Images de page

in the then current affairs.1 In a letter despatched from Belgium, during the course of the same year, Father Paul of St. Ubald could only confirm those disheartening tidings; still he would not have the Authorities of the Order in Rome lose sight of the project under discussion at the recent General Chapter; and suggests the Teresian seminary at Louvain for the training of students from both Irish and English Missions." It is further significative of the trials

of such members of the Order as had ventured to remain on in Ireland, that they were unable to send a Procurator to the General Chapter of 1659; the only allusion to the Irish Mission being an official record of the unanimous acclaiming of the cause of those three Teresian Confessors slain by the Puritans in hatred of the Catholic Faith.3

If within the next twelve months the restoration of the Stuart dynasty argued for the Faithful, in England and in Ireland, speedy toleration of the proscribed religion, their revived hopes were sadly discounted, at the very outset, by rumours as to the nature of the conditions which so great a privilege would, undoubtedly, entail-rendering acceptance impossible on the part of all-professing the necessity of allegiance to the Holy See. For one of the first measures sanctioned by Charles the Second was to establish his royal father's murderers in possession of the lands which they had seized; this action being defended by the contention that loyalty to the Faith, for which the Transplanters had suffered so grievously, was incompatible with fealty to the Throne. Yet, a few years before the King had protested, most solemnly, that should it please God to bring about his accession ('quando Deus ipsum restituerit') he would deny nothing to his Catholic subjects: too long the victims of barbarous laws." And even if many grave and earnest Catholics were then deceived in thinking the conversion of Charles himself already assured (' quin sit futurus et ornamento et utilitati Ecclesiae Dei'); he must have been well aware of the edification given to the Courts of Europe by his own mother in the practice of her religion, seeking its solaces in a Carmelite nunnery after her husband's

1 Letter dated 26th of November, 1658.

2 Among the papers relating to Irish Mission. (Plut. 190.)

3 Acta Capituli Generalis, xix. f. 99b.

4 Dictionary of National Biography, vol. x. p. 84.

5 Cf. the letter of Dr. Peter Talbot-afterwards Archbishop of Dublindated: 'Coloniae, 17 Novembris, 1654.' Historical MSS. Commission, Tenth

Report, Appendix, Part v. p. 357.

tragic fate. Hearkening to the baneful counsels of an equally degenerate son of another pious Catholic mother, once the King felt secure in possession of the English crown he allowed Ormonde an absolutely free hand in the management of Irish affairs: knowing that it was this favourite's avowed policy to overthrow Papal Supremacy, no matter by what questionable means.2 With this nefarious object in view, the intermediary chosen for the insidious deception of the Irish Catholic clergy was the Franciscan Friar, Peter Walsh, who had long been in the enjoyment of the Viceroy's dubious patronage.3


Knowing that the Faithful of Ireland, priests and people, were most anxious to counteract the pernicious aspersions on their loyalty, Walsh suggested to those representing them the expediency of a congratulatory address to the King, to be submitted through the now all-powerful Duke of Ormonde. A number of leading members of the clergy, secular and regular, including the Archbishop of Armagh, the Bishop of Meath, the Vicar-Apostolic of Dublin, and other Prelates, together with the Superiors of the Dominican, Teresian, and Capuchin monasteries in Dublin, did not hesitate to avail themselves of the Franciscan's promised good offices: authorizing him to present their dutiful homage to Charles II, on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland, who, likewise, confidently besought the boon of religious toleration. But the wording of this petition did not lend itself to express Ormonde's sinister purpose; and feigning disapproval of the terms employed, he instructed Walsh to draft that 'Loyal Remonstrance,' which was, subsequently, sprung upon the unsuspecting people. grossly offensive was the tone of this precious document towards the Holy See, that even before its ulterior motive had become more clearly apparent, as totally subversive of the doctrine of Papal Supremacy, the devoted Catholics took alarm, now thoroughly suspicious of the persistent efforts of the unscrupulous Walsh to win them over to his patron's heretical views. In the later development of the

1 Ibid. p. 358.


2 The comments, throughout, on Ormonde's conduct are based on admissions in the new (1912) Life of James First Duke of Ormonde, 1610-1688, by Lady Burghclere, cf. vol. ii. p. 50 sqq.

3 Lije of Ormonde, l.c. cf. D.N.B., vol. lix. p. 218. Also, Cogan's Diocese of Meath, vol. ii. p. 96 sqq. for several useful chapters on the subject, drawn chiefly from Renehan's very valuable Collections, edited by Dr. M'Carthy. 4 sqq.

4 Walsh's History of the Remonstrance, Part i. p.

question, they had the intrepid Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Peter Talbot, to encourage them in their truly heroic resistance; and, in the meantime, Dr. Edmund O'Reilly, Archbishop of Armagh, boldly declared, in presence of the Viceroy's spies, ' that he would rather have both hands consumed than subscribe the Remonstrance.'1 It seems that the original petition reached London in the month of January 1661; and we may here inquire, with advantage, into the identity of that Superior of the Discalced Carmelites whose name appears among those of the other signatories.

