices, he shone like a pillar of light before them by his experience in a spiritual life, intimate practical knowledge of the Institute of their Holy Founder, extraordinary sweetness and affability of temper, and his superior literary attainments. His lamented death took place at Watten, on 2nd of October, (not 30th of September, as Harris translates the Postridie Cal Octobris of p. 586. of F. Nath. Southwell’s Biblioth.) 1667. aet. 51, leaving behind him the reputation of an eminent Classic, Historian, Philosopher, and Divine. We have from his pen,

  1. “An account of the Jesuites Life and Doctrine”," a small 8vo. of 149 pp. Printed in London, 1661. This admirable book was a great favorite with James II. In a letter of F. James Forbes, Superior of his brethren in Scotland, addressed on the 10th of April, 1680, to the General, John Paul Oliva, I read as follows, “Cum obtulisscm Serenissimo Duci Eboracensi libellum ad obiter tantum legendum, qui jam a multis annis a quodam Patre Green, Anglico idiomatc fuerat scriptus, in quo egregie Instituti nostri, Vitae et Doctrinae rationem reddit, ejus lectione adeo Princeps ejusque Conjux tenebantur, ut voluerint mihi, unicum quod habcbam, exemplar reddere, asserentes, se velle curare, ut tam praeclarum opusculum, et hisce praesertim temporibus adeo necessarium, typis iterant mandctur”. We hope to see a new edition of this valuable work.
  2. “An Answer to the Provincial Letters” A translation from the French, but with considerable improvements of his own, and with a brief history of Jansenism prefixed.
  3. “Vox veritatis, seu Via Regia ducens ad veram Pacem”. His brother I think, Francis Green, translated this Latin Treatise into English, and printed it at Ghent in 24mo., A.D. 1676. He had also a volume of his Church History of England ready for the Press, when death arrested the progress of his labours.
    To his well stored mind F. Dan. Bartolis in his “Inghilterra”. (Folio, Rome, 1667) was indebted for information on English Catholic affairs.

Two or three Letters of the Rev. Father to his brother Christopher are now before me.
The 1st is dated 18th of September, 1664. He expresses great anxiety for F. Bartoli’s prosecuting his intended English Ecclesiastical History, and his own readiness to assist “in so pious a design”. In answer to certain Queries, he says “I have the book De non adeundis Haereticorum Ecclcsiis”. It is certainly F. Persons work, and so it is esteemed by all here. It was printed in 1607, and though it have not F Persons name in the front, yet in p. 35, after having delivered his opinion that it is not lawful, he subscribes thus; Ita Sentio, R.P. : and then, in the following page, gives the opinion of Baronius, Bellarmine, and eight other principal Divines, then at Rome, signed by every one.
In the next place, he urges the expediency of consulting and reading the Protestant historians of this country, in order to elicit from the conflicting parties, the precise truth, and to expose error, adding “but that which I conceive most necessary for one who will write our Ecclesiastical History, is the Acts of Parliament, which make the Protestant Creed. They must be exactly looked into by one who will know the state of our Church affairs. For the later Parliaments do change the former. The main point of the Act of 1st of Elizabeth, by which the Queen had power given her to punish all that she should think fit, by any free born subject, to whom she should delegate her power; upon which clause the High Commission Court, and the oath ex- officio were founded : this main clause was repealed by Charles I. and the repeal confirmed lately by Charles II. As also the form of creating Bishops was lately changed by this king : and some other things in the Liturgy have been changed. So that without seeing the last Acts of Parliament, no man can tell what the religion of England is. -And since your departing hence, the Supremacy hath been strangely handled in the Lords House, and power denied the king to dispense in the Ecclesiastical Penal Laws, which, notwithstanding, all his predecessors since Henry the Eighth, practised”.
In the second letter dated Sherborne, 9th of October, 1661, he repeats his willingness to afford his utmost assistance to F. Bartoli : and he says, “There be many very fine things that might be said in that History; but I fear it will be hard to get them together. For it hath formerly been so dangerous in England to keep any writings of that kind, that the greater part is lost, and no memory remains of many gallant actions, save only in the verbal relations of some of our old men”.
In the 3d letter dated 1st of January, 1665, he tells his brother, that he had now returned home about eight days since, from London that to save him trouble, had written in Latin what had occurred to him on the question of going to the Protestant Church, “that if you think it worth seeing, you may shew it to F. Bartoli. For the relation concerning F. Garnet s trial, I have it; but it being very long, I cannot send it in a letter, and yet know not how otherwise to send it. So that I am thinking to compare it with what is in F. More’s book (which now I have) and to write only that which the manuscript doth add, if it add anything considerable. I had once occasion to inform myself of that history, and I found none better than the two books of Eudaemon Johannes, the one “Ad actionem Edonardi Coqui Apologia pro P. Henrico Garnctto”, the other, “Parallelus Torti ac Tortoris”. Though the things be there spread and scattered, yet they are (if collected) very pertinent to clear F. Garnet and ours. For example, among other things this is one; that the Traitors had, amongst themselves, made an oath, that they would never speak of their design to any Priests, because they knew they would not allow of it ; also, that they were specially offended with the Jesuits, for their preaching patience and submission. There are divers other circumstances which manifestly excuse ours. I had a relation made me by one of ours, who had it in Seville, which clearly shows that the whole Plot was of Cecil’s making; but it being only told by an old man, who forgot both times and persons, I believe I shall never make use of it. Yet I have heard strange things, which if ever I can make out, will be very pertinent. For certain, the late Bishop of Armagh (Usher) was divers times heard to say, that if Papists knew what he knew, the blame of the Gunpowder Treason would not lie on them”, and other things I have heard, which if I can find grounded, I hope to make good use of. It may be, if you write to Seville to my brother Frank, he will, or somebody else there, give you some light in this business.

Holywood, Christopher, 1562-1626, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1459
  • Person
  • 1562-04 September 1626

Born: 1562, Artane,Dublin
Entered: 1584, Verdun, France - Campaniae province (CAMP)
Ordained: 1593 Pont-á-Mousson, France
Final Vows: 04/10/1598, Padua, Italy
Died: 04 September 1626, Dublin

Alias Bushlock
Superior Irish Mission 16 March 1604-04 September 1626

Studied Humanities at Paris and Ent June or January 1584
1584-1590 At Pont-á-Mousson (CAMP) Studying Metaphysics, Philosophy
1590 Studying Theology at Pont-á-Mousson
1593 Not in Campaniae Catalogue but at Dôle College
1596 Teaching Moral Theology at Venice College (Paul Valle and Anthony Maria Venù were teaching Scholastic Theology)
1597 At Padua College teaching Theology
1617 CAT Superior of Irish Mission, with 37 members in Ireland, 28 in Spain, 9 in Portugal, 7 in Belgium, 2 in Bavaria, 2 in Austria, 2 in Italy, 1 each in France, Mexico and Paraguay. 25 October 1617 proclamation against anyone harbouring Jesuits (1622 Catalogue)
He knew Bellarmine at Ferrara and Padua

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Professor of Philosophy at Theology at Padua; Prisoner in Tower of London, Wisbech Castle and Framlingham Castle; Superior of Irish Mission for 23 years; Writer on Controversy and Physical Science; Especially denounced by James I;
Alias : Sacrobosco; Jo. Bus; Thomas Laundry (not the only one who took the alias “Bosco” - John Halifax of Yorkshire author of De Sphoera Mundi” in 13th century was also called “de Sacro Bosco)
He was heir to Artane Castle
He was appointed Superior of the Irish Mission, he travelled from Dieppe, January 1599, disguised as a merchant, was seized at Dover, carried to London and strictly examined by Lord Cobham and Secretary Cecil. First at Gatehouse Prison, Westminster then on the accession of James I moved to Framlingham Castle, and then deported 1603. He eventually reached Ireland from St Malo 1604.
(For his literary productions cf Southwell’s “Biblio Script SJ”, and De Backer’s “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ:
Son of Nicholas, Lord of Artane
After First Vows he was sent for studies to Pont-à-Mousson where he was Ordained 1692/3
1593-1958 Taught Theology successively at Dôle and Padua
1598 Appointed Superior of Irish Mission 26/09/1598 which had been undertaken by the Society at the request of Pope Clement VIII
1599 Set out for Ireland but was arrested on his journey at Dover, England, and imprisoned for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy
1603 He was released from prison May 1603, but only to be deported
1604-1626 Arrived in Ireland 16/03/1604. For the next twenty-two years he organised the mission with such success that the number of Jesuits in Ireland increased from seven to forty-four while Residences were established in ten cities and towns. His influence with Catholics was so great that the Protestants called “Teacher of the Papists of Ireland”. He died in Office 04 September 1626, leaving behind a great reputation for holiness, prudence and love of the poor
He published two controversial works and a treatise on meteorology.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Holywood, Christopher
by Judy Barry

Holywood, Christopher (1559–1626), Jesuit priest, was son of Nicholas Holywood of Artane castle, Dublin, lord of manors in Co. Dublin, Co. Meath, and Co. Wexford. His mother was a niece of Christopher Nugent, Baron Delvin. He was educated at the University of Padua and entered the Society of Jesus at Verdun (1584). He was subsequently professor of divinity and philosophy at Dole and Pont-à-Mousson, and of scripture at Padua. He was ordained a priest in 1593 and took his final vows in 1597.

In 1598, when a third Jesuit mission was sent to Ireland at the request of Pope Clement VIII, Holywood was appointed superior. He sailed for England disguised as a merchant, but was arrested at Dover. On refusing to swear the oath of supremacy, he was taken to London and examined by the secretary of state, Sir Robert Cecil, who told him that he would not suffer for his religion so long as he did not meddle in political matters. However, when Holywood persisted in defending his order, Cecil had him imprisoned at Wisbech castle and later at Framlingham castle, Suffolk, where he devoted his time to scholarly work. He was released in May 1603 and banished to the Continent, where he completed two books for publication in the following year: Defensio decreti Tridentini et sententiae Roberti Bellarmini, S.R.E. cardinalis, de authoritate Vulgatae editionis Latinae (‘Defence of the decree of the council of Trent and of the opinion of Cardinal Bellarmine concerning the authority of the Latin Vulgate’) and De investiganda vera ac visibili Christi ecclesia libellus (‘A treatise on the true and visible church of Christ’).

He arrived in Dublin (16 March 1604) to take up his original appointment and was sheltered by Sir Christopher Plunkett (qv). The mission under his direction numbered six Jesuits and was at first centred on Dublin and the Pale. This was partly because he and his companions came mainly from gentry families in the city and county of Dublin and did not speak Irish, and partly because of a new government policy insisting on the declared loyalty of the patrician leaders of the city. Up to this point the evidence of open catholic practice had not been regarded as sufficient reason to doubt the political loyalty of the municipality, and indeed the Dublin merchants had been active in raising money in support of the war against O'Neill. In 1600 Patrick Plunkett, Baron Dunsany, had written to Robert Cecil advising that Holywood be released, since the priests in the English Pale were ‘firm in dutiful allegiance’ and quite different from ‘Tyrone's priests’.

