Abstracts for papers are available as a single file here.

Dr Adam Marks

The Scots Colleges as vehicles for International Politics

Throughout their lifetimes the various colleges representing Scotland have served a purpose far broader than simply being Scottish in their identity or Colleges in their function. Despite education being their raison d’être the system of colleges across France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries and Spain became a sophisticated network through which diplomacy and politics were conducted. The conflicts that engulfed Europe from 1618 onwards provided ample opportunity for this newly developed network to lay out an alternative and Catholic vision of the newly formed British-Stuart state. The confirmation that domestic Catholic life could continue through the use of missionaries provided a base from which Scots college alumni could build, allowing them to directly influence not only the personal religious life, but even the government of Scotland. The outbreak of the Civil Wars in 1638 changed this and emphasised the Stuart outlook of the college network. The politics of the colleges became increasingly bound to the dynasty over the latter part of the century as the Scots Colleges became associated with the Jacobite cause. My analysis of the colleges from their beginnings to the modern day will seek to emphasise the political links between the English, Scottish and Irish colleges whilst focusing on the role of the Scots colleges in politics. Throughout their existence the specific aims of those associated with the colleges evolved but they never lost an international perspective. This paper will argue that it is only after moving beyond an analysis of the religious education provided by the colleges that it is possible to re-integrate the European networks they created into our broader understanding of Scotland, England and Ireland’s history.

Dr Aurélien Girard

The Maronite College in Rome (early modern period)

The Maronite College was founded in Rome in 1584, on the model of others national colleges created in Rome in the second part of the 16th century. The introduction of the lecture will deal with the Maronite and Lebanese historiography on the subject, which has contributed to isolate the College from the history of others colleges and from the global roman politics on that matter. I’ll give also a large perspective on the college, until 21st century, since the college still exists today. But my lecture will be focused on the early-modern period. In the first part, I’ll present the context of foundation, the roman catholic mission in the Near East and the link with others colleges. My presentation will include material aspects, as the buildings, the church, the strategic place in Rome. To observe the evolution of the institution, it is very interesting to compare the two versions of the college rules (1585 and 1732). Obviously, the relationships with the papacy, the disaster of Propaganda, the Jesuit order and the maronite patriarchate will be an important point. The second part deals with the staff and students of the college. We can present a sociology of the 280 maronite students received by the institution between 1584 and 1788. For the young Maronites, the life in Rome was quite difficult, they suffer of diseases : the Lebanese authorities often sent reproaches to the Jesuit fathers. A special focus will be given on the studies in Rome, in the Maronite College, but also in the Roman College. In the third part, I’ll discuss the links between this roman college and the mutations of the maronite community in the Near East. The Maronite college was the main gate in Europe for the Maronites: some oriental Catholics stayed in Europe, with great academic career. We can study relationships between the College with the maronite diaspora on one hand, and with the Republic of Letters in the other hand (reputation of the library for the manuscripts, the college as a place to recruit a teacher of oriental languages etc.).

Dr Christopher Korten

The Lust for Lucre: a financial assessment of the Irish College, 1772-1826

At the dissolution of the Society of Jesus in 1773 the Irish College in Rome underwent a radical change in its administration as well as its theological ethos. These have been discussed in some detail elsewhere[1]; but there were also changes of a financial nature, hitherto untold. This paper will discuss the financial history of the College, noting meaningful entries, such as salaries and legacy payments to the Stuarts, as well as certain types of expenses and incomes, including the important revenue of the College vineyard. Looking at the bigger picture, this paper will ask how the financials can assist in understanding the general history of the Irish College during this period. These documents reveal (covetous) motivations and nuances to certain relationships, which standard correspondence does not always bring to light. Contractors and other personal hired by the College at times depict overlapping associations and interests, at once personal and financial. The period of suppression following the French invasion in 1798 reveals even more poignantly the true intentions of some who were associated with the College.

Dr Ciaran O’Neill

Blandyke: continental legacies in nineteenth-century Irish elite education.

Blandyke: A vacation day at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, 1794 –.

Blandeques: a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in northern France.

