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 .

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 .

Rome December 1878


Among the articles recently presented to the  Holy Father were some curious and beautiful baskets made of the inner bark of trees, the work of the Indian tribe of Abenikis in Maine, U.S. Two pairs of elaborately ornamented mocassins were also presented to the Pope from the same tribe by the hands of Dr. James Healy, of Portland, Maine. His Holiness inquired minutely into the condition of this interesting tribe of Abenikis, who some centuries ago were converted to Christianity by Catholic missionaries, one of whom, Father Sebastian Rastes, was martyred by the new Englanders. An apostate was never known among this tribe. Leo XIII. gave to Bishop Healy a splendid medal for the chief of the tribe, and also wore a pair of the mocassins the evening of the day when they were presented, when Bishop Ryan, of Buffalo, took farewell audience. A beautiful carpet, the pattern of which represents the dome of St. Peter’s, was presented to the Pope by a society of French ladies. A deputation of the clergy and chapter of Fano had audience of his Holiness. On Monday, November 25, there was the customary reception of visitors in the Consistorial Hall. Mgr. Paolo Scapaticci and Commendatore Egidio Dati, the President and Vice-President of the Roman Diocesan Council for the Pious Work of the Propagation of the Faith, were received in private audience.

Consistorial Hall, Vatican

On Wednesday, the 27th November, Leo XIII. gave audience in the Throne Room to the Professors of the Gregorian Pontifical University, established in the German and Hungarian College under the direction of Jesuit Fathers. The professors belonged to the Chairs of Theology, Canon Law, and Philosophy, and were headed by Father Cardella, Provincial, Father Molza, Rector, and Father Kleutgen, Prefect of Studies. Father Cardella read an address in Latin, expressing the constant affection and firm devotion of the Company of Jesus to the Apostolic See. He mentioned that from the University on whose behalf he spoke had issued nine Pontiffs, of whom the reigning Pontiff was the last. He rejoiced in being enabled to make that statement, and returned thanks to God. He then declared the unalterable obedience of the University to the desires of Leo XIII., and especially with reference to the wish of the Pope that the theological and philosophical course of teaching should be rendered more efficacious for the contests against error. His Eminence Cardinal Parocchi, Archbishop of Bologna, was received in private audience by the Pope on the 27th. His Eminence laid an offering of Peter’s Pence at the feet of his Holiness, from the parish priests and some pious Institutes of Bologna.


King Umberto I and Queen Margherita

King Humbert and Queen Margharita made their entrance into Rome on Sunday, the 24th, amid great official rejoicings. The Royal Family were well guarded from the danger of assassination. Their carriage, in passing from their Palace to the railway terminus in Naples, was surrounded with troops. The terminus was strongly guarded. The entire line of railway from Naples to Rome was protected by sentinels stationed at intervals to give the alarm in case of danger. In Rome the Questor, Signor Bolis, made some hundreds of arrests, and, it is said, discovered some terrible plots against the life of the King. Several regiments of infantry were called to Rome to keep order. The houses along the route between the railway terminus and the Quirinal were carefully examined by police agents, and all suspicious persons removed. A number of officers, not on regimental duty, were selected to walk on either side of the King’s carriage during the drive from the railway station to the Quirinal. A squadron of Cuirassiers rode in front of the Royal cortege. King Humbert looks wretchedly ill, and had a severe fit of coughing just before entering his carriage at the station. In the carriage with his Majesty sat the Queen, the young Prince of Naples, Prince Amadeo, and Signor Cairoli. The Via Nazionale and the Via Quirinale were lined with soldiers. Their Majesties arrived at the Quirinal in safety and without any disturbance of the public peace. On the evening of the 24th, and also of the 25th, the Corso was illuminated and also the public buildings. On the latter morning soldiers from every regiment in Rome were supplied with torches, and marched, with the torches burning, from the Piazza del Popolo to the Quirinal.


The condition of Italy is at present truly alarming. The Internationalists seem determined to  force on a revolution. They are said to have  obtained the two and a half millions of francs which were so mysteriously stolen between Ancona and Genoa, and to have bought some thousands of rifles. The accounts of explosions of bombs, and of seditious demonstrations at Pesaro, Pisa, Genoa, San Sepulcro, Bologna, &c., &c. prove the fact that almost all Italy, and notably the Romagna, is ripe for revolt. In Rome the windows, or gratings, in the basement story of the Home Office were walled up, to prevent the Internationalists from blowing up the Palace by dynamite, or burning it with petroleum.


By the wish of the Cardinal-Vicar, the Rev.H. Morgan, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, will preach every Sunday at three o’clock in the afternoon, in the church of S. Andrea delle Fratte, commencing on Sunday, the 1st of December, being the first Sunday in Advent.


Scots College, Rome

The Feast of St. Andrew, the Patron of Scot-land, was duly commemorated in the Scots’ College in Rome. The church was beautifully arranged with festive hangings, and the external front was repaired and freshly decorated. Dr. Campbell, the Rector, sung the Mass, the music being plain, with voices only. Among those present at the commemoration were the Bishops of Beverley, Liverpool and Armidale, Lady Margaret Howard, Lord Ralph Kerr, Miss Clifton, Mrs. Vansittart, Mrs. Savile Foljambe, Mrs. Kinloch Grant, Monsignor Stonor ; Monsignor Agnozzi, Secretary of Propaganda; Monsignor Kirby; Monsignor Cretoni, Sub-Secretary of State ; Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Monsignor Rinaldini ; Very Rev. Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American College ; Father Mullooly, Prior of St. Clement’s ; Professor Dr. Bernard Smith; Rev. Dr. English ; Mr. Winchester ; Mr. Bliss ; Mr. Plowden ; Mr. Hugh Gladstone ; and Cavaliere Fontana.



Monsignor Achille Rinaldini, who was Sostituto in the Secretariat of the Propaganda and for a long time was Minutante for British affairs at Propaganda, has retired from those offices and has taken possession of his canonry at Sta. Maria Maggiore. He is succeeded in the office of Minutante by the Rev. Signor Zonghi.