Under Sir Arthur Chichester (qv), however, anxiety about security led the government to demand that leaders of the civic community take the oath of supremacy and attend protestant service on Sundays and holydays. Those aldermen who refused were imprisoned and proceedings were taken against them in the court of castle chamber. Holywood and his fellow Jesuits were active in encouraging a defiant attitude among the catholic patriciate, and assisted in preparing the defence of those who were brought to court. Their affirmation that they could give political allegiance to James I, but could not acknowledge that he had jurisdiction over spiritual matters, formed the basis of the campaign for legal redress led by Patrick Barnewall (qv).

Although the Jesuits were few at first, their familiarity with Dublin city and county, and the tightly knit network of blood and matrimonial ties to which they had access, ensured them protection and hospitality, and their letters indicate the range of pastoral services to which they attended. As the mission expanded, it extended its operations. In 1610 Holywood organised a system of separate ‘residences’, each responsible for a particular area and each with a spiritual father. By 1619 he had established these in Dublin, east Munster, west Munster, and Connacht. Expansion prompted greater discretion and Holywood successfully opposed the return of James Archer (qv) and Henry Fitzsimon (qv) to the Irish mission. In 1617 and 1619 he received papal permission to set up sodalities, including those with female members, in Carrick, Cashel, Clonmel, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford. A sodality introduced to Drogheda without papal authorisation (1619) led to a protracted conflict with the Franciscans and Dominicans, in the course of which Holywood disregarded instructions from the Jesuit general in Rome that were designed to bring the dispute to an end.

Although he often expressed a desire to retire, he died in office on 4 September 1626. By that time there were 43 Jesuits in Ireland and many more Irish Jesuits abroad. In 1619 Holywood had published a new edition of De investiganda and written an unpublished treatise ‘Opusculum de virtutibus’ (‘Little work on the virtues’). Shortly before his death he wrote another book, which the Jesuit censors rejected. Until 1618 he used the pseudonym ‘John Bus’ (or ‘Bushlocks’): later, he called himself ‘Thomas Lawndrie’. Occasionally, he used the Latin equivalent of his name, ‘a sacro bosco’.

CSPI, 1599–25; DNB; Edmund Hogan, SJ, Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894), 393–499; James Corboy, SJ, ‘Father Christopher Holywood, S.J., 1559–1626’, Studies, xxxiii (1944), 541–9; Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin, SJ, The Jesuit missions to Ireland in the sixteenth century (c.1970; privately published), 76; John Kingston, ‘The Holywoods of Artane’, Reportorium Novum, i (1956), 342–3; Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, ‘The Jesuit mission in Ireland’ (Ph.D. thesis, The Catholic University of America, 1982); Colm Lennon, The lords of Dublin in the age of reformation (1989), 174–85, 209–12

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926
On the 4th September the Irish Province will celebrate the tercentenary of the death of one of its most distinguished members.
Fr Christopher Holywood entered the Society in 1582, and in course of time became Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Padua,
On his arrival in England he was arrested and kept in prison until I 603, when he was exiled, and ordered not to return, However, the following year he succeeded in reaching Ireland.
Two other Missions of Jesuits had been sent to Ireland by the Popes: the first comprised Frs. Salmeron and Brouet, 1541 ; the second under Fr David Wolfe, 1560.
The first lasted a very brief time; the second held on until 1986. Some of the members were exiled ; others were martyred or died in prison. When Fr. Holywood arrived he found just five Jesuits in the country. His first care was to provide for the future by having candidates for the Irish Mission accepted in Spain, Italy, and other Provinces. The effects of his work ih this respect are traceable for more than half a century, The Irish Catalogue, 1910, gives the state of our Province in I609: (Holywood became Superior in 1604), 18 priests in Ireland, 20 priests, 82 scholastics, and I brother scattered through Europe, I priest *in Paraguay. He remained Superior to the end of his life. When he died the Irish Mission had been thoroughly organized. There were 42 Jesuits in the country, with reserves in various places in Europe. There were residences in Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Clonmel, Cashel, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and in Ulster. Fr. Holywood had permanently established the Society in Ireland. To him, too, must be given the credit of keeping the faith alive amongst the Anglo-Irish Catholics.
All this great work was carried on in the midst of constant danger. He tells the story himself in a letter written in 1617. “Our brethren” he writes, “are so hotly pursued that, in order to keep at large and perform the functions or their ministry, they have to travel by out of-the-way paths, and pass over walls and hedges, and through woods, and even to sleep on straw, in cornfields and old ruins at which times they always sleep in their clothes in order to be ready to escape”
However, God abundantly blessed their strenuous work. Fr. Holywood again writes in 1622 : “Your Paternity has every reason to thank God for the great success of the Irish Mission SJ, the fragrance of which is the fragrance of a full field which the Lord hath blessed. People never cease admiring and extolling the charity and humility of our Fathers, who shrink from no labour or trouble in working for the salvation of Souls.”
Fr. Holywood is the author of two theological works, and a Latin treatise, De Metearis. The man, whom we may fairly call the founder of the Irish Province, died in Dublin, his native city, the 4th September 1626.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
Christopher Holywood (1598-1626)

Christopher Holywood, son of Nicholas Holywood, lord of Artane, was born in 1562, and entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Verdun, in France, in the month of June, 1584. Having completed his studies at the University of Pont-à-Mousson, he lectured on theology at Dôle in France, and at Padua and Milan in Italy, On 26th September, 1598, he was appointed Superior of the Mission to Ireland undertaken by the Society at the request of Pope Clement VIII. Having made his solemn profession of four vows at Padua on 4th October, 1598, he set out on his journey, but was arrested on landing at Dover in January, 1599, and imprisoned for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. Released and banished in May, 1603, he made his way back to Ireland, arriving there on 16th March, 1604. During the next twenty-two years he organised the Mission with such success that the number of Irish Jesuits increased from seven to forty-four, and Residences were established in ten towns : Dublin, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Cashel, Cork, Limerick, and Galway. His influence with Catholics was so great that the heretics called him the Teacher of the Papists of Ireland. He published two controversial works and a treatise on meteorology, He died on 4th September, 1626, leaving behind him a great reputation for holiness, prudence, and love of the poor

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

FATHER CHRISTOPHER HOLYWOOD SJ 1559-1626
Fr Christopher Holywood was the first Superior of the first permanent mission of the Society of Jesus in Ireland. In previous articles I have sketched the lives of Fr Henry Fitzsimon and Fr James Archer. These two pioneer Jesuit missionaries were eminent men of their day in Ireland, It was they who established the mission which was ruled and organised for twenty-three years by Fr Holywood, the subject of the present biography. The task of preparing the way for an organised mission had been a long one. It was not set up, finally, until the last years of the sixteenth century. Before giving an account of Fr Holywood's life, it is opportune to review briefly the activities of the Irish Jesuits from their arrival in Ireland until that time.

The first mission to arrive in Ireland and actually the first Jesuit mission outside the continent of Europe was that of Frs Alphonsus Salmeron and Paschase Brouet. They were the Pope's nuncios apostolic. Three Irish princes - Conn O'Neill, of Tryone, Manus O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, Morogh O'Brien of Thomond - had begged Paul III to send envoys to Ireland. They arrived in this country on the 23 February 1542. Their work was carried out under the greatest difficulties. The Irish Chieftains who had already surrendered, in word at least, to Henry VIII were afraid that the presence of Papal Legates might compronise their position in the eyes of the king, During their short stay of thirty-four days the two Jesuits succeeded in visiting many of these chieftains. Thus on their return to Rome they were able to give a first-hand account of the state of affairs in Ireland. Possibly, too, they helped to bind the people in greater union with Rome, a union which later became so outstanding a characteristic of the Irish Catholics.

The next Jesuit mission was not inaugurated until 1561, some sixteen years later. Laynez, General of the Society of Jesus, was requested by the Pope to send a holy and prudent man to Ireland to confirm the people, both cleric and lay, in obedience to the Holy See, Fr David Wolfe, a Limerick man, was chosen; for not only did he possess the stipulated qualifications of prudence and sanctity of life, but he was also an experienced missionary. On the 20 January 1561 Wolfe landed at Cork, Having declined the episcopal honour offered by the Pope, he was appointed Apostolic Commissary and was given the fullest faculties, including power to open schools, reform monasteries and report on the dispositions of the Irish Bishops.

Fr Wolfe seems to have made a very favourable impression on the Irish. Barefoot, the people travelled miles to meet him and made their confessions, and it is recorded that they returned to their homes filled with a great esteem for the Church of Christ and the Holy See. In a few months he rectified over a thousand marriages which had not been validly contracted. With the help of two other Jesuits, Fr William Good, an Englishman, and Edmond O'Donnell, an Irishman, he opened a small school at Limerick, which owing to the persecution then rife had shortly to be transferred to Kilmallock, later to Clonmel and finally to Youghal, where it continued to exist for about fifteen years. After its suppression, the Jesuits could not dare to make any other foundation until the reign of James I. David Wolfe was one of the most remarkable Irishmen of the century and possibly had more influence in ecclesiastical affairs in Ireland than anyone else of his time. He was arrested at least twice, but managed to escape. He died in Lisbon in 1579. His companion, Edmond O'Donnell, was captured by the English, given a mock-trial and, having been tortured several times, was condemned to death for the faith. On the 25 October 1572 he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Cork - the first of a long line of Jesuits to die for the Faith in Europe.

Dr Tanner, Bishop of Cork, writes of two other Jesuits, Frs Charles Lea and Robert Rochford, who arrived in Ireland about this time: “They are spreading the best of their institute in Youghal, where they teach school and, with great industry, train their scholars in the knowledge of the Christian doctrine, in the frequentation of the sacraments, and in the practice of solid virtue, In spite of the hardships they endure, their efforts are attended with the greatest success”. Lea was arrested soon after his arrival in Ireland, but was later released and laboured in the country until his death in 1586. Rochford, more famous than his companion, is frequently mentioned in contemporary official documents. For many years he was well known as a zealous missioner, rousing the suspicions of the English who offered a reward for his capture, dead or alive, In 1501 he had to leave Ireland and, after his escape, at least four persons were hanged for affording him shelter, Seven years later in 1588, another Irishman, a novice of the Society of Jesus named Maurice Eustace, was hanged, drawn and quartered in Dublin.