In the nineteenth century the wealthiest Catholic families sent their sons and daughters to a network of prestigious Catholic intermediate schools across England, and Western Europe. Drawing on comprehensive archival research this paper will explore continental legacies in Irish elite education in three main ways. First, it will demonstrate the continuities within Irish Catholic elite education by analysing the flow of Irish boys to the repatriated English Catholic schools at Stonyhurst, Downside and Oscott throughout the nineteenth century. Secondly it will look at the declining tradition of Irish Catholic elite schooling on the continent in the same period. Lastly, it will argue that the dominance of French orders in Irish female education represents an alternative but important strand of Irish education that might be revisited in this context.

Dr Ciaran O’Scea

The Irish colleges in Spain, the Old English Jesuits and their contribution to Irish unity and disunity

Defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 marked a new beginning in Hispano-Irish relations, which was characterised by the promotion on the part of the Spanish crown of military recruitment to its armed forces, the fostering of Irish immigrant communities in its dominions and the creation of a network of Irish colleges dedicated to the formation of clerics for the Irish mission. Defeat at the end of the Nine Years also put an end to any cooperation between the Gaelic Irish and the Old English, and transferred their factional rivalries to the field of the patronage of the Irish colleges in Spanish dominions. Traditionally, the study of the inter-Irish factional struggles such as those at Salamanca (1604-08) and Santiago de Compostela (1611-18) have seen as unedifying negative contributions to Irish unity by Irish nationalist historians. In this paper I propose to move away from the avoidance of this area by examining the role of these Gaelic Irish – Old English disputes to the formation an Irish exile identity by placing them more firmly in the context of the relationship of these colleges to the Spanish crown. At the same time I intend to show how patronage networks at the Spanish court and socio-political events in early-seventeenth century Spain directly influenced the outcome of these struggles, and helped mould the formation of an Irish Catholic ‘civility’ for Spanish audiences.

Federico Zuliani

The case of the Colleges for Scandinavians: between ill-fated plans and short-lasting achievement

My paper plans to caste some light on the little known case of Roman Catholic colleges devoted to Scandinavian students in the 16th and 17th centuries. Firstly, I will deal with the several plans drafted during the 16th century when the hopes for the Reconversion of Scandinavia to Catholicism were still strong and several young Scandinavian Catholics had already reached Catholic institutions, mainly in Germany and the Netherlands, in order to be accepted as students. Such plans included both colleges meant for students coming from only one Scandinavian Kingdom (Denmark-Norway or Sweden-Finland) as well as from both. Secondly, I will focus on those schools that were actually open, the most significant case being the Jesuit Seminarium Pontificium of Braunsberg, today Braniewo, in Northern Poland (other cases taken in exam will be the Jesuit colleges of Olomouc, Dorpat and Vilnius, with some references also to the Ferdinandeum in Graz, the Clementinum in Prague and the Germanicum in Rome). Open in 1578 under the auspices of Norwegian Jesuit Father Laurids Nilssøn (the champion of Catholic Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia) the college of Braunsberg – which had 3/4 of its student body originally from Scandinavia – very soon come to be known as Collegium Suecum. Thus it was open to both Catholic and non-Catholic students, Braunsberg became the main educational centre for Scandinavian Catholics and a significant source for the recruitment of missionaries. Even a printing room was opened with the aim to publish Counter-Reformation literature both in Latin and in Scandinavian languages. Because of its growing importance and influence (on the Continent as well as in Scandinavia) Braunsberg, as well as the majority of other colleges, was sacked by Swedish troops during the Thirty Years’ War and never reopened.

Frédéric Richard-Maupillier

Le monastère et collège de Dieulouard au XVIIIème siècle

Les Bénédictins anglais en s’installant à Dieulouard en 1608 fondèrent un établissement qui devait etre le siège de la future congrégation anglaise, loin de l’influence espagnole. Rien ne prédestinait Dieulouard a assurer l’accueil d’étudiants. Les Bénédictins anglais bénéficiaient déjà du célèbre collège de Douai, puis ensuite de l’établissement de Saint Edmond à Paris.

