The Jesuit Institute and Jesuits in Britain
Jesuit schools exist to promote improvement in learning and living for the greater glory of God:
Finding God in All Things: A Jesuit school recognises that every aspect of its work can affirm the goodness and presence of God.
Caring for the individual: A Jesuit school focuses on the all-round formation of each person.
Showing love in deeds: A Jesuit school is characterised by generosity in service to others, particularly where human dignity is threatened.
Building Christian community: A Jesuit school fosters a faith commitment to Christ and prepares students for a fuller participation in the life of the Church.
Engaging with the wider world: A Jesuit school helps students to be sensitive to the strengths and weaknesses in contemporary society and to witness Christ’s presence in that society.
Encouraging excellence: A Jesuit school is distinguished for its academic, religious and pastoral provision, through which it encourages the fullest possible development of talents.
Co-operating in Jesuit mission: A Jesuit school works in co-operation with other Jesuit schools and ministries in the light of the apostolic and educational aims of the Society of Jesus.
ABOUT OUR COLLEGE SAINTS
“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”
As Catholics we look to the lives of certain Saints as examples to us for Godly living. We remember them as ordinary people who lead extraordinary lives to the service of God and others. As a Jesuit school we look particularly to the life of St. Ignatius, and to the lives of those of followed His understanding as members of the Society of Jesus.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, also known as Ignacio (Íñigo) López de Loyola, was the principal founder, and first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church professing direct service to the Pope in terms of mission. Members of the order are called Jesuits.The compiler of the Spiritual Exercises and a gifted spiritual director, Ignatius has been described by Pope Benedict XVI as being “above all a man of God, who gave the first place of his life to God…a man of profound prayer.” He actively resisted the break up of the Church through the Protestant Reformation and promoted the subsequent Catholic Reformation. He was beatified and then canonized to receive the title of Saint on March 12, 1622. His feast day is July 31, celebrated annually.
A BRIEF HISTORY
St. Ignatius of Loyola, was born in the Basque Country of Northern Spain to parents of distinguished families in that area. He was the youngest of 13 children and was called was called Iñigo. At the age of 15, he served as a page in the court of a local nobleman and later embraced a military career and became a valiant soldier.
Wounded in battle by a cannonball, which broke one leg and injured the other, he was taken prisoner by the French, who set his leg and eventually allowed him to go home to Loyola. He spent his time recuperating at the home of his brother. Confined to his sick bed, he was given pious books to read, which he grudgingly accepted. To his surprise, he enjoyed them and began to dream of becoming a “knight for Christ”, pursuing the ideals of St. Francis and St. Dominic. He eventually promised to devote his life to being a knight for St. Peter if he recovered, which he did after nine months of convalescence.
Ignatius noticed that after doing good deeds for the Lord, he felt peaceful, but when he thought of being a successful soldier or of impressing a beautiful woman where he had initially felt enthused, he later felt dry. Through this process of discernment, Ignatius was able to recognize that God was leading him to follow a path of service. Out of this experience he wrote his famous Spiritual Exercises.
After travelling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his degree at the age of 43. Many initially hated St. Ignatius because of his humble and austere lifestyle. Despite this, he attracted many followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started his order, The Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. He travelled to Europe and the Holy Land, then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death. He died at the age of 65.
ABOUT OUR CLASS SAINTS
Each class in the College is named after a Jesuit priest from England and Wales who was martyred.
ST EDMUND ARROWSMITH
Edmund Arrowsmith was born at Hadock in Lancashire, the son of a Catholic yeoman farmer. At the age of 20, he crossed the Channel to study at the English College at Douai. There he was ordained priest and immediately set out to return to his native country to teach and celebrate Mass in secret for the many Catholic families of his native Lancashire.
Edmund joined the Jesuits in 1624 and, after completing his Noviceship at Clerkenwell, he returned north. In 1628, he was betrayed to the priest-hunters and was eventually captured and taken to Lancaster Castle. He refused to deny his faith and so accept their offers to spare his life and, on being denied the opportunity to defend his beliefs in public debate, said, “I will defend it with my blood.”
Edmund Arrowsmith was hung, drawn and quartered, and his head placed on a spike on John of Gaunt’s Tower, on 28th August 1628.
ST EDMUND CAMPION
Edmund Campion was a Londoner and blessed with an excellent mind that won him a scholarship to Oxford University. Though born a Catholic, Campion was uncertain of his religious allegiance and was ordained deacon in the Church of England in 1569 and then went to Dublin to help found the University there.
Returning to his Catholic roots he joined the English College at Douai and shortly afterwards entered the Society of Jesus in Rome and went on to teach in Prague. With Robert Persons SJ, Campion was asked to return to England to start a Catholic Mission to minister to the beleagured Catholic citizens and to begin the restoration of the Old Faith.
Campion worked in many parts of the country, avoiding capture and attracting many by his bravery and eloquent defence of Catholicism. Finally, however, he was taken prisoner at Lyford Grange in Berkshire and imprisoned in the Tower of London. After weeks of torture, bribery, intimidation and theological dispute, Campion was sent for trial at Westminster Hall and, despite a brilliant defence, was condemned for treason. He retorted, “In condemning us you condemn all your own ancestors, all the ancient priests, bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints. For what we have taught …did they not uniformly teach?” With two other Jesuits, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 1st December 1581.