Thus almost all the Jesuit missionaries who came to Ireland in the sixteenth century was either executed or banished from the country, From 1586 to 1596 there was no Jesuit in Ireland; but several attempts were made by Irish bishops and Princes to induce the Pope or the General of the Society of Jesus to send Irish Jesuit Fathers to Ireland. This would not have happened had not the names of their predecessors been held in high veneration among the Irish. Perhaps one might wonder why the Irish Jesuit mission was not opened again until so late at 1596? Why did Fr Aquaviva, General of the Jesuits, hesitate so long before sending his men to Ireland?

Possibly he was influenced by the sad state of affairs in England. There he would have heard in 1595 of the martyrdom of Frs Walpole and Southwell, the imprisonment of Frs Jones and Baldwin, and the banishment of Fr Jasper Haywood. Already Frs Campion, Cottam and McMahon, an Irishman, had died on the gallows at Tyburn, and Fr Persons was in exile on the continent. The fate of the Jesuits who had come to Ireland was little better, as we have seen. No wonder then that Aquaviva hesitated. But finally, yielded to numerous appeals, he agreed to reopen the mission to Ireland.

The history of the first five Jesuits to be sent to Ireland at that time can be told briefly. Fr Henry Fitzsimon was imprisoned in Dublin Castle two years after his arrival. · A few years later, his companion Fr James Archer was forced to go into exile, barely escaping with his life, while Fr Christopher Holywood did not even reach Ireland, being captured in England and lodged in the Tower of London. In 1602 Dominic Collins, a lay-brother, was captured in Cork and hanged. Only one of these men, Fr Richard de la Field, temporary Superior in the place of Fr Holywood, was able to work in comparative peace and elude the hands of the English. It was in these circumstances that Fr Holywood undertook to establish a permanent Jesuit mission in Ireland. With what success we shall see later.

Christopher Holywood was born at Artane, near Dublin, in the year 1559, one year after Elizabeth's coronation in England, Belonging to a very old Anglo-Irish family, his father, Nicholas Holywood, was Lord of the manors of Artane, Great Holywood in Santry, and of several other estates in the counties of Dublin, Meath, and Wexford. His mother was the niece of Baron Devlin and heiress-general of the fifth Earon Dunsany.. Holywood could count as relations such prominent families as those of Dunsany, Fingal, Westmeath, Inchiquin and Netterville. This factor was of the utmost importance later, when these houses came under the influence of the reform movement.

Holywood was sent to the University of Padua when he was twenty years of age. Here he came into contact with the Jesuit Fathers of the city, and in 1584 he entered the Society of Jesus. Having made his noviceship at Dôle in France, he afterwards distinguished himself in his philosophical and theological studies. In 1593 we find him at the University of Pont-à-Mousson. The Chancellor of the University at the time was another Irishman, the renowned Fr Richard Fleming, who had succeeded the even more famous Fr Maldonatus in the chair of theology. For a short period Holywood was engaged in teaching philosophy in the University, after which he professed theology at Dôle and later at Pont-à-Mousson again. Finally he was sent to Pauda to teach Sacred Scripture. Here he took his final vows in 1597, at the same time making the acquaintance of Robert Bellarmine. In 1598 he was in Milan. On the 10 June of the same year he wrote to the General of the Jesuits asking for special faculties for the fathers who had gone to the Irish mission. Unfortunately we do not know the circumstances of Holywood's own mission to Ireland, and when we next hear of him he is a prisoner in the Tower of London.

On the 1 May 1599, writing in the third person under the pseudonym of John Bushlock, he gave an account of his journey to England and his capture. From Rome he travelled to Switzerland, then into Spires, finally to Brussels, where the Superior of the house warned him that it was dangerous for a Jesuit to travel through Holland. Leaving Brussels, he went to Arras and then to Abbeyville, where, although disguised as a merchant, he was recognised as a Jesuit. Whereupon he left hastily for Dieppe and, “finding an obscure inn, told its owner that he was an Irishman and a subject of the Queen of England. He was returning home, but feared that English on account of the war which some of the Irish were waging against the Queen”. The inn-keeper stood the test valiantly and at once gave Holywood a secret room. Unable to procure a ship for Ireland, he was compelled to board an English vessel. Very soon he was suspected of being a traitor, but the inn-keeper informed the hesitant captain that “he was a merchant and no traitor”. Taking no risks, Holywood abandoned the ship and travelled on another, whose captain was a French Huguenot. Having arrived at Dover, he was tendered the oath of supremacy and, of course, refused to take it. Instantly he was cast into prison and later placed in the Tower of London. As yet the English did not know that their captive was a priest, much less a Jesuit. After several futile attempts to secure his liberation, he was brought before Lord Cobham, to whom he made known his identity. He declared that he was returning to Ireland solely for the salvation of souls, To Cecil he gave the same information, but only succeeded in rousing his anger - for, according to Holywood, Cecil feared and hated the Jesuits. He issued an order that the priest be placed in close custody.

After some time Holywood was offered his release, if he would take an oath to persuade the Irish that it was unlawful to resist the royal power in Ireland, He refused the offer and was transferred from the Gatehouse prison to Wisbeck Castle. The Superior of the English mission, Fr Henry Garnet, who in a few years was to die a martyr for the faith, reported in May 1600 that Holywood helped to comfort the other Jesuits at Wisbeck and edified all while he was in the Gatehouse. Like his comrade, Fr Fitzsimon, who at this time was closely confined in Dublin, he must occasionally have endured the greatest privations, for we know that the prisoners were not even provided with beds to sleep on. Like Fitzsimon, too, while a prisoner, he held many disputations with the Protestant ministers.

On the death of Elizabeth in April, 1603, Holywood was removed from Wisbeck to Framlington prison in Suffolk. Very soon after this time - the date is uncertain - he was sent into perpetual banishment. He proceeded to Belgium, whence he wrote to his General begging either to be permitted to return to Ireland or to be sent back to his own province at Dôle. The General granted the former request, and on the 16 March 1604. Holywood landed in Ireland. He was again appointed Superior of the mission, and for the next twenty-three years filled that office with remarkable success. The uncertainty of the times did not favour the fostering of a new mission; but, thanks to the prudence and courage of Fr Holywood, rapid strides were made and successful reports poured in from every side. Holywood himself was in constant danger of capture and had to change his abode frequently. Writing to the General of the Jesuits, he says: “I have not been able to write since Easter, as I was obliged to go to remote parts, in order to keep clear of the more than usually troublesome presence of our adversaries. In this retreat I devoted myself to help a very extensive diocese, and I did so at the invitation of its ruler. With our assistance he has set his province in very good order and has given regulations adapted to the tines”. In a letter written about the same time, Fr Wise, a Jesuit living in Waterford, says: “Our pilor, Sacrobosco (Holywood), was fiercely pursued, but escaped; he is accustomed to these storms ...”

All through the first half of the reign of James I. the Irish priests and especially the Jesuits were continually harassed by the government. Thus it was almost impossible for Holywood to set up an organised mission of even the most flexible nature. He had not yet founded a single fixed abode for his men. For almost twenty years after the arrival of Fr Archer in 1596, the Jesuits lived in private houses, or stayed with a bishop or priest in the remote part of the country, and were of course, always disguised as laymen. In spite of these hardships I think it is not untrue to say that their success in Ireland was hardly excelled by that of even the most famous Jesuit missions of the day. For all that they are scarcely mentioned in the ordinary school text-books, and in the histories of the counter-reformation they find no place.

The story of the Irish Jesuit mission between 1604 and 1626, that is during Holywood's period of leadership, is one of intermittent persecution and of constant insecurity. Externally the mission had no organisation. It is true that the letters of the times frequently make reference to residences; but the name if residence was loosely applied to a large district in which a number of Jesuits worked under one superior, but did not necessarily live in the same or in any fixed abode. Thus the residence of Galway comprised all the Jesuits who were working in Connaught, living from hand to mouth in private houses, but under the supervision of the same superior who usually resided in Galway. The Irish Jesuits did not establish their first college in the modern sense until 1619 at Kilkenny - and they had no noviceship for almost another thirty years.

Internally, however, the mission was remarkably well organised, and to this factor more than anything else its success can be attributed. All the year round, the Jesuits travelled through the country ministering and preaching to the people, hurrying from place to place as their identity and place of residence became known to the authorities - at one time preaching in the open air to a group. of. poverty-stricken people, at another uniting chieftains and their ladies: who were at daggers drawn, encouraging all alike to remain steadfast in the practice of their Faith. Everywhere they went the people received them with a never failing welcome. Often they made their confessions on the roadside as the Jesuits passed through the district. Not once do we hear of a betrayal or an act or disloyalty, at a time when treachery meant money and fidelity meant hardship and penury.

In 1619, Fr Holywood wrote a long letter to his General describing the missionary activities of his men. By this time he had established residences in Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Cashel, Clonmel, Cork, Limerick, and one house in Connaught. The first school of the mission was founded in Kilkenny in 1619, After speaking of the work of the Jesuits in the country, he goes on to say: “There are so few priests in the Kingdom that one priest has often charge of four or five parishes. To help them, our fathers go from village to village by day and by night, according to the necessities of the faithful, hearing confessions, giving communion, baptizing, attending the dying, preaching, teaching the catechism, and promoting the interests of peace”. Down in Cork and Kerry we hear of a “successful mission, which they reached by difficult ways, through robbers and Protestant foes, over bogs and mountains, often being without food or drink or a bed. They approached in disguise, converted, and prepared for death nearly all the forty seven pirates captured on the southern coast ...” Fr Galway, a Cork Jesuit, visited the islands. north of Scotland and ministered to the faithful there, many of whom had not seen a preist for years. In the north of Ireland, Fr Robert Nugent gave a running mission over a sixty-mile area. These few examples are typical of the work that was being done all over the country. At this time there were about forty Jesuits in Ireland and all were engaged in active missionary work.

Before I conclude this short sketch of the life of Fr Holywood, I shall refer briefly to his literary work; for besides being an outstanding organiser, he was also an author of no small merit. After his release fron prison in 1603 he went to the continent and in the following year published at Brussels two works entitled “Defenso Concilii Tridentini et sententiae Bellarmini de actoritate Vulgatae Editionis” (a book of four hundred and sixteen pages), and “Libellus de investiganda vera et visibili Christi Ecclesia”, a much smaller treatise. It is interesting to note that James Ussher, in theological lectures which he delivered in Dublin in 1609, quoted Holywood's “Defensio Concilii Tridentini” thirty times. His second work he wrote while in prison in England to help the Protestant ministers and learned men who came to him for advice. In 1604 also he wrote another work entitled “Magna supplicia a persecutionibus aliquot Catholicorum in Hibernia sumpta”, which remained unpublished until Fr Edmund Hogan edited it in the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” of 1873. In it he gives an account of the fate that befell many of the religious persecutors in Ireland between the years 1577 and 1604, and ends with a eulogy of the Irish Catholics who, despite every persecution, could not be induced to give up the Faith. After his return to Ireland in 1601, Holywood had no further opportunity for literary work.