Ce n’est que dans la seconde moitié du XVIIème siècle que les archives du monastère de Dieulouard mentionnent des pensionnaires et élèves. Et ce alors même que le monastère connaissait un déclin lié aux terribles guerres ayant ravagé la Lorraine et à sa situation géographique particulière. Dieulouard, petite ville située loin des cotes anglaises, se trouvait dans une enclave du royaume de France (l’évêché de Verdun) au cœur du duché de Lorraine , dans une région où les exilés anglais furent peu nombreux. Dieulouard a subi en permanence la double influence du royaume d’Angleterre et du duché de Lorraine. D’une certaine manière la création d’une école destinée à former de jeunes garçons anglais freina le déclin de l’établissement. L’activité se développa tant qu’elle nécessita la construction d’un nouveau bâtiment en 1704,   dont les plans ont été conservés. A partir de cette date Dieulouard accueillit en permanence une demi-douzaine de jeunes garçons. En 1779 Dieulouard reçut même l’autorisation de créer un collège. L’école , source de revenus non négligeable, fut le témoignage frappant de l’influence des moines de Dieulouard dans la communauté catholique d’Angleterre et chez les exilés. Les moines envoyés en mission entretenaient dans le Lancashire ou le Yorkshire les contacts avec les familles catholiques, ces mêmes familles qui envoyaient des dons, des élèves et des novices. Les   missions en Angleterre ont maintenu dans le pays le prestige de Dieulouard . Le monastère fut notamment relation avec le duc de Beaufort ou les sires de Throckmorton. Mais Dieulouard, fut aussi un foyer d’attraction pour les exilés anglais sur le continent, notamment les Jacobites comme Lord Carryl ou Lord Ailesbury à Bruxelles, bienfaiteurs du monastère.

Iida Saarinen

‘Belonging’ in a Roman Catholic Seminary in the Nineteenth Century: A Prosopographical Study of Students and Social Identities at ‘Scots College, Paris’, 1793-1878

My PhD thesis investigates the identifications and lives of individuals who aimed to become Roman Catholic secular priests, were funded by the Scottish Mission, and completed some of their studies in any of the affiliated French educational establishments between 1793 and 1878. These institutions can be collectively understood as the continuation of ‘Scots College, Paris’ which did not, in its original form, survive the French Revolution. I am arguing that the experience of a senior seminary in post-Revolution France for the young men was an incredibly formative experience, regardless of whether they reached their intended professional goal or not. By taking the prosopographical approach, I will be able to discover the key details of the institutions involved as well as gather and statistically analyse the lives of approximately 220 individuals who went through this study experience abroad in their teens and early twenties, far from home, but under the great transnational umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church and the paternal care of the Scottish Mission. By paying attention to the sample individuals in particular, but seminarians in general, I intend to establish the ways in which these individuals negotiated their sense of belonging, their social identities, in this peculiar context. I am particularly exploring the great themes of national sense of belonging abroad and in a period of great political instability, class and professional identity of priests-to-be, and gender identity of growing boys in all-male institutions.

Dr James E. Kelly

Expat Brothers and Sisters in Christ? English women religious, the exile male colleges and British identity in the Counter-Reformation

In 1598, the first English convent was established in Brussels and was to be followed by a further 21 establishments across Flanders and France with more than 4,000 women entering them over 200 years. Most were enclosed convents, in theory cut off from the outside world. However, in practice the nuns were not isolated and their contacts and networks spread widely. These contacts included other Catholic exile institutions. In some instances, there were English colleges located nearby, such as in Paris, where three communities of English women religious shared the city with a college for secular clergy. This paper seeks to explore how much these male and female English institutions mixed. Were they concentrated only on their own survival or were male and female expressions of the Counter-Reformation bound by national interest? In somewhere like Lisbon – where the Bridgettine community and the College of Ss Peter and Paul were geographically separated from the majority of their fellow countrymen and women in exile – was the need for collaboration and shared networks a vital means of survival? Were colleges run by religious orders more sympathetic towards women religious than those for secular clergy? The paper will also examine whether Catholic identity overrode national interests, asking whether a British Catholic identity was forming in the Catholic dispora. For example, did the English women religious in Lisbon have links to the Irish College in the same city? Did the English Augustinians in Paris work in collaboration with the Scots College, which was housed in an adjoining building? By answering such questions, this paper will reveal whether gender and national boundaries were overridden for the sake of Catholic survival.

