The Pope Dines With His Sisters. 1903

St. James’s Gazette. Saturday 19th September 1903


An event to which considerable importance is attached in Roman circles took place yesterday, when the new Pope [Pius X] , defying all tradition, invited his three sisters to dine at his own table. Hitherto (as the Rome correspondent of the “ Daily Chronicle ” points out) it has always been deemed highly incorrect even for the most eminent ecclesiastics to sit down with his Holiness. On finding the Pope deaf to entreaties not to violate hoary observances, the Head Chamberlain, it is said, broke into loud sobbing, and retired to his apartment, whilst a Cardinal of noble extraction who happened to be calling at the Vatican drove off a state of great irritation. Another distinguished personage was stirred by the Pope’s reluctance to create his sisters countesses. Without a title it was urged there would be an insuperable obstacle to them being received in polite society. The Pope, hearing of this, exclaimed, “ They have a title already. They are sisters of the Pope.”

Requiem for the repose of the soul of Mgr. O’Bryen November 1895


Rome, Sunday, October 27, 1895. 

Mgr Henry Hewitt O’Bryen

The telegraph has brought news of the death of Mgr. O’Bryen, Domestic Prelate of his Holiness, who died two days ago at Montreal. The news has been received with the deepest regret, as Mgr. O’Bryen had passed many years in Rome, and had won universal esteem. Though believed to be suffering from apoplexy, he seemed to be in fairly good health. His death was probably caused by a stroke of apoplexy brought on by the fatigue of his travels in Canada and the United States. Until the donation of the Church of San Silvestro in Capite to the English-speaking people, Mgr. O’Bryen had the spiritual care of all the Catholics of English tongue, and the Church of St. Andrea della Valle, parochial for the Piazza di Spagna and its neighbourhood, was that in which he heard confessions. The English sermons on Sundays during the season, which have been a tradition since the days of Pius VII., were delivered in other churches such as the Gesu e Maria, and one of the twin churches, which adorn the Piazza del Popolo. Before coming to Rome, Mgr. O’Bryen had served on the mission in the diocese of Liverpool. 

Sant’Andrea delle Fratte

Sunday November 3, 1895

A solemn Requiem for the repose of the soul of Mgr. O’Bryen was celebrated at the church of St. Andrea delle Fratte on Wednesday last. His Grace the Archbishop of Trebizond, Mgr. Stanley, the Rectors of the English and Scots Colleges, were present. Mgr. Kelly, Rector of the Irish College, sang the Mass.

The above text were found on p.17, 2nd November 1895, and p.16, 10th November 1895, respectively, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The Pilgrimage to Rome 1893








On the 4th of February 1893 the Tablet published a list of approximately 500 English visitors heading to Rome as pilgrims to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII’s consecration as a bishop. Amongst the pilgrims were Alfred Purssell, accompanied by Charlotte, Agnes, and Gertrude Purssell, then in their early twenties. The following text is an article from March describing the pilgrimage


Castel Sant’ Angelo

The great English Pilgrimage of 1893 is over and done with, and is already part and parcel of the indestructible past. Nothing can happen now to mar the perfect success of an enterprise which is safe from all hazard, because treasured away for ever in the memories of all who took part in it. The significance of this public demonstration of British faith and loyalty to the Holy See has been recognized and recorded in Rome for friend and foe, and in all the lands which were represented on that solemn occasion in the Eternal City. It was a time when the courts of the Vatican were thronged with pilgrims from all the earth, eager to do an old man homage ; when Cardinals were busied with splendid and stately ceremonial, acknowledging the courtesies of Kings, and the congratulations of nations, and the gifts of sovereigns—whether Emperors or Republican Chiefs ; but it is doubted whether any single incident during all the Jubilee gave Pope Leo a quicker and livelier sense of gladness than the sudden cheers which broke from 1,300 English and Scotch throats to greet him as he entered the Sala Ducale on Monday week.

Sala Ducale

For those ringing cheers which so astonished the members of the Papal Court, were tuned to the music of sincerity and so touched a chord which went very straight to the heart of the Pontiff. But that little separate incident in its thoroughness and simplicity, was a symbol of the spirit in which the pilgrimage was made. No such band of pilgrims ever left our shores, was so numerous, or so fully representative of the Catholic life of the country. Scarcely a Catholic family of note but was represented directly or indirectly. Following that of the Duke of Norfolk are ranged how many of the old familiar names, some of them of those whose fathers were true through all the trial, and were Catholic from age to age, and some of them of those who will be for ever associated with the coming of the second spring to Catholic England. The history of the Church in this country, whether in recent times or through the days of the penal laws, is inextricably bound up with that of the families represented at the pilgrimage. It is enough to cite in random recollection those of Howard, Clifford, Weld, Feilding, Stourton, Radcliffe, Noel, De Trafford, Townley, Vavasour, Maxwell, Vaughan, Whitgreave, Blount, Cox, Ridell, Hornyhold, Berkeley, Charlton, Southwell, Mostyn, Petre, Stonor, Wegg-Prosser, Dunn, Ward, Wolseley, Herbrt, Walmesley, Weld-Blundell, Ullathorne, Trappes, Lomax, Pollen, Neville, Hibbert, FitzHerbert, Ellison, Chichester, Bellasis, Acton, Arnold, Bagshawe—and other names as well known as these, will occur to the individual reader. But the pilgrims were representative of the future and the present as well as of the past ; as well of those who stand for the new streams of energy and industrial success and modern achievement, as for old family traditions. The accident of circum-stance in other years associated the story of hunted Catholicism with a handful of faithful families, the more vigorous and eager growth of the Church to-day covers a wider field, and depends upon newer homes which circumstances, essentially similar to those which operated of old, are now pressing to the front in the secular struggle of life. It was a happy characteristic of the present pilgrimage that it was a mingling of all classes, of the pro-mise of the future with the survivals of the past. From all parts of Great Britain, and from all sorts and conditions of men were gathered the pilgrims who rightly represented the Catholicism of the land. It was enough that all those widely-sundered hearts were united in their loyalty and love for the Holy See, and one common desire to win from Heaven a blessing upon their native land.


Henry Fitzalan Howard 15th Duke of Norfolk


It is very pleasant to be able to put it on record that the returning pilgrims are loud in their appreciation and praise of the manner in which their wants and comforts were attended to by the Committee of Management, and in their gratitude to every member of it. The Duke of Norfolk, who has accustomed us to the sight of a willing effacement of all personal claims, uses our columns to tender thanks to others, both Englishmen and Italians, for their efforts to make the stay of the pilgrims in Rome pleasant to them.



It hardly needed the friendly importunity of a little crowd of pilgrims to induce us to offer to his Grace the thanks of all the Catholic body for the services and the example he gave. It has been a gracious labour to us to listen to the tale of gratification and pleasure which has come to us from so many pilgrims whose highest hopes have been more than fulfilled. Rome was seen at its best, on a great occasion, by people from all the ends of the earth, but to the British pilgrims it seemed that the Jubilee was in some sort a specially English festival. They were gathered there primarily to do honour and homage to Leo XIII. on the fiftieth anniversary of the day on which he was consecrated a Bishop, but the event, happily synchronized with the creation of an English Cardinal, and the magnificent function at St Peter’s was followed by that in S. Gregorio’s. The words of the Duke of Norfolk happily absolve us from the duty pressed upon us by many of the pilgrims of expressing to Cardinal Vaughan the enthusiastic thankfulness which his kindnesses and attentions have evoked, and we note them only as among the elements which went to secure the unqualified success of the Pilgrimage. Of course there were individual mishaps and disappointments, and, in some cases, privations and hardships to be endured,. but these private mortifications seem to have been suffered in a spirit of cheerfulness and resignation which is eloquent of the spirit which animated the pilgrims. The discomforts of a bad passage across the Channel, of a hurried but far from rapid journey through France and Italy, and difficulties about accommodation in Rome were things naturally to be borne in silence and patience. The fate of the few British pilgrims who in some momentary panic, caused by the cry that forged tickets of admission were being used, were shut out from the great function in St. Peter’s, must have been harder to bear without a murmur.

It was natural to expect that amid the general good humour of the pilgrims some comic incidents should be reported home. Thus much sympathy is expressed for the devout Highland chief who appearing in his national costume in the Corso, was placed under temporary arrest by the Roman police, in what appeared to be the interests of public decorum. The griefs of the Scotchman however, were soon forgotten for the woes of the young lady who, the day after the arrival of the pilgrims, got lost in St. Peter’s, and having forgotten the name of her hotel and speaking only Lancashire, got into an omnibus on the chance that if she saw her abode she might recognize it, and was driven about Rome for several consecutive hours.

Still better authenticated is the fate which befell an Italian who, as the Pope was borne up St. Peter’s, was imprudent enough to shout ” Viva Umberto I.” The creature thought he was insulting only the patient Catholics of the Continent. He was undeceived. A pair of Tipperary arms was round his neck in a moment, for another moment his heels were high in the air, and the next he was stretched flat on the sacred pavement. The crowd was too great to allow him to be put outside the Church, so two devout sons of Tipperary alternately sat and knelt upon him during the remaining hours, of the service. When the Holy Father had again blessed the people and returned to the Vatican, the Italian unharmed but terribly scared, was allowed to escape by his captors who though they caught the word Umberto had been unable to communicate with him.

The reception given by the Duke of Norfolk to the English, Scotch, and Irish pilgrims at the Hotel de Rome will long be a topic of conversation in Rome, and has led the Italian papers to indulge in some very fanciful conjectures as to what it may have cost. Certainly no such crowded reception was ever before held in that spacious hotel. Cardinal Vaughan’s reception at the English College, at which a large number of the Roman aristocracy were present, will also not soon be forgotten. The common bond of religion, for that night at least, was able to obliterate all the barriers of rank and race which men have set between men. Romans and foreigners from the British Isles, idlers and workers, rich and poor, all were there on a footing of Christian equality to do honour and accept the courtesy of the English Cardinal. Our last word before we conclude these recollections of the British pilgrimage is one which we would very willingly linger on. We are able to state that the piety and devotion of the pilgrims from Great Britain, as well as in the heartiness of their congregational singing, have made an excellent and a permanent impression in Rome.

