Relics

Photograph of a white man wearing a skull cap
In 2018, shortly before the final closure of Heythrop, a Jesuit-run college of the University of London, some very special items arrived at the Jesuits in Britain Archives: a quill, collar, scarlet skullcap and cardinal’s biretta, all of which had belonged to John Henry Newman (1801-1890). It is not known how the items came to be at Heythrop but they had, for some time, been living in a desk drawer in the librarian’s office. With the closure of the college imminent, the Archives were selected...
How bleedeth burning love online exhibition live now text in orange on a dark blue background with faded image of nine men encircling title
On 1 March 2021 the virtual relic exhibition, How bleedeth burning love, launched. This was a very exciting, and by then long anticipated, moment. I’m very pleased with the reception it has had so far. This blog post is a brief reflection on how the exhibition came to be though looking back it seems a blur of frequent meetings and to and froing with outlined texts.Initially, when an exhibition on relics had first been suggested back in 2019, a physical exhibition was planned, which would have...
Veneration of the English and Welsh Martyrs of the Reformation began almost as soon as the persecution of Catholics started. It is with thanks to various individuals: those who witnessed executions and smuggled relics to safety, those who compiled catalogues of those that died for their faith, and those that championed the cause of the Martyrs in the 19th century when the Catholic hierarchy was re-established, that the Catholic men and women, lay and religious, who died for their faith during...
Since 2015, the Jesuits in Britain Archives have held an annual open day in November for the Jesuit community and staff to coincide with the Explore Your Archive launch week. Explore Your Archive is an Archives and Records Association tool for public and private organisations across the UK and Ireland to showcase hidden gems stored in their collections. Over the years we have put on displays focussing on various themes, such as ArchI’ve Explored, which aimed to introduce the wide range of...
R/50 contains 60 relics of saints of the early church, pieces from the cross, the table of the last supper, and the column of flagellation of Christ
In this blog post Jonathan Roche, a PhD student who undertook work experience in the Jesuits in Britain Archives, gives an account of his work cataloguing the relics. The Jesuits in Britain Archive holds a large, previously uncatalogued collection of relics and associated items. Over the past few months I have spent two to three days a week working on them, examining each in turn to prepare a detailed list for the archivist. Relics are not usually found in archives, but then Jesuits in...
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...
Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger. Commons Wikipedia
The Curator of the Collections at Stonyhurst College will be helping to launch a major exhibition in Washington DC this week, on the life and legacy of St Thomas More. More than 60 relics and artefacts will be on display at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine for the exhibition entitled God’s Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More. Between now and the end of March 2017, it will aim to bring to life the courageous witness of the Catholic martyr whom Pope John Paul II declared...
Image of a relic of the True Cross
The Jesuits in Britain Archives hold perhaps hundreds of relics, authenticated and non-authenticated, wrapped up in tiny parcels or housed in reliquaries of varying size, style and ornamentation. A relic usually consists of the physical remains of a venerated person or saint, or personal effects preserved so that the individual may be venerated. The relics held here range from teeth and small bones to blood soaked linen, rocks taken from holy places to a piece of rope from the hurdle that took...
The Curator of Stonyhurst College will be sharing centuries of Catholic history when she gives the second annual lecture of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom on 10 September. Jan Graffius will address: 'Saving the English Martyrs - How Catholic families preserved relics from Becket to Plunkett'.“The lecture will focus on the English relics entrusted to the Jesuits and St Omers by various Catholic families,” says Jan. “It will concentrate on the role of recusant...