Janet Graffius

St Omers College; Education, Exile and Mission

The English Jesuit College was founded in St-Omer, in the Spanish Netherlands, by Robert Persons sj in August 1593 to provide a Catholic education for English boys, at that time proscribed in their native land. It was a unique institution- a Jesuit fee-paying boarding college, at a time when Jesuit secondary education was universally free and aimed at day pupils. Persons’ experience as a missionary priest in England in 1580 and 1581 convinced him that the Catholic faith was in danger of extinction unless steps were taken to educate the rising generation. Thus began a hugely influential experiment in Jesuit education, which has continued up to the present day at Stonyhurst College. This paper will examine the lives of the boys at the College, and its significance for the recusant community, both in England and in exile, through the manuscripts, printed books and material artefacts gathered by the College at St-Omer, much of which has survived, and which constitute a remarkable and important study resource. It will, in particular, examine the significance of the document known as the Customs Book of 1617. The Customs Book, which has never been published in its entirety, is a most significant document both for the study of Early Modern Catholicism and the life of a Jesuit College in exile, providing, as it does, a unique template for 17th century Catholic education and spirituality, and a rare insight into the daily life of a community in exile.

Joe McDonnell

The art and architecture of the two Irish Colleges in Paris

On 16 June 1733 the French Prime Minister, Cardinal De Fleury laid the foundation stone of a range of buildings, including a chapel, designed by the architect Pierre Boscry (1700-81) in the old College des Lombards; which had been given to the Irish community by Louis XIV in 1677. Boscry, one of the most innovative architects of his day, had recently returned from  italy imbued with the spirit of the baroque. The result can be seen in the facade of the new College chapel (finished 1738) which was inspired by Bernini’s highly influential church of S. Andrea al Quirinale for the Jesuit novices in Rome, but adapted by Boscry to French taste under the influence of the rococo style, then at its height in Paris. This unique building, now a national monunent, is by far the most important architectural legacy of all the English-speaking  Continental colleges in France. Over thirty years later in 1767, due to student expansion, it was decided to build a second Irish College. The chosen architect was then the little known Francois Gabriel Belanger (1744-1818), then at the beginning of an illustrious career. His work on the facade of the College des Irlandais marks the beginning of a refined Neoclassical style which became his hallmark;  but perhaps his most lasting legacy for  visitors arriving at the College is the sight of the elegant portal beneath  the crowned harp of Ireland.

Dr John McCafferty

The Wadding library of St. Isidore’s College, Rome, 1622-1700

The Library of the Franciscan community at St. Isidore’s Rome contains over 4,000 pre-1700 books, the vast majority of which can be shown to have been deposited there prior to 1800. Following an intensive study of the titles, content, marginalia and provenance marks on the volumes and the establishment of a database of over 10,000 images, this paper proposes to show that the acquisition strategy was planned and designed to support an Irish community which sought to establish definitive histories of the Order and of its most prominent theologian, Duns Scotus. Isidore’s was a house of books – both in terms of possession and of authorship – and under Luke Wadding it became an intellectual showcase of the Observant Franciscan order as a whole. This Hispanophone Irish community in Rome pursued an intellectual agenda that, it will be argued, stood at a right angle to the Irish missionary and evangelical focus of St. Anthony’s, Louvain, of which it was, in many respects, a daughter house. Nonetheless inscriptions show that Irish identity was central to this community which had extensive dealings with the curial congregations and considerable influence over ecclesiastical affairs at home. The library holdings also offer valuable evidence for the transmission and circulation of books within the Irish province and of the speed at which volumes moved across Europe. Finally, as a number of individuals left their names on multiple volumes, there will be some reflection on the interests and concerns of particular friars.

Dr Justin Dolan Stover

The transformation of the Irish College, Paris: war, education, and administration, 1870-1918

The Irish College, Paris, was plunged into a new age following the downfall of the Second Empire. The following forty years saw the College forced into modernity; friction between College administrators and Irish bishops over appointments, finances, and student admission made this a difficult task. This internal development was affected in no small part by broader national and international events. The College served as an ambulance militaire during the Franco-Prussian War, records of which provide an intimate view of the inter-workings of one of the amateur hospitals that dotted Paris during the period. The diary of entrenched College Administrator, Charles Ouin-la-Croix, illustrates the impact of war within the Latin Quarter, noting the movements of Parisian Communards as they attempted to liquidate College property. The administrative transformation of the College following the foundation of the Third Republic was similarly traumatic. A shift in management from one man, a French representative appointed by the archbishop of Paris, to le Bureau gratuit allowed the College to survive as a distinct Irish institution. The Great War also impacted the workings of the Irish College. With its students absent between 1914 and 1918, the College served as a refuge for displaced nuns and local Parisians. As in 1871, it fell within range of German artillery. This paper will detail the administrative, financial, educational and, at times, military aspects of the Irish College, Paris, during this turbulent and formative period. It draws heavily from primary College sources held at the Old Library and Archive at le Centre Culturel Irlandais where the author held a fellowship in 2010.

