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Chapter 4 (Cot-Go)
Not all, but many of these portraits came from a rare century-old work concerning famous Jesuits, Alfred Hamy's Galerie Illustree. The names are arranged alphabetically in eight chapters: A-Be, Bo-Cam, Can-Cos, Cot-Go, Gr-K, L-Me, Mi-Pe, Pi-Ri, Ro-St, Su-Z. At the end of each entry are listed, in abbreviated form, the specific sources I used for writing the sketch for each man. The eleven triliteral symbols (Ban, Bas, DSB, Ham, JLx, McR, JLP, O'M, Som, Tan, Tyl) signify that the information came from the following eleven books which are documented in the which is found in the Introduction to JESUIT PORTRAITS.
Ban = Bangert, William, S.J. A History of the Society of Jesus
Bas = Bernard, S.J. The English Jesuits
DSB = Gillispie, Charles. C. Ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Ham = Hamy, Alfred, S.J. Galerie illustree
JLx = Koch, Ludwig, S.J. Jesuiten Lexicon
McR = McRedmond, Louis To the Greater Glory. New York: MacMillan, 1991
JLP = Mertz, James, S.J. and Murphy, John, S.J. Jesuit Latin Poets
O'M = O'Malley, John, S.J. The First Jesuits
Som = Sommervogel, Carolus Bibliothèque de la compagnie de Jésus
Tan = Tanner, Mathia, S.J. Societas Jesu.
Tyl = Tylinda, Joseph, S.J. Jesuit Saints and Martyrs
Peter Coton, S.J. (French: 1564-1626) was a spiritual advisor to French kings. He was given the position in an unusual way. A pillory had been placed in the middle of Paris as a reminder of the suspected Jesuit complicity in the murder of Henry III. After the Jesuits returned from banishment, King Henry IV demanded that a Jesuit be kept at court as security for the good behavior of the whole Society. Thomas Coton was chosen and was to remain permanently at court at the king's disposal. By his pleasant, polished ways, Thomas won Henry's good-will, and was seen more and more often in confidential conversation with him the king asked Thomas to become his spiritual director. Soon after, the king gave the order to have the pillory demolished as a clear mark of favor for the Jesuits. Because of opposition to Jesuits it was suggested that the monument be pulled down at night, but Thomas insisted that Henry was no "prince of darkness, but a king of light", and his measures had no need to shun the light of day. This argument so pleased the king that he immediately gave orders for the pillory to be pulled down at noon. Thomas remained an influential advisor for several more changes of ruler, and for a time gained support for a French alliance with Spain. Today there is a Paris metro station named in Peter Coton's honor. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)
Thomas Cottam, S.J. (English: 1549-1582) converted from Protestantism and studied for the diocesan priesthood, then joined the Jesuits with the intention of going to work in the Missions in India. This was changed as soon as there was an opportunity for Jesuits to return to England and minister to the persecuted Catholics. While studying in Rome Thomas became ill and was sent north to Lyons for his health. There he was recognized by an English priest-hunter who befriended Thomas, found out about his plans to go to England and, when he arrived in England, had him arrested and taken to the Tower of London where Campion, Briant and others were about to be martyred. Thomas languished in prison for five months while officials tried to induce him to return to Protestantism and beg the queen's mercy. He would only reply: "I will not swerve a jot from my faith for anything even if I had ten thousand lives, I would rather lose them all than forsake the Catholic Faith." He was hanged, drawn and quartered; his limbs were cast into a vat of boiling water to prevent those present from collecting his relics. (Bas, Som, Tan, Tyl)
Philip Couplet, S.J. (Belgian: 1622-1693) sailed to China with Ferdinand Verbiest in 1656, where he accumulated a great deal of information about Chinese customs, language, history and literature. He was sent back to Europe to get support for the mission, but on the way back to China drowned at sea somewhere near Goa. It is ironic that he had told one of his fellow missionaries, who was to die later in a shipwreck, that of the 600 Jesuits selected for the China mission in the century since Ricci had arrived in China, only about 100 arrived there. Thieves, pirates, sickness, shipwreck and storms took the others. He knew what he was taking about having published a catalog with the names and the curriculum vitae of each Jesuit who worked in China during that century. (Ban, Ham, Som)