The above text was found on p.17, 7th December 1878 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

An English response to the Battle of Mentana 1867

I find the tone in both of these quite extraordinary, but then at the time of the first article, the Church had been a temporal power for almost 1500 years.

The Roman Question.

” The King is not saved by much valour: and the giant will not be saved in the multitude of his power. Vain is the horse for safety?? : but in the abundance of his might he shall not be saved. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him; and on them who hope in his mercy. Psalm xxxii.”

Will you reproach us that, writing from Rome, and in these days, we note the song of the shepherd King? They were not clad in coats of mail, no pennon dangled on their lance, but those youths with the down of manhood hardly on their face wore as true crusaders as ever died in Palestine. They were as modest and as resolute as ever was David when Saul said to him, “Thou art not able to withstand this Philistine nor to fight against him, for thou art but a boy; but he is a warrior from his youth.” And who has wept the death of one of the Zouaves? A tear no doubt has stood in the brother’s eye: the sister and the mother will say he is gone before ; but those tears are the incense of love and not the pining of regret, If the coat of Nelson is preserved at Greenwich,and lights burn at the tomb of Wellington, will you blame us that we hold that plain grey uniform in honour; and if we do not place it in glass cases, that we reverence the names of those who wore it, and hold up our hands at the altar of Christ gladly on their behalf?

Will you tell us that his Church militant upon earth has no country and is a mere myth ? Here at least in Rome you cannot, for we kneel by the sepulchres of his prophets, and the voice of St. Paul answers, ” All who will live piously in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution: but evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, erring and driving into error.”

Here you cannot, for the Church had no sooner celebrated the chains of St. Peter than she says Mass in honour of the martyrs of the Maccabees. They were Jews; but they were true to their God. Shall the Church, which has not forgotten them, forget to celebrate her champions now? St. Gregory, of Nanzianzum, says well, ” Though among many they are not held in honour that they did not undertake that contest after Christ, yet are they worthy to be honoured by all, because they showed themselves strong and constant for their country’s laws and institutions.”

To what else have the Romans now been true, and for what else defended their city?  ” And Judas and his brethren saw that evils were multiplied, and that the armies approached to their borders, and they knew the orders the king had given to destroy the people and utterly abolish them ; and they said every man to his neighbour. Let us raise up the low condition of our people, and let us fight for our people and our sanctuary.”   And now the Romans have done it, and you cannot deny that they had a right to do it.

But will you say that the Catholics of every nation who fought by their side were needy adventurers who had no right to be there ?  Yes, they were adventurers; adventurers in the fields of honour and of duty ; adventurers for religion on the walls of the chosen city. For Rome is the city of all Catholics ; there they have a right to their Father’s blessing, and how much more if they died defending him to his prayer for their souls. For these are no common rights, but immeasurably greater than the rights of nations ; and yet it was not until the law of nations was cast to the winds that Catholic Rome vindicated her honour in the courage of her sons.

But still will you say that the French had no right to come? Every man has a right to resist injustice; and it is only a question of prudence if he does not. Were the Catholics of the world to’ wait till Piedmont had done in Rome what. she has done in all her usurpations : stripped the altars, emptied the convents, melted the sacred vessels, cast venerable men into prison, driven out religious women to starve ? The ideas of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth have not yet reduced Romans to that. Why were Frenchmen to wait? You can give no reason except your own wish. And France was more bound to interfere, because by a mistaken policy she had let the mischief loose upon Italy, because no faith had been kept with her, and her honour was at stake. We say nothing of her traditions and her Catholic name.

God knows how much France has suffered. He knows how her faith will be revived. Do we not grieve, then ? Not for the dead, but for the living. They are at peace, and the torment of malice can reach them no more. But Europe is not at peace; and how can it be,? You will say that it is the princes who are to defend the Church if they think it worth defending. But the princes have not defended the Church, and the Church has a right to defend herself. Do you think that be-cause the Catholics of Europe are disunited, because they are peaceable, and weak to resist aggression, that you can ride over them as you please ? They have hearts and hands and swords. In your insane bigotry and injustice will you seek by diplomatic intrigue to do what by the sword you dare not do ? And if you think you could persuade men to please you by making the Sovereign Pontiff a puppet, will you not see on a larger scale what we have just seen on a smaller one ?

You will; for the Pontiff has rights which you do not understand, but which the Church throughout the world understands and cherishes. And if obedience is impaired it still exists, and the Catholic people will hear their pastor again if you compel him to say as he has said now, “Venerable brethren, by this race of abandoned men we are surrounded on every side.” For nothing that you can do will ever destroy the temporal power of the Church ; no art or menaces induce the Pope to remain in Rome in the condition to which you seek to reduce him. If, then, you are not prepared for war, it is your part first to set the example of peace. For it is your continual hounding on of the dogs of Piedmont which has brought about the present crisis. And if you think it pleasant to fiddle while Rome is burning, we do not; and Europe will not submit to your dictation. Lead civilised lives yourselves before you undertake to reform your neighbours.

And if you do not believe in the providence of God, which has given the Church a civil principality, remember that even in this world He seldom suffers flagrant violations of public right to go unpunished. Here in Rome, freed at least for the time from your machinations, we will pray for the conversion of your country, and that the Almighty will cease to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him.


Rome, Octave of All Saints. [ which would have been the 9th November 1867]

The above text was found on p.7, 23rd November 1867 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


And then 100 years later in The Tablet, almost as strong a view

Papal Guards

The year 1967 is not quite so rich in.centenaries as 1966 was, but it has one outstanding one. It is the centenary of the last victory of the Church in arms, in the series which began with the Milvian Bridge, includes Lepanto and Vienna, and had added to, it in 1867 the victory over the Garibaldian invaders of papal Rome at Mentana. The thirty thousand Garibaldians who marched on Rome in three great bands in 1867, faced only by the twelve thousand defenders of the papacy, must have imagined that Rome was well within their grasp. If they suffered a check from the Catholic Zouaves at San Francesco in their opening moves, their overwhelming force brought them eventually to the bridges over the Teverone, a bare three miles from Rome, ten thousand strong against General Kanzler’s papal army of three thousand. This, though it included some of the Pope’s own Romans, counted as its best elements young men, and old men, drawn from every province in Christendom. Collingridge, the heroic young Londoner, and Peter Yong, the virile young Dutchman, who fell together at Monte Libretti; Bach the Bavarian, a leader of Ney’s quality: these were typical of those Catholic volunteers ” prepared, like Jacob, to wrestle with the angel “ in a far more literal sense than most of us. Alas that the final battle was not ornamented by the kilts of the regiment of Glasgow Highlanders that Scotland contributed to the cause! But these, as unpaid as the other volunteers, had less financial capital to keep their unit in being, and disappeared in the ranks of the papal forces, to live on soup and macaroni, deprived of the garb of Old Gaul.