Dr Liam Chambers

Books, reading and libraries at the Irish Colleges, Paris, 1676-1794

In mid-July 1794, Citoyen Bigot and two assistants spent six days at the Irish Collège des Lombards on rue des Carmes in Paris carefully listing just over 2,000 books found in the apartments of three senior Irish priests. This paper considers the books listed and asks whether they constituted three personal collections or the library of one (perhaps even both) of the Irish Colleges in the French capital. While these colleges were the most significant institutions of their kind on the eve of the French Revolution, we know almost nothing of their ancien régime libraries. Therefore, the paper begins with a very brief outline of the college libraries before 1789, before moving on to examine the lists of books found in 1794. The paper examines the books listed by physical size and date of publication. It also discusses the content of the lists and pays particular attention to works of Irish interest and to those books which illustrate interaction with the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. While it is not possible to determine with certainly whether the books constituted the college library (or colleges’ libraries), the paper argues that this is a distinct possibility and that, in any case, the lists point to the intellectual engagement of the Irish Colleges in Paris before 1789.

Dr Marc Caball

Creating an Irish identity: print, culture and the Irish Franciscans of Louvain

This paper focuses on the cultural significance of St Anthony’s College in the decade subsequent to its establishment in 1607. It is argued that the College’s programme of printing devotional material in Irish was both a manifestation of counter-reformation zeal and a strategic expression of Gaelic cultural dynamism and integrity in a European context. The publication of the Gaelic catechism entitled An Teagasg Críosdaidhe, first in Antwerp in 1611 under the auspices of the Irish Franciscans of St Anthony’s, and reprinted by the friars themselves in 1614/5 using their own hand press at Louvain, inaugurated what was essentially a highly ambitious process of Gaelic cultural reinvention whose resonances and implications were simultaneously political, literary and religious. Ironically, a not dissimilar, but considerably less effective, programme of cultural realignment had been attempted by the Gaelic reformer, Uilliam Ó Domhnuill, by means of his printed Irish translations of the New Testament (1601/2) and the Book of Common Prayer (1608). The paper will present a comparison between Ó Domhnuill and the Franciscan Giolla Brighde Ó hEódhusa which will seek to highlight the importance of indigenous cultural affiliation within the broader sectarian agendas of both Gaelic Irishmen. If neither a Gaelic Protestant print culture nor a Gaelic Catholic print culture can be said to have taken root in the seventeenth century, the cultural vision embodied in the work of Ó hEódhusa triumphed at the expense of a putative Gaelic Protestantism. The paper will evaluate the reasons which underpinned the success of Ó hEódhusa’s Gaelic Franciscan presentation of an Irish cultural identity.

Dr Matteo Binasco

‘Collegium Hibernorum de Urbe’: the Irish College of Rome and its struggle for survival in the first fifty years of its existence, 1628-1678’

The aim of this paper is to provide a new analysis and assessment of the foundational process of the Irish College in Rome in the seventeenth century. By drawing on the sources of the seminary and of other Roman archives, the paper will seek to focus on the difficulties faced by the college to establish and develop into a proper institution for missionary training. In particular the paper will seek to highlight the difficulties such as the dearth of adequate financial resources and the lack of discipline among the student body which particularly affected the college during the first fifty years of its existence. Another crucial aspect which the paper will cover is the different college’s management strategy which was carried out by the Irish rectors and the Italian rectors. All these issues will be used as a avenue to demonstrate how, despite being located in the epicentre of early-modern Catholicism, the Irish College of Rome was a struggling institution which faced harsh problems which, since its foundation, slowed its development and thus its capacity to develop a steady missionary network with Ireland.