The above text was found on p.5,11th March 1893 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Rome 1st June 1878


Rome, May 25, 1878

The Vatican:  The Marquis de Gabriac, the new French  Ambassador, and the secretaries and officials of the French Embassy, were driven in three state carriages to the Vatican on the 20th of May. The Marquis was met at the entrance to the Pontifical apartments by two of the Camerieri di Spada e Cappa and conducted to the Sala degli Arazzi. The Pope, attended by his Court in full uniform, and preceded by his cross-bearer, entered the Throne-room about 11 a.m. The Swiss Guards and Pontifical Gendarmes, the Palatine Guard, and a detachment of the Noble Guards were present in the antechambers. Monsignor Martinucci, Prefect of Pontifical Ceremonies, conducted the Ambassador to the Throne-room, and the Acting Master of the Chamber, Mgr. Van der Branden, introduced him to his Holiness. The Ambassador presented his credentials and was cordially received by his Holiness. The Pope then signified his pleasure to make the audience private, and, all other persons withdrawing, he was left alone with the Ambassador. At the termination of this private interview, the secretary and gentle-men of the Embassy were presented to Leo XIII. The Ambassador subsequently paid a visit of ceremony to Cardinal Franchi, the Secretary of State.

On the same day, the 20th, about 300 persons, lay and ecclesiastical, were admitted to audience in the Consistorial Hall and in other apartments of the Vatican. Mgr. Kirby was honoured by a special audience on the 20th to present to his Holiness a richly bound copy of a dissertation, entitled De Rom. Pontificis jure Appellationes excipiendi,&c. This dissertation was written in the year 1835, when the Pious Society of the Priests of St. Paul offered a prize for the best essay on the subject of the right of the Supreme Pontiff to hear appeals from all the faithful without exception. Mgr. Kirby at that time was in holy orders and an alumnus of the Roman Seminary, the Apollinare, and Leo XIII. was then the Rev. Gioacchino Pecci. Both, as well as many other young priests, competed for the prize offered by the St. Paul’s Society. And the prize was won by Father Pecci. But the essay of Father Kirby was next in merit, and was honoured with a second prize, the censors describing it as powerfully written and replete with erudition. Leo XIII. a little time ago reminded Mgr. Kirby of their early days as fellow students, and of the concursus for the prize offered by the Society of St. Paul. The Pope suggested that Mgr. Kirby should print his essay, and gave permission that it should be dedicated to himself. The essay was accordingly searched for, and was printed at the Propaganda Press, and was then presented, as already related, to his Holiness.

On Thursday, the 23rd, the German pilgrims, over 150 in number, were received in audience in the hall of Consistory. The deputation included Count Felix Löe, President ; Counts Louis Arco, Preysing, Maximilian Löe, Korff-Schmising, Hahn, Hoensbroech ; Barons Ketteler, Beckendorff, Vequel, and Reichlin-Meldegg ; and Messrs. Eheberg, formerly Councillor of State, of Munich ; Dr. Lingens, Deputy to the Reichstag; Haas, Director of the Postzeitung of Augsburg ; Dr. Kalt, Mgr. Zehrt, and Mgr. Orsbach. The address, which was in Latin, was read by Count Felix Löe. The Pope replied in Latin, and said he was encouraged by these numerous and influential pilgrimages to hope for better times for the Church, against which and against its head a bitter war was now waged. He was convinced that the same proofs of devotion and loyalty which were so constantly rendered to Pius IX. would be also manifested towards himself. He, for his part, would never cease to return his most cordial love and affection to those who thus boldly laboured in behalf of the Catholic religion. He recommended them to persevere in their works of charity and faith, and especially to promote good education among Catholic children, to fit them for contending against the evils of the age. He prayed for the conversion and reformation of the foes of the Church. He then pronounced the solemn benediction.

At 6 p.m. on the 23rd, his Excellency Bedros Effendi Kujumgian had farewell audience of his Holiness, and left Rome the same evening.

The Earl of Denbigh and Mr. Kenyon had a private audience on Thursday, the 23rd, and in this interview, which lasted for forty minutes, Lord Denbigh presented his Holiness with a beautifully bound copy of the late Mr. Urquhart’s essay on the restoration of public law among nations. The late Mr. Urquhart was a Protestant, but considered the Pope to be the arbiter of all international disputes. Leo XIII. was much interested in this dissertation. Lord Denbigh, on this occasion, obtained a special blessing from the Pope for the members of the Catholic Union and of the Poor School Committee of England. Mr. Kenyon obtained a similar favour for the members of the League of St. Sebastian.

His Eminence Cardinal Cullen, who had spent a few days at Albano, returned to Rome on the 22nd of May, and on the 24th had a private audience with his Holiness, to whom he presented a richly-bound and beautifully illuminated address from the Convent of Loreto, near Dublin. This address was signed by Lady Power of Edermine and by Father Barron, S.J., the Spiritual Director of the Convent.

The German pilgrims:  Mass was celebrated on Sunday, May 19th, for  the German pilgrims in the church of Sta Maria dell’ Anima, by Archbishop de Neckere, and a sermon was preached by Canon Zehrt, of Paderborn. Cardinals Hohenlohe, De Luca, and Franzelin were present.

The Consecration of Cardinal Borromeo:  The archpriest of St. Peter’s, his Eminence Cardinal Borromeo, was consecrated to the archbishopric of Adana in partibus infidelium on Sunday, the 19th of May, in the Sistine chapel, by his Holiness Leo XIII., assisted by Archbishop Sanminiatelli, his private almoner, and Bishop Marinelli, the sacristan of the Vatican. The function began at 8:30a.m., and terminated a little before 11 a.m. Admission to the Sistine was by ticket of invitation. The Princess of Thurn and Taxis, with her children, were in the royal tribune, and the Ottoman Envoy, Bedros Effendi Kujumjian, and his son, Ohannes Bey, were in the seats set apart for diplomatists. Cardinals Sacconi, Randi, Chigi, and Franchi were present. The Earls of Denbigh and Gainsborough, Lady Edith Noel, Mr. Kenyon, Mr. Hartwell Grissell, and many of the English deputation were invited to the ceremony. After the functions were concluded the Holy Father proceeded to the private library, where tables were laid for refreshments for the distinguished visitors. At one of these tables his Holiness sat, having on one side Cardinal Borromeo, and on the other the Princess of Thurn and Taxis. At this table the other Cardinals who had attended the consecration were seated. Cardinal Borromeo wore on his breast a splendid pectoral cross of gold, adorned with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, the gift of the Holy Father.

Sant’Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona, Rome

Marriage of Prince Colonna:  On Monday, the Prince of Avella, Don Fabrizio Colonna, and Donna Olympia, sister of Prince Doria, were married in the church of St. Agnes in Piazza Navona, by his Eminence Cardinal di Pietro, Dean of the Sacred College and Camerlengo. Monsignor Cataldi officiated as Master of Ceremonies. Prince Alessandro Torlonia and the Duke of Marino acted as witnesses for the bridegroom, and Prince Marcantonio Borghese and Prince Don Alphonso Doria were the bride’s witnesses.

Among those present were Prince Giovanni Andrea Colonna, Prince Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, the father of the bridegroom ; Prince Orsini, Prince Assistant at the Throne ; Princess Orsini, Princess Borghese, Prince and Princess di Fondi, Princess Pallavicini, the Duchess of Marino, Duke and Duchess Sforza-Cesarini, Duke and Duchess of Ceri, the Marchesa Sacchetti, Duchess of Rignano, Count and Countess Somaglia, &c., &c. The bride and bridegroom drove to the church in the state carriages of their respective families, and after the solemnisation of the marriage went, according to custom, to the Basilica of St. Peter’s to venerate the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. The newly-married pair went to the Villa Doria at Albano, and after a few days spent there, left for the Colonna Villa at Capodimonte.

San Clemente, Rome

San.Clemente: The following persons lately paid visits to the Church of S. Clemente and were conducted through the subterranean churches by the Very Rev. Father Joseph Mulloolly, the Prior :—Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Genoa, her Royal Highness the Princess of Thurn and Taxis, with her son Prince Max Albert and her daughter Princess Louise. The Earl of Portarlington, Sir Augustus Paget, and Count Corte, the Italian Foreign Minister, were among the recent visitors to this interesting church.

Spanish Pilgrims: A number of Catholic pilgrims from Spain arrived in Rome on the 22nd of May, and will be received in audience on Monday, the 27th.

The Late Count Oreste Macchi:  On the evening of the 20th of May the mortal remains of the late Count Oreste Macchi were deposited at Campo Verano, in the vault of the Venerable the Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood. The brethren of the Archconfraternity attended the funeral and carried the coffin on their shoulders, reciting psalms and prayers for the repose of the soul of the defunct. Mgr. Luigi Macchi, Maestro di Camera to Leo XIII., the son of the deceased Count, attended the funeral.

The New Bishop of Dunkeld: Dr. George Rigg, Bishop of Dunkeld, in Scotland, was consecrated on the 26th of May by his Eminence Cardinal Howard, in the Church of the Scotch College. The assisting prelates were Mgr. Walter Steins, S.J., Archbishop of Busra, in partibus infidelium, and Vicar-Apostolic of Western Bengal, and Mgr. Giovanni Jacovacci, Bishop of Eritrea,in partibus infidelium, and Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Esame dei Vescovi. Mgr. Cataldi, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, acted as Principal Master of Ceremonies, while Mgr. Luigi Sinistri, also a Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the Bishop-Elect. Among the persons present at the consecration were Mgr. Van der Branden, Private Chamberlain to his Holiness; Mgrs. Weld, Stonor, Milella, Kirby, domestic prelates to Leo XIII. ; the Father-General of the Redemptorists, with Fathers Douglas and Morgan ; the General of the Dominicans and Father Mullooly, Prior of S. Clemente ; Very Rev. Dr. James Maher ; Very Rev. John Egan, Vice-Rector of the Irish College; the Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College • Very Rev. Dr. O’Bryen ; Canon Walsh.; U.S. ; the Very Rev. Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the North American College ; Father Costello ; Mrs. Savile Foljambe, Mrs. Kinloch Grant, the Misses Sperling, Miss Isabel Fane, Miss Senior, Mrs. Vansittart, the Misses Gorman, Mr. and Mrs. Handley, Mrs. Hall, the Misses Steele, Mrs.Martin, Miss Whelan, Mr. William Palmer, Messrs.English and Youngman, Commendatore Winchester, Mr.Douglas Hope, Mr. Hartwell Grissell, Mr. Bliss, Mr. Justice O’Byrne, the Very Rev. Father Keogh, Prior of Sta. Maria in Posterula ; Mrs. Posi, Miss Lewis, &c. After the ceremony the Cardinal and the invited guests were conducted to an apartment in the College, where refreshments were served. Cardinal Howard entertained subsequently to dinner, at his palace, the new Bishop, the assisting prelates, and Cardinals Franchi and Bartolini.