The sudden appearance of Napoleon III’s French-men in support of the “papalisti” ended the Garibaldian hopes, as admirers of Lothair will remember, the new French breechloader ” doing marvels “ and causing that strange cessation in the battle remembered by one volunteer on the papal side. Then the Garibaldians surrendered or fled, and Julian Watts-Russell, little more than a boy, fell in the moment of victory, among his fellows of the papal Zouaves. The House of Savoy, which had eaten up Italy ” like an artichoke,” had to wait three years before Rome, the last leaf, was swallowed, apart from that undigestible morsel of the Vatican; and where is that ancient house today?

The above text was found on p.11, 7th January 1967 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Rome – June 1886, Uncle Henry is about to go to Canada…

Uncle Henry is about to go to Canada…..

19th May 1886 –  CONSISTORY.

consistory2The Osservatore Romano of Thursday last  announced the Secret Consistory [restricted only to Cardinals] as to take place Monday, June 7th, for the creation of six new members of the Sacred College, whose names have been already given. Several Cardinals will, it is whispered, be reserved “in etto”. On Wednesday, 19th inst., the Holy Father named the Noble Guards who are to be Messengers Extraordinary to convey to the five foreign Archbishops the formal announcement of their promotion to the sacred purple. Count Naselli goes to Rheims, Count Salimei to Rennes, Count Folicaldi to Sens, Count Muccioli to Baltimore, and Count Gazzoli to Quebec. Yesterday the five Guards above named were admitted to private audience by the Pope to return thanks for the honour accorded them.

Cardinal Biretta sikThe choice of the Ablegates to bear the Berretta to the new Cardinals has fallen on Mgr. Straniero for Baltimore, Mgr. Henry O’Bryen for Quebec, and Monsignori Vico, Misciatelli and Grassi for the three French Cardinals. The name of Father Mazzella, S.J., Prefect of Studies in the Gregorian University is now added to the list of future Princes of the Church. The Ablegates and the Noble Guards start on their respective missions immediately on the close of the Secret Consistory. Thursday, June 10th, is the day fixed for the Public Consistory, wherein the cardinalitial hat will be conferred on Mgr. Theodoli, and on the Cardinals Patriarch of Lisbon, and the Archbishops of Vienna and of Valencia, created in 1884. The Archbishop of Seville, likewise of the same promotion, is prevented from private reasons from coming to Rome for this Consistory. Count Carlo Gazzoli, who is to be the bearer of the hat to Mgr. Taschereau, belongs to a very ancient noble family. On the mother’s side he is descended from the Princes’ Simoneth, an old baronial family of the Marche ; and from the Princes Spada of Rome on the father’s side. He is a brother of Mgr. Gazzoli, Canon of St. Peter.

The above text was found on p.29, 22nd May 1886  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Monday, June 7th.

This morning, as announced, his Holiness held a Secret Consistory in the Vatican Palace, in which, after the Cardinal Secretary of State, as Procurator for Cardinal Agostini, Patriarch of Venice, resigning the title of S. Eusebius, had opted for the vacant title of S. Maria della Pace, the Holy Father pronounced a brief allocution [a formal speech giving advice or a warning.] laudatory of the three countries of France, United States, and Canada in relation to the Catholic faith, and personally eulogistic of the two Italian candidates, he created and proclaimed Cardinal Priests of Holy Roman Church the Archbishops of Sens, Rennes, Rheims, Quebec, and Baltimore, U.S.A. ; and Cardinal Deacons Mgr. Augustus Teodoli, and the Rev. Camillus Mazzella, S.J.

He then preconised [approved the appointment of] titulars to the Metropolitan See of Toledo, in Spain, for Cardinal Paya y Rico, translated from that of Compostella ; to the Archiepiscopal See of Sorrento, to fourteen Cathedral Sees, and to two titular Episcopal Churches for the Auxiliaries respectively of the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, and of the Cardinal Archbishop of Saragozza. After the Consistory the Pope imposed, with the usual formalities, the rochet [a white vestment worn by a  bishop, similar to a surplice] upon the newly preconised Bishops, present in curia, who then paid the customary visits of formality to the Cardinal Secretary of State and to the Vatican Basilica ; the five Noble Guards started on their foreign mission as Extraordinary Couriers ; and the official notice of promotion to the Cardinalate was duly conveyed to the two new members of the Sacred College present in Rome. The Papal Ablegate, Mgr. Straniero, leaves Rome this evening, en route for Baltimore, to convey the berretto to Cardinal Gibbons. Mgr. Henry O’Bryen and the other three Ablegates will depart in a few days for their destinations, to Quebec and to France.