Dr Michael W Dunne

Hugo Cavellus and the Intellectual Achievements of the Louvain Franciscans in the early 17th Century

It is remarkable that in a time of great national crisis that such a man as Aodh MacAingil (Hugo Cavellus, MacCaughwell,) OFM (1571-1626) should have emerged. His greatness, however, tended to become forgotten together with the downfall of many of the causes which he supported. Although a contemporary of Ussher, the name of this Archbishop of Armagh is largely forgotten in Ireland. And yet he was poet, patriot, scholar and mystic, the founder of the Irish College at Louvain, editor of the works of that subtle doctor Duns Scotus. However, MacAingil did not just edit the works of Scotus, he also commented upon them and showed his acuity of mind in both philosophy and theological reflection. This paper will examine some of his philosophical texts and seek to place him within the intellectual climate of his time.

Prof. Michael Questier

Colleges, converts and the continuities of Catholicism in post-Reformation England

This paper will look at one of the principal functions of the seminary colleges founded by English exiles in the second half of the sixteenth century. It will ask: what were those who enrolled at these colleges supposed to do once they returned to their native country and started to minister to the faithful? Within the framework provided by the powerful rhetoric of conversion which framed the founding of the seminaries at Douai and Rome, how far can the self-image of these clergy, particularly as we find it described in their accounts of themselves when they arrived at the colleges, and the way that they exercised their ministry if and when they returned to England, tell us about the nature of the separated Catholic community and its relationship to the English national Church? We might imagine that the clergy’s capacity to proselytise, in keeping with their own training and the kinds of renunciation of a conformist past which many of them had made, would have been limited. They would have been hampered by the development of the statutory legal code which inflicted severe penalties on those who decided to go into separation from the national Church. However, this paper will look at the different contemporary meanings of conversion in this context and how those meanings might influence and make possible the exercise of the seminary clergy’s vocation. It will attempt to do this with an eye to the conflicting approaches and interpretations in the current historiography of the post-Reformation Catholic community in England and Britain in the later sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries.

Prof. Míchéal Mac Craith

Irish Regular Colleges on the Continent

The general chapter of the Franciscans in Toledo in 1606 took two decisions that were to have profound implications on Irish ecclesiastical and cultural life. The first of these was the launch of a campaign to promote the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception; the second was the appointment of Flaithrí Ó Maoil Chonaire as minister provincial of the Irish Franciscans. One of Ó Maoil Chonaire’s first actions as provincial was to successfully petition Philip III of Spain for permission to open a college to train young Irish Franciscans for the priesthood in Louvain in 1607. The Franciscan campaign in favour of the Immaculate Conception brought Luke Wadding to Rome in 1618 as member of a delegation sent by Philip 111 to pressurise Paul V to define the doctrine as dogma. Remaining in Rome until his death in 1657, Wadding took over the Spanish Franciscan foundation of St. Isidore’s in 1625 on condition that he could transform it into another Irish Franciscan seminary. Despite his many commitments, he never abandoned his work on the Immaculate Conception. Given Wadding’s erroneous belief that John Duns Scotus, the medieval Franciscan theologian who best elaborated this doctrine, was Irish, Wadding had theological, Franciscan and patriotic reasons for promoting Scotism. S. Isidore’s subsequently became the leading European centre for Scotistic studies in the 17th and 18th centuries. While St. Isidore’s was the most prominent centre for Scotism, we must not forget that it was ably abetted by both St Anthony’s Louvain and the aptly named Irish Franciscan College of the Immaculate Conception in Prague, opened in 1631.

Dr Rhun Emlyn

Before the Colleges: English, Welsh and Irish Students in the New Universities of the Continent in the Fifteenth Century

By the time of the foundation of national colleges on the continent in the sixteenth century, university study was well-established with a centuries-old tradition of travelling long distances in seach of learning. Bologna and Paris were among the first and most prestigious centres of education, but by the end of the fifteenth century a number of new universities had been established across Europe; from Kraków to Lisbon, and Uppsala to Catania. Scottish students were well-travelled and their presence at the continent’s new universities has been studied by scholars such as D.E.R. Watt and R.J. Lyall, but English, Welsh and Irish students are seen as keeping mainly to the most prestigious universities, if they travelled to the continent at all. This paper will show that, in fact, students from England in particular, but also Wales and Ireland, did study in the newer universities to a greater extent than previously thought, and that their presence had a substantial impact on their native countries. The significance and role of the continental universities for these students will also be discussed, with special reference to Louvain and Cologne universities. The paper hopes to develop our understanding of the extent and nature of academic migration in the century before the colleges, and to help us to have a clearer idea of the background to the foundation of these colleges.