Feast of S. Giro in Portici:  The Italian Government has not yet forbidden processions through the streets (at least in Southern Italy) as the Government has done in France, where in Marseilles the Archbishop has been unable to procure permission for the time-honoured processions, though he made a journey to Paris with that intent. In Southern Italy all the rejoicings of the lower classes are so interwoven with religion that a procession of the effigy of the patron saint, accompanied by his relics, forms, as a matter of course, the opening of the Festa ; and even in Naples itself the procession of S. Gennaro retains all its ancient splendour. At Portici, which lies at the very foot of Vesuvius, S. Giro is the patron. He was a native of Alexandria, a doctor by profession, who became a hermit, and was martyred in A.D. 288, in a city called Canopo. After the conversion of the Emperor Constantine his relics were brought to his native city, and were placed in the church of St. Mark. In the time of Pope Celestine I., by order of the Emperor Theodosius, they were brought to Rome, and were venerated in the Church of Santa Prassede. Many centuries elapsed, and the relics, which had attracted but little attention, became an object of special devotion to a great saint, S. Francesco Girolamo, who was inspired by Divine Providence with an extraordinary devotion to S. Giro. At the death of this saint, which occurred in 1716, this devotion bore fruit, and the relics he had procured for Portici were held in high esteem. In 1763, a famine occurred, when Ferdinand IV. was Regent. In the following year food was so dear that the state of suffering became very great, and a plague followed the famine. Then the inhabitants invoked the intercession of S. Giro, doctor of the body as well as of the soul, and innumerable cures were wrought. In 1770, mindful of these favours, a famous artist, Ferdinando Sperandeo, was charged with the task of making a noble statue of S. Giro, and there is a beautiful legend that, while he was thinking how he could best fashion the countenance, the Saint himself appeared to him, and that celestial vision enabled him to produce the statue which was carried in procession last Sunday. It is of beaten silver, and exceeds life-size. The hands, feet, and face, are enamelled in natural colours. The face is truly noble, ascetic, and benign, and the attitude is dignified. In his left hand he holds a crucifix, to which he points with his right. The cranium of the Saint is in an antique reliquary fixed to the pedestal. Here and there along the line of the procession a carpet of flowers had been made with much taste and skill. The procession opened with the band of the town in bright unforms. Then followed the Confraternity called by the Saint’s name, in habits of white merino, with red silk capes, and here and there were carried handsome gold embroidered banners. Next came the Guild of the Immaculate Conception, similarly costumed, only that the capes were blue silk, and all wore large silver badges. The music of the township of St. George (the men dressed in very handsome uniforms and plumes) and that of S. Giovanni Teduccio enlivened the scene. Four thuribles, with incense, were waved before the statue, which was carried under a white and gold satin canopy. As this went past, immense quantities of rose leaves were thrown from the windows of the houses. Crowds of poor people followed, who were reciting a Litany in the Saint’s honour in thanksgiving for favours received through his intercession. In the church of S. Giro is a votive altar of very costly marble, erected in 1778, with an inscription formally declaring him the patron of the town. The devout crowd, the music, flowers, and gay procession, all bathed in a southern sunshine, made a very striking and edifying scene.

The above text was found on p.15, 1st June 1878, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

150 years ago today, a Papal army marched into Rome

The Battle of Mentana was fought on November 3, 1867 near the village of Mentana, just outside Rome, [about three miles]   between French-Papal troops and the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were attempting to capture Rome, which was not unified to Kingdom of Italy until three years later. It was the last battle the Popes won.

The entry of the Pontifical troops into Rome, after their victory at Mentana 1867.

— We have received the following from our Roman Correspondent, under date of Rome, November 15.—

The entry of the Pontifical troops after their victory at Mentana took place last Wednesday. [13th November] Nothing could be more imposing than the spectacle, and it offered the most convincing proof possible that the Roman population considered the triumph of the army as their own, and was resolved to show their feeling on the matter. The Porta Pia was the gate by which the troops were to arrive, and long before the hour fixed every window was filled, every balcony draped, and stores of autumn flowers laid up, to shower on the victorious troops.

Porta Pia, Rome.

They entered with banners displayed, trumpets sounding and the Commander-in-Chief, General Kanzler, who had gone outside the gate to meet them, at their head. His Excellency was accompanied by the French General de Failly, and on reaching the Piazza Pia they drew up, surrounded by their respective staffs, and the long line of troops defiled before them. The Zouaves came first and were cheered again and again by the crowd. The great Roman families joined heartily in the demonstration, and the French General appeared as much excited as any one, and repeatedly turned to General Kanzler and pressed his hand, as company after company of the flower of the French Catholic youth passed, victorious, before them. The Legion, too, were admirably received, and so were the gallant Swiss Chasseurs, whose conduct at Mentana under Colonel Jeannerot and Major Castella was beyond praise.

Madame Kanzler’s carriage driving up at the same moment, her Excellency was received with a very warm demonstration, and no wonder, for, from the first arrival of the wounded of Bagnorea and Monte Libretti, she has consecrated herself with unwearied energy to the care of the hospitals, and has devoted her entire time to the consolation and nursing of our brave soldiers. A Roman by birth, her danger, in case of a reverse, would, from the courageous and active part she has taken in the cause, and from her husband’s position, have been greater than that of any other person, but this consideration, fully weighed and met, has never deterred her from her noble task.

It is one of the most curious signs of the present time the military enthusiasm which has seized on the Roman people and the pride it feels in its army. The lists of subscriptions for the wounded, for the soldiers and their families, are rapidly filling, each offering being in the Italian fashion generally accompanied by a sentence in praise of the Pontifical troops.

It is only now we are beginning to realise what we have escaped from. The recent perquisitions made have brought to light some terrible revelations of the intentions of the sect. Five hours’ pillage was to have been allowed by the Garibaldian army. The churches and convents were to have been sacked, the priests massacred, the nuns insulted. Hundreds of barrels loaded with shot were found ; and ” pour comble ” [to cap it all]  a well made guillotine, with axe, rollers, pulley, and all, “en regle”, [ready for use]  was among the moral forces discovered in the search for arms.

Five cases of guns addressed to Mr. Odo Russell [ From 1858 until August 1870,  the real, though unofficial, representative of Britain at the Vatican. He was the nephew of Lord John Russell, Prime Minister between 1846 – 1852, and again 1865 -1866 ] were recently seized by the police, a circumstance at least awkward for a diplomatic agent, and of which it is to be hoped some satisfactory explanation will be afforded.

It was arranged that on a certain day, the 30th of October or 1st of November, the column of Garibaldi, numbering 15,000, the column of Acerti, 15,000, the column of Pincigiacci, 15,000, were to concentrate their collective force of nearly 60,000 men on Rome from ten different points of Monte Rotondo, Viterbo, Velletri, and Froeinone. The Finanziere or custom-house officers of the Porta San Paolo had been bought over, and all was prepared for the supreme attack. Had not the French landed in time, it is difficult to realise what would have been the end. It was-resolved, in case of the worst, that all who wished to share the fate of the Holy Father and his defenders should cross the Tiber, and St.Spirito and the bridge of St. Angelo being blown up, the Leonine city was to have been defended to the very last, all being ready to have died on the very staircases of the Vatican, if need were,, round the throne of Pius IX. The fort could have held out eight days at least, and in that interval help might arrive from France. The army numbered 10,000, and was ready to fight à l’outrence under the conduct of its heroic and devoted general. Surrender under any circumstances was not spoken of. It was a word erased from the vocabulary while a single Garibaldian remained on the Pontifical territory, and had the French delayed their arrival, Europe would have heard of a wholesale martyrdom, but not of a capitulation.

His Holiness celebrated Mass in the Sixtine Chapel on Friday, the 8th, for the repose of the souls of those who fell in battle since the beginning of the campaign. He was so deeply moved that he could scarcely continue the concluding prayers.

On Saturday, the 9th, we celebrated the obsequies of Julian Watts Russell at the English College. I can add nothing to the beautiful notice by Padre Cardella, his confessor, which I enclose, and which I feel sure you will give a place to in your columns. It was to all present a source of hope and trust for England, that she has given two glorious martyrs to the Temporal Power since the beginning of the present campaign, and the names of Alfred Collingridge and Julian Russell will never be forgotten by English Catholics, when they recall the memory of Monte Libretti and Mentana.

At the same hour as the requiem in the English College another on a far larger scale was performed at San Lorenzo, for the souls of MM. De Veaux and Deodat Dufournel. As your readers will remember, his younger brother, Emmanuel Dufournel, was killed in battle at Farnese. Deodat, who was attached to the staff of the Zouaves, was shot down at Villa Cecchina, while conducting a perquisition in one of the houses filled with Garibaldians, and died, after linger-ing a week, in the hospital of St. Spirito. He was universally beloved and deplored, and the entire corps of officers followed his remains and those of the gallant De Veaux to the grave.

The Zouaves, I am happy to say,are daily increasing, and the certainty which exists in the minds of all classes here that the meeting of the Chambers in Florence will hurry on the catastrophe in which the Pontifical army must again be called into action, is acting as a spur to the recruitment in every country and to the movement in favour of the increase and armament of the Pontifical forces. The third battalion of’ Zouaves will be formed to-day under the conduct of Captain D’Albions, one of the oldest and most experienced officers in the regiment, and who previously served in the French army. The recruits at the depot were 1,100 yesterday, and among them are the Baron De Farelle, the Comte De Montmorin, Mr. Vavasour, of Hazelwood, Mr. Hansom, M. Henri de Riancey (son of the Catholic journalist), and an immense number of young men belonging to the first French and Belgian families. It is considered impossible that the status quo can be maintained in Italy. It is most uncertain whether the French will remain – if they do it will only be to make an end of the Italian kingdom, whose state is a perpetual menace to the cause of order in Europe; and it is more than probable that in such a case the Pope’s troops would be called on to reoccupy Umbria and the Marches. At all events, the Papal army must be rendered sufficiently strong to occupy the territory of the Pope as it stands at present, and this cannot be done save by the united action of Catholics in every country.

The points most important are the enrolment of volunteers and the purchase of the very beat arms of precision. The Meyer rifle, with an improvement firing eighteen shots per minute, has been accepted, and the funds are now being raised as fast as possible in France and Belgium. “Bis dat qui cito dat “  [he gives twice, who gives promptly,] was never so completely exemplified as in the present case. We cannot wait for arms, for the attack will be renewed in the spring, and breechloaders are essential. Had the Pontifical army been armed with them at Mentana, not a Garibaldian could have escaped. The Chassepot, too, far from the best rifle invented, did wonders in the hands of the French reserve ; but the Zouaves had only the Minie of 1856 and the bayonet to rely on, and what they did with them proves what they would have done had they been properly armed.