pope in sala regia
The Pope in the Sala Regia

On Thursday the Pope held a Public Consistory in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Palace, in which he conferred the Cardinalitial Hat upon Cardinal Neto, Patriarch of Lisbon, created and published in the Consistory of March 24th, 1884; upon Cardinals Ganglbauer and Monescillo y Viso, created and published in the Consistory of November loth, 1884, and upon Cardinals Theodoli and Mazzella, created and published in the Consistory of Monday, 7th inst. During the ceremony one of the Consistorial Advocates argued, for the third time, the cause of beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister Gertrude Maria Salandri, of Rome. The promoter of the faith thereupon made the customary protest, to which his Holiness replied : “Ad nostram Sacram Rituum Congregationem quae videat et referat.”  The Holy Father then closed the Public Consistory, and, proceeding to the Hall of the Consistory, held a Secret Consistory, wherein, after closing the mouths of the new Cardinals, he preconised titulars to four metropolitan and sixteen cathedral sees, including that of Mayence for Canon Haffner, and that of Madrid for Mgr. Sandra Hervaz, translated from Avila ; the remaining fourteen sees being in France, Spain, Africa, and Mexico. His Holiness next notified the provision by brief of the metropolitan see of Posen ; of the cathedral sees of Ermeland ; of Down and Connor, of Limerick and of Kilmore ; of Savannah and of Green Bay, U.S.A. ; and of Panama ; and finally of ten titular episcopal sees for the Vicars Apostolic of Southern Tonquin, of the Congo, and of the Free State of Orange ; for the Coadjutors of Waterford, of the Western district of the Cape of Good Hope, of Ghent, and of  Angra ; and for the Auxiliaries of Lemberg, of the Latin Rite, and of Trigonia . Postulation of the sacred pallium was then made for the metropolitan sees of Toledo, Port au Prince, Compostello, Burgos, Sorrento, Aix, and Posen ; for the two churches of Montreal and of Ottawa recently raised to metropolitan rank, under their present titulars, Mgr. Edward Fabre and Mgr. Thomas Duhamel, and likewise for the cathedral see of  Ermeland, endowed with that privilege by Benedict XIV. The Pope then placed the cardinalitial ring upon the new Princes of the Church, assigning to Cardinal Neto the priestly title of the Holy Twelve Apostles ; to Cardinal Monescillo that of St. Augustine ; to Cardinal Ganglbauer, that of S. Eusebius ; to Cardinal Theodoli, the diaconal title of Sta. Maria della Scala ; and to Cardinal Mazzella the diaconate title of S. Adriano al Foro Romano. Finally, returning to his private apartments, his Holiness received the new Cardinals in collective audience.


The Pope has assigned to Cardinal Neto, Patriarch of Lisbon, the Sacred Congregations of Propaganda, the Rites, Indulgences, and Holy Relics, and the Lauretana ; to Cardinal Monescillo, Archbishop of Valencia, those of the Council, Index, Studies, and Regular Discipline ; to Cardinal Ganglbauer, Archbishop of Vienna, those of Bishops and Regulars, Rites, Studies, and Ceremonial ; to Cardinal Theodoli those of the Council, Rites, Ceremonial, and Fabrica of St. Peter ; and to Cardinal Mazzella those of Propaganda, Index, Studies, and Indulgences, and Holy Relics.


Gregorian University Rome

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the five Cardinals in Curia, of those created in the Consistory of the 7th inst., received the visits of felicitation, in di calore, as it is termed. Cardinal Ganglbauer, at the Palace of Venice, the seat of the Austrian Embassy to the Holy See ; the Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, at the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican ; the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, at the National Portuguese Establishment attached to the Church of S. Antonio dei Portoghesi ; Cardinal Theodoli, in the apartments of the Majordomo of the Papal Palace ; and Cardinal Mazzella, in the Grand Aula of the Gregorian University.

It is stated that the last-named Prince of the Church, in company with Cardinals Melchers, Hergenroether, and Ledochowski, will later be furnished with suitable apartments in the new German Hungarian College, formerly the Hotel Costanzi. On Friday the two Ablegates, Mgr. Misciatelli and Mgr. Grassi-Landi, destined respectively to convey the Cardinalitial berretta to the Archbishops ot Sens and of Rennes, were received by the Holy Father in audience of conga, and with their secretaries left Rome last evening for Paris. The Ablegate for the Archbishop of Rheims is Mgr. Vico, Secretary of the Nunciature of Paris. It is said that the imposition of the berretta upon the three new Cardinals will take place at the Palace of the Elysee early in the coming week.

BALTIMORE AND QUEBEC.Mgr. Strainer and Count Muccioli, the  Ablegate and the Noble Guard appointed to convey the Cardinalitial berretta and zucchetta  to the Archbishop of Baltimore, quitted Rome on Monday evening in company with the Rev.Thomas S. Lee, Rector of Baltimore Cathedral, and were to sail yesterday from England in the Servia. The Holy Father has delegated the Venerable Archbishop of St. Louis, the doyen of the American episcopate, to impose the berretta upon Cardinal Gibbons, which ceremony will take place at Baltimore Cathedral on the 30th inst. His Holiness has delegated the Archbishop of Toronto to impose the red berretta on Cardinal Taschereau, the Ablegate, Mgr. Henry O’Bryen, leaves Rome en route for Quebec this evening. He will probably be likewise bearer of the pallium to the newly promoted Archbishops of Montreal and of Ottawa, which, with the pallium for the other metropolitan and episcopal sees enjoying that honour, duly postulated in the Consistory of June 10th, were imposed with customary formalities, on Friday,by Cardinal Mertel, Vice Chancellor of Holy Roman Church and First Cardinal Deacon, the Very Rev. Don Jules Captier, Procurator General of the Father of St. Sulpice, acting as Procurator for the Archbishops of Montreal and of Ottawa ; the Archbishops of Compostella and of Sorrento being the only prelates of the ten recently promised to receive the pallium, in person, as being present in curia. The Osservatore Romano of Friday published a telegram from Quebec, bearing the signatures of the President of the Council and of the President of the Assembly, addressed to the Cardinal Secretary of State, which informed his Eminence that on reception of the news of the elevation to the Cardinalate of the Archbishop of Quebec, both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly of that city adjourned, in token of joy, and forthwith repaired in a body to present an address of felicitation to the new Prince of the Church ; which fact these officials begged might be made known to his Holiness.