S.G. Anthony Criminali, S.J. (Italian: 1520-1549) became the very first martyr of the Society of Jesus, dying in India at the age of 29. He had been assigned to work along the fishery coast of India near Malabar by the mission superior, Francis Xavier. Contrary to the advice of Anthony, the Portuguese governor had established a tollgate to collect fees from the Hindu pilgrims. The infuriated Hindus broke through the barrier. The Portuguese fled, leaving the small Christian village to absorb the furious Hindu hatred of Christianity. Anthony along with all the other Christians was clubbed and beheaded. (Ban, JLx, Som, Tan, Tyl)
Francis Desbillons, S.J. (French: 1711-1789) was an accomplished Latinist and a Latin poet who taught humanities and rhetoric at the Jesuit colleges of Nevers, Bourges, Caen, La Flèche and for 32 years at Louis the Great College in Paris. In the face of the Suppression of the Society of Jesus and the various pressures put to bear upon its former members, Francis, after brief stays in various French cities, accepted Count Palatine Karl Theodor's invitation and moved to Mannheim on the Rhine in 1764. He brought with him his considerable library (23,000 volumes), which became the nucleus of the college library at Mannheim. Francis is most famous for his fables and some of his contemporaries referred to him as the "Latin La Fontaine". A major work was a collection of Aesopian Fables published in various editions until the 1768 version in 15 books to which Desbillons added some 170 of his own fables to those of Aesop, Phaedrus, and other fabulists. A lasting contribution in the area of ascetical theology was Francis' edition of the Latin text of the Imitation of Christ. Some of his personal anguish and sadness at the Suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773 is seen in his late works, Exiled Bird , The Art of Being Well, and the iambic poem Poem on Christian Peace . (Ham, JLx, JLP, Som)
Jeremias Drexel, S.J. (German: 1581-1638) was a Jesuit educator, preacher, and spiritual writer. A Lutheran by birth, he was converted in his youth, educated by the Jesuits, and then entered the Jesuit Order. He taught the Jesuit seminarians at Dillingen and then for 23 years was preacher at the court of Maximilian, the elector of Bavaria. It is said that his voice was strong enough to be heard in every corner of the church and that his sermons were such that an hour would seem like a few minutes. During this period he accompanied Maximilian on his Bohemian campaign. Jeremias wrote some 20 works that were widely read and translated. His first work, De aeternitate considerationes , concerned various representations of eternity. Another of his works, Heliotropism, discussed man's recognition of the divine will and conformity to it. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)
Joseph Eckhel, S.J. (Austrian: 1737-1798) had an unusual occupation as custodian of the imperial cabinet of medals for Austria's Maria Theresa. Joseph created new methods of classifying coins which helped the development of the science of numismatics. He also was brought to Florence to classify the grand duke's impressive collection of coins. After the Suppression Joseph was made the director of Vienna's imperial treasury and also professor of antiquities and archeology at the university. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)
Antonio Escobar de Mendoza, S.J. (Spanish: 1589-1669) was a very well published and often quoted moral theologian. He summed up the doctrine of Probabilism: "For, although the opinion supported by stronger grounds is more perfect and certain, no one is required to follow what is more perfect and certain, for the reason that, as it is impossible to arrive at absolute certainty, God does not demand it. God demands of us only that we should act with such moral certainty as is to be found in the probable opinion. It would be an intolerable burden and would cause endless scruples if we were, in fact, to be bound always to follow the more probable opinion." This Probabilist theory was the target of Pascal's malicious attacks and provocative selection of quotations in his Provincial Letters , which led Pope Alexander VII to condemn some ultra-lax principles of the theory - although no pope ever condemned Probabilism. In fact this seems to have been the only Jesuit book Pascal ever read. Pascal's Letters were in no way representative of Jesuit works on morality, but his attack on Escobar were so vicious and memorable that Escobar's name became part of the French language meaning prevaricato r. Voltaire praised the excellence of the Letters as literature, but was convinced that: "The whole book rested on a false basis. The author skillfully ascribed to the whole of the Society the extravagant ideas of a few Jesuits from whom many other Jesuits had differed."