I enclose General Kanzler’s official report of the battle, from which you will see what a decisive action Mentana was.

The police of Florence are, it appears, in jubilation since Mentana. There are neither thefts nor murders in the city, which has been emptied of its dangerous elements since the battle. The Pope, who received the French officers in audience on Wednesday, told them that Italy, of all countries, ought to be grateful to them for having rid her of a revolution more dangerous to her than to any other.

It is uncertain what dispositions will be taken in regard of the Garibaldian prisoners, and the opinion that the French Government will charge itself with their deportation to Cayenne is that most in favour. It would be the most prudent, as, in spite of the kindness with, which they have been treated, the antecedents and characters of the greatest proportion are such as to forbid any hope of honour or gratitude, and they would return to their life of pillage and rapine at the first opportunity.

The above text was found on p.1, 23rd November 1867 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Rome, May, 1879

Castel Sant’ Angelo


Rome, May 10, 1879.

The Vatican:  On Monday, May 5, a large number of visitors, Roman and foreign, were received at the Vatican. On the evening of the 6th, private audience was given to Monsignor David, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc, who presented to the Holy Father a large sum of money as Peter’s Pence from his diocese. The Bishop of Saint-Brieuc had the honour of introducing to the Holy Father his Vicar-General, Father Juventon, and four other priests who accompanied him. On the 7th (Wednesday) the Pope gave permission to twenty-three young workmen from Paris to attend his private Mass, at 7 a.m., and to receive Holy Communion from the hands of his Holiness. After the Mass, Leo XIII. received in private audience these young men, who were introduced by Comte de Boursetty, and conversed with each of them for some time, inquiring the particulars concerning their mode of life, their respective .trades, their wages and hours of labour. He accompanied them through part of the Pontifical galleries, gave them permission to visit the Vatican gardens, and presented each of them with a valuable memorial of their visit. On the 11th there was another large reception of strangers. On the same day Cavaliere Enrico Angelini had private audience of his Holiness and presented to him a large offering of Peter’s Pence, in name of Monsignor Tommaso Baron, Bishop of Chilasca, in Mexico.

In the evening, at half-past seven, the Pope entered the Basilica of St. Peter’s by the private passage, and remained in prayer before the tombs of the Apostles and the Altar of the Sacrament, for a considerable time. He was accompanied by the private Chamberlains on duty and by a few officials of the Vatican. The gates of the Basilica were of course closed.

Mass at the Quirinal:  It is stated that the Pope has granted permission for Mass to be said in the Quirinal. This is not quite correct. The interdict has not been removed from the palace of the Quirinal. But there is a building near the palace proper, called the Palazzina, which was restored and enlarged by Victor Emmanuel. Canon Anzino, chaplain to the Royal Family, presented a petition stating that Queen Margarita was greatly inconvenienced by crowds of supplicants when attending Mass at the Sudario, and pointing out that after the attempt at Naples and the more recent Garibaldian agitations there might be some peril to the Queen and her son in attending mass in the Sudario or in the passage to and from the Quirinal. Licence was consequently given to Canon Anzino to celebrate Mass in a chapel erected in the Palazzina for the benefit of Queen Margarita and the persons whom she might invite to attend.

Palazzo Quirinale, Rome

The Pensions to the Suppressed Orders: The pittances paid to the members of the suppressed Religious Orders by way of pensions in compensation for the loss of their homes and revenues are very small, and are moreover very irregularly paid. The Minor Conventuals in Mussomeli, Sicily, were paid on the 4th of May, the arrears which ought to have been paid to them in March. The local paymaster was in vain applied to by the Friars for payment of their pensions, and the Friars telegraphed to the Minister of Finance in Rome and to King Humbert, before they could obtain redress.

Cardinal Newman

Cardinal Newman:  After his audience with the Pope on Sunday the 27th of April, Dr. Newman scarcely left his apartments, being troubled with a severe cold and cough. Dr. Aitken was called in to see him, and at one time some anxiety was felt as to the condition of the illustrious Oratorian. However, no apprehension is now entertained, and it is believed certain that Cardinal Newman will be able to attend the consistory on the 15th to receive the hat.

The Advocates of St. Peter:  His Holiness Leo XIII. has been pleased to signify that he will receive the members of the Society of Advocates of St. Peter in audience on the 29th of June, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. This Society counts many members in England, and includes the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquises of Ripon and Bute, besides all the English bishops. The President, Count Agnelli dei Malherbi, has issued notice of the audience on the 29th of June, and it is expected several foreign members of rank will come to Rome for the occasion.

Dr. Woodlock: The Right Rev. Dr. Woodlock, bishop-elect of Ardagh, will be consecrated by the Pope himself to that see on Whitsunday next.

May 12.

Conversions:  On Sunday, May 11, Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, who had been a few days previously received into the Church by Monsignor Capel, were admitted to the Pope’s private Mass in the Vatican, and received their first communion from the hands of his Holiness. At this celebration were Mrs. Handley, who acted as godmother to Mrs. Cassell, Mrs. Pereira, and a few other persons. After the Mass Leo XIII. admitted Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, with Mrs. Handley, to private audience, and conversed with them for some time. Monsignor Macchi, the Maestro di Camera, presented the new converts with beautiful rosaries.

Peter’s Pence From Ireland:  At a recent audience Monsignor Kirby presented to the Holy Father the sum of £163 from the Bishop, clergy, and faithful of the diocese of Achonry in Ireland. Leo XIII. sent his special blessing to the donors.

Consecrations By The Pope:  On Whitsunday next the Pope will consecrate Cardinal Pitra for the bishopric of Frascati ; Monsignor Latoni, Auditor of his Holiness, for the bishopric of Senigaglia ; and Dr. Woodlock, for the bishopric of Ardagh in Ireland.

The above text was found on p.17,17th May 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

John Henry Newman becomes a Cardinal. May 1879

Palazzo della Pigna

Cardinal Newman:   On Monday morning [May 12]  Dr. Newman went to the residence of Cardinal Howard in the Palazzo della Pigna to receive there the messenger from the Vatican bearing the biglietto from the Cardinal-Secretary of State, informing him that in a secret Consistory held that morning his Holiness had deigned to raise him to the rank of Cardinal. By eleven o’clock the rooms were crowded with English and American Catholics, ecclesiastics and laymen, as well as many members of the Roman nobility and dignitaries of the Church, assembled to witness the ceremony. Soon after midday the consistorial messenger was announced. He handed the biglietto to Dr. Newman, who, having broken the seal, gave it to Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, who read the contents. The messenger having then informed the newly-created Cardinal that his Holiness would receive him at the Vatican the next morning at ten o’clock to confer the berretta upon him, and having paid the customary compliments, his Eminence spoke as follows:

Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la participazione che mi avete fatto dell’ alto onore che it Santo Padre si è degnato conferire sulla mia persona ; and if I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue, it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me. First of all, then, I am led to speak of the wonder and profound gratitude which came upon me, and which is upon me still, at the condescension and love towards me of the Holy Father in singling me out for so immense an honour. It was a great surprise. Such an elevation had never come into my thoughts, and seemed to be out of keeping with all my antecedents. I had passed through many trials, but they were over, and now the end of all things had almost come to me and I was at peace. And was it possible that, after all, I had lived through so many years for this? Nor is it easy to see how I could have borne so great a shock had not the Holy Father resolved on a second condescension towards me, which tempered it, and was to all who heard of it a touching evidence of his kindly and generous nature. He felt for me, and he told me the reasons why he raised me to this high position. His act, said he, was a recognition of my zeal and good services for so many years in the Catholic cause.

Moreover, he judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour. After such gracious words from his Holiness I should have been insensible and heartless if I had had scruples any longer. This is what he had the kindness to say to me, and what could I want more? In a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of saints—namely, that error cannot be found in them ; but what I trust I may claim throughout all that I have written is this—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve the Holy Church, and through the Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For 30, 40, 50 years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did the Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas ! it is an error overspreading as a snare the whole earth ; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world and upon the Holy Church as it is and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place if I renew the protest against it which I have so often made.

Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with the recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, as all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste—not an objective fact, not miraculous ; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant churches and to Catholic, may get good from both, and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings without having any views at all of doctrine in common or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you ? It is as impertinent to think about a man’s religion as about the management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society. Hitherto the civil power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force when I was young that Christianity was the law of the land. Now everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity.

The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone or is going everywhere, and by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure the submission of the mass of the population to law and order. Now, philosophers and politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church’s authority and teaching they would substitute, first of all, a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober is his personal interest. Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, they provide the broad, fundamental, ethical truths of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like, proved experience, arid those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society and in social matters, whether physical or psychological—for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, the intercourse of nations. As to religion, it is a private luxury which a man may have if he will, but which, of course, he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others or indulge to their annoyance. The general character of this great apostasy is one and the same everywhere, but in detail and in character it varies in different countries.

For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think, it threatens to have a formidable success, though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue. At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which on the Continent seems to be founded on infidelity ; but the misfortune with us is that, though it ends in infidelity, as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the union of Church and State, and would advocate the un-christianising the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful.

Next, the liberal principle is forced on us through the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population ; and recollect, our mode of government is popular. Every dozen men taken at random whom you meet in the streets have a share in political power. When you inquire into their forms of belief, perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions. How can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion were ignored. We cannot help ourselves. And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true ; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles. It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men—elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them. Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us ; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls ! but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the work of truth, to the Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, faithful and true, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain.

On the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise when it is witnessed, is the particular mode in the event by which Providence rescues and saves his elect inheritance. Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend ; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening ; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself ; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties in confidence and peace, to stand still, and to see the salvation of God. ‘ Mansueti hereditabunt terram et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis’  [But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.] .”

Cardinal Newman by John Everett Millais 1885.

His Eminence spoke in a strong, clear voice, and although he stood the whole time, he showed no signs of fatigue. After taking his seat, those present went up in turn to compliment him, Monsignor Stonor, at the request of Monsignor Cataldi, master of the ceremonies to his Holiness, presenting those with whom his Eminence was unacquainted. Among the many present were Dr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory ; Monsignor Lenti, Vice-gerent of Rome ; Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Dr. Giles, Vice-rector of the English College ; Monsignor Kirby, Rector of the Irish College ; Dr. Campbell, Rector of the Scotch College; Dr. Smith, of the Propaganda ; Dr. O’Bryen ; Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American College ; F. Mullooly, Prior of St. Clement’s ; Dr. Maziere Brady, Lady Herbert of Lea, Marchioness Ricci, Baroness Keating, Prince and Princess Giustiniani Bandini, Commendatore de Rossi, Count de Redmond, General Kanzler, Professor Blackie, Sir Hungerford Pollen, Monsignors Folicaldi, Rinaldi, de Stacpoole, and others, and nearly all the English residents now in Rome, both Catholic and Protestant.