Umberto I – 1844 – 1900

OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. On Thursday, l0th inst., King Humbert of  Savoy [It’s quite an interesting description from the Tablet, – Umberto 1st had become King of Italy on January 9th 1878 on the death of Victor Emmanuale II, a month before Leo XIII became Pope. Describing him as King of Savoy was still not recognizing him as King of Italy sixteen years after the fall of Rome, and the unification of Italy. It does explain the tone of the report]  inaugurated with customary solemnities the sixteenth legislature of the Italian Parliament. The Royal speech was received, for the major part, in icy silence ; the largest modicum of applause greeting the paragraph referring to “the providential mission confided to the House of Savoy, to give life, liberty, and unity to Italy.”  Viewing the abject misery, the grinding taxation, the conscription, the ‘confusionismo’ to quote Signor Bonghi, which have fallen to the lot of Italy since it was raised to the rank of a kingdom, one is tempted to question the happy results arising from the said “mission,” and to wonder if the spoliation of the Vicar of Christ, the occupation of Rome, the progressive destruction of the Eternal City, the continued series of sacrilegious attack upon the church, upon religion, and upon the papacy, the peril to the faith and morals of the rising generation, thanks to the irreligious system of enforced public education and the unbridled license of an infidel and obscene press, fall likewise within the sphere of this ” providential mission.” Another feature of the royal address was the utter absence of the slightest allusion to the Divinity, which, for a nation claiming to be Catholic, was, to say the least, noticeable. However, as the Voce della Verita remarks, there being among the Commandments of the Decalogue—that the Name of the Lord shall not be taken in vain—the omission is rather deserving of commendation than otherwise.

Castel Sant' Angelo
Castel Sant’ Angelo

During the interval between the exit from, and the return of the Royal party to the Quirinal Palace, the cannon from Castle S. Angelo thundered forth the salute of one hundred guns, whilst in the Vatican Palace the Pope was holding the Public Consistory. A somewhat unpleasant incident marred the harmony of the proceedings : the German Ambassador to Italy being refused right of way by the troops, forced the cordon, and dashed up the Corso at full speed, regardless of consequences.—Commander Seoul, former Director-General of the Treasury and Councillor of the Exchequer, fell dead from apoplexy at his desk in that Bureau, on Tuesday evening, the 8th inst., three hours after the Gazzetta Officiate had published his name among the list of the forty new senators recently promoted to that dignity. The Government had annulled the election in two districts, by a large majority in each, of Amilcare Cipriani, one of the most active of the Communists of Paris in 1871, and who is now serving his term of twenty years in the galleys for a double homicide, perpetrated at Alexandria, Egypt, in 1867. During the term of the elections Fanfulla accused the Deputy Mussi of hearing Mass on days of obligation, and of being a member of a religious confraternity. The candidate to political honours, fearful of losing caste, hastened to deny the charge, by formally declaring that he never dreamed of attending Mass, &c.—The Senate of the kingdom are about to assemble in High Court of Justice, to judge the case of Senator Zini, author of a novel entitled La Famiglia Moscardini, a ” libello famoso ” against the late Deputy Bonchetti. Such are some of the individuals who make laws for the Kingdom of United Italy.

The above text was found on p.17, 12th June 1886  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The Papal Jubilee – Rome 1893

As with most of the Roman posts this one is included a. because it’s fun, and b. because  Uncle Henry  –  Mgr HH O’Bryen was there.




our lady of victories 1The Irish pilgrims to Rome had anticipated our day of departure. Therefore it is that I must take up the thread of our combined Roman chronicle after our own arrival in Rome. We met then, English and Scottish pilgrims, some five hundred strong, at the Pro-Cathedral, Kensington, on Monday night, February 13. The Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh delivered an address on the object of our journey, and the fitting spirit in which we should go, and Benediction concluded this opening ceremonial. On the following morning, at II a.m., we began our journey from Victoria, two special trains containing the pilgrims travelling in succession the one to the other. Of our crossing the Channel I need say no more than that we were compelled to endure considerable mortifications ; it was very rough, and the special boat was crowded to repletion ; nevertheless the pilgrim train arrived in Paris not more than two hours late. The Gare du Nord, immediately after our arrival, was thrown into unexampled confusion. Nobody was able to find, much less identify, his luggage, and the French officials were perfectly apathetic to our distressful condition. After much struggling, however, and perspiring exertion, we reached our several destinations in Paris safely.

crown of thorns parisOn the following morning we assembled in strong force at Notre Dame, where, after Mass and the distribution of ashes, the great relic preserved in the Cathedral (the Crown of Thorns of Our Lord) was, by special favour, offered for the veneration of the pilgrims. The reliquary is in the form of a cross, about two feet long, and a circular case in the centre contains the precious relic.

At 11.45 we left Paris, and dinner was served at Dijon. Here in truth we learned a sorrowful necessity of patience. There was a rapid raid made on the Buffet, which, in effect, nearly developed in a free fight. By the vigilance of the Committee, however, all disastrous effects were avoided ; we consumed a certain quantity of food, and were quickly back in our train making preparation for the night journey. This was accomplished without mishap, and the morning sun rose as we travelled down—down—from the bleak hills into the most gracious levels of Italy. We went with the sweep of a wind from this bleakness into this hospitality ; and enjoyment was once more a visitor to our souls when we reached Modane, and were compelled to endure another scene of turmoil by reason of the enforced examination of our lesser baggage. Steadily keeping unpunctual by the two hours to the bad which had marked our arrival at Paris, we reached Genoa at half-past five, and left the train to take some rest within sight of the curving Mediterranean, and the lean sloping hills of Italy. Rain greeted us in the morning, and it was in a deluge that we left Genoa at halfpast eight ; but the weather quickly cleared up, and, by the time we had arrived at Pisa, with its extremely modern looking station, the sun was shining.

Duke of Norfolk c.1908
Duke of Norfolk c.1908

Some of us took the opportunity of an hour’s delay at this town to take a hasty glance at the famous leaning tower, but the effect of this curiosity was to retard still more the heavily laden train, which arrived at half-past eleven, three hours after the appointed time. I may add in passing that, owing to the lateness of the hour, no luggage could be obtained that night. We were met by quite a crowd of the English colony, and by a deputation of the Circolo di San Pietro accompanied by the Vice-President of the General Pilgrimage Committee in Italy ; while the Rector of the Scots College and many of the students, with their purple cassocks and black ferraiouli, were present to welcome the Scottish pilgrims. On the arrival of the train, a deputation was presented to the Duke of Norfolk, who returned formal thanks for the attention.


