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Eustace, Maurice, c 1560-1588, Jesuit priest novice
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Dates of existence
c 1560-03 November 1588
Born: c 1560, Castlemartin, County Kildare
Entered: c 1585, Bruges, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BEL)
Ordained: - pre Entry
Died: 03 November 1588, Dublin (Martyr)
Old/19 has “Martyr”
(possibly “Martinus Eustatius” Hybernus Tournay Album - CAT CHRON 107)
◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He is no doubt the “Maurice Eustace, student of divinite, one that nothwithstanding he were borne to a faire living, yet did wholly sequester himself from the world” (Stanihurst’s “Description of Ireland, ed 1586)
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Maurice Eustace 1560-1588
While the Spanish Armada was already sailing up the English Channel, ex-Jesuit novice, but Jesuit in desire, suffered a glorious martyrdom in Dublin on June 9th 1588.
He was born of an illustrious family at Castle Martin in Kildare and was already a Master of Arts when he entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Bruges in Flanders. He incurred the displeasure of his father by taking this step, and in deference to the protestation of his father, Maurice was sent home to his family. Maurice returned to Bruges again, and again it was thought wiser to send him home to his father.
Whilst at home in Ireland, Maurice took orders as a priest secretly, but when his father found out he had him committed to prison. Shortly after his father died, whereupon Maurice’s younger brother, in order to gain inheritance, denounced him to the authorities as a Jesuit and a priest. Adam Loftus, then Chancellor, offered Maurice his freedom and his daughter in marriage if only he would recant. Maurice remained firm and was condemned to death. He was drawn by horse’s tail to the place of execution.
On the scaffold he cried out “For Jesus Christ’s sake I have come here, ready to suffer ignominy and pain and shed my blood. I will not abandon Christ for an heretical wife, for an uncertain life and for my liberty, and as He died on a Cross, I desire and hope to died for him on the scaffold”.
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