The Times correspondent telegraphs the following account of the presentation to his Eminence, on Wednesday, of the gifts and the address of the English, Irish, Scotch, and American residents in Rome :— Wednesday May 14.

At 11 o’clock this morning his Eminence Cardinal Newman, attended by his train-bearer and gentleman of honour in full Pontifical Court dress and sword, and accompanied by the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory who are with him and Mgr. Cataldi, master of the ceremonies to his Holiness, was received at the door of the English College by the rector, Dr. O’Callaghan, the vice-rector, Dr. Giles, and Mgr. Stonor, and conducted into a large upper chamber, already crowded by ladies and gentlemen, Protestant as well as Catholic. At the further end were exposed the complete set of vestments, rich as becoming the intention, but plain in accordance with the Cardinal’s desire, the cloth of silver cope and jewelled mitre for State occasions, the pectoral cross and chain, and a silver-gilt altar candlestick, for which the English-speaking Catholics at Rome have sub-scribed as a present to his Eminence, together with a richly illuminated address. On each vestment was embroidered his Eminence’s coat-of-arms in proper heraldic colours, with the motto ” Cor ad cor loquitur.” The jewelled mitre is a facsimile of that presented to Leo XIII. Cardinal Newman having taken his seat on the throne, with Mgr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, Mgr. Woodlock, Bishop elect of Ardagh ; Mgr. Siciliano di Rende, Archbishop of Benevento; and Mgrs. Stonor, Cataldi, and de Stacpoole standing on the steps of the dais on either side, Lady Herbert of Lea read the following address

” My Lord Cardinal,—We, your devoted English, Scotch,. Irish, and American children at present residing in Rome,. earnestly wishing to testify our deep and affectionate veneration for your Eminence’s person and character, together with our hearty joy at your elevation to the Sacred Purple, venture to lay this humble offering at your feet. We feel that in making you a Cardinal the Holy Father has not only given public testimony of his appreciation of your great merits and of the value of your admirable writings in defence of God and His Church, but has also conferred the greatest possible honour on all English-speaking Catholics, who have long looked up to you as their spiritual father and their guide in the paths of holiness. We hope your Eminence will excuse the shortness and simplicity of this address, which is but the expression of the feeling contained in your Eminence’s motto, ‘ Heart speaking to Heart,’ for your Eminence has long won the first place in the hearts of all. That God may greatly prolong the years which have been so devoted to His service in the cause of truth is the earnest prayer of your Eminence’s faithful and loving children.”

His Eminence, having first descended to examine the presents, then replied as follows

“My dear friends,—Your affectionate address, introductory to so beautiful a present, I accept as one of those strange favours, of Divine Providence which are granted to few. Most men if they do any good die without knowing it ; but I call it strange that I should be kept to my present age—an age beyond the age of most men—as if in order that, in this great city, where I am personally almost unknown, I might find kind friends to meet me with an affectionate welcome and to claim me as their spiritual benefactor. The tender condescension to me of the Holy Father has elicited in my behalf, in sympathy with him, a loving acclamation from his faithful children. My dear friends, your present, which while God gives me strength I shall avail myself of in my daily Mass, will be a continual memento in His sight both of your persons and your several intentions. When my strength fails me for that great action, then in turn I know well that I may rely on your taking up the duty and privilege of intercession, and praying for me that, with the aid of the Blessed Virgin and all saints, I may persevere in faith, hope, and charity, and in all that grace which is the life of the soul till the end comes.”

A great improvement was manifested in the Cardinal’s appearance since the day before yesterday, and he may now be considered perfectly re-established in health.


Cardinal Newman attended the Consistory to-day, and received the Cardinal’s hat and his title of S. Giorgio in Velabro a church situated in the lower town of Rome, on the left bank-of the Tiber, near the foot of the Palatine. There was a large attendance of Cardinals.

The above text was found on p.18 – p.19, 17th May 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The Battle of Mentana, November 3rd 1867.

The Battle of Mentana was fought on November 3, 1867 near the village of Mentana, just outside Rome, [about three miles]   between French-Papal troops and the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were attempting to capture Rome, which was not unified to Kingdom of Italy until three years later.. The battle ended in a victory by the French-Papal troops. This is the report from “The Tablet” published on 23rd November 1867. As would be expected, it does take sides. It is still staggering that a Papal army was fighting just under one hundred and fifty years ago.




ROME, Nov. 8th.

The events of the past week have been so stirring that I preferred waiting till a correct appreciation could be formed of their weight and extent, to sending you a hurried and unsatisfactory account of the great triumph of the Pontifical army. An hour or two after posting my last letter on Saturday afternoon received notice from the ambulance that the muster of the columns which was going to attack Monte Rotondo would take place at three in the morning of Sunday, at the Piazza delle Termine, and that those intending to form part of it must be there a few minutes earlier.

The Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, newly arrived on special duty from Marseilles, the Vicomte de Lupe, M. Keller (fils), De Ozanam and Mgri. Vergneaud, and Benoit D’Azy, under the direction of M. de St. Priest, formed the members of the French volunteer ambulance, and its place was in the centre of the attacking columns, immediately behind the artillery and cavalry. The night was rainy, but in spite of the weather the scene was picturesque beyond description. The troops were formed in line from the Baths of Diocletian to the Piazza Pia, and the red glare of the torches which lighted the march fell on the gigantic ruins of the Thermae, on the facade of the Maria degli Angeli, on the brazen helmets of the dragoons, and the Pontifical standard, which

“Wet with the mists, and smitten by the lights,

Blazed, making all the night a stream of fire,”

and guarded by the entire regiment of Zouaves, went on before us into the darkness, followed by the prayers and blessing of the Vicar of Christ, and the countless holy souls who were watching round the altars and in the cloisters of the Eternal City.

The long line, measuring more than three-quarters of a mile from van to rear, began to wind slowly through the Porta Pia, and the quick rattle of officers on horseback passing our carriage told us that the general and his staff were taking their place at the head of the column. General Kanzler was accompanied by his Royal Highness the Comte de Caserta, MM. de Bourbon, Charles de Maistre, Ungarelli, and a brilliant staff of officers. Colonel Allett, with M. de Charette, and the commandants De Troussures, and De Lambilly, headed the Zouaves. The Swiss under the commandant De Castella, the artillery commanded by M. de Nadin, the dragoons by the Count Von Loiningen, and the Legion by the Comte D’Azy, formed the effective force of the Pontifical column, numbering about six thousand men. The reserve was given to the French, under General Polhes, General Kanzler claiming the honour of the first attack. In spite of the bad weather, the troops were in the highest spirits. Most of the Zouaves had not slept save for an hour or two for twelve nights, from the constant alarm and fatigue duty, but there was no sign of wavering when the bugle sounded, and as the Porta Pia was passed and the column was fairly in the open country, the pace was quickened, and by the time the first dawn broke cold and grey over the Sabine Mountains, the troops had accomplished nearly half their march.

The sun rose at last, and though the weather was chill, damp, and threatening, the rain ceased, to the great satisfaction of every one. At the Ponte Nomentana three companies of Zouaves were detached from the column, and under the conduct of the commandant De Troussures, executed a movement to support the French reserve, and attack the Garibaldians at their flank outposts at Mentana, a village about two miles in advance of Monte Rotondo on the Roman side by the Ponte Manola road.

The Ponta Nomentano was secured and a strong guard of French chasseurs was left in charge of it to guard the retreat.

About five miles beyond Ponte Nomentana a halt was sounded, the hour being nearly ten o’clock, and the troops breakfasted. The pious Dominican chaplain, Pere Lignir, who, with Mgri. de Waelmont, Bastide, and three Jesuit Fathers, accompanied the ambulance, celebrated the Holy Sacrifice in presence of the army in a little wayside chapel attached to the Osteria. For many present it was their last Mass, and the devotion and fervour with which it was assisted at by the Zouaves especially, it is impossible to describe. By eleven we were again on the march, our route lying over the Campagna in a north-easterly direction, the villages of Monticelli, San Francesco, and Palombara lying to our right, and Tivoli in the same direction, bet further down the flank of the Sabine. The march became slower, for the heavy clay clung to the wheels of the carriages, and the artillery was constantly requiring to be lifted out of the mire. This continued across the Campagna for about two miles, and then the soil became lighter, and as we neared the village of Mentana the country became more wooded, and showed signs of enclosure and cultivation, and the road more practicable. Mentana was still invisible, being concealed from us by a circle of woody eminences, all of which we had reason to believe were occupied by the Garibaldians, and we knew that at Mentana itself they maintained a force of 700 men as the advanced post of Monte Rotondo, and General Kanzler had, even from the beginning, prepared for a stout resistance there, and took his measures accordingly.

The road by which Mentana was to be reached runs up a ravine lying between hills covered with light brushwood, and when we reached the first eminence above the champaign country, flanking companies were detached ” en tirailleur,” on either side of our march to prevent a surprise, and the artillery passing to the front, took up a position on a round hill commanding the ravine and the opposite heights, two ranges of hills, about 800 feet high, separating us from the enemy, who, as yet, gave no sign of life.

The bugle sounded from the Zouave ranks far on ahead ; General Kanzler and his staff, with the Count of Caserta, cantered up the line, and we finding that our drivers were not particularly anxious to pro-ceed further, with the prospect of immediate action, got down and proceeded on foot a little in the rear of the troops, to a point where we could observe the attack and where we resolved to establish our first ambulance.

We had not long to wait before the first sharp crack of the rifles broke the silence. From the bill we occupied we could plainly distinguish the scarlet shirts of the Garibaldian skirmishers, through the hazel and alder copsewood, and, in a few seconds, the whole edge of the heights was alive with their troops. Volley after volley rung through the thickets, and our cannon responded gallantly, doing terrible execution on the enemy, and protecting the advance of our column.

