JESUITICA: Rebel stock

February 22, 2011 in General, News

A curious bond links the first scholastic of the restored Irish