In February 1622, Holywood was reported to be in bad health and unable to write. Two years later he founded the first Jesuit residence in the north of Ireland. When next we hear of him in 1626, he is still Superior of the mission; but, worn out by the labours and hardships of twenty-three years of missionary activity, he died at the end of the year. It was to his prudence and zeal, in a time fraught with the greatest difficulties, that the General Fr Vitelleschi attributed the success of the mission. On his arrival in Ireland there were only five Jesuits in the country; at his death they numbered forty-two and had nine residences. Until late in the second decade of the seventeenth century, the Jesuits were usually attached to the houses of the gentry, whence they made frequent incursions into the country to give missions and administer the sacraments, After that, through the enterprise of Fr Holywood, they obtained residences of their own, some of which had a community
to eight members, while none had less than three. Thus during his period of office as Superior, the Irish Jesuit mission was stabilised and, became a province of the Order in every respect save in name.

James Corboy SJ

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Christopher Holywood 1562-1626
Christopher Holywood was born in 1562 at Artane Castle, which may still be seen in the grounds of Artane Industrial School. He entered the Society at Verdun in France in 1584.

He is the founder of the Irish Province of the Society as we know it today. He was a brilliant Professor, occupying chairs at Pont-á-Mousson, Dôle and Padua. He was personally acquainted with St Robert Bellarmine, whom he defended against his enemies in a book he published entitled “Defensio Decreti Tridentini”.

In 1596 he was chosen to head the Mission to Ireland, but was captured en route and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Ultimately he was released on the accession of James I of England. He took up duty in Ireland in 1604.

For 22 years he organised the Mission with such success, that on his death on 4th September 1626, he left 42 Jesuits where he found seven, and established Residences in ten towns, one of these in the North.

In his voluminous correspondence, he was force to use many soubriquets, Thomas Lawndrie, Jophn Bushlock, John Bus Jobus, but his favourite one was John de Sacro Bosco, the name of an ancestor, who was a famous mathematician and lectured in Oxford and Paris in the 13th century.

He published two controversial works and a treatise on Meteorology.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
HOLIWOOD, CHRISTOPHER, (often called a Sacro Bosco*) was born in Dublin, in the year 1562. At the age of 22, as it appears by one of his letters, he embraced the Institute of St. Ignatius, at Dol, in France, and in the sequel distinguished himself as a Professor of Philosophy and Divinity at Padua. Ordered to Ireland to preside over his brethren, he took shipping as a merchant in January, 1599, at Dieppe, but was apprehended on reaching Dover, and committed to prison for refusing the Oath of Supremacy. Escorted to London he underwent an examination by Lord Cobham, Governor of the Cinque Ports, and was then forwarded to Secretary Sir Robert Cecyll. The Father told Sir Robert at once, that he was a Priest and a Member of the Society of Jesus. (He was induced to do so, as he was aware many persons then in the kingdom were well acquainted with him at Padua.) The Secretary inquired the motives of his coming hither. He answered for the Salvation of souls. But what need have we of your assistance? said the Secretary. Are not we Christians? That is not at all sufficient, said the Father, unless you be Catholics. Well, replied the Secretary, as no one can help your believing what you think right, until God enlightens your mind, you shall not suffer anything for your Faith; but if you are found guilty of meddling with changes and state affairs, 1 promise you, you shall not escape with impunity. The Father rejoined. Long since I have renounced the world : I no longer mix myself up with secular concerns, and I am unable to do so : for they are foreign to my Institute. The Secretary then began to inveigh against the Society of Jesus, on which the Father boldly undertook its defence, and plainly told him, that the Society proposed nothing to its members which was not praiseworthy; on which the Secretary ordered him to be removed, and kept in close custody in which state he continued for three months, until his relation, Lord Dunsany obtained for him the liberty of the prison, which consists in this, that he is not denied the liberty of receiving his friends. The above particulars I collect from a letter, dated Dublin, 11th of May, 1599.
F. Henry Garnett, in a letter of the 19th of April, 1599, announces the apprehension of F. Holiwood as a recent event : and in his letter of the 22nd of May, 1600, says of him, “he doth much comfort our friends at Wisbich, and was of exceeding edification in the Gatehouse. There is hope of getting him at liberty, and sending him into his Country”. Change of prison, however, was the only relief that this Irish Father could procure, while the tyrannical Elizabeth swayed the sceptre : his friends at length obtained his removal to Framlingham Castle, which he quitted for perpetual banishment, in virtue of the Proclamation of James I. at his accession to the throne of England. I find the Father writing from Lisle, 30th of June, 1603, and from Douay, 16th, of July, 1603. In the last dated letter, he states, that a short time before the queen’s death, the Catholics in Dublin had experienced the storm of persecution. The instigators were Terrell, the Mayor of the City, and Rider, the dean of St. Patrick s, and polemical antagonist of F. Henry Fitzsimon. Many Catholics quitted the town, and the leading citizens were committed to gaol. Baron Mountjoy was then absent in Connaught; at his return the citizens presented a memorial of their grievances. Turning to the Mayor, his Excellency said, “I am putting an end to warfare abroad, and you, Sir, are sowing the seeds of wars at Home”. It was thought that his Excellency had received information of the Queen’s dangerous illness, with instruction to pacify and conciliate the public mind. The letter adds, that on the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death reaching Ireland, in the cities of Waterford, Kilkenny, and Cork, and in various ether places the churches were seized on and restored to Catholic worship. Lord Mountjoy began to apprehend lest the greater part of the island would join in the insurrection. He had come to a composition fortunately with O’Neil, and having collected all his forces from the North he hurried down to the South to arrest the progress of discontent : and having succeeded in his object, sailed from Dublin to England. F. Holiwood embarked from St. Malo, and reached Ireland the 16th March, 1604, the Eve of St. Patrick, “Omen uti spero felix”, as he expresses it. Towards the end of Lent he met FF. Nicholas Lynch, Richard Field, Walter Wale, and Barnaby Kearney, brother to the Archbishop of Cashell, and Andrew Morony. At this time the Catholics of Ireland enjoyed a certain negative freedom of their religion. But this was of short duration. As soon as James thought himself sufficiently secure on his throne, he basely recalled all his promises of toleration.* His subsequent conduct shewed how dangerous it is for the civil and religious rights of subjects to depend on the will of any man, and especially on the caprice of a drunken and voluptuous sovereign, as James unquestionably was. His Proclamamation, dated Westminster, 4th July, 1605, was published with great solemnity in Dublin, on the 28th September, in which his Majesty desires that no one should hope for his tolerating the exericse of any other worship, but that of the church established by law; he commanded all his subjects to attend the Protestant Churches on Sundays and festivals - requires all Priests to withdraw from the realm before the 10th of December; forbids any of his subjects to harbour any Priest; and renews the penal statutes of the late Queen against Popish Recusants and Popish Priests and Jesuits.
From an interesting letter of F. Holiwood, dated 10th of December, 1605, I discover, that to strike terror amongst the Catholic population of Dublin, who nobly refused to sacrifice their religion to Mammon the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council, had sent to prison on the 22nd and 27th of November, several members of the Corporation, and some of the principal citizens. A deputation of gentlemen from the Counties of Kildare, Meath, and Louth, upon this, waited on his Excellency, and petitioned for a suspension of the system of coercion, until they could be allowed to visit his Majesty s Court, and represent their case. After a delay of fifteen days, his Excellency, in the exercise of despotic power, threw some of the deputation into gaol, and ordered others to confine themselves to their houses, and neither to write to any one, nor speak to any person who was not part of the family, under the penalty of a thousand pounds English money. A large body of troops was assembled at Dublin, and detachments were drafted off for the apprehension of Priests all over the kingdom. F. Holiwood incloses the lists of some of the Prisoners :
The following are citizens of Dublin : “Mr. Walter Seagrove, John Shelton, James Beelowe, Thomas Penket, Kennedy, Stephens, Tornor, Kearroll, &c.
These and others were first commanded to go to church by proclamation; again by special commandment; last by commandment upon the duty of allegiance, under the broad seal, and therefore indicted after, in the Star Chamber, fined, and committed for contempt. Noblemen and gentlemen committed for putting in of a petition.
‘My Lord Viscount of Gormanston, My Lord of Lowth (as I heare), Sir Patrick Barnwall, close Prisoner, Sir James Dillon. John Finglass, Richard Netirvil and Henry Burnell, committed to their howses only by reason of their adge’.
But the heart is sickened with these abominable reprisals on conscience with these impious attempts of a government to force its novel opinions on a nation, and rob a people of its religious freedom. The history of the Irish Reformation is indeed a compound of absurdity and barbarity, unprecedented in the Annals of mankind.
To return to F. Holiwood. He continued in very difficult times to render essential services to his county and to religion, by his zeal, wisdom, charity and fortitude, until his pious death on the 4th of September, 1616. His pedantic and blgotted sovereign had expressly denounced him in his speech to the Parliament, 1st of May, 1614, and the Royal Commissioners reported in 1615, that “Hollywood, a Jesuit, was kept and harboured by Sir Christopher Plunkett”.

From the pen of this Father we have :

  1. “Defensio Concilii Tridentini et Sententice Bellarmini de auctoritate VuLgatae Editionis”, with an appendix.
  2. “Libellus de investiganda vera et visibili Christi Ecclesiae”. This is a 4to. volume printed at Antwerp, 1604. It was re-printed with additions at Antwerp, in an 8vo form, 1619, under the name of John Geraldini.
  3. A Latin Treatise “De Meteoris”.
  • He sometimes signs himself Johannes Bushlock
  • This hollow and rotten hearted prince had been a pensioner of the Pope, and the king of Spain. F. William Creitton, in a letter to F. Thomas Owen, dated Billom, 4th of June, 1605, says also. “Our Kyng had so great fear of ye nombre of Catholikes, ye pui-saunce of Pope and Spaine, yet he offered Libertie of Conscience and send me to Rome to deal for the Pope’s favor and making of an Scottish Cardinal, as I did shaw the Kyng s letter to F. Parsons”. In the sequel this contemptible tyrant considered a petition presented for Liberty of Conscience as an indignity, and committed the petitioners to gaol for their presumption!

LAWNDY, THOMAS, was the acting Superior of the Irish Mission in 1623,4,5, as his letters demonstrate, and appears to have had habits of business.