We have seen above that Father Paul of St. Ubald was by no means sanguine of an immediate improvement in Irish affairs, when commenting on the subject in 1658. Hence he must have been one of the many exiled clergy, placing implicit confidence in the gratitude of the recently restored King; because he was back in Dublin in 1660, presiding over the Teresian community there in the absence of Father Agapitus of the Holy Ghost. He was the 'Father Stephen Browne' whose signature is attached to the memorial entrusted, in the first instance, to Ormonde's Franciscan agent. But his name in religion is appended to a document of far greater historical importance, intended for the instruction of the General Chapter of his Order, held in Rome the following year. It is in Father Paul's own handwriting, dated from Dublin, the 20th of August, 1661; and, also, signed by Fathers John of the Mother of God, Columba of St. Michael, Kieran of St. Patrick, Laurence of St. Thomas, Hilary of St. Augustine, and Angelus-Joseph of the Conception-with a special note to explain that their Vicar, Father Agapitus of the Holy Ghost, was then absent from Ireland.2 There is no allusion to the Valesian Formulary, or to its author Peter Walsh; so, obviously, the Viceroy was still biding his time to work a division amongst the Romish clergy.' Judging from the letter before us, those Teresians themselves seemed quite confident that the

1 Life of Ormonde, vol. ii. p. 51.

As this work is written from the nonCatholic point of view, of course it was impossible for the author to grasp the actual nature of the vital issue at stake.

2 This letter is now preserved among the Irish Papers in the General Archives of the Discalced Carmelites. (Plut. 190.)

3 The admission was made by Ormonde himself, writing to Lord Arran in 1680. In the new Life, this is described as a somewhat Machiavellian policy on the part of the Lord-Lieutenant, in his contention against the opposition of the Pope and his creatures.'-Vol. ii. p. 51. (From Carte, vol. v. p. 131.)


Irish Church had entered upon the enjoyment of a longdelayed season of religious toleration; relying on facts deemed of a most encouraging nature. For example, Catholic priests might now appear on the streets of Dublin without being openly molested; they might even venture to discharge their sacerdotal duties privately-saying Mass, visiting the sick, and administering the Sacraments; and it was no longer so dangerous to speak to the Puritans themselves, with whom they could transact business with comparative immunity.


The Fathers mentioned by name in this letter had each his own field of missionary labour, with ample scope for his zeal. In illustration of the efforts made, and the successes already achieved, we are given a series of brief notices on the Religious thus engaged. It seems that Father Agapitus of the Holy Ghost usually resided in the County Wicklow having betaken himself thither after his escape from prison in Dublin, effected by means of a rope which enabled him to scramble through a window and scale the outer walls.' He had made numerous conversions in the meantime; while Father Paul of St. Ubald was equally successful in the same respect, in the city itself, ever since his return from exile. The Catholics of a certain district, about twenty miles from Dublin, were entirely dependent on the spiritual ministrations of Father Hilary of St. Augustine throughout the terrors of the Cromwellian régime; and Father Laurence of St. Thomas had been emulating the same spirit of Elian zeal when seized by the heretics, and subjected to a harsh imprisonment for four years, before the intervention of some influential friends insured his release.2 Both Father Columba of St. Michael and Father John of the Mother of God were obliged to take over complete charge of parishes owing to the paucity of secular priests in the country: the former in the County Down; the latter in the neighbourhood of Dublin.3 Father Kieran of St. Patrick, also, devoted himself to the spiritual welfare of the Faithful in the North of Ireland, and greatly to their profit; although he, too, was captured by

1 Reference will be made, presently, to the narratives left us by Father Agapitus himself concerning his own experiences at this particular epoch.

2 His name appears in the Book of Teresian Missionary Obits; but no date is assigned. However, we can supply this omission from one of the narratives which we owe to Father Agapitus of the Holy Ghost.

3 This is the latest mention of Father Columba of St. Michael, who, according to the Book of Missionary Obits, died in 1669-(? as I have found the entries in this Book anything but accurate).

the heretics and suffered the privations and miseries of prison-life during the lengthy interval of six weary years.1 We are assured, moreover, that the two lay-brothers, who had risked the perils of the times by remaining on the Irish Mission, proved themselves most useful to those Catholics upon whom they depended for the means of livelihood, instructing the children of such to the best of their ability when to do so was accounted a crime. As no allusion is made to the apostolic activity of Father Angelus-Joseph of the Conception, we may safely infer that he had only just returned from Belgium. But we learn elsewhere that before his exile he was one of the victims of Cromwellian barbarity, which he is said to have survived almost miraculously. His name appears among the Teresian Exiles as one of the Religious who found refuge in France; there is later evidence, however, to show that Father Angelus-Joseph was resident in Brussels on the 16th of July, 1653. Altogether, those Discalced Carmelites were responsible, under God's providence, for the conversion of more than a thousand souls during the past seven years; not exclusively Protestants, since among those reconciled were certain Catholics who, weakly yielding to the severity of their trials, had fallen away from the Faith."

These facts were merely submitted in proof of the abundant spiritual harvest awaiting labourers on the Irish Mission; for there was a lamentable need of priests to meet the requirements of the Faithful and to instruct those anxious to correspond to the conversion grace. The assembled representatives of the Restored Order of Carmel are entreated, accordingly, to take into serious consideration the present condition of the once flourishing Province of St. Patrick, realizing what vital interests are at stake for God's greater glory and for the welfare of His persecuted Irish Church. Most effective aid might now be rendered in forwarding so grand a project by reconstructing the Province to the extent of nominating a Provincial and local Superiors as the indispensable preliminaries to the opening of a novitiate for Irish subjects once more. Such the means adopted to provide for the wants of this Mission by the other

1 Neither does the name of Father Kieran of St. Patrick appear after this date; although 1699 is given as the year of his death in the Book just quoted. 2 We shall find Father Angelus-Joseph associated with a later crisis in the history of the Irish Discalced Carmelites.

3 In dealing with this phase of the subject, Father Agapitus comments on how marvellously few were the instances of such apostasy.

« PrécédentContinuer »