ST THOMAS GARNET
Thomas Garnet was a Londoner, born at Southwark and educated at Horsham Grammar School. He came from a defiantly Catholic family – his father, a Fellow of Balliol College Oxford, was imprisoned for being a Catholic and his uncle was the famous Fr Henry Garnet SJ, Superior of the Jesuits in England, martyred in 1606.
Thomas first became a page in the Catholic household of Lord William Howard and then went to the Jesuit College of St Omer in the Netherlands. From St Omer’s, Thomas entered the English College at Valladolid in Spain and was ordained priest in 1599. Like others before him, he immediately returned to England to “recover souls which had gone astray and were in error as to the knowledge of the true Catholic Church.”
Thomas Garnet was attracted to the Society of Jesus because of the contempt in which so many people held it – and, before starting his Noviceship, was promptly caught up in the Gunpowder Plot and arrested and questioned about his uncle’s suspected involvement. Having proved his innocence, he was banished only to return in 1607. Garnet was betrayed and taken to Newgate Gaol in London, tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to death for being a Catholic priest and for refusing allegiance to the King in matters of faith. Before a crowd of some thousand people at Tyburn on 23rd June 1608, he asked forgiveness for those who had betrayed and condemned him, and was hanged.
ST DAVID LEWIS
David Lewis was born in Monmouthshire of a Protestant father and Catholic mother. Educated at Abergaveny Grammar School and the Middle Temple in London, he went to France and became a Catholic in Paris in 1635. Next he began studies at the English College Rome and was ordained priest in 1642. Following his ordination he joined the Jesuits and, after a brief spell as Spiritual Father to the students of the English College, returned at his own urgent request to Wales.
For 31 years, David Lewis, also using the alias Charles Baker, worked from the Jesuit headquarters at Cwm, a tiny hamlet safe from the priest-hunters. His work among the ordinary people of Wales earned him the title Father of the Poor. In the uproar following the Titus Oates plot, Lewis and many of his companions were arrested and taken to London for questioning. He was returned to Wales, to Usk, for execution but, knowing the high regard in which he was held by the local people, the hangman refused to execute him and fled. The crowd stoned a convict who was offered his freedom if he would do the job and finally a blacksmith was bribed to carry out the sentence.
Before his death, Lewis made an eloquent speech: My religion is the Roman Catholic; in it I have lived above these forty years; in it I now die, an so fixedly die that, if all the good things in this world were offered me to renounce it, all should not remove me one hair’s breadth from my Roman Catholic faith; A Roman Catholic I am; a Roman Catholic priest I am; a Roman Catholic priest of that religious order called the Society of Jesus I am; and I bless God who first called me.” He was martyred at Usk on 27h August 1679 and is buried there.
BLESSED FRANCIS PAGE
Francis Page was born in Antwerp but was from a Middlesex family and grew up there, studying law in London. In 1600 he was ordained priest at the English College Douai and returned to England living the dangerous life of a Catholic priest moving from secret location to hiding-hole. He narrowly escaped capture while saying Mass at the home of Anne Line, who was taken and martyred. Before long, however, Page was betrayed by discontented Catholics to Sir John Popham, Lord Chief Justice to Queen Elizabeth I. He was tried and found guilty of entering the Kingdom as a Catholic priest.
While awaiting execution in the Tower of London, Francis Page asked to be admitted to the Society of Jesus and wrote out his Vows as a Jesuit before being dragged out on the hurdle to Tyburn. This sheet of paper, dated the day he died 20th April 1602, is kept at St Ignatius College Enfield, on loan from the Jesuit Archive. A witness spoke of his bravery as he was taken to execution: “He went to the hurdle, not as a slave, but as a commander.” “The Sheriff sent, bidding him prepare for his execution, as the hour was now at hand. This message filled him with new joy so that he went out to meet his death with as much cheerfulness as if he was going to a feast.”
When Francis Page died there were 31 Jesuit priests in England, seven of whom were in prison awaiting execution for their faith.
ST ROBERT SOUTHWELL
Robert Southwell was born into a recusant family in Norfolk and was educated by Jesuits at the English College at Douai and later in Paris. At first, he was refused entry to the Society of Jesus because at 17 he was considered too young, but Robert walked to Rome as a protest of his determination and was accepted there in 1578. While pursuing a glittering academic career in charge of studies at the English College Rome, he was ordained in 1584 and, against the preference of the authorities, insisted on following his pupils to the dangerous English Mission.
On reaching London he narrowly escaped capture and worked secretly from a house in the Strand for the next seven years. During this time he continued his scholarship and wrote poems and essays that were published and widely read and admired. Southwell was betrayed in 1592 and arrested by the infamous Topcliffe who imprisoned and tortured him in the Tower of London.
After three years of brutal treatment, Southwell appealed either to be released or tried, and so was brought before to trial at Westminster Hall. He was condemned for being a priest. “I acknowledge that I am a priest, I thank God most highly for it, and of the Society of Jesus. I commend into the hands of almighty God my poor country, desiring Him for his infinite mercy’s sake, to reduce it to such perfect insight, knowledge and understanding of his truth that they may learn to praise and glorify God, and gain their souls’ health and eternal salvation.” So shocked was the crowd as the head of this learned and gentle man was hacked off that no one raised the usual cry of “Traitor!”. Southwell was 33 when he died.
Each class saint is honoured in an annual mass which is celebrated amongst the current house members. The banners shown are hung in the College chapel.