Meade, Robert, 1633-1704, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1737
  • Person
  • 29 September 1633-29 May 1704

Born: 29 September 1633, Kinsale, County Cork
Entered: 24 December 1654, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 1664, Pont-à-Mousson, France
Final Vows: 15 August 1681
Died: 29 May 1704, St Anthony’s College, Lisbon, Portugal - Campaniae Province (CAMP)

1656-1658 At Pont-à-Mousson studying Logic and Physics
1658-1659 At Verdun teaching Grammar - capable of teaching and doing missionary work and many other things in due time
1659-1661 At Charleville teaching Grammar
1661-1664 At Pont-à-Mousson studying Theology and Prefect of Physicists in Boarding School and Rhetoricians
1664-1665 Went to FLA-BELG
Taught 3 years in CAMP. On Irish Mission 33 years (4 months in prison). Driven into exile to Lisbon

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1671 On the Irish Mission for may years; Imprisoned for eight months and deported; Zealous Preacher; Died of old age (Franco’s “Synopsis”)
1691 Preaching in Cork and Kinsale
1694 On Parochial duty in Cork, in great poverty
1714 In reporting his death, his Superior calls him “impiger concionator” (Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Educated by the Jesuits at Tournai before Ent 24 December 1654 CAMP
1656-1658 After First Vows at Nancy he studied Philosophy at Pont-à-Mousson
1658-1661 He was then sent for Regency at Verdun and Charleville
1661-1665 He was sent to Pont-à-Mousson for Theology and he was Ordained there 1664, and then did a further year of Theology at Douai.
1665-1666 In the Summer of 1665 the General wanted him to go to the ANG Tertianship at Ghent, in order to improve his proficiency in English, and therefore be more available for the Irish Mission. There was no space at Ghent, so he made his tertianship at Lierre instead.
1666-1669 He was sent as Operarius at Cambrai
1669 Sent to Ireland and Cork where he worked for the next 30 years. His command of Irish was put to good use there, and he was an able Preacher and undaunted by the poverty and hardship of his mission. In the mass arrests and enforced exile of the regular clergy of 1697/98 he was captured, imprisoned for eight months and then put on board ship bound for Portugal. He found temporary refuge at Irish College Lisbon, but on the General's orders he was received at the College of Évora. As there was nobody there to speak with him in Irish or French, he was allowed to settle at the College of St Anthony in Lisbon, a city which then had a sizeable population of Irish refugees. He died there 29 May 1704.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
MEAD, ROBERT. The first time that I meet with him is in the Lent of 1671, when he gave Evening Instructions twice each week at Cork, and twice also at Kinsale. In a letter dated Waterford, the 25th of November, 1694, he is described as well acquainted with the Irish language, living in a very desolate part of the country, and in great poverty; but zealous and fruitfully engaged in the work of the Ministry. He died abroad, an exile for the Faith, and in advanced years, as I find by a letter written in 1714, and he is said to have been “impiger concionator”.

O'Connor, John Baptist, 1652-1706, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1895
  • Person
  • 28 June 1652-06 January 1706

Born: 28 June 1652, New Ross, County Wexford
Entered: 08 December 1674, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 1687, Arlesham (near Basel), France
Final Vows: 15 August 1694
Died: 06 January 1706, New Ross, County Wexford - Romanae Province (ROM)

1676-1678 At Épinal CAMP teaching Grammar at the Residence
1678-1680 At Pont-á-Mousson Studying Philosophy
1680-1681 Teaching Grammar at Langres CAMP
1681-1682 Teaching Grammar at Charleville CAMP
1682-1683 Teaching Humanities at Nancy
1683-1684 Teaching Grammar at Pont-á-Mousson
1684-1986 Theology at Rheims
1686-1688 Theology at Pont-á-Mousson
1690-1691 Not in CAMP Catalogue - gone to Scotia

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1693 Tertianship in Dublin
Was on Irish Mission 1669, 1674 and 1694; Skilled in Irish language (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
1676-1680 After First Vows he was sent for a year of Regency to Épinal and then to Pont-à-Mousson for Philosophy.
1680-1684 There followed four more years of Regency at Langres, Charleville, Nancy and Pont-à-Mousson.
1684-1688 Sent to Rheims for Theology and was ordained at Arlesham (? Arles ?), near Basel 1687, and then back to Pont-à-Mousson to complete his studies
1688 Sent to Ireland and New Ross and was registered as PP there 11 July 1688 - having succeeded Bishop Wadding there. He died at New Ross 06 January 1706

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
O’CONNOR , JOHN. I meet with him in Champagne,in 1686, when his services were demanded for the Irish Mission. There I find him in November, 1694, labouring diligently and fruitfully in a country Parish. His skill in the Irish language rendered his services particularly valuable to a poor population.

O'Daly, John, 1663-1738, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1888
  • Person
  • 24 August 1663-09 December 1738

Born: 24 August 1663, Aghada, County Cork
Entered: 20 May 1692, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 02 February 1703
Died: 09 December 1738, Irish College, Poitiers, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)

Finished studies before entry and was a Dr of Theology (Aghada Diocese)
1696 Teacher Grammar at Pont-á-Mousson (CAMP) fit for teaching and Mission
1700-1705 In South America
1711 In Ireland
1711-1713 At Irish College Poitiers
1714 CAT was in French Indies Mission for alomost 10 years. Taught Philosophy. Strong and now Parish Priest. Strenuous worker, loves poverty and obedience. Esteemed by all for his great sincerity. Zealous in instructing young people. Undeterred by persecution. Not great prudence or public speaker. His zeal an simplicity makes up for any deficiencies.
Fr James Dailly : Infirmus at the Irish College Poitiers 1735-38, RIP 09 December 1738

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Was DD on Ent; Professor of Philosophy in CAMP;
A “hard-working Missioner; Open-hearted and fearless of persecution, the dangers of which did not prevent him from teaching children, a work in which he showed great zeal”
1699-1709 Missioner in West Indies
1717 In Ireland

◆ Fr John MacErlean SJ :
He was already Ordained before entry
1694-1696 After First Vows he was sent to teach Humanities at Épinal and Pont-à-Mousson
1696-1698 Sent to teach Philosophy at Autun
1698-1699 He was sent teaching Theology at Ensisheim, France when he volunteered to go to the Irish exiles in West Indies, in part because it was not really possible for him to go to Ireland and work there, as Priests were being arrested and deported..
1699 Arrived in Martinque on Christmas Day accompanied by Fr James Galwey
1703-1704 On the island of Guadaloupe working with the native people and then returned to Martinique to instruct Scottish and English converts
1709-1714 Returned to France and was hooping to be sent to Ireland, and while waiting served on the Mission Staff at Irish College Poitiers.
1714-1735 At last by 1714 he was able to go to Ireland and was stationed at Cork. There he remained for almost twenty two years, and he re-established the Cork Residence, where he also set up an Oratory and a small School. Ill health forced him to retire to Poitiers where he died in 1738

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
After First Vows he taught Humanities at Épinal and Pont-à-Mousson
1696 Appointed Professor of Philosophy at Autun
1698 Sent to teach Moral Theology at Ensisheim
1699-1709 Volunteered to go to the West Indies Mission, not least because it was at the time impossible to get to Ireland, as all priests were being rounded up and deported. He arrived in Martinique on Christmas Day 1699 with James Galwey
1709 Returned to France hoping to be able to slip into the Ireland of the “Penal Laws”. While waiting to travel, he served on the Mission staff of the Irish College Poitiers.
1714-1736 Eventually he managed to get in and settle in Cork where he remained for twenty two years. He re-established the Cork Residence where he set up an oratory and a small school.
1736 He retired to Poitiers where he died 09 December 1738

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John O’Daly SJ 1663-1738
Fr John O’Daly was born in Kerry in 1663.

Having entered the Society at Nantes in 1682, while Moral Professor at Ensisheim, his offer to minister to the Irish exiles in the West Indies was accepted. He arrived at Martinique in 1703, where he looked after the Irish, and instructed English and Scotch converts.

He came back to the home Mission in 1709 and laboured in Cork until 1735. He then retired in ill health to Poitiers, where he died in 1738.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
DALY, JOHN. When in Priest’s Orders joined the Society and taught Philosophy in France, Towards the latter end of 1699, it seems he was allowed to accompany Pere Farganel to the Mission of Martinique.

O'More, Florence, 1551-1616, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1930
  • Person
  • 1551-06 August 1616

Born: 1551, Armagh, County Armagh
Entered: 26 June 1582, Brünn (Brno), Czech Republic - Austriacae Province (ASR)
Ordained: 1577, Cork - before Entered
Final vows: 29 June 1594
Died 06 August 1616, Neuhaus (Jindřichův Hradec), Bohemia (Czech Republic) - Austriacae Province (ASR)

1587 At Brünn BOH Age 26 - of middling health.
1590 Vienna CAT At Vienna hearing confessions.
1593-1600 At Turocz (Turóc, Slovakia) ASR Age 42 Soc 11. Minister twice at Brün, has taught Grammar and Syntax in different Colleges and now teaches Greek, is Confessor of College and Consultor of Rector.
1600-1603 At Vienna College Spiritual Father.
1603-1616 At Neuhaus College, Bohemia. Temporary Librarian and Prefect of Health. Confessor of students and Germans.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica”:
Friend of Primate Creagh;
Educated at Paris and Pont-à-Mousson; Minister of Neuhaus College in Germany (for 24 years confessor of the holy foundress of that College, and of Germans and foreigners)
(cf sketch of his life in “Hist. of Austrian Province AD 1616; and "Hibernia Ignatiana" 28028, 122)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ:
According to himself his baptismal name was Fersi (=Fear sithe, man of peace); The name Florece was given because the baptising priest knew no Irish. He later asked the General if he could be known as Pacficus (Latin) or Solomon (Greek.! The General suggested he use the name he was known by, so he used Florence.
Already a priest before Ent 26 June 1582 Brünn (Brno) ASR
He began life as a page or valet to Archbishop Creagh of Armagh. Having acquired some Latin he wanted to be a Priest, but was discouraged by the Archbishop, who made him promise to drop the idea. Later the Archbishop, when a prisoner, relented and Florence, with little Latin but deep piety - he made the pilgrimage to Lough Derg three times - was Ordained by the Jesuit Bishop Edmund Tanner of Cork in 1577. He then spent four years in Paris where he managed to complete two years of Philosophy under the influence of the Irish Jesuit Richard Fleming, and was received into the Novitiate at 26 June 1582 Brünn (Brno).
After First Vows in the Society, because he was already a Priest, Initially He had been sent to Olomuc, but returned after a few months he returned to Brünn (Brno) to work as an Operarius at the Church there. He was very conscious of his the gaps in his own Priestly formation, and he asked the General to be allowed to remedy this. He was given a year to himself to study cases of conscience, and though by the standards of the Society he was an un- educated priest, he showed himself a man of prudence in spiritual direction
After only five years in the Society he was made Superior of the Jesuit Church at Brünn (Brno).
He exercised his church ministry later as Operarius at Vienna, Turocz (Turiec, Slovakia) and Neuhaus (Jindřichův Hradec, Czech Republic) (1596) and it was here that he was to spend the last 20 years of his life, where he was regarded as a sound spiritual guide, especially by priests and Religious. For a time he was Minister and prefect of the Church, and he died there 04 August 1616.
He volunteered to serve on the Irish mission and Father Holywood was anxious to have him sent to Ireland because of his fluency in Irish. There was a lull in the requests on the arrest of Holywood, but he resumed his efforts after release. But his poor health and increasing deafness saw his Austrian Superiors decide to keep him in the Province,

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Florence Moore 1550-1616
Florence Moore was born in Armagh in 1550. As a boy he had such a love of corporal austerities, that he went three times on pilgrimage to St Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg, and spent nine days each time in severe penances. He was attached to the household of Fr Richard Creagh, Archbishop of Armagh, by whom he was singularly loved, and who promoted his studies for the priesthood. He spent eight years at Paris and Pont-à-Mousson studying. Dr Tanner, Bishop of Cork, former Jesuit, ordained him in 1575. Four or five years later he went to Rome where he was received into the Society by Fr Claude Acquaviva in 1582.