The political powers of Europe, too, began at that time to pay some attention to these moral doctrines since the influence of the Jesuits in affairs of state had in many cases become extremely important. For instance, Escobar had taught that it is morally permissible for the subject to refuse to pay a tax which, according to a probable opinion, is unjust. So not only the irate Pascal but also the civil authorities, concerned about their national revenues, railed against Probabilism. (Ban, Ham, Som)
Philip Evans, S.J. (English: 1645-1679) belonged to the English mission and worked in southern Wales for 40 years. There he became known for his zeal and charity and enjoyed great popularity and success. Though he was especially sought after by those behind the Titus Oates plot, Philip proved himself fearless. Over and above the usual 50 pounds for a any Jesuit, 200 more were offered for Philip. Instead of fleeing the country, he stayed to serve the Catholics in Wales and was eventually caught. Refusing, of course, to take the oath of supremacy which recognized the king as supreme in all religious matters, he was imprisoned and hanged. (Ban, Bas, Ham, Tyl)
St. Peter Faber, S.J. (French: 1506-1546) was a First Companion of Ignatius and was sent to give the Spiritual Exercises in Parma occasioning the return of many people back to the sacraments. Some even settled inside his house waiting to go to confession. Ignatius once said that Faber understood the Exercises better than anyone he knew. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez attributes his interest in the Jesuits to Peter Faber as does St. Peter Canisius, who as a young student traveled from Cologne to Mainz to consult with this famous Jesuit reformer about his vocation and to make the Spiritual Exercises. Faber's persuasive sermons brought thousands in Germany back to the Faith. In fact Melancthon left Cologne for good because of Peter's skill in public argumentation. From Germany Faber was sent to Portugal and Spain. King John of Portugal wanted to have Peter sent as Patriarch to Ethiopia, but Pope Paul III chose him to serve as his own theologian at the Council of Trent.
Peter was considered the most "ecumenical" of the early companions. At the very moment of Peter's death, Canisius was expecting from him an apostolic plan for Germany. Laynez, requested by the Republic of Venice to do something about Protestantism in Brescia, came to solicit Peter's advice. Peter wrote for his companions a series of guidelines on how to deal with Protestants. If Peter and others had been allowed to put these guidelines into practice there would later have been much less antagonism between Protestant and Catholic. Peter's guidelines come down to a few general attitudes and some practical suggestions, especially for contacts with individual Protestants. The first was to be careful to regard them with charity. Peter calls for a genuine spiritual conversion, essential to ecumenism and in need of constant renewal, a conversion all the more necessary inasmuch as egoism, always ready to hoist the self onto the pedestal of others' defects, can discern in the Protestants objective faults which seem to justify unchristian attitudes toward them. Peter said: "It is necessary to win them over so that they will love and esteem us in their hearts. This can be done by speaking familiarly with them on subjects we have in common and by avoiding debates in which one side wins out over the other; for we should talk about things which unite us before taking up things which give rise to differences of opinion." (Ban, Cor, Ham, JLx, O'M, Som, Tyl)
Honoré Fabri, S.J. (French: 1607-1688) wrote more than 30 works, many of them on scientific topics, some of which were reviewed in the Philosophical Transactions . In his treatise De Homine Honoré presents discussion of the circulation of the blood. Sommervogel implies that Fabri discovered it without knowing of Harvey's work on the subject. Honoré was a member of the Holy Office, so when he stated his opinion that the Catholic Church would adopt a figurative meaning to the offending biblical passages if it was shown that the earth does indeed move. Pope Alexander VII was so upset that Honoré was thrown into prison for 50 days, and even then he was only released because King Ferdinand intervened. (DSB, Ham, JLx, Som)
Jan-Karel della Faille, S.J. (Belgian: 1597-1654) taught at the Imperial College. He is the subject of a well-known painting of Van Dijck exhibited in the Brussels Koninklijk Museum of Fine Arts; it was on loan to the New York Metropolitan Museum in 1984. Since he was the tutor of Don Juan of Austria, he went on the latter's campaigns, and met his death during one such battle. (DSB, JLx, Som)