Stephen Hand

Debt, Discord and Decadence: Financial Irregularity and Conflict at the Irish Pastoral College Louvain (1624-1650)

From its inception, monetary problems dogged the Irish Pastoral College in Louvain. Financial mismanagement from successive college presidents, missed payments from Rome, and conflict with the various Nuncios in Flanders left the college in an almost constant state of disorder. While some students were expected to pay their own way, scholarships existed for others from various benefactors including Cardinal de la Cueva, the Archbishop of Mechelin and the Archbishop of Dublin, as well as an annual subsidy from Propaganda Fide and assistance from the Papal Nuncio in Flanders. However, these payments never seemed to be sufficient to maintain the college’s liquidity. Indeed by 1628, the college’s first president, Nicholas Aylmer had accrued a personal debt of 1,000 florins. This drew him into conflict with the Nuncio in Flanders who attempted to alleviate the college’s financial woes. Although Aylmer was successfully ousted in no small part to his mismanagement, the college’s finances did not improve in his absence. This paper will discuss the extent to which Aylmer’s experience set the stage for the pastoral college’s continuous financial problems. In doing so, it will give an insight into the constant struggle for survival of the fledgling Irish colleges in Europe in the seventeenth century.

Dr Thomas O’Connor

The Irish Colleges in their Insular and Continental Contexts

The foundation of the Irish college network on the continent follows a recognised pattern, commonly found among Protestant-governed Catholic populations and their diasporas. However, even a cursory comparison reveals important variations within the general model. Whereas the Dutch colleges, for instance, originated in a humanist moment and later assumed a counter-reformation configuration, the Irish colleges, ideologically, were full bloodedly catholic reformed from the start. A comparison with the English network is equally revealing. It began with a mass transfer of university academics to an offshore location, initially Douai. In Ireland, in contrast, there was no university schism because there was no pre-existing college and hence no ‘national’ founding ideology. In many cases, other ‘national’ college networks were resourced by the originating catholic communities they served. This ensured that the laity maintained a role in their strategy and management. The first Irish colleges, on the other hands, notably those in Spain and the Low Countries, were instruments of Spanish foreign policy. It was the Spanish government, Propaganda fide, the Jesuits and a host of foreign patrons who controlled the Irish network, a source of irritation to the Irish episcopacy under the Catholic Confederation in the 1640s and again when it began to find its feet in the second half of the eighteenth century. Particularly striking in the Irish case is the vocational function of the colleges, notably in France from the second half of the seventeenth century, whereby they provided lodging, education and networking to lay students, who were intended neither for the church nor for return to Ireland. It is a commonplace that the colleges acted as conduits for European influences into Ireland. However, they were probably more significant as a means of exiting Penal Law Ireland, especially for the ambition-stymied offspring of the better-off. The economic boom in mid eighteenth century Ireland, combined with the relaxation of anti-catholic legislation and the emergence of an organized and financially independent national episcopacy led to a fundamental shift in the government and function of the off-shore college network, which the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and the foundation of Maynooth College served to confirm and consummate.

Fr Peter Harris

Balancing the Books: The Library and Missionary History of the Royal English College of St. Alban, Valladolid

The Biblioteca of the English College, Valladolid, is the unique survival of the English Colleges abroad.  In a remarkable way it has remained practically untouched (only one volume is known to have been sold from Valladolid, which now resides in the Folger Shakespeare library), unlike its English sister colleges at Douai, Rome, Lisbon, and the other Iberian Colleges, all of whose libraries have either disappeared or suffered severe deprivations. In the light of the economic knife edge on which the College survived during its first century, and in later periods of its history, the inventory of the library and its rich collections of English and continental imprints tells a remarkable story of purchase and accession, from seminal books marked for the Jesuit “Missio Angliae” and others bearing the name of the College’s first Rector, Fr. Robert Persons, onwards to books gleaned after the expulsion of the sister colleges at Seville and Madrid. What emerges is a picture of careful assembly and singular determination to expend scarce funds and patronage with great care. The periodic inventories of the library constitute a virtual intellectual biography of the College, as do the survival of evidence in manuscript from the many regular visits to the library by Inquisitorial censors and their expurgations according to the Index of Prohibited Books. This paper will conclude with attention to the library’s “golden age” under the conscientious rectorships of Philip Perry (1768-74) and Joseph Shepherd (1775-96).