Finally he was sent to the new College at Neuhaus founded by the Viceroy of Bohemia, where he spent the rest of his life. He did such useful work as a confessor that the Jesuits of Bohemia refused to release him for work in Ireland, in spite of repeated requests from the Superior of the Mission.

Before his death he made a general confession of his whole life, and when tempted by the devil with bewildering doubts, he used refer him to that confession, and when the devil appeared in visible form, he banished him by kissing the crucifix.

He died on August 4th 1616.

Purcell, John, 1595-1657, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2014
  • Person
  • 22 June 1595-12 April 1657

Born: 22 June 1595, Dublin
Entered: 19 November 1618, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: c 1623, Paris, France
Died: 12 April 1657, Irish College, Poitiers, France

Had studied Rhetoric and Philosophy at Douai and Rhetoric at Dijon c 1620
1622 At Pont-á-Mousson studying Philosophy or in Metaphysics or in FRA (the first I find since Holiwood and Richard Field) in 3td year Philosophy
1625 In College of Paris FRA studying Theology
1626 Catalogue In Ireland
1637 Catalogue Talent and judgement good, prudent and teaching is mediocre. Able to teach Humanities
1649 Catalogue is given at Dublin
1650 Catalogue DOB 1592, Ent 1620. Is a teacher, Confessor, Preacher and a Formed Coadjutor. Age 57. Came to Mission in 1627

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Knew Irish, English, French and Latin; Had taught Humanities and been a Confessor and Preacher for eighteen years (HIB CAT 1650 - ARSI)
Hogan says Ent 1618, and death post 1650, stating that he had been in prison.
1642 A Missioner in Dublin, and still there 1649 in weak health (cf Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had studied at Irish College Douai before Ent 19 November 1618 Nancy
1620-1621After First Vows he was sent to teach Rhetoric for a year at Dijon
1621-1622 He was then sent to Pont-à-Mousson for Philosophy
1622-1624 He was then sent for Theology to Paris and was Ordained there c 1623
1625/26 Sent to Ireland and the Dublin Residence and was teaching until the closure of the school at Back Lane. In spite of the Puritan occupation and poor health, he continued to live in Dublin until 1649/50, when he was arrested, imprisoned and deported to France.
The General was especially solicitous of fate of the Dublin priests during the Cromwell regime, and he made arrangements for John to be received by AQUIT. He was sent then to Grand Collège Poitiers The Annual Letter of the Province of AQUIT said of him “Died at Poitiers, Father John Purcell, an Irish Father of singular virtue and zeal. He suffered three months of imprisonment and other hardships for the faith”

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
PURCELL, JOHN, was an active Missionary in Dublin in the autumn of 1642. At the end of February following I find that he had become an Invalid; but he was still living in that city in the summer of 1649, infirmae valetudinis et jam senior.

Sedgrave, James, 1560-1586, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2104
  • Person
  • 1560-30 October 1586

Born: 1560, Dublin
Entered: 14 August 1582, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae province (ROM)
Ordained before Entered
Died: 30 October 1586, Pont-à-Mousson, France - Franciae Province (FRA)

1584 At Bourges College FRA Age 23 (Franciae Catalogue)
He was a good religious - fit to teach

Shee, Thomas Patrick, 1673-1735, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2115
  • Person
  • 16 September 1673-01 January 1735

Born: 16 September 1673, County Kilkenny
Entered: 02 october1692, Paris, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 14 April 1705, Collegium Buntruti, Porrentruy, Switzerland
Final Vows: 02 February 1708 Ensisheim
Died: 01 January 1735, Irish College, Poitiers, France - Aquitaniae Province (AQUIT)

Taught Humanities and Rhetoric. Talent and proficiency above mediocrity. Capable of teaching, of Mission work, of being Superior.
1714 Teaching at College of Sées CAMP
1714-1722 At Episcopal University Strasbourg teaching Humanities, Philosophy and Theology and was an MA
1723 CAMP Catalogue “de Schée” at Bar-le-duc College teaching. On Mission 1 year
1724-1732 Rector of Irish College Poitiers
1733-1735 AT Irish College Poitiers in infirm health

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1728 Rector and Procurator at Irish College Poitiers
His name was O’Shee, perhaps he is the Capt Thomas Shee of Butler’s infantry, who imitated the example of Captain Clinch - that Captain was from Kilkenny and was attainted c 1716

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had begun Priestly studies, probably at Paris before Ent 02 October 1692 Paris
1694-1695 After First Vows he did a year of Rhetoric at Paris
1695-1697 He was sent to CAMP for Philosophy to Pont-à-Mousson
1697-1702 He then spent seven years of Regency teaching Rhetoric at Charleville and Chaumont
1702-1705 He was then sent to Rheims for Theology and he was Ordained there 14 April 1705
1706-1714 His ability in Philosophy and Theology was noted, and so he taught Philosophy for eight years in various Colleges ending at Dijon.
1714-1723 Sent From Dijon to take a Chair in Moral Theology at Strasbourg. In the last year he was also Spiritual Father.
1723-1732 He was sent to the Irish College Poitiers, and became Rector in 1724. Because of earlier mismanagement, the finances of the Colleges were in a chaotic state, but Thomas managed to keep the College in existence and was even able to carry out improvements to the buildings. He remained at Poitiers after finishing as Rector and he died there 01 January 1735

Talbot, Walter, 1562-1599, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2175
  • Person
  • 30 June 1562-02 August 1599

Born: 30 June 1562, Malahide, County Dublin
Entered; 10 May 1595, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 04 June 1594, Pont-à-Mousson, France - pre Entry
Died: 02 August 1599, Cassel, Flanders, France - Belgicae Province (BELG)

Studied Humanities at Dublin and Pont-à-Mousson, and studied Philosophy and Doctor of Arts (Docteur in ès Arts) at Louvain
1597 Was MA Age 34 (Docteur in ès Arts)
1599 Died in Belgian Camp at Bois-le-Duc ('s-Hertogenbosch) on 02 August 1599 or at Cassel on 04 August 1599

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Son of William, a nobleman and Maria Birmingham.
Studied Grammar for some years in Ireland, then a year of Humanities, one of Rhetoric and three of Philosophy at Pont-à-Mousson, graduating MA 1590 there, and Ordained 04 June 1594, having studied four years at Louvain, where he took scholastic lectures. he was received into the Society by BELG Provincial George Duras.
He was a military Chaplain “Preacher and Ghostly Father” to the Irish soldiers of Sir William Stanley, and died from the effects of hard work.
Very devout to Our Blessed Lady of Montaigu (Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel) at Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, and his sick soldiers going in procession to that shrine were often cured.
Henry Fitzsimon, in a letter from Ireland 07 September 1599, begs for reinforcement of missioners, and particularly names Walter Talbot in first place. (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
“Miracles lately wrought by the intercession of Our Blessed Lady of Montaigu near Sichem in Brabant” trans to English by Fr Robert Chambers, Confessor of the English Religious Dames in Brussels, printed at Brussels 1606 (a copy is at St Beuno’s)
“The Curate and Eschevins of Sichem, affirm assuredly, that in the year 1598, at what time the Irish of the Regiment of Sir William Stanley, Colonel, were lodged there, were wont to use no pther physic or remedy for their diseases, but to make their prayers at the foresaid place of Montague, amongst whom very many were healed in such sort, that Father Walter Talbot, an Irish Priest, one of the Society of Jesus (who at that time was their Preacher and Ghostly Father) was wont oftentimes to say with great admiration, that the place was in a very singular manner chosen by God to advance there his Mother’s honour, for which cause he was moved to go thither, sometimes devoutly in procession, accompanied by the sayd irish, and the townsmen of Sichem, whereof he wrote to Father Thomas Salines, who was the Superior of the Fathers of the Society, which attended upon the Catholic King’s army in the Low Countries.” (Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Lord William Talbot Malahide and Mary née Bermingham ( daughter of Peter, Chief Justice of Ireland)
Early education was in Ireland and then a classical education was made at Pont-à-Mousson with the Jesuits, later graduating MA after Philosophy studies there. he went on to study Theology there also and was Ordained there 04 June 1594 before a year later Ent 10 May 1595 Tournai
After First Vows he was sent as a Military Chaplain to Brussels. He had been approved for the Irish mission but died 2 August, 1599, at the military camp in Flanders where he was stationed 02 August 1599
At the time of his early death he was “preacher and ghostly father” to Colonel Sir William Stanley's Irish troops. During his brief period as chaplain he promoted amongst the Irish soldiers devotion to Our Lady at her shrine of Montaigu near Scherpenheuvel-Zichem (Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel)
Before his death he had been requested by Henry Fitzsimon, Irish Mission Superior, and approved to go to Ireland, but he died before that could happen.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Walter Talbot 1562-1599
Walter Talbot, the fourth son of William Talbot of Malahide, a family which was to give many sons to the Society, including the famous Peter Talbot, afterwards Archbishop of Dublin.

Walter was born on June 30th 1562 and received his higher education on the continent. Having taken his Master’s degree, he was ordained by special indult of Cardinal Allen in 1592. He became a Jesuit at Tournai in 1595, the same year as that of Dominic Collins.