Henry Garnet, S.J. (English: 1555-1606) was the superior of the English Jesuits and was arrested on the occasion of the Gunpowder Plot, a mindless plan by some extreme Catholics to blow up Parliament. Henry knew of the plot through confession but had to keep the seal of the confessional , which was a meaningless concept to the civil authorities. He was tried for treason because he would not break the seal of the confessional and then was sent to the gallows. (Ban, Bas, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)
St. Thomas Garnet, S.J. (English: 1574-1608) was canonized in 1970 along with 39 other martyrs killed during the terrible persecutions of Queen Elizabeth. Because Catholic institutions of higher learning had been confiscated and turned over to Protestants who were quite aggressive advocates of the established religion, young Thomas went to the continent in 1593 to attend the newly opened Jesuit college at St. Omer. Because of a Channel storm he and his student companions were captured by the English Navy who tried to force them to accept Elizabeth's religion. After months of abusive treatment they managed to escape. Later Thomas Garnet returned to England as a Jesuit while his uncle, Henry Garnet, was superior of all Jesuits in England, and was in charge of the entire network of priests working secretly among the Catholics who had refused to take the oath of Supremacy. Thomas Garnet labored around Warwickshire for six years but his ministry came to an end with the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The Jesuit martyrs of this time were known for their intelligence, joy and humor. Also for their deeper understanding of martyrdom as apostolic, noting that: "The gallows is the best pulpit anyone could ever preach from". Thomas wrote to his superior asking him to dissuade those who were planning to secure his escape from jail and martyrdom. (Ban, Bas, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)
Bl. John Gavan, S.J. (English: 1640-1679) was one of the martyrs whose death at Tyburn was occasioned by the Titus Oates, a plot which caused death and sufferings caused to hundreds of innocent people. None of these six Jesuits was particularly distinguished except in his bravery and innocence. At the time a number of apostate priests such as John Travers turned informers. He had had a dispute with his superiors over money and was dismissed from the Jesuits. He appeared as a witness in the Oates Plot, under the name "Savage" and sought to involve men against whom he nursed grudges. John Gavan was an eloquent man who was an accomplished preacher and tireless worker. At his trial at the Old Bailey he defended himself and his four Jesuit companions quite convincingly, but to no avail; his arguments were ignored. At one point he tried to check a long-winded Lord Chief Justice, "Pray my Lord, let me speak, or else, as I live, innocent men will be lost". John's ingenuity startled the courtroom when he suggested that the judge might as well go back to the medieval practice and let him prove his innocence by the "trial by torture". Shortly after he was executed with four other Jesuits on 20 June, 1697. (Ban, Bas, Cor, Ham, JLx, Tyl)
Ven. Abraham George, S.J. (Syrian: 1563-1595) was the first of the eight Jesuit Martyrs of Ethiopia. He was a Maronite Christian born in Aleppo, went to Rome for his studies, then entered the Jesuits. After his ordination he requested to go to the missions and so he left Rome for Lisbon to embark for India. It was while he was in Lisbon that Abraham learned through an internal spiritual experience that he was to be martyred. Abraham arrived in Goa, India, and for a short time worked among the Saint Thomas Christians. From India he set out for Ethiopia even though its rulers still refused to permit Catholic missionaries to proselytize in their lands. Abraham disguised as a poor merchant, set out in January 1595 for the small island of Diu in the Red Sea, where he hoped to bring spiritual comfort to Catholics who had been without a priest for many years. Just a few months after his arrival, Abraham was arrested by the Turks, and after several days of imprisonment, he was put to death by the sword. (Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)
John Gerard, S.J. (English: 1564-1606) was a fugitive priest and martyr in Elizabethan England. He endured constant danger and experienced nerve wracking adventures in his highly successful struggle to administer the sacraments to persecuted English Catholics. The Catholic laity, for their part, endured persistent harassment, humiliating treatment and frightening brutality at the hands of Elizabeth's secret police. They risked heavy fines, imprisonment, torture and painful death to hide and protect the English Jesuits who had returned from the continent to serve them. This was a time when practicing the Catholic Faith was forbidden, practicing as a Catholic priest was treason and for hiding a priest one was pressed to death.