The Zouaves had, of course, the post of honour and of danger, the guerdon of their undying chivalry and devotion. Company after company swept by our post, the officers and men saluting the Sisters of St. Vincent of Paul, who, for the first time since their foundation, accompanied an army to the open battle-field ; and the cry of ” Vive la France ! Vive Pie IX. !” went up like a clarion note from the hearts of 2,000 Christian gentlemen, ready, as were even their crusading fathers, to die for God’s cause and the triumph of the Church. Up the ravine they swept, Charette at their head, on his superb chestnut horse, his clear bright eye . gleaming with the light of battle, and his noble features looking prouder and nobler even than their wont in the excitement of the hour. Gallant old Alett, sitting calm and square on his stout charger as he sat at Castelfidardo, when his fugitive regiment of Swiss left him alone on the field to fight side by side with the Zouaves he now commands. De Lambilly, De Saizy, and Le Gouidec, D’Albions, De Fumel and Thormelet, Breton, and Provencal, and Swiss, each at the head of their company, passed on. There were some of English birth too, who shared the honour of the day, George Collingridge, Roland Cary, Wilfrid and Julian Watts Russell, Charles Woodward, were all in the ranks, brave and devoted as any Frenchman there, and longing to rival their comrades for the honour of Catholic England and the expiation of her past coldness in the cause. Past, let us trust and believe, forever!

The five first companies formed ” en tirailleur” and charged rapidly up the pass. The ” 6me du ler,” the compagnie d’elite, of which almost every man is a noble, was the first up the hill, and the shot from each side of the ravine made terrible havoc in its ranks. De Cathelineau was among the first who fell, and as the columns neared the top of the hill; which is crowned by a farm and gateway, called the Villa Santucci, the combat became more dreadful. The Garibaldians had fortified the buildings, and defended by its walls, their sharpshooters kept up a deadly fire on the Zouaves. The Sixieme was mounting to the assault two or three hundred yards below the villa, when its brave captain, the Comte de Vaux, waving his sword and cheering on his men, fell, shot through the heart, and never spoke again. He only lived a few moments, but long enough to receive the last absolution on the field of battle. He had confessed and communicated, as had every man and officer present, the day before he died as a soldier might dream of dying. I saw him a few minutes later, when, the heights being carried, we established a second ambulance in the Villa Santucci. He was lying with his sword still in his hand, his eyes raised to heaven, a smile on his lips, and the cross of Castelfidardo, which had been struck by the fatal bullet, carried into his heart, where it was found imbedded after his autopsy.

The fire now slackened, and the rear companies, which guarded the Papal Standard and were ranged, not ” en tirailleur” but in battle order, suffered severely but never broke their ranks. The sound of the fusillade mingled with the word of command, ” appuyez à droite,” ” appuyez à gauche,” as men fell and their vacant place was filled up. There was a moment of hesitation—and only a moment—and Charette pressing to the front cried “A moi! Zouaves atia bayonette. Chassez moi cette canaille. Vive Pie IX !” and waving the kepi of a Garibaldian chief he had taken in the early part of the charge, he spurred into the hottest of the fire. The balls literally rained, rattling and hissing through the yellowing oak leaves; one struck the sheath of his sabre, and another wounded his horse, which became unmanageable. The Comte Joseph de Pavillon, who had just taken Major Fabrizi’s horse in a single combat, in which the Garibaldian chief was mortally wounded, came up at the moment, and M. de Charette mounting it continued to expose himself with bravery so unthinking that it is a miracle that he escaped with his life.

A moment’s lull in the fire, and a new cry of ” Vive la France” sounded from the heights to the left, and the quick rattle of the Chassepots [a new type of French breech-loading rifle] told us that Polhes’ brigade had engaged the Garibaldian left. Castella and his Swiss regiment of Chasseurs came in sight, the Zouaves gave another and louder cheer, and the enemy falling back pell melt, retreated on the village, leaving the height of Villa Santucci in the hands of the Pontifical troops.

On reaching it, far down the flank of the opposite hills we could see the village of Mentana itself; its every house, its feudal castle, its church and walls, bristling with Garibaldian rifles. The heights above it were still in their possession, but the French were pressing hotly on their outposts, and on the road below the farm up to the gate of the village, which was strongly barricaded with earthworks, the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 7th companies of Zouaves were advancing. The Swiss were moving up in reserve, and we found their brave commandant, whose horse had just been killed under him, severely wounded in the knees and unable to move, but propped up against the wall and still directing the movements by voice and arm, till his regiment had advanced out of sight and earshot. Then alone was M. De Castella persuaded to accept the services of the surgeons, and retire to the farm to have his wounds dressed.

The battle swept down the valley and raged hot and furious round Mentana. The wounded soon became too numerous for the second ambulance, and we were obliged to establish a third nearer the field of battle, in a chapel between Montana and the Villa, where General Kanzler and the staff now took up their head-quarters, as well as a part of the ambulance service. From where I was, at the bottom of the second bill, I could distinguish the attack on the gate of the village and the movement of the troops. The Garibaldians were at least 14,000. The extent of ground they occupied and the arms found at Monte Rotondo, prove that their number was greatly under-stated by the official accounts at first published.

The 1st company was among the foremost in the attack on the gate, and it was here, about four in the afternoon, that our gallant young countryman Julian Russell fell, shot through the head, the second martyr England has given to Rome, and a fitting rival of Louis Guerin in youth, bravery, innocence, and devotion to the Church. Here, too, fell the Sergeant Lairon, a Breton, known and reputed in the entire regiment for his piety and courage. M. De Montbel was close to him when he was struck, and ran up to help him. ” Leave me,” he said, ” I am dying, and I die for Pius the IXth. You are wanted in the front, but tell my mother I did my duty, and give her my watch for the poor.”

Here, too, fell Walerond, Baron D’Erps, chief of a great house of North Brabant ; M. De Boischevalier, and Alfred Laroyse, whose family, one of the most considerable in Lower Canada, sent him to represent that faithful colony in the army of the Church. The two latter gentlemen were only dangerously wounded, but there is little hope of their recovery.

Another act of devotion deserves mention here. M. Jean Moeller, one of the celebrated Catholic Belgian writers of that name, served as Lieutenant of Zouaves at Castelfidardo with great credit, but his extreme youth in proportion to his grade and his want of experience were not in his favour in the regiment. A few childish acts were misinterpreted and very harshly judged, and he was obliged to give up his commission. He returned to Brussels to maintain his family in an honourable financial employment, but at the first outbreak of war he returned, entered as a simple soldier, and, serving under the orders of the very men he had once commanded, was among the first to enter Mentana, and flinging his kepi within the Garibaldian lines, followed rifle in hand, and was shot down severely wounded, but the position was carried by his comrades, and he was removed to the rear. There are many among the older students of the English College who know him and who will be glad to hear of their old Zouave acquaintance distinguishing himself so gallantly.

The twilight was coming on before the battle gave any signs of relenting. The Garibaldians fought every inch of the ground with desperate bravery, and their magnificent position, chosen with care and strategical knowledge, which proved the direction of high military knowledge, gave them every advantage, but the light was waning and a suspension of arms inevitable for the night. Menotti Garibaldi and his father had been seen twice in the early part of the fighting, the former on a white horse and the latter in a carriage, on the Monte Rotondo road, but they did not expose their person much according to the testimony of their followers, who are much dissatisfied at their leaders.They all, however agree that Ricciotti Garibaldi behaved most gallantly and shared every dangerous part with his soldiers, by whom he appears much beloved for his kindness of disposition and superior education. Two Garibaldian officers in the grey uniform of the Guides were all through the day remarkable for their courage and sangfroid, and the Zouaves are unanimous in their testimony to it. The Garibaldian marksmen were remarkably good, and two of them picked off the artillerymen one after the other,, ten loading for them as fast as they discharged the shots.

The superiority of the Chassepot was, however, clearly proved, and the terrible havoc in the enemy’s ranks was only realised when the battle was over and the wounded brought in. The patrols went up and down the ground with torches, and under every hedge, behind the walls, in the outhouses, and under the bracken were lying the unfortunate men ; many dead more dying and desperately wounded, and some able to walk, and too glad to surrender themselves prisoners and receive the best care that could be afforded them, and which was given by Dr. Ozanam and the Sisters to Garibaldians and Zouaves alike.

At five in the evening the firing ceased, and General Kanzler ordered a recall to be sounded and a camp formed round the Casa Santucci, whose elevated position rendered it the strongest post in our possession. The Zouaves soon returned with the Swiss, the chasseurs à pied, and the dragoons, and preparations were made for the bivouac. The French line was picketted in the ravine and the Legion on the open space below the ravine, round the little chapel where the first ambulance had remained under charge of Dr. Ceccarelli and Mgr. De Waelmont. The:night was a dreadful one—a cutting tramontana wind had set in, and four-fifths of the wounded at the lower ambulance could not be got under shelter, the chapel being too small, and they were obliged to be left on the ground, covered, as best we could contrive, with the scanty blankets of the train. Our water, too, ran short, and the wells being in the hands of the enemy, the sufferings of the poor soldiers were dreadful.

With the Sister Superioress and the surgeon and chaplain I spent the greatest part of the night on that terrible battle ground—the faces of the dead lighted up by the red glare of the camp fires, and now and then by a cold watery moon breaking through the storm clouds and rendering the scene ghastly beyond description. The cries of our unfortunate wounded were ringing in our ears, and we had not one pint of water left to give them. One poor Breton Zouave, to whom I was giving the last orange left in the ambulance, whose sufferings were dreadful to witness, from thirst, insisted on dividing it between two of his fellow wounded, both of them Garibaldians. It was his last act of heroic charity, for he went to receive his reward before daybreak.

We returned to the ambulance of Casa Santucci about three in the morning ; all along the road the dead were lying, the immense majority being Garibaldians. The body of one, an officer evidently, was guarded by his dog: the poor faithful creature sat there through the night and all next day, crying piteously, and would not be induced to leave it. When its master was buried the French office of the 59th took it home to their regiment, but for days it refused to eat or to notice any one.

About five in the morning the Comte de Christen arrived from Rome bringing important despatches from General Dumont, requesting the commander-in-chief, General Kanzler, to postpone his attack on Monte Rotondo till nine o’clock, as by that time a reinforcement of two French regiments and a heavy siege train would reach Mentana.

Preparations were, however, made for hostilities, and General Kanzler expected the Garibaldians to attack the Pontifical headquarters, and,by seven all was ready to recommence the battle. Still the Garibaldians remained perfectly inactive, and it would be difficult to imagine the astonishment of all present when, about eight o’clock, a flag of truce was hoisted from Mentana and a ” parlementaire,” on horseback, evidently an officer of some standing, appeared at the end of the avenue leading up to our lines.

Having been conducted to our head-quarters, he offered, on the part of the Mentana garrison, to surrender at discretion, Garibaldi having previously evacuated Monte Rotondo during the night.

The terms were of course accepted, and a few minutes after twelve hundred Garibaldians were marched into the Pontifical lines and sent under escort to Rome. The banner of Pius IX. was hoisted on the bastions, the Battle of Mentana was won, and Castelfidardo avenged !