Irish College, Rome

Meanwhile it is now necessary for me to return to the Irish Pilgrims who arrived on the Tuesday, and to chronicle their doings, as I have them by hearsay, down to our own arrival in the Eternal City. The Irish pilgrims, then, arrived on Tuesday night, and were met at the station by the Rector of the Irish College and by a deputation of the Circolo di San Pietro. On the following morning they all assembled in the chapel of the Irish College to assist at the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Logue, who also distributed the ashes to them, the, pilgrims singing together several parts of the Mass. At the end of it they sang the hymn, “God bless the Pope,” and then “Faith of Our Fathers.” Dr. Kelly, the Rector, while his Eminence was unrobing after Mass, delivered a little discourse, describing the chapel and its antiquarian interest. He also drew the attention of the pilgrims to the beautiful monument erected there to the memory of O’Connell, which encloses his heart. He recalled O’Connell’s words on his death-bed, when he said that he gave his soul to heaven, his body to Ireland, and his heart to Rome.

The pilgrims then assisted at the unveiling of a commemorative slab to the memory of Cardinal Cullen. The slab is on the wall of the first landing of the big staircase leading inside the College. The Cardinal, surrounded by pilgrims, had just taken his seat opposite the slab, and the ceremony was about to begin, when the venerable figure of Archbishop Kirby, the late Rector, who for many years had held that post, appeared through the crowd of pilgrims. He is indeed just recovering from rather a bad illness ; yet in spite of his being ninety years of age he determined to make the exertion of appearing amongst the pilgrims and welcoming them to Rome. The pilgrims received him with hearty cheers. The Rev. P. Maguire recited an ode in the Irish language, dedicated to the Cardinal, who in reply delivered a few pleased and appreciative words. On the Thursday morning, the day before our arrival, the Irish pilgrims assisted at Mass in the Church of San Clemente, after which Father Hickey, Prior of the Irish Dominicans, showed the pilgrims over the celebrated underground Church of San Clemente, which, being the first basilica dedicated to this saint, was discovered and excavated in 1857 by the late Father Mullooley.

santa-maria-della-pace-1024x676On the same afternoon Cardinal Logue took possession of his titular Church of Santa Maria della Pace. The pilgrims were all assembled in the church by four o’clock. At a quarter after the hour, his Eminence entered the church, accompanied by the procession, and took his seat on the throne erected in the sanctuary on the gospel side of the altar. The different Bishops that have come with the pilgrims were seated in reserved seats immediately before the sanctuary. There were also present several Italian Bishops, and the Rectors and Priors of the different Irish communities in Rome. The Cardinal was assisted by the Rector of the Irish College and by Mgr. O’Bryen, while Mgr. Cocci acted as master of ceremonies. Mgr. Pericoli, the Apostolic Notary, read the Pontifical Bull conferring the church, and the Rector of the church, after the reading of the Bull, delivered a speech congratulating the Cardinal on the occasion. The Cardinal returned thanks, and stepping from the throne, addressed the pilgrims from the sanctuary rails, giving, in fact, an interesting account of the Church assigned to him by the Pope. A Te Deum closed the ceremony, and the same evening the Cardinal gave a reception of the pilgrims in the Halls of the Arcadia. Cardinal Vaughan, Cardinal Macchi, Archbishop Stonor, the Bishops of Clifton and Emmaus, the Austrian Ambassador, and many distinguished personages were present. The reception was, I am assured, a brilliant success.


Borghese chapel Santa Maria Maggiore
Borghese chapel Santa Maria Maggiore

I return now to our own fortunes. We all assembled on Saturday morning in the Borghese Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore, having wended our way to the great church from all the points of the compass. My own way led me, with several others, past the Palazzo Barberini, and the Quattro Fontane, by the Via Nazionale. Climbing the great exterior steps, then, and entering the church, we met, as I have said, in the Borghese Chapel. The altar was for the time, occupied by a Neapolitan Bishop ; but after he had finished Mass, the Bishop of Clifton began to vest, and Mass began shortly after ten o’clock. The picture of the famous Madonna, said to have been painted by St. Luke, was exposed to view, and kneeling in front of the sanctuary was our Cardinal, in purple, with scarlet zucchetto.

During the Mass the Litany of Loretto and “Hail Queen of Heaven” were sung, and I cannot easily describe the devotional effect of those five hundred English voices uplifted and echoing among these springing Italian arches, and amid this gay and florid decoration. I think that even Mr. Francis Whitgreave, Jun., might have been persuaded, for the moment, into the tolerance of this noble and most unsinning architecture, and for the moment have overlooked the immoral sins of commission which have been heaped upon these poor stones. At the end of Mass Cardinal Vaughan delivered a short discourse upon the relics which this Church contains, and afterwards accompanied the pilgrims upon a visit to the crypt.

When this ceremony was concluded, we all repaired to the Hotel de Rome, the head-quarters of the Pilgrimage, to receive our tickets for the great function on the following day. We received injunctions to be at St. Peter’s, if possible, by five o’clock on the following morning, on account of the crush that was expected. Personally, having some little knowledge of the ways of Roman functions, I suspected my ticket ; and, observing that it had no encouragement endorsed upon it for any entrance to a tribune, only serving (as I supposed) for the body of the Church, I made subsequent effort to exchange it for a tribune ticket. This, by a stroke of good fortune, I was enabled to effect.