John tells all this in his Autobiography which describes his stealthy entrance into England by sea, his disguises in the busy streets of London and his apostolic work in the countryside. Here he set up a surprisingly effective Catholic networks in the great manor houses where ingenious hiding places for priests were built, many of which were constructed by another dedicated Jesuit Nicholas Owens, called Little John . These priest holes offered precarious protection from the Queen's bounty hunters. These latter were highly motivated, not so much by religious conviction as by the very profitable practice started by King Henry VIII of acquiring and keeping property confiscated from practicing Catholics. During his 18 years of caring for the English Catholics in this unorthodox apostolate, John used 9 different aliases - not as many as Robert persons who used 12 names. John was eventually betrayed, taken to the Clink prison, tortured with as much enthusiasm as malice. Under this torture he never admitted his own identity nor did he give the names of those who had hidden him. During his imprisonment he communicated to supporters outside with letters written in orange juice - which could be decoded by the receiver when the paper was held over a flame. He arranged for a rope to be hung from the roof past the window outside his cell and by this means he escaped. He then went to the continent and spent the rest of his days teaching in the Jesuit colleges in Liège, Ghent and Rome. The heroism of these days has found lasting memorial in John's Autobiography , which is said to be "as thrilling and as beautiful in the simplicity of its prose as the Christian Acts of the early martyrs". Graham Greene said: "Father Gerard's prose is plain, accurate, vivid . . . and as exciting as a novel". (Ban, Bas, JLx, Som)
Bento de Goes, S.J. (Portuguese: 1562-1607) undertook one of the greatest explorations in history in search of the fabled Kingdom of Cathay with its ancient Christian community reported by Marco Polo. After 4,000 miles and three years he found no Christian community but ended his journey at the Great Wall of China in 1605 proving that Cathay of Marco Polo was the China of Matteo Ricci. Born in the Azores he became a soldier, traveled to Goa in India, where he entered and then left the Society. Admitted a second time as a brother, he volunteered for the mission to the Great Mogul and became a friend of the emperor Akbar. In quest of the kingdom of Cathay, he traveled the Silk Route through Central Asia, reaching the outskirts of Beijing, where a Jesuit sent by Matteo Ricci, S.J. to meet Bento found him already at the point of death. (Ban, DSB, JLx, Som)
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J. (Italian: 1568-1591) was a young Jesuit scholastic (not yet ordained) who died while attending the sick during the 1591 Roman plague. This young nobleman repudiated the allure of Renaissance life and gave himself with powerful single-mindedness to the Ignatian ideal. In calling himself "a piece of twisted iron that needed to be straightened out" he was referring to his appalling background, of both his heredity and his environment. His ancestors included despots who condoned assassination, debauchery and extortion. They survived one assassination after another while their subjects were bled white by taxation. The Gonzaga princes alternated insane orgies with explosions of genuine underlying faith. Aloysius had a remarkable toughness of character; he was never a recluse and his innocence was founded on neither ignorance nor prudery. He could control quarreling princes and lead Roman rabble to confession. Aloysius had often helped his father, a reckless gambler, settle his debts. But in 1588 such a feud broke out in the Gonzaga clan that an army of lawyers and ecclesiastics could not solve it. It fell to Aloysius as the only one honest, imperturbable and clear-headed enough to settle the feud.
