Calendar (1566-1752) now available to purchase from Messenger website

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The Jesuit Irish Mission: A calendar of correspondence 1566-1752 is now available for sale on the Messenger Publications website. Irish Jesuit Documents in Rome: Part 4 Recently I was struck by one of the letters I calendared, because of its personal and warm tone. While it’s quite normal to find well-wishes and paternal encouragement in the letters, along with prayers, this was different: here the General Superior in Rome (still Claudio Acquaviva) writes to an Irishman in Antwerp in the second person singular. Normally, correspondents used the formal way of address in the third person: the writer talks in a sort of “pluralis maiestatis”, and the recipient is “Your Reverence”.  (This is a huge source of confusion at times, for example when the writer refers to the recipient and another, properly “third person”, in the one sentence or clause!) The man the letter is written for is Laurence Lea from Waterford, and after reading the letter I looked him up in […]

Irish Jesuit Documents in Rome – Part 3

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From day one, I’ve been puzzled by the difficulties of early modern communications. How could St. Ignatius and his successors be so adamant about the frequency of letter-and report-writing, and realistically expect that people in Ireland, let alone Goa, Salvador, Nagasaki, Lhasa, etc, could usefully inform headquarters and benefit by instructions that were many months old ? And how were messages delivered even just across troubled Europe? Generally speaking, communications seem to have been working fine: one of the earliest postal maps of c.1632 illustrates the “postal hub” that France was for European correspondence, including much correspondence that went between Ireland and Rome. And historians can be comforted by the fact that “the Jesuits produced more documents than most other orders and stored them with exceptional rigor.” (Markus Friedrich, p.288). But how did men under threat, as the Irish Jesuits often were, go about sending letters, and what were the obstacles? From what I have seen, in the absence of […]

Irish Jesuit Documents in Rome – Part 2

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They are 14 boxes and three volumes of transcripts put together by Fr. John MacErlean SJ, a Belfast man born in 1870 whose immense linguistic skills were turned to great use when he became the Irish Jesuits’ Province Historian in 1917. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor Fr. Edmund Hogan SJ, MacErlean went on a series of extended visits to Jesuit and other archives. The bulk of the Roman Jesuit archives was then at Exaeten Castle, near Baexem, Holland: they were taken there in 1893 for safety from confiscation by the Italian government. In 1919 and 1920, MacErlean went through several collections at Exaeten, to gather material for the cause of the Irish martyrs, and to collect records of Irish Jesuit activity. He was interested in the mission at home, but also in the formation of Irishmen in Jesuit colleges around Europe, and in Irish Jesuits in Latin America, Goa, and the Philippines. In November 1919 he wrote to […]

The Jesuit Irish Mission: A Calendar of Correspondence, 1566–1752

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As part of the bicentenary commemorations of the restoration of the Society of Jesus in Ireland in 2014, Vera Moynes, archivist, was commissioned to create a calendar of thousands of documents exchanged between the Jesuit Curia and superiors of the Jesuit Irish missions. The first part of her work has been published: ‘The Jesuit Irish Mission: A Calendar of Correspondence, 1566–1752’ (the sixteenth volume in the series Subsidia ad Historiam Societatis Iesu by Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu), and provides a unique view of the first Jesuits in Ireland, during the Irish Mission of the 16th to 18th century.  It contains précis of copy letters from Rome, letters from Ireland to Rome, lists of Jesuits and faculties granted to them, appendices, bibliography and an index.  These documents, preserved in Jesuit archives in Dublin and Rome, give evidence of Irish Jesuit ministries, administration, persecution, communications, and ‘shifting alliances of friends and foes at times of war, and the diplomacy and flexibility required […]

Jesuit chaplains & Rathfarnham Castle in the First World War

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This exhibition tells the story of the Jesuits chaplains and Rathfarnham Castle in the First World War.  In 1913, the Jesuits purchased Rathfarnham Castle and during the war, it housed Jesuits who were attending university and missioners.  The Castle provided a sacred space, where the Jesuits prayed and played.   Jesuit chaplains Frs Willie Doyle, Joseph Flinn, Henry Gill and Patrick O’ Mara were missioners based at Rathfarnham Castle, prior to their serving as chaplains in the First World War.  Jesuit chaplains served at the frontline with the soldiers.  In the circumstances of war, some chaplains were transformed into truly exceptional men and for others who survived the conflict, they never recovered from their war-time experiences.  In remembering them, we need to read the past with respect and to acknowledge the different traditions and loyalties. The exhibition features the award-winning graphic short, A Perfect Trust, by illustrator, Alan Dunne, original photographs and artifacts from the Irish Jesuit Archives relating to the […]