The General and his staff started about eleven with the greater part of the troops to occupy Monte Rotondo, and the combatants busied themselves in the transport of the wounded. Prince Lancillotti, of whose courage and devotion it is impossible to speak too highly, rode off to Rome with General Kanzler’s despatches, and returned in the afternoon with fifty carriages, the Borghese, Patrizi, and all the great families sending their breaks and open carriages for the use of the ambulance. MM. les Ducs de Luynes and de Lorges, two of the oldest members of the French Peerage, were among the most active assistants, as well as MM. de Luppe, De Vergneaud, Keller, De Benoit d’Azy, under the direction of Dr. Ozanam. Of the services of M. de St. Priest and the Sisters of Charity I need not speak— they were indeed worthy of true children of St. Vincent of Paul.



The Cardinal of San Gregorio. [Cardinal Manning] The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875

This is from The Times; it’s good to see Uncle Henry has settled down in Rome, and quite a major change from being a parish priest in Orrell, near Wigan to participating in a Cardinal’s installation in less than eighteen months.

San Gregorio al Celio, Rome

The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875


(from an occasional correspondent)

ROME March 31.

Yesterday Cardinals Manning, Dechamps, Giannelli, and Bartolini were – as Cardinals Mc’Closkey and. Ledochowski are still – only nominally Princes of the Church; today their creation has been completed. The Pope has closed their mouths; they have assisted at a meeting of the Sacred Council, at which having no deliberative voice they were mute spectators; their months, have been opened, and they have taken part in further proceedings of the Council at which they have given their votes with the rest; and, in token of the mystic marriage between the Cardinals and the Churches which form their ” titles” – typical of that between the Saviour and the Universal Church -the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and in future should Cardinal Manning adhere to an ancient custom he will call the Church of St. Gregory  ” Sponsa mea.”

At half-past 10 His Holiness, accompanied by his Court, entered the hall of the Consistory, and having pronounced the customary prayer, “Adsumus, Domine Sancte Spiritus,” 24 members of the Sacred College now in Rome took their seats on each side from the throne, the four new Cardinals standing in the centre. Their hands were bare, no rings upon their fingers, and as they stood uncovered and holding the little red scull caps, the zucchetti, in their hands, the Pope performed the ceremony of closing their mouths, pronouncing the words, ” Clauidimus vobis os, ut nec in Consistoriis neque in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” The Papal Master of the Ceremonies, the Chamberlains of Honour, and others present then left the Hall, the new Cardinals, covering their heads with the zucchetti, took their seats upon the stools assigned to them, and the Pope remaining alone with the members of the Sacred College, proceeded to the preconization of four Bishops to fill the Sees of Anagni, and of Patara, Samaria and Ptolemais in partibus. As the Pope named each Bishop, he asked the opinions of the Cardinals, saying ” Quid vobis videtur ” to which all replied in the affirmative, with the exception of the new Cardinals, who, having no voice, remained silent. Then His Holiness pulling the rope which hangs by the side of the throne rang the bell, and the Masters of the Ceremonies having re-entered, and closing the door behind them, the four new Cardinals stood again bare headed before the throne, while the Pope performed the ceremony of opening their mouths, repeating the formula, ” Aperimus vobis os, ut tam in Consistoriis quam in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” Monsignore Cataldi, Papal Master of the Ceremonies and Chamberlain of Honour to His Holiness, then conducted the new Cardinals one by one to the foot of the throne, where, each kneeling in turn, the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and with the customary formula named their “titles,” espousing the Cardinals to their respective Churches    Cardinal Manning to the Church of Saints Andrew and Gregory;  Cardinal Dechamps to the Church of Saint Bernard ad Thermas, the little round church at the Baths of Diocletian; Cardinal Giannelli to the Basilica of St. Agnes extra muros; and Cardinal Bartolini to the Church of Saint Nicholas in carcere. This done, each Cardinal first kissed the Pontiff’s foot, then his hand, and rising received the embrace from His Holiness. Tle Pope then retired to the throne room of his apartment to impose the rochet upon two of tlie new Bishops – those of Anagni and of Samaria in partibus, while the Cardinals remaining in the Hall of the Consistory held a Congregation for the confirmation of new officials of the Sacred College, thus affordinag the new Cardinals an opportunity of taking part in its proceedings. A little later His Holiness received the new Cardinals privately. In past times newly-created Cardinals appeared before the Pope on this occasion attired in all the splendour of their scarlet robes ; but this morning, in consequence of the calamitous condition of the times, they wore their black sotanas, bordered with red, red sashes, and scarlet mantles only.

At 4 o’clock his Eminence, the Cardinal of St. Gregory went to take possession of his church. In times gone by this ceremony was performed with great splendour    the Cardinal going in his state coach, drawn by black horses caparisoned with red, and three footmen hanging on behind, runners preceding it, and a train of carriages following    to-day all was done in private. The church was closed, and entrance was only to be obtained by those honoured with cards bearing the name of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, of which it was understood that only a limited number would be issued. But such was the interest    in some cases, perhaps, only curiosity – felt by the English speaking colony in Rome, by Protestants whether Churchmen or Dissenters as well as by Catholics, that the English College was well nigh besieged, and a good half hour before the ceremony commenced the Church of St. Gregory was crowded.

It was to a certain extent addobbata as for a festa and on the pilasters at each side of the apse were hung, according to custom, the great dark crimson velvet portieres of his Eminence, embroidered with gold-coloured silk, and bearing his arms, embroidered in their heraldic colours on the centre, with the motto “Malo mori quam foedari.”  At 4 a bell rang, and the procession, issuing from the Sacristy, passed down the nave to the door, where a rich carpet, with a kneeling cushion upon it, had been spread, and where the ceremony was to commence, for had it been public the Cardinal with his cortége would have come in by the great door. Standing then just within the door, as if he had entered, attired in the cappa magna the full Cardinal’s costume with long train of scarlet silk  – he was received by the community of Camaldolese Monks, who serve the Church of St. Gregory. Then kneeling upon the cushion, the Crucifix was presented to him, which, at the same time uncovering his head reverentially, he kissed, and rising took the aspersoir and, having first made the sign of the Cross with it upon his own forehead, gave the holy water per tactum to those around –  first, to the Bishops and others of his cortége: Monsignore Howard, Bishop of Neo Cesario ; Monsignore Quin, Bishop of Bathurst, in Australia; Monsignore de Senestry, Bishop of Ratisbon; and Monsignor Stonor, who were all in full prelatic costume; next to the Rev. Father Beneassai, – or, as we have the name, Goodenough, – the General, and to the Rev. Fathers Anselmi, Bassi, and Archi,  Abbots of the Camaldolese Order. Lastly, the Cardinal sprinkled the water upon the clergy and people around. This done the incense was presented to his Eminence, aud, having covered the hot coals, the Rev. Leone Clari, Prior of the Monastery of St. Gregory, took the thurible and swung it three times before the Cardinal.

When entering for the first time the door of his church, holy water is presented to the Cardinal, and clouds of incense are spread around him to symbolize that, inasmuch as before the bridegroom enters the bride-chamber he washes and is perfumed, so, the Cardinal having been espoused with the putting on of a ring to the Church of his “Title,”  holy water and incense are offered to him ;at the moment of his entering into possession.

As the choir burst forth with the antiphon ” Ecce Sacerdos Magnus,” the procession proceeded up the nave to the Chapel of the Sacrament, at the end of the left aisle, in the following order :-Students of the English College, carrying the crucifix on an embroidered cushion, the thurible, and the holy water ; the clergy, headed by the cross-bearer; the General, Abbots, and Monks of the Camaldolese Order in their full monastic habits; his Eminence the Cardinal, with the Prior of the Monastery on his left, Monsignor Cataldi Master of Ceremonies to his Holiness, on his right, and accompanied by the Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan rector of the English College, the Very Rev. Dr. Kirby, rector of the Irish College, the Rev. Father William Manning, rector of the Catholic Church of St. Charles’s, Bayswater, chaplain to his Eminence, and others. Having adored the Sacrament, the procession passed on to the High Altar, where, all having taken their places according to rank, the Cardinal knelt at the faldstool while the Abbot, standing on the Epistle side of the altar, chanted the versicles prescribed by the Roman Pontifical ” Super Electum Cardinalem.” ,His Eminence then ascended the throne raised upon a high dais on the left, with a background and canopy of dark crimson velvet. When he had taken his seat with a monk on a low stool at each side, who acted as assisting deacons, the Pontifical BulL with the leaden seal was first presented to him by two officers of the Apostolic Dataria, and then read by Monsignore Cataldi, in his capacity of Protonotary Apostolic. The customary official formalities having been observed, the monks, commencing with the General and ending with the youngest lay brother, went up one by one and paid homage to the Cardinal, in response to which he rose and addressed them in Italian. He told them of the deep satisfaction he felt in the “title “ assigned to him being that of St. Gregory; spoke of the ties which had, from the commencement of this Church’s history, connected it with our island; assured them that whenever, in repeating the names of the Apostles, he pronounced that of St. Andrew-to whom St. Gregory originally dedicated the church –  his thoughts would turn to them with affection ; and concluded by recommending himself to their constant prayers.

Cardinal Manning c.1884

He then turned to the crowd of visitors present and spoke, in English, as follows .-

“ It is not my purpose to speak to you at any length, or in any studied words; the occasion is not one when it would be fitting to speak at length or in any detail. I cannot forget that our meeting here to-day is one altogether without precedent; it is an occasion which may never – in all probability will never -occur again. Never has one of my race taken possession of this Church of St. Gregory on the Coelian. It is not likely that any other will, because in the case of any successor of my nation being created Cardinal the title of St. Gregory may not be vacant. There is great fitness in the act of to-day. The church of which I take possession is closely related to our history. It was from this church and hill that St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, went forth upon his mission to England. St.. Gregory, in the largeness of his heart, had conceived the purpose of bringing back our fore-fathers to Christianity. We all, therefore, spring from this place. It is the cradle of our spiritual life. In truth, there are many here, whose hearts are animated with feelings like my own, but there are others who may not be like-minded; yet I cannot think that you have come here as to a ceremony, or from any mere curiosity. If so, you will, I fear, be disappointed. All who are here present, if not of one nation, are of one speech; you are English, or, if all are not, you are of the same race and language which spreads throughout our Colonial Empire and in the great continent of Northern America. I am, indeed, invested with an office which separates me from many among you, but most of you are Christians of our English speech, and as such you also sprung from this place; you are the spiritual children of St. Gregory. If you will read the history of the Anglo- Saxon Church, written by the Venerable Bede about a hundred years after St. Augustin’s mission, you will see the outline of all the glorious work which St. Gregory accomplished in England.

