History

Photo of a portrait of Fr Lester
One of my main tasks since starting in my position as Archives Assistant at the Jesuits in Britain Archives in September 2016 has been cataloguing the Osterley Papers.Campion House at Osterley belonged to the Society for the best part of 90 years, and for most of that time it ran as a college with the stated aim of saving late vocations.  It accepted men who felt they might have a vocation but whose education was insufficient or too long ago, and brought them up to scratch academically,...
Black ink sketch of a scribe in a busy library setting
Delving once more into the amazing treasure trove that is the Blandyke Papers (for information on the origins of this remarkable resource see our 2014 Christmas blog post) we wish to share the beginning of the editorial message of the 1928 Christmas number of the Blandyke Papers, which reads:It is our pleasant duty at this season of high festivity to offer to all and sundry the age-old greeting of a merry and a joyous Christmastide. We make no pretence of saying something new. However ambitious...
On 29 December the Jesuits in Britain Archives once again opened their doors to give staff and community members a glimpse at some of the treasures held within the Archives as part of The National Archives’ annual Explore Your Archives campaign. This year we decided to feature some of the items we had showcased in our ‘From the Archives’ blog posts, so that the items could be seen first-hand. Among the items on display were the relics of St Claude La Colombiere...
The last few weeks has seen some physical changes to the Jesuits in Britain Archives. One of the goals identified in the Development Plan for the Archives 2014-2019 was the restructuring of the archives to increase storage capacity and better utilise the space to meet the archives’ aims of collecting, preserving and making available records concerning the Jesuits in Britain. The Archives were almost at full capacity and improved storage, for example by having shelves that fit...
Portrait picture of St Claude
As this week sees the relics of St Claude La Colombiere SJ and St Margaret Mary Alacoque visiting Farm Street Church it seemed appropriate to share what the Jesuits in Britain Archives holds in relation to this Jesuit. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange to view these items. The antiquarian book collection contains 6 volumes of “Sermons prêchez devant Son Altesse Roiale madame la duchesse d'York, par le R. P. Claude La Colombiere, de la Compagnie de Jesus...
  On 25 October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonized 40 martyrs of the English Reformation. Among those were 6 welsh priests, religious and lay people, whose suffering we remember on their feast day on the anniversary of their canonization.    Richard Gwyn:Gwyn was born in Montgomeryshire c1537. After a time at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and then Douai, he returned to Wales and became a teacher in Wrexham. There he married his wife Catherine and they had 3 surviving...
Picture showing open log book entry with a small card menu inserted.
In order to find the answer to a recent enquiry the archive team has been occupied with looking through the various log books for the Farm Street community. The earliest log book dates to 1859, at which point the community lived at Hill Street before moving to Mount Street in 1868, and the latest to 1988. There are 9 volumes in total.It may be prudent to share this explanation of the title ‘Minister’:‘Father Minister’ was, of course, a title, not a name. The minister is...
Adolfo Nicholas SJ (right) with Pope Francis
The next superior general of the Society of Jesus, the thirtieth successor of St Ignatius, will be elected by the General Congregation convening in Rome on 2 October. It is just the thirty-sixth in our 476-year history and will include provincials and elected representatives from each province, the number depending on its size. For the first time, brothers, who are not ordained, will participate in the election. From Britain, the provincial, Father Dermot Preston, is joined by Father Damian...
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Saint Ignatius Loyola didn’t like meetings. More accurately, living in an age of slow and dangerous travel, he felt that frequent international meetings risked disrupting the work that Jesuits would be doing more locally. So rather than having regular general chapters, like the older religious orders, he stipulated that the Society of Jesus would only summon a General Congregation when a General Superior had died, and it was necessary to elect his successor, or “when it is necessary...
Until 31 March next year, the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington is hosting a unique exhibition, God’s Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More, which will showcase over 60 artefacts, most of which come from Stonyhurst College. The objects on display include a first folio by William Shakespeare, a hat owned by More, a chasuble embroidered by Katherine of Aragon, and relics of More and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, who was executed for treason 2...

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