He was appointed Chaplain to the Spanish Army in Flanders. There he laboured not only with Irish troops, but also those of other nations. His influence with the soldiers was supreme, and many heretics were reconciled to the Church by his efforts. He attributed his influence to his own great devotion to Our Lady of Montaigu, a famous shrine near the town of Sichem in the Brabant. He was accustomed to perform penitential pilgrimages to the shrine accompanied by the soldiers and the townsfolk of Sichem. Regardless of his health, he spent two days hearing confessions in the rain. He neglected to change his clothes and died of a fever on August 13th 1599 at Cassel, having been 4 years in the Society.

Thaly, Hugh, 1639-1711, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2180
  • Person
  • 10 November 1638-18 September 1711

Born: 10 November 1638, Kilmore, County Cavan
Entered: 20 September 1659, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 12 March 1671, Pont-à-Mousson, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1677
Died: 18 September 1711, Irish College, Poitiers, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)

Alias Johnson

1662-1664 At Pont-á-Mousson studying Logic and Physics
1664-1666 At Charlevile College teaching
1666-1667 At Langres College
1667-1668 At Dijon College teaching
1668-1672 At Pont-à-Mousson Studying Theology and then teaching and Prefect of Physicists, later Seminarians
1672 At Rheims College CAMP teaching Humanities and Rhetoric. Good teacher and fit for teaching and Mission
1699 Came to Poitiers and remained. Minister, Rector (1700-1705)
1708 Catalogue Strength good considering his age, but is wholly blind
In Convent OSF at Waterford there is a book with “Resid New Ross ex domo, Rev Hugionis Thalii”

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
“Insignis juventutis instructor” up to his old age; Professor of Belles-lettres, Rhetoric and Philosophy for twenty-five years
Rector of Poitiers and Drogheda; Served two years in hospitals
1683 In Dublin
1686 In Drogheda
1708 In Poitiers
He was totally blind for the last eight years of his life; Twenty-four years in Ireland, and some years in Scotland; A holy man (cf Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan :
1661-1664 After First Vows was sent to Pont-à-Mousson for Philosophy.
1664-1648 He spent four years Regency at Charleville, Langres and Divonne.
1648-1671 He then returned to Pont-à-Mousson for Theology and was Ordained there 12 March 1671
1672-1673 Made Tertianship at Nancy
1673-1676 Sent to Ireland and Drogheda
1676-1677 He was then sent to France, to the newly founded Irish College of Poitiers, but seems to have quarrelled there with the Rector, Ignatius Browne over the administration of the College, and was recalled to Ireland by the Mission Superior William O’Rian the following year.
1677 Sent to work at Dublin Residence.
1678 During the Oates's Plot he was living outside Dublin. The General was not happy about Thaly remaining on the Mission and, on the suggestion of O’Rian, himself exiled in Poitiers, the General recalled him to France but Thaly managed to evade the order until the General's death, in spite of many expressed wished by the Mission Consultors. The cause of the difficulties are not clear, though it can be assumed that he was seen as something of a trouble maker, and that some of the difficulties in the early days at Poitiers had been attributed to him. It is thought that he was being sent to CAMP to have some time to reflect.
The new General left him undisturbed, after a suitable caution, and Thaly proved himself a resourceful organiser at the School and Residence of Drogheda, including managing to get a suitable building for an oratory.
During the short lived reign of James II, he began to dabble a little in politics. He got himself into trouble over the as one of the chief witnesses of the Chief Revenue Commissioner, Thomas Sheridan, who had been accused of corruption. Sheridan’s allies suggested that Thaly was merely a “job-hunter” for his own family and friends.
At the same time, he managed to get the General to appoint a French Jesuit as Chaplain to the Viceroy, and when he did not turn up, Thaly installed himself as Viceregal Chaplain in Dublin Castle. The General became very concerned by Thaly’s behaviour, especially his part in the Sheridan case,, and the Mission Superior was instructed that Thaly should never again be allowed to live in Dublin.
So he went to work in Drogheda, but served as a Chaplain at the Siege of Limerick. After the Williamite victory, he was forced to seek shelter in Dublin, where he exercised his ministry under the name “Johnson” until 1699, when he was captured and deported to France.
1700-1705 Rector at Irish College Poitiers. During his administration were sown the seeds of future disputes between the Irish Mission and the College over the funds which supported the College but in part belonged to the Mission. He died at Poitiers 18 September 1711

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Hugh Thaly 1638-1711
Fr Hugh Thaly was a great scholar and instructor of youth in Dublin and elsewhere, was born about 1638 and died at Poitiers on September 18th 1711.

He laboured on the Irish Mission for 24 years and for some time also in Scotland. During the last eight years of his life, like the good Tobias, he was totally blind, and exhibited, as he died, the most perfect patience and resignation.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
THALY,HUGH. This polite scholar and excellent instructor of youth, died in the Irish College of Poitiers, on the 18th of September, 1711, aet. 73. He had laboured in the Irish Mission for 24 years, and for some time had been employed in the vineyard of Scotland. For the last eight years of his life, God was pleased to visit him with total blindness; but, like another Tobias, he exhibited perfect patience and resignation.

Walsh, Edward, 1739-1822, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2217
  • Person
  • 24 February 1739-22 October 1822

Born: 24 February 1739, France
Entered: 07 September 1756, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1767
Final Vows: 15 August 1773
Died: 22 October 1822, Durham, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

1767 At Pont-à-Mousson in 2nd year Theology
Called “Hibernus” in ANG Catalogue 1771 and this gives most dates about him.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Born in France of Irish parents
Taught Humanities at St Omer and Bruges and published one or two of his sermons.
1767 Graduated MA at Pont-à-Mousson 20 July 1767.
1769 The FRA Notebook says that, on the authority of the the FRA Provincial Fijan, dated Nancy 21 June 1679, that he was examined for FV, by special licence of General Ricci, and passed with universal assent.
1771 He was in Rome with a noble pupil.
He served the Durham Mission for many years, and died there 22 October 1822 aged 83. He had not renewed his Vows in the Society.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WALSH, EDWARD, of Irish extraction, but born in France, on the 24th of January,1739 : embraced the Institute on the 7th of September, 1756 taught Humanities for a short time at St. Omer and Bruges. On the 20th of July, 1767, was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts, in the University of Pont a Mousson : was examined for his degree in the Order at Nanci, by the special permission of Ricci, the last General; and past his examination with entire satisfaction, as I collect from the letter of F. André Fijan, dated 2lst June, 1769. For very many years F. Walsh was the incumbent at Durham : he was an amiable polite, and clever gentleman, but of a roving and restless disposition, even in advanced life. At length, on the 22nd of October, 1822, aet. 83, he died at his house in Durham, very peaceably; and much regretted by a numerous acquaintance.
F. Walsh published a sermon delivered to his flock, on the occasion of King George the Third’s recovery, in 1789, and dedicated by permission to the Right Honourable William Pitt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, (4to. London, 1789, pp. 17) It is a well meant but meagre performance. He refers in p.13, to his former discourse “On the propriety and necessity of taking an Oath of Allegiance”. Of this publication we have not seen a copy; but for the Author’s credit, we trust it possessed more intrinsic merit than its successor.

White, Stephen, 1575-1647, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2255
  • Person
  • 1575-23 April 1647

Born: 1575, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Entered: 13 October 1596, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c 1601, Salamanca, Spain
Final Vows: 06 January 1613
Died: 23 April 1647, Galway Residence

Younger Brother of Thomas - RIP 1622; Uncle of Peter White - RIP 1678; Cousin of William White - RIP 1625

His name appears on a list of 8 who got a BA from Salamanca University in 1595 and then entered
1597 At Villagarcía College Age 22 Soc 6. Already a BA and studying Theology
1600 At Salamanca studying Theology Age 25 Soc 3
1603 Age 29 Soc 7. Professor of Arts at Salamanca University
1605 Came from CAST to GER SUP
1606-1609 At Ingolstadt lecturing in Theology. Age 32 Soc 10 and a Doctor of Divinity. Confessor and “Oreses Religiosorum in Convictu”
1610-1323 At Dilingen teaching Sacred Scripture “vires mediocres”
1612 Professor of Scholastic Theology at Dillingen and Pres of Casus. Confessor
1623-1627 Went to Pont-á-Mousson (CAMP) - Confessor and Spiritual Father to Germans
1628-1630 At Metz Confessor, Spiritual Father and Prefect of Cases
1630 Came to Irish Mission
Usher praised White in his Collectanea 1621 Tom V & VI)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica”:
c1617 he was in Bavaria
1634 Distinguished Professor of Theology (IER)
The Protestant Archbishop Ussher in “Primordia” p 400 calls him a man of exquisite knowledge in the antiquities, not only of Ireland, but also of other nations.
Robert Nugent, Superior of Irish Mission in a letter from Kilkenny 10 January 1646 to Charles Sangri, speaks of his works which he had sent to censors for examination.
Professor of Theology at Dillingen, Ingolstadt and Pont-à-Mousson etc.; Writer; Antiquarian;
Called a “Polyhistor” by Raderus, Colgan and others on account of his extraordinary learning.
(cf Oliver Stonyhurts MSS; Dean Reeves “Memoir of Stephen White”; de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”; De Buck “Archéologie Irlandaise”)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had already graduated with a BA in Arts and in Theology abroad before Ent 13 October 1596 Villagarcía
1598-1601 After First Vows he was sent to Royal College Salamanca for studies and was Ordained there c 1601
1601-1605 Taught Philosophy at Irish College Salamanca
1605-1609 To the disappointment of his Spanish Superiors he was withdrawn by the General from CAST and appointed to a Chair of Theology at the College of Ingolstadt in the Upper German Province (GER SUP). At the end of two years here he was reported to the General as having departed from the ratio studiorum in his teaching. His lectures were represented to the General as “partly temerarious, partly dangerous and in great part to be retracted”,
1609 In September 1609 General ordered that Stephen be dismissed from his post and sent back to Ireland. But his health was never robust and his physician decided against the return journey to the Irish Mission. Later the General was to learn that White had not been so unorthodox, he had merely been expounding the opinions of Vasquez and was not the only Jesuit who approved of that scholar's teaching.
1610-1622 He was sent to the College of Dilingen, and he was not reinstated as a professor of Theology for the next two years. But this temporary disgrace incurred at Ingolstadt proved to be providential. The two years of freedom from the lecture-hall were not spent idly by Stephen. From this time dates his interest in the rich manuscript materials for Irish history and hagiography buried away in German monastic libraries. By Autumn, 1612, he had composed a work on the lives of Irish Saints but the General ordered that the book be submitted to rigid censorship in case it might cause offence to people of other countries. That same Autumn, he resumed his theology lectures in Dilingen, and was congratulated by the General who warned him, however, not to deflect from the 'sententia ordinaria". During these years he was professor, for a time, of Sacred Scripture. He remained in Dilingen as professor of dogmatic theology until 1622
1622-1627 Ever since 1620 White was anxious to leave the Upper German province and in 1622 was allowed to pass to CAMP where he was assigned to the University of Pont-à-Mousson. Although he had been advised in advance that he could not expect a Chair in that University, he taught Theology in fact there over the next three years, although his status might be better described, perhaps, as coach and not professor. But the five years, 1622/27, spent by him at Pont-à-Mousson were mostly taken up with historical research. For within a year of his arrival, 1623, he had ready for the press his celebrated “Apologia pro Hibernia”. But the General stopped the printing of this work at Antwerp.
1627-1630 He was transferred to Metz but held no teaching post there.
1630-1644 The General in response to requests from the Irish Mission allowed White to return to Ireland. Very little is known with certainty about his career on the Irish Mission. There is no mention of his name again in the sources until 1637 when the CATS simply recapitulated his past career but gave no hint of his address or occupation that year. It also said that his was in poor health. That Winter he wrote to the General asking that the Will which he had made at Dilingen before his final profession should be implemented to the benefit of the Irish Mission. His well-known letter to John Colgan O.F.M., 31 January 1640, implies that he had been engaged in research work ever since his return to Ireland and that he had spent the previous decade for the most part at Dublin where he had access to the library or Archbishop James Ussher.
1640 His later years, after the Puritan occupation of Dublin were spent in Galway. Correspondence of 1644 and 1646 indicates that he had a work approved for publication. He died sometime in or after 1646. Stephen White was one of the most remarkable Irish scholars of his time. His ability as philosopher and theologian was widely acknowledged in Spain, Germany and France. But his enduring fame rests upon his pioneering work in unearthing the manuscript treasures that preserved so much of the story of Ireland's past. He transcribed manuscripts for the Bollandists, for John Colgan, for James Ussher. Both the latter acknowledged their indebtedness to him. His magnum opus, the “Apologia pro Hibernia”, did not see the light until two centuries after his death but Lynch had a precis of the work before him when he was writing his “Cambrensis Eversus”.
White was the first Irish writer to voice the national tradition which rejected as spurious the grant of Ireland by Pope Adrian IV to Henry II of England. Though his troubles at Ingolstadt gave him the heaven-sent opportunity of turning to historical research, it is to be noted that his contemporary Irish fellow- Jesuits seem to have had no appreciation whatever of his contributions to Irish historical scholarship. Indeed there is plenty of evidence to hand that he was plagued by members of the Irish Mission with invitations to return during his years at Ingolstadt, Dilingen and Pont-à-Mousson. When he returned to Ireland in 1630 he had very probably little facility in speaking either Irish or English after his forty years abroad. The mission itself was unable to furnish him with the library facilities needed for his research work. Yet taking into account all the successes, misunderstandings and disappointments that mark his career, he will always be regarded as the most eminent Irish Jesuit produced in the Old Society. He died at Galway 23 April 1647.