Aloysius had hoped to be sent to work on the missions but the plague intervened when he was only 23. While helping the victims he contracted the plague and died. Usually known as the Patron Saint of Youth, this catechist of Roman ragamuffins, consoler of the imprisoned, martyr of charity for the sick, just as appropriately and deservedly could be honored as a Patron Saint of the Social Apostolate. (Ban, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)
St. Roch Gonzalez, S.J. (Spanish: 1576-1628) born in Paraguay he was one of the main architects of the Jesuit Reductions there. It was through his work and work of men like him that made the Paraguay reductions such an amazing success both spiritually and economically. Realizing the damage of the slave trade, the Jesuits gathered the indigenous Indians and went inland away from Brazil. They came to Paraguay in 1609, built settlements for the Indians and taught them agriculture, architecture, construction, metallurgy, farming, ranching and printing. There were presses in the settlements for the school texts as well as for literature and art. This Utopia was suddenly destroyed by the avarice of the slave traders who were able to influence the Spanish crown. By the time the Jesuits were expelled in 1767 they had 57 settlements with 113,716 natives. Roch belonged to the first generation of Latin Americans to enter the Jesuits who contributed so much to the human and Christian formation of their compatriots. Serving as a doctor, engineer, architect, farmer and pastor, he supervised the construction of churches, schools and homes and introduced care for cattle and sheep to the natives. To convert the simple Indians to Christianity, he skillfully adapted his tactics to their love of ornament, dancing, and noise. On the greater feasts of the Church Roch gathered the natives outside their small, straw-thatched church. Mass was celebrated outside with all possible solemnity, and for the rest of the day the Indians were treated to extraordinary entertainment. In the large square, quaintly decorated with gay tapestries, many colored silks, and long, graceful feathers that rivaled the rainbow, there were games, bonfires, and religious dances.To satisfy the natives' love of noise, Gonzalez gave them the shrill music of flutes and ear-splitting fireworks.
In the four years he remained at St. Ignatius, the first of the Jesuit Reductions, Gonzalez saw his strenuous efforts meet with consoling success.
Musical instruments carved in stone at Trinity Church in the Reductions
Fierce savages, softened by Roch's gentle kindness, laid aside their hatred for religion and eagerly embraced the faith; vengeful natives, hearing him speak of peace, stifled their desire for revenge and made friends with their former enemies; timid women found refuge in the invincible courage with which Roch faced every threat and every danger; Indians, dying in horrible agony, were calmed by Roch's words as he prepared them for the end. In Roch the Indians found a stanch protector of their freedom. Greedy Spaniards, with an eye for easy money, craftily strove to lure the natives away from the Reduction and sell them into slavery, but ran against a stone wall in this indomitable man, Roch. He pleaded the Indian cause so forcefully with the Spanish Government that the Reduction of St. Ignatius was finally left in peace. Because of his success in Christianizing the natives, a local witch-doctor who was losing his control of the natives, martyred Roch along with his two Jesuit companions one day just as they finished celebrating Mass. (Ban, Cor, JLx, Tyl)
Intoduction to Jesuit Portraits
Contents Names of 202 Jesuits
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 1 A to Be
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 2 Bo to Cam
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 3 Can to Cos
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 5 Gr to K
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 6 L to Me
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 7 Mi to Pe
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 8 Pi to Ri
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 9 Ro to St
Jesuit Portraits Chapter 10 Su to Z
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