I am told that pilgrims began to gather round the Facciata of the great Cathedral as early as three o’clock in the morning, and that cafes and restaurants were up betimes with their fires lit in busy provision of breakfasts. I started with my tribune ticket for the Apse at half-past six, and having resolved to avoid crossing the Tiber by the temporary iron bridge near St. Angelo, which the Romans in satire call the Gabbthne (huge cage), over which the new tram lines run, I drove a long but clear round across the new Ponte Margherita and through the Prati di Castello quarter, and so effected an entrance into the Piazza of St. Peter’s at the Colonnade of Constantine. St.PetersSq

Here lines of Italian soldiers were drawn across the middle of the vast space, and further progress was only granted to those who were in the possession of tickets, whether for the tribunes near the high altar, or for standing room in the nave The doors had been opened at 6.30, and I learn that much disappointment was expressed by many of the Irish and English pilgrims on the discovery, for the first time, that no special places had been reserved in the Basilica for them. “It caused,” writes one, whose letter I have permission to quote, “a certain amount of dissatisfaction amongst the pilgrims who, having undergone all the fatigues of the long journey for the special purpose of attending this Mass, considered themselves entitled to rather more consideration than they received on this occasion. Nevertheless we resigned ourselves to standing in the seething crowd for some three hours, a resignation which the splendid function that followed amply justified.”

st-peters-arnolfo-di-cambioThe Irish pilgrims, I should here remark, marched into the Basilica four abreast, displaying great spirit, bearing a banner aloft, and carrying all before them. Father Ring acted as Captain of the Irish forces. Most of these were stationed near the statue of St. Peter, which had been arranged for the Jubilee in the pontifical robes, and wore a tiara and ring—a ritual usually restricted to the Feast of St. Peter in June. The pilasters of the great nave and the dome were draped, as usual, with rich crimson brocade, bordered with gold lace, not tinsel or fine copper wire, as some contemptuously suppose, but real gold-woven work. By seven o’clock the tribunes in the apse were filled with various ladies and gentlemen, together with many religious, priests, and sisters—the English Nuns, founded by Lady Georgiana Fullerton (the Servants of the Mother of God), and the Nottingham Sisters (the Little Company of Mary), with their blue lined veils, the ladies of the Sacre Coeur, and others.

St Peters Basilica

The High Altar was illuminated with many tall wax lights and immense bouquets of natural flowers were massed between the Altar and the “Confession.” In the long three hours before the function began—appointed for nine, it was delayed till a quarter to ten—the tribunes gradually filled chiefly with members of the Roman aristocracy and of the Diplomatic Corps. Some of the uniforms were gorgeous, and some curiosity was aroused by the appearance of three German Catholic students arrayed in black velvet braided jackets, white leather breeches, and long boots ; they carried large black velvet caps with white feathers, and silk scarves of the Papal and German colours, white and yellow, black and white intermingled. Down the great Church the view was most impressive. The heads of the crowd were packed together from altar to great door, and it is calculated that from sixty to eighty thousand people were gathered in the building. The black lace veils worn by the women set against the black and white of the men’s evening dress contrasted with the gay red and yellow of the Swiss guards, with their halberds and baggy knickerbockers, and again with the white and blue of the Guardia Nobile. Two men, I have been credibly informed, overcome by the crush had to be lifted insensible over the palisade in the centre of the nave and carried to one of the five ambulances prepared in various parts of the Church for emergencies of the kind. From where I sat, in one of the Apse tribunes, the 150 choristers perched aloft in the Dome seemed like black and white dolls moving about in the vague spaces of the giant cupola.


At last, after long waiting, a thrill of emotion swept through the dense crowds, for the Pope had descended from his apartments, and knelt at prayer in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament ; he was not yet to be seen, for the right nave was screened by heavy crimson damask curtains down to the Chapel of the Pieta, where all the Canons of St. Peter’s, with the Cardinal Archpriest Ricci Paracciani,, received his Holiness. Here he was robed in the white and gold chasuble presented by the Roman ladies for his Sacerdotal Jubilee, and the precious mitre offered on the present occasion by his Noble Guards. The Holy Father wore also the great white fala’a, reserved exclusively for the Sovereign Pontiff, clasped with jewels, and the train held by the two Monsignori, who are his camerieri partecipanti.

GestatorialChair1The tiara was placed on his head, and when the Pontiff was seated in the sedia gestatoria, the procession up the great nave slowly began ; and the silver trumpets sounded from the Loggia of the Beatifications above the great central door of St. Peter’s. The Pontifical choir led the way, singing Tu es Petrus, but their voices had scarcely broken into the air when a great burst of cheering went up from the immense concourse of people. It was like the roar of the sea breaking on a strand. The enthusiasm was unbounded, and deafening cries of “Viva il Papa Re,” “Viva il Vicario di Cristo,” arose as the seated figure of the Pontiff, leaning gently from side to side in benediction of his flock, was borne up the nave. The progress to the High Altar, the enthusiasm ever growing greater and greater, till at length that vast congregation seemed almost beside itself with emotion.


Calm was only restored when Leo XIII. stood before the altar of the Confession to begin the Holy Sacrifice. He said a Low Mass, and was assisted by the two Archbishops of the Chapter of St. Peter’s, Monsignori Tamminiatelli and Cassetta, his Auditor, Mgr. Fausti, and the Sacristan, Mgr. Pifferi. During Mass the choir of the Sixtine Chapel, led by their old Maestro, Mustafa, sang the Jubilate Deo. Every eye was fixed upon the venerable white old man absorbed in prayer, who celebrated with the same touching reverence and humility as if in his own private chapel. There was a solemn hush through the whole multitude, and many were moved to tears at the moment of the elevation, when the cool liquid strains of the silver trumpets streamed through the building, and the choir chanted the chorus by Mustafa, Domine Salvum fac, re-echoed by the fresh young voices in the cupola.

Mass being ended, the Holy Father recited the usual prayers and thanksgiving; then for a few minutes he retired to a pavilion under the choir to partake of some slight refreshment, having, of course, fasted from the preceding evening. Meantime, the choir sang the prayer of the Holy Father, Sancte Michael, &c., to music composed by Mustafa. Then his Holiness returned to the foot of the altar, and the Pontifical robes, including the tiara, being again put on, the Te Deum was intoned and taken up by the choirs, and the responses joined in by thousands of voices in every part of the church. Although the Holy Father did not himself intone the great hymn, he joined with all the people in the responses, greatly to the distress of his attendants, who trembled lest the fatigue should overcome him. In fact, the great emotion did overcome His Holiness and he became quite faint for a few moments. But quickly rallying his strength Leo XIII. was again borne in the sedia gestatoria, in the same order of procession as before round the altar to the front of the Confession. Here His Holiness gave the Papal Benediction, standing up and reading it from the Pontificale Romanum held before him. The prayers and Indulgences are as follows : Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus, ipsi intercedant pro nobis ad Dominum. Precibus et meritis beatae Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Joannis Baptistae, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et omnium Sanctorum, misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis omnibus peccatis vestris, perducat vos Jesus Christus ad vitam aetemam. Amen. Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium verae et fructuosae poenitentiae, cor semper poenitens et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus, et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus, tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.