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

White, Stephen (1574?–1646/7), Jesuit priest, academic, and antiquary, was born in Clonmel, the son of Pierce White. His was a remarkable family, two of his brothers also being priests: James was vicar apostolic of Waterford and Lismore and Thomas White (qv), a Jesuit, was the founder of the first Irish college on the continent. Another brother was deposed as mayor of Clonmel in 1606 for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. He was probably educated in the catholic school at Clonmel before travelling to study at the Irish college at Salamanca founded by his brother about 1590. After graduating BA, he entered the Society of Jesus on 13 October 1596 at Villagarcia. He remained at Salamanca, continuing his studies in theology, and obtained a doctorate of divinity about 1605.

In 1602 he taught a one-year course in humanities at Salamanca, marking the start of a distinguished academic career, and followed this up with a three-year course in mental philosophy. Such was his reputation that he was appointed to the chair of scholastic theology in the University of Ingoldstadt, one of the most distinguished universities in Germany, inaugurating his lectureship on 7 January 1606. In 1609 he went to lecture in the University of Dilingen on the Danube, being first professor of scholastic theology, and librarian of the university, and by 1612 confessor of the religious orders. He remained there for fourteen years, becoming one of the most accomplished theologians in Germany. After departing Dilingen he retired from academic life, being confessor to the Germans at Pont-à-Mousson, Champagne (1623–7), and spiritual father at the college of Metz (1627–9).

After 1611 two factors led him towards the study of Irish history. First, there had been little contact between Ireland and continental Europe since the early middle ages; the little that was known about Ireland tended to be from invariably hostile English sources. Second, Scottish antiquarians, capitalising on the fact that prior to the late middle ages the inhabitants of Ireland had been called Scots, claimed the Irish scholars and missionaries, who were a ubiquitous presence across the continent in the early medieval period, as their own. This opportunistic attempt to deprive Ireland of its saints and scholars, and of its best case for being a civilised Christian nation, did not go unchallenged, not least from White. He was aided in his scholarly labours by his academic contacts. Dilingen received students from abbeys and monasteries all over Germany and beyond, facilitating his access to vast reservoirs of ancient manuscripts relating to Ireland.

White wrote his Apologia pro Hibernia adversus Cambri calumnias between 1611 and 1613, declaring ‘The sole purpose of my writing is to defend the injured reputation of the old Irish whom I, and my fathers, for four hundred years have shared a common fatherland.’ He refuted the allegations of the twelfth-century Welsh author Gerald (qv) of Wales whose Expugnatio Hibernica justified the Norman conquest of Ireland through portraying the natives as barbaric and semi-pagan. The Apologia demolished such allegations but was marred slightly by his highly personalised attacks on Gerald. Although White was of Norman ancestry, he identified with the Gaelic Irish. During his career he wrote many works glorifying Ireland's past and refuting the Scots’ claims. He also transcribed a number of manuscripts on the lives of early Irish saints. However, none of his works was published during his lifetime, partly because of a lack of funds but also because of the politically sensitive nature of the material. A generous scholar, he freely shared his writings and discoveries with his contemporaries; others prospered from his unselfish spadework while he remained in comparative obscurity. His knowledge was such that he was accorded the title of ‘polyhistor’, or walking library.

The Irish Jesuits had frequently requested his transfer to Ireland, and in late 1628 he returned to his homeland, after an absence of thirty-eight years, to teach in a Jesuit college just established in Dublin. However, in January 1629 it was suppressed by the government. He returned to his native diocese of Waterford and Lismore, where the teacher who had lectured in some of Europe's most renowned academic institutions spent his autumn years teaching street children. During the late 1630s he was based in Dublin, and at this time embarked on his most celebrated and remarkable antiquarian collaboration. He several times met James Ussher (qv), Church of Ireland primate of Ireland and one of the most brilliant scholars of his age, who shared White's passion for Irish history. Ussher showed him his library and praised his learning. In return White gave Ussher his manuscripts on the lives of the early Irish saints.

After the start of the 1641 rebellion he fled Dublin to settle in Galway city. By then he was too infirm to carry out any more work or to become involved in the turbulent events of the 1640s. While in Galway he met John Lynch (qv), whose Cambrensis eversus was based on White's Apologia. His most likely date of death is shortly after January 1646 but some accounts have him alive in April 1647.

Burgundian Library, Brussels, xxi, nos. 7658–61; The whole works of Sir James Ware concerning Ireland, ed. and trans. W. Harris (1745–6), ii, 103; John Lynch, Cambrensis eversus, ed. Matthew Kelly (Dublin Celtic Society, 1848–52), ii, 394; Stephen White, Apologia pro Hibernia adversus Cambri calumnias, ed. Matthew Kelly (1849); William Reeves, ‘Memoir of Stephen White’, RIA Proc., xiii (1861); DNB; Edmund Hogan, ‘Worthies of Waterford and Tipperary’, Waterford ASJ, iii (1897), 119–34; William Burke, History of Clonmel (1983), 457–64

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Stephen White 1576-1646
In the estimation of historians and antiquarians, both Catholic and Protestant, Irish and continental, Fr Stephen White was a scholar of the first order. He was a nan of encyclopaedic knowledge, with a bent for antiquities. His contribution to the Annals of the Four Masters and their invaluable help in their compilation is attested warmly and generously by Michael Colgan, the greatest of them.

Born in Clonmel of a family which gave many illustrious sons to the Jesuits, he joined the Society at Villagarcia in 1596, and having pursued a brilliant course in the various continental colleges, professed Philosophy and Theology for many years in Germany and France.

A long wished for project in education, an Irish University, was started in Back Lane Dublin in 1629. Fr Stephen was sent home to profess in it. Its life span was short. For the next ten years Fr White spent most of his time teaching young boys in Waterford.

On the outbreak of the Confederate War he went to Galway, where he died an old man of 72 in 1646.

His works include : “Apologia pro Hibernia’, “Geste Dei”, “De Sanctis et Antiquitate Hiberniae” together with numerous philosophical and theological tracts. A great deal of these works are lost, indeed were never published through fear of exacerbating the English authorities.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
WHITE, STEPHEN. This Irish Father deserves a fuller eulogium than I am able to supply. He was the author of some historical pieces relating to Ireland, in confutation of the assertions of Giraldus Cambrensis. The Rev. John Lynch, who had the custody of this valuable MS mentions it in Chapter I and XIV of his “Cambrensis Evcrsus”, printed in 1662, and expresses his deep regret that a considerable part of it was lost during the Civil Wars. Archbishop Usher, an excellent judge of these matters, in p. 400 of his Primordia, gives F. White the character of being “a man of exquisite knowledge in the Antiquities, not only of Ireland, but also of other nations”. In a letter of F. Robert Nugent, Superior of his brethren in Ireland, and addressed from Kilkenny, the 10th of January, 1646, to F. Charles Sangri, I read what follows.
“I have given the commission to four of our Fathers diligently to examine the works of F. Stephen White, and to forward their judgment to your paternity, conformably to the directions you have recently sent us. His works are various, and as our Fathers live in places very distant from each other, and notwithstanding the most Reverend Bishops, (who are ready to defray the expenses of the printing), as also the supreme Council very earnestly insist, that a certain work of his, “De sanctis et Antiqititate Ibcrniae” be instantly sent to the Press, I find it difficult and next to impossible to resist their reasonable demand, since the Manuscript itself has been perused by several them, and has been pronounced not only worthy of being printed, but highly necessary for the credit and advantage of this Kingdom. Therefore I have written again to the Examiners, that each would privately report their opinion on this work as soon as possible to your Paternity; though all in their letters to me greatly extol it, and declare it most worthy to issue from the Press. But 1 am unwilling to allow any work to be printed that can give just cause of offence to any person : and yet there is less cause of apprehension in this case, as this book merely treats on the Saints and Antiquity of the Kingdom of Ireland”.