History

Seeds resting in a persons hands - Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash
‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’Right after I was ordained, I spent five years working in the Amazon in South America. The area I worked in is called the Rupununi. That’s an area of Guyana about...
Image of William Weston SJ
In 1478 Bishop Morton of Ely (later Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of England) began the building of a castle in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, to replace the ageing motte-and-bailey structure built by William I in 1072. His successor, Bishop Alcock, extended and completed the re-building and subsequent bishops also spent considerable sums on this new palace. By late Tudor times, however, the castle had become a notorious prison used to hold Catholics. This year, the 5th of June marks the...
St Aloysius' Church, Oxford
145 years ago, on the 20th of May 1873, Oscar Wilde and a companion were among a large crowd that watched as Dr William Bernard Ullathorne, the first Bishop of Birmingham, laid the foundation stone of the first Catholic church to be built in the centre of Oxford since the Reformation: St Aloysius’. According to Fr John Morris SJ who was also present at the occasion:The weather, on which an out-door function is so entirely dependent, was magnificent; and the attendance on the occasion was large...
Illuminated IHS headscript under which October 1917 and Codex Juris Canonici in typescript
A centenary ago, on 19 May 1918, the Code of Canon Law took legal effect, having been promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917. Prior to the Code of 1917, the Churches law was scattered in separate documents making it very difficult to find out what the law was on a particular point. “The volume of documentation was so vast and complex that only a canonist who possessed some of the skill of an archivist would have known where to look to find what the law said” (Peter Ingman, ‘The New Code...
On 23 April 1995, UNESCO proclaimed the first World Book and Copyright Day. For world literature, this is a symbolic date: it is the day that, in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (chronicler of Inca history, culture, and society) died. It is also the date of birth or death of other noteworthy authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo, making it a natural choice for UNESCO to pay a worldwide tribute to books...
As in most professions, it is important for archivists to keep up with their professional development in order to be up to date with current theory and practice in the field, and to expand their knowledge. In this week’s ‘From the Archives’ blog post, Archives Assistant Lucy Vinten Mattich reports on two training events that she and other members of the Archives team have recently attended for just that purpose.Archivists need many different skills.  We need to know how to look after...
The Jesuit presence in Maryland dates back to the arrival of English settlers in the area now known as St Mary’s City on the Potomac River in 1634. Among the first group of 320 settlers to arrive on 25th March 1634 was an English Jesuit, Fr Andrew White SJ, and his companions who established the Maryland Mission. Maryland was erected as a Province in its own right in 1833. Today the Province encompasses an area covering nine states on the eastern seaboard of the United States. In this blog post...
Just over 161 years ago in March 1857, Fathers James Etheridge, Aloysius Emiliani and Clement Negri arrived in Georgetown in what was then British Guiana to establish a Jesuit mission there. Individual Jesuits, most notably Fr Leonard Neale and Fr James Chamberlain, had attempted missionary work in the territory in the late eighteenth century, however as the Society was under suppression these individual endeavours did not lead to the establishment of a Jesuit mission.The first Vicar-Apostolic...
Fr Conor Harper SJ, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of John Sullivan SJ, last weekend preached at Farm Street Church to mark the anniversary of his death in 1933.  Bl John Sullivan was first received into the Church at Farm St in 1896 by Fr John Gavan SJ.Lent is the time of the year when Christians of all denominations observe a time of prayer and penance in preparation for the great feast of Easter when we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.We are invited to reflect on the great...
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595), whose feast day is celebrated 21 February, is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised in 1970. The youngest of eight children of Norfolk gentry, Southwell was sent to Douai in 1576, where he studied at the French Jesuit College of Anchin. In 1578, he set off on foot to Rome, with the intention of becoming a Jesuit. Although he was at first denied entry to the novitiate, he was eventually admitted to the probation house at Sant’ Andrea on 17...

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