These prayers being read, the Sovereign Pontiff blessed all the people, making three times the sign of the Cross, and saying : ” Benedictio Dei omnipotent’s, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos, et maneat semper.” Then three solemn “Amens” were uttered, and Cardinals Mazzella and Verga promulgated the Plenary Indulgence attached to this solemn Papal Benediction. Another indescribable ovation greeted the Holy Father as he was carried down the centre of the nave and returned to the Chapel of the Pieta.


It was a considerable time before this great multitude could emerge from St. Peter’s. The exit seemed more difficult than the entrance, and standing on the steps, looking out through the pillars of the Great Colonnade, the whole Piazza appeared black with human beings, who, however, dispersed in the most orderly manner. Nothing, in a word, occurred to mar the splendour of that function, which was probably one of the finest of its kind ever seen.

Benediction was given in the afternoon by Cardinal Vaughan at the English Convent in the Via San Sebastianino, and his Eminence held a reception there afterwards. In the evening the city was illuminated. I must, in closing my letter, add that on Tuesday the Pope received the Irish pilgrims, headed by Cardinal Logue, in the Grand Hall of the Consistory. On this occasion Cardinal Logue read an address in which the pilgrims congratulated the Pope, and expressed their devotion to the Holy See.

Another address was read by the Bishop of Galway, thanking the Pope for having so honoured Ireland in raising its Primate to the rank of Cardinal, and expressing the devotion of the Irish people to the Supreme Pontiff. The address stated that during Jubilee week prayers were being said in Ireland for the Pope, and that more than 2,000 priests were saying Mass for him. The Pope, who, I am told, seemed exceedingly pleased during the reading of the speech, replied in Latin, and, having said a few words, said that he was suffering from a sore throat, which prevented him from speaking at any length. His Holiness then charged Mgr. Bisleti to continue the reading of the reply, which, like the address from the Irish Catholics, was of an essentially religious character.

The Pope, after expressing his satisfaction over seeing before him the faithful sons of St. Patrick, thanked the pilgrims for having organized in Ireland an Association comprising a million Catholics, who, being unable to come to Rome, combined themselves from afar with the pilgrimage by daily attendance at special Masses for the Sovereign Pontiff. His Holiness went on to refer to the traditional faith and piety of the Irish Catholics, whose devotion to the Holy See had always been the same in good and evil days. In conclusion, the Pope exhorted the pilgrims to persevere in their attachment to the Chair of St. Peter, and not to forget the saying of St. Patrick — Sicut Christiani ita et Romani sills. His Holiness then gave his hand to each person present to kiss the “Fisher’s Ring,” and dismissed the pilgrims after pronouncing the Benediction upon all Catholics, both present and absent.

I have to add that in the evening the Duke of Norfolk held a brilliant reception of pilgrims, both British and Irish, at the Hotel de Rome. The Duke of Norfolk wore the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ, and was assisted in the reception of his guests by his sisters, Lady Mary and Lady Margaret Howard. Amongst those present were the Earl of Gainsborough, and no fewer than fifteen Archbishops and Bishops, including the Archbishop of Edinburgh, the Archbishop of Trebizond, and the Bishops of Nottingham, Clifton, Southwark, Birmingham, and Aberdeen. The reception lasted from 9 o’clock until late. Of the Cardinal’s taking possession of his titular church you will receive an independent account.

Roma, Via del Corso

Meanwhile, it only remains to add that we are doing very well here, and know how to take care of ourselves. Last night I walked down the Corso, from the Piazza del Popolo to the Piazza Colonna, upon which shines the white glare of those Roman Whiteleys, Fratelli Bocconi. The street was indeed Italian, the sky with its stars and moon was Italian ; the skyline of the houses was Italian, despite all the changes which have in these past years sacrificed the picturesque in Italy. But the prevalent voice was the voice of England and Ireland. Above the din of the newsboys rushing out into the streets from the newspaper offices, calling with their inimitable emphasis upon the penultimate syllable—Fanfiella Opinione Din/to /—you heard the murmur of an English accent, or an Irish brogue.

Among the benches of the Caffe Greco Englishmen supped black coffee ; there were English greetings here and there, and little groups of Italians would gather silently to observe English meetings and laughter, and to listen without understanding to our pure native criticism. We lounged at our ease, and we too watched these Italian groups, some gay with the blue-gray cloaks of Italian officers, or strange by reason of an alien costume ; or a group of Bersaglieri would post past us as if their hearts were bursting for the enforced rapidity of their motion. Yet we felt perfectly at home ; for, as I have said, everywhere you heard the echo of English speech or recognized English faces. And our universal feeling was that we had all been singularly privileged to assist at a demonstration so imposing, so impressive and so devotional as that which took place on Sunday at St. Peter’s.

The above text was found on p.8, 25th February 1893  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Very Reverend Mgr. H.H. O’Bryen 1835 – 1895

Henry Hewitt O’Bryen is the eldest son of John Roche O’Bryen and Eliza Henderson, which makes him a great great uncle.

He was born on the 5th of March 1835 in Montpelier, France, where his father was studying medicine, and died on the 24th October 1895 in Montreal, Canada, whilst on a papal mission, and is apparently buried in the cathedral there.

He was brought up in Bristol, and studied at the English College in Rome, where he was ordained in 1858. He then served as a priest in Liverpool; first at St Patrick’s in Toxteth, then as Principal of the Catholic Institute 1863-65, and finally Parish Priest at St James, Orrell 1869 -73. He then moved to Rome where to quote from his obituary

Sant Andrea della Valle
Sant Andrea della Valle

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.”

He became a papal chaplain to Leo XIII (Cameriere Segreto Sopranumerario) in 1881, and also served as a papal ablegate. The majority of the Roman postings are either events he was at, or things that were happening in Rome at the time.

This is his obituary from The Tablet, 2nd November 1895


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.