Culture Night 2017

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The Irish Jesuit Archives will be participating in two events for the forthcoming Culture Night, Friday, 22nd September 2017. The first event, will be a 10 minute talk on ‘The Jesuits in 1917’, at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), Kildare Street at 5.20pm. This short talk will focus on Jesuit attempts to help the poor of Dublin, with the establishment of the Dublin Food Supply Company, female writers in Jesuit publications, the conscription crisis in Australia and Jesuit chaplains in the First World War. Secondly, the Jesuit church of St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street will be open for visitors and tours from 6-10pm. https://culturenight.ie/event/saint-francis-xavier-church/

Fr Michael Bergin SJ

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Fr Michael Bergin SJ from Roscrea, Tipperary died on 12 October 1917, serving as a chaplain in the First World War. He holds the distinction of been the only member of the whole Australian forces in the First World War to never to have set foot in Australia, and the only Catholic chaplain serving to have died as a result of enemy action. The exhibition at Roscrea Library, Tipperary, 2-31 October 2017, will focus on Fr Michael Bergin SJ, and the five other Jesuits, who served as chaplains with the Australian forces. Simon Mamouney, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission Australian Embassy, will launch the exhibition on Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 6.30pm at Roscrea Library, Tipperary. All are welcome. The graphic short entitled ‘A Perfect Trust’ by Alan Dunne, will be displayed in the Roscrea Library exhibition and has been nominated won an Irish Design Award. Michael Bergin was born in 1879 at Fancroft, Roscrea, Tipperary. Educated at […]

Fr Willie Doyle SJ

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An exhibition on Fr Willie Doyle SJ will take place at Dalkey Library, Dublin from Tuesday, 18th July until Friday, 18th August 2017. The exhibition by Irish Jesuit Archives, which will be launched by Province Archivist Fr Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, will also feature a graphic short on display panels by illustrator Alan Dunne entitled, ‘A Perfect Trust’. The launch, will take place at Dalkey Library, Dublin on Thursday, 20th July 2017 at 6.30 pm. All are welcome. RVSP: archivessj@gmail.com or 01 7758569 William Joseph Gabriel Doyle was born on 3rd March 1873 at Melrose, Dalkey Avenue, Dalkey, County Dublin. Known as Willie, he was the youngest of seven children of Hugh Doyle, registrar of the insolvency court, and Christine Doyle (née Byrne). Educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire, in 1891 Willie followed his older brother Charles into the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Willie taught at Clongowes Wood College, where he produced The Mikado and founded the school journal, The Clongownian. His […]

Fr John Sullivan SJ

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On 13 May 2017 at the Church of St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin, Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933) will be beatified. For further information: Fr John Sullivan SJ The Irish Jesuit Archives has a small amount of material on Fr Sullivan, and interestingly so does the state. The OPW Library has a collection of 40 books that were in the possession of Rathfarnham Castle, where Fr John Sullivan SJ was Rector  (1919-1924). 12 of those books were in Fr Sullivan’s room at the time of his death. Marsh’s Library and the British Library both have online, examples of books that Fr John’s brother, Sir Edward Sullivan,  decorated, as he pursued his hobby of bookbinding. Some material on Fr John Sullivan SJ can be found in the National Archives of Ireland in papers from the Department of Foreign Affairs (1960). There was coordination between the Department of External Affairs, the Irish Jesuits, the Vatican and the Irish Embassy in the Holy […]

Letters of 1916 – Fr Francis Shaw SJ

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One of the recent additions to the Letters of 1916 project by Maynooth University are the letters from Jesuit chaplain, Francis Shaw, while serving during the First World War. They are awaiting transcription here. Francis Shaw was born in Ennis, county Clare in 1881 and having lost both his parents when still young, his guardian became Fr. Fogarty, later the bishop of Killaloe. (Not to be confused with Fr Francis Shaw SJ (1907-1970) who wrote ‘The Canon of Irish History: A Challenge’, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, LXI, 242 (Dublin 1972), pp.113-52.) Educated at Christian Brothers’ School, Ennis and St Vincent’s College, Castleknock, Francis went to Newcastle-on-Tyne to study engineering. He cut short his studies to join the Jesuits in 1902. He undertook philosophy at Jersey and Stonyhurst and was Prefect and Master at Clongowes Wood College from 1909-1913. As a chaplain in the First World War, he worked at Casualty Clearing Stations in France and also on the […]