Dr Earle Havens 

An Apostolate of the Book: The Library and Literary Enterprise of the Royal English College of St. Alban, Valladolid, ca. 1589-1650

The production, circulation, and consumption of printed religious books constituted a fundamental component of the larger Catholic missionary movement in England during its formative years, whether printed in Europe, or on secret presses domestically in England. In the relative scarcity of priests and access to sacramental worship in England, the manufacture of original works of religious devotion, and of translations of post-Tridentine Catholic works from Europe. Another layer of this “apostolate of the book” that has received less attention is the role these books played in the education and training of priests educated in the Catholic colleges set up by the English, Irish, and Scots. This lecture will explore the latter phenomenon in two ways: (1) by examining the contents of the earliest books added to the Bibliotheca at St. Alban’s, as an expression of the dual educational and missionary vision of the College (including a number of surprises), and (2) by turning to the production and circulation of missionary books by Catholic priests trained at Valladolid in support of the Catholic missionary movement in England and northern Europe.

Dr Ana Sáez-Hidalgo

Antidotes against Heretics: The Role of Controversy in English Catholic Book Culture in Exile at the College of St Alban, Valladolid

The Counter-Reformation found in book culture one of its main allies, theologia polemica, well known since the Middle Ages. This bookish controversy against heretics became of central importance, not only to Catholic theologians, but also to those who had to defend Catholic dogma with their words as well as with their lives—the English seminary priests. The “order” of the student life at the College of St. Alban’s in Valladolid, specified that seminarians devote at least two hours a week in disputational exercises. The aim of this paper is, first, to study the presence of controversy within the larger library of St Alban’s College, and their use—most of them are still extant—by students and staff. This talk also explores the possible impact that a selection of books brought to Spain from England had on local religious book culture in Valladolid.

Prof. Willem Frijhoff

Colleges and their alternatives in the educational strategy of early modern Dutch Catholics

The rise of an elaborate college system separate from the medieval universities in the course of the 16th century coincided in many European countries with the confessional struggles between Catholics and Protestants. Whereas colleges were initially set up as humanist institutions, the confessional divisions provided them rather quickly with clear-cut confessional functions. Following the foundation of the Dutch Republic in the 1580s and its self- definition as a Protestant nation, Dutch Roman Catholicism was not really forbidden in the private sphere. But until the Batavian Revolution (1795) it could not express itself in public any more. Survival was at the price of a heavy cultural investment, transmitting Catholic life, doctrine and culture in the spirit of the Counter Reformation, but quickly with a decidedly Dutch touch, circling around the problem of the continuity of the Dutch church, entangled in a native form of Jansenism. In the Dutch Republic the first universities were set up as Protestant institutions, and after some hesitations, public Catholic education was banned altogether. Although many Dutch Catholics continued to send their sons to the local colleges and the Protestant home universities, or engaged a private tutor, their public educational effort was mainly directed towards the universities and colleges they used to visit before the Reformation, in particular Louvain and Cologne. For the safeguard of their culture, confessional as well as national, additional ‘Holland colleges’ were set up with a missionary, strictly anti-Protestant scope, next to national seminaries at Rome. Moreover, the lack of a strong central Catholic authority favored the rise of an intricate supplementary network of lay origin, consisting of Catholic Dutch scholarships at foreign universities, small colleges founded by rich Dutch Catholics, an important participation of Dutch pupils in the foreign colleges of the religious orders, such or the Jesuits (Antwerp, Cologne, Emmerich, Münster), the Benedictines, or the Oratorians (Malines), not to forget Catholic participation in the Grand Tour. The Jansenist schism (1723) added to the complexity of the educational landscape, reinstalling a schismatic Catholic college in de Republic. This paper intends to map in time and space the educational network of early modern Dutch Catholicism, to analyze its main institutional structures, spiritual aims and cultural characteristics, and to suggest some avenues for further, comparative research.

[1] See my articles “Pietro Tamburini’s Jansenist legacy at the Irish College and with other Irish youth” in submission to Journal of Ecclesiastical History; “Do you speak Italian? The failed attempts to implement a native rector at the Irish College, Rome (1773-1798)”, to be published in Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies (2013); “The history of the suppressed Irish College, Rome, part 1: 1798-1808”, to be published in Archivum Hibernica (2014).


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