Another motive has brought you here – the love of our country. The gift of piety is from the Holy Ghost; the highest object is God and His Kingdom, the second is our kindred, the third our mother country. The children of St. Patrick, of St. Aidan, and of St. Columba will think I pass them over or exaggerate the love we have for England. We are divided, indeed, in much, but in much also we are united. We are united in believing that Christianity is the Revelation of God, that the inspired Scriptures are His Word, that our baptismal creed is a summary of the Christian faith. All this you have from the great Apostle of England in common with us. It is the consciousness of this which draws your hearts to this sanctuary, which was his home. Many hearts are failing because the days are evil and the Church is assailed on every side. But when St. Gregory died, the Christian world seemed vanishing away. The East was overrun by heresies, Constantinople was on the verge of schism, Russia, Germany, and the North of Europe were not as yet in Christendom, Spain was Arian, Lombardy was Arian, England had become heathen again.

But at this day the Church was never so widespread as now; the Episcopate never so united in itself, never so united to its Head; the pastors never so united to their bishops; the people never so united to their pastors. Come what may, there is yet a feature more glorious and more fruitful than the past. We are met here to-day in a multitude gathered from many countries. Some are of my flock, whom I know as a pastor; others are not – I would to God they were;  others, again, I do not know even by name ; but we are all come here with many thoughts.  Shall we ever meet again’? Never till the last day, when the Good Shepherd shall tell His sheep upon the everlasting hills. God grant that in that great day, of all that are here, not one may be wanting in the Vision of Peace.”

The Te Deum was then sung, followed by the antiphons of St. Andrew and St. Gregory, and the Cardinal, descending from his throne to the altar first intoned the Oremus of the two Saints, and then gave the Benediction to all present. The Cardinal then went in procession to pay his devotions in the chapel of St. Gregory, and thence to the Sacristy, where he was followed by a number of the ladies and gentlemen present, desirous of offering their congratulations. Finally, the Rev. Dr. O’Bryen, in the names of a number of the Catholic visitors in Rome, presented three gold embroidered copes to his Eminence, “in token of their respectful homage and affection. “

The Papal Jubilee – Rome, 1908


This was the jubilee to celebrate fifty years of Pope Pius X being a priest. In family terms, the baton has been passed from Mgr Henry O’Bryen as a papal chaplain, to Mgr Manuel Bidwell; though they weren’t related to each other.

Vatican City Bridge and St Peters

Sunday, November 22, 1908.


Judging by some appearances, there were many pilgrims in Rome who did not go to bed at all last Sunday night ; for long before the dawn, indeed as early as four o’clock, a very early newspaper bird found a group of over a hundred of them waiting patiently outside the doors of St. Peter’s. Alas, that such patience should have been utterly without its reward, for some two hours later a whole regiment of soldiers marched sleepily and silently into the great Piazza, mercifully dislodging the peaceable enemy and making it take up its position at the foot of the steps leading to the Basilica, where it was hardly better off than the thousands and tens of thousands that arrived between six and seven o’clock. During the hours of waiting they had the satisfaction of watching the Italian troops make a series of wonderful evolutions for some recondite object, probably known to the commanding officers ; but shortly before eight the first chapter of the waiting closed, when those possessing tickets were allow to pass through a hedge of bayonets, and to enter the Basilica. Here it was warmer and more interesting.

The immense interior was decorated in festive damask ; a broad space, secured by a wooden barrier and by a double line of the Palatine Guard, was left open in the centre, and two hours more passed quietly and pleasantly enough, in spite of the crush (and the crush was in parts so thick that there were a few cases of fainting), and the long standing—for it was impossible to plant even a tiny campstool anywhere. It is estimated that St. Peter’s when quite full will “stand” about ninety-thousand persons, but last Monday the space between the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and that of the Pieta was curtained off; so was the opening all down the centre, and the free wide circle round the papal altar, and the entire apse reserved for the dignitaries, and the tribunes, which meant that a third of the available space was unavailable for the eager multitude ; and so there must have been between fifty and sixty thousand persons present when the trumpets rang out the glad news that the procession, till now hidden by the acres of curtain on the right, had begun to move, and the first notes of the Sistine choir were heard, faintly at first, but growing louder and stronger each moment until even those in the far distance in the transepts could distinguish the “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus !”

It had been announced very sternly that on this occasion there were to be no tribunes except those reserved for the Pope’s Family, Royalty, the Roman Patriciate, the Knights of Malta, and the Diplomatic Corps. But there were vacant spaces under the two choirs and in a few other places which afforded a little room for benches, and so a couple of hundred persons did after all secure a special position. The tribune next to the throne, divided only by an invisible barrier from that of the Roman Patriciate (which was full), was occupied by the Holy Father’s brother, his three sisters, his nephew Mgr. Parolin, and his niece ; the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta with nearly all the chief dignitaries left no vacant places in the tribune reserved for them ; the Royal tribune held the Princess Matilda of Saxony, and the Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia with her consort the Grand Duke Michaivich and their seven children ;

Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia and his wife Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna.

a score or so of Extraordinary Embassies and Missions sent by Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents to represent them at the Pope’s Jubilee had their own place of distinction, as had the entire diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, and all these tribunes glistened with brilliant uniforms and flashing decorations. This time also a position of distinction was reserved for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, which was represented by Count Fabio Fani, Procurator of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, for the Knights residing in Rome, Sir Thomas H. Grattan Esmonde, M.P., representative of the Order in Ireland, and Mgr. Rivelli, a Knight Commander of the Order. Among the English-speaking Chamberlains on duty at the tribunes were the Marquis MacSwiney, Colonel Bernard, Chev. De Falloux Schuster, and Comm. Christmas, while among the others who took part in the historic function were Mr. Stuart A. Coats, the Hon. A. Wilmot and Captain Bartle Teeling. Mgr. Bidwell was one of the four Chamberlains in attendance on the Holy Father.


Long before the Holy Father himself appeared before the expectant gaze of the multitude the procession was moving rhythmically up the middle of the basilica. A Pontifical Master of Ceremonies led it, followed immediately by Papal Chamberlains of Sword and Cape, both private and honorary, the Procurators di Collegio, the Apostolic Preacher with the Confessor of the Pontifical Household, the Procurators General of the Mendicant Orders, the Bussolanti, the Custodian of the Tiaras flanked by two Chamberlains bearing the tiaras, the Private Chaplains bearing the mitres, two mace-bearers with silver maces, the Assistants of the Chamber, the Private Chaplains, the Private Clerics, the Honorary Chaplains, Consistorial Advocates, the supernumerary Honorary and Private Chamberlains, the Auditors of the Rota, the Master of the Apostolic Palaces, Prince Ruspoli, Master of the Sacred Hospice, Mgr. Bressan with the ordinary.mitre of the Holy Father, the thurifer, the Papal Cross borne by Mgr. Pescini, surrounded by seven clerics, Mgr. Sincero, Auditor of the Rota, and Apostolic Sub-deacon, between the Greek deacon and subdeacon of the Mass, the Penitentiaries of St. Peter’s preceded by clerics bearing the Verga decorated with flowers, the Abbots General of the Religious Orders and the Abbots nullius, the Bishops, Arch-bishops, and Patriarchs, a long line of prelates of the Latin and Oriental Churches numbering almost three hundred, the Sacred College of Cardinals, represented by thirty-five of its members, and then the Pope—  borne aloft over the heads of the people on the sedia gestatoria carried securely on the shoulders of twelve stalwart pontifical chair-bearers, with two Chamberlains on either side bolding the long flabellm, and surrounded by the Commandant and the officers of the Swiss Guard, and by four guards bearing the four great medimval swords that symbolise the four cantons of Switzerland, by Prince Rospigliosi, Commandant of the Noble Guard with his officers, by Count Pecci, Commandant of the Palatine Guard, and by numerous mace-bearers and functionaries, while the Marquis Clemente Sacchetti, charged as Foriere Maggiore with the duty of watching over the moving throne, walked immediately behind it, and before Cardinals Segna and Della Volpe, who were to assist the Pope at the Mass. The second part of he procession consists of the Dean of the Rota, the two Grand Chamberlains on duty, the Pope’s Physician, the Majordomo, the Protonotaries Apostolic, and the Regent of the Apostolic Chancellery, and then the Generals of the Religious Orders and Congregations.


There is hardly a sound to be heard throughout the basilica as the Pontiff passes along between the crowds, blessing on either side, but almost everybody present seems to be waving silently a white handkerchief— a curiously impressive sight to one looking down on it from above, and noting how in a moment the black sea of heads is transformed into a fluttering white ocean. Only as the Pope reaches the section reserved for the pilgrims from the Venetian province, where perhaps he bends a little more towards the people as he forms again and again the sign of the cross with his hand, he hears a low murmur from the proud and affectionate people there asking God to bless him, and he is for a moment visibly moved.

All had taken their places in the sanctuary when the “sedia gestatoria” reaches it, is softly lowered to the ground, and the Pope advances to one of the two thrones where he receives the obedience of the Cardinals, and some Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots. Then he is vested for the Mass while “Nones” [part of the Divine Office]  is being sung. He assumes the pontifical vestment known as the ” fanone”, and the Mass is begun, his Holiness being assisted by Cardinal, Serafino Vannutelli, as assistant priest, by Cardinals Segna and Dela Volpe as assistant deacons, and by Cardinal Cagiano as ministering deacon. The ceremonies of the Mass were the same as on all similar occasions, and the music was rendered by two choirs, the Sistine under Perosi, and a Gregorian made up chiefly of students under Mgr. Rella. At the end of the ceremony Cardinal Rampolla fulfilled the ancient custom of offering the celebrant a purse containing 25 giulii (about half-a-sovereign)    ” for a Mass well sung.” Everybody from the altar to the door tried hard, but not always effectually, to kneel as the Pope intoned his blessing. The procession was formed again, and passed back by the path it had come, and shortly the red curtains in front of the Chapel of the Pieta hid the Jubilarian Pontiff from the people.

The bleak and wintry weather which filled the rest of the day in Rome did not prevent the multitudes from coming out after dusk to witness the illuminations of the facade and colonnade of St. Peter’s, of all the houses in the Borgo, of all the churches and religious houses of Rome, and of a great number of the private dwellings ; but it did prevent the sight that was most eagerly looked forward to, that of the illumination of St. Peter’s dome, an event not witnessed since ” black ’70.”  [ The fall of Rome to the Italians in 1870] However, the disappointment was remedied on Thursday, when the rain stopped for half an hour as if on purpose to gladden the multitude with the wonderful sight.

The Dome of St Peter’s

The above text was found on p.17, 28th November 1908 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .