Stanihurst, William, 1601-1663, Jesuit priest

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Stanihurst, William, 1601-1663, Jesuit priest

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  • Staniurstus
  • Gulielmus Staniurstus
  • Gulielmus Stonyhurst

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15 June 1601-10 January 1663


Born: 15 June 1601, Brussels, Belgium
Entered: 25 September 1617, Mechelen, Belgium - Flanders Province (FLAN)
Ordained: 30 March 1630, Mechelen, Belgium
Final Vows: 11 June 1634
Died: 10 January 1663, Brussels, Belgium - Flanders Province (FLAN)

Brother of Peter - RIP 1627

Son or Richard and Ellen Copley (Richard - -RIP Brussels 1618 - studied for 6 years after the death of his wife) brother of Peter
Fellow Novice of Jan Berchmans
1646 Catalogue Taught Humanities. Minister of Philosophers. Preacher in Flemish and English; Prefect of Sodality
Name is in 1619 and 1626 HIB Catalogue

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Richard and Helen née Copley and cousin of Protestant Bishop Ussher. Brother of Peter - RIP 1627
Studied Humanities at Brussels under the Jesuits before Ent.
Fellow Novice of Jan Berchmans
Writer; Preacher; Man of great piety
He resided mostly at Brussels, and for twenty-five years was a zealous preacher in the English and Flemish languages. Full of modesty, charity and tender piety, he was the delight of his brethren, and the grace and ornament of religion. (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS; Hogan’s Irish list; de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”)
He wrote seven or eight books, which went through many editions, and one translated into French, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, German, Polish and Hungarian.
1626 HIB Catalogue named

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

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Helen née Copley. Brother of Peter. His Grandfather James was sometime Recorder of Dublin.
1619-1626 After First Vows he was sent for Philosophy first to Antwerp and then Louvain. He was then sent for four years Regency to Oudenaarde and Courtrai (Kortrijk).
1626-1630 He was then sent to Louvain for Theology and was ordained at Mechelen 30 March 1630
1631-1632 Made Tertianship at Lier.
Over the next fifteen years the Superior of the Irish Mission made strenuous efforts to have William transcribed to Ireland. The Belgian Superiors said he didn’t know any Irish, and so this was used as a reason not to send him.
1632-1650 He was sent as Operarius to Louvain where he gained some reputation as a Director of a Sodality for jurists.
1650-1662 Sent to work at the Church in Antwerp, and was Spiritual Father to the Irish Seminarians there (1654-1662)
He died at Brussels 10 January 1663
Like his brother, he was a contemporary at Mechelen with Jan Berchmans and during the diocesan process of enquiry into the virtues of Jan, he was was summoned to give evidence before the Episcopal Tribunal.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father William Stanihurst SJ 1601-1663
In Brussels in the year 1601 was born William Stanihurst, of Irish parentage. Together with his brother Peter, he entered the noviceship at Mechlin, where they wewre fellow novices of St John Berchmans.

As a priest, Fr William resided chiefly at Brussels, where for twenty five years he was a renowned and zealous preacher, both in Flemish and English.

In 1630 he was transferred to Louvain, where for nearly thirty years he had charge of the famous Sodality of Our Lady. He was a writer as well as a preacher, one of his works being translated into seven different European languages.

He was a man of great piety, modesty and charity, and was spoken of as “the delight of his brethren and the ornament of religion”.

His father was Richard Stanihurst the uncle of James Usher, and cousin of Fr Henry Fitzsimon, kinsman of the martyr Jesuit poet, Robert Southwell, and friend of Blessed Edmund Campion.

When the plague broke out in Louvain, Fr William devoted himself to the care of the sick and was struck down by the pestilence. As he lay at the point of death, he made a vow to St Ignatius and immediately recovered. He was sent to Brussels where he died soon after on 10th January 1662.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
STANIHURST, WILLIAM, of Irish parents, but was actually born at Brussels. There he chiefly resided, and for 25 years was a zealous preacher in the English and Dutch languages. Full of modesty, charity, and tender piety, he was the delight of his Brethren, and the grace and ornament of Religion. He died on the 10th of January, 1663, aet. 61. Soc. 40. He has left as monuments of his piety and industry,

  1. “Album Marianum”. Folio, Louvain, 1641.
  2. “Regio Mortis”. 8vo. Antwerp, 1652.
  3. “Thesaurus Moralis Francisci Labatae, noris commentationibus auctus”. Folio, Antwerp, 1652.
  4. “De infernorum Ergastulo.” Antwerp, 1655
  5. “Dei immortalis in mortali corpore Patientis Historia” 8vo. Antwerp, 1660, pp. 408.
  6. “Quotidiana Christiani hominis Tessera”. 4to. Antwerp, 1661.
  7. “Veteris hominis per expensa Quatuor Novissima Metamorphosis”. 8vo. Antwerp, 1661.
    F. Archdeacon (who must well have known the pious author) mentions two other works; but which perhaps were only ready for the press : “Thesaurus Concionum” and “de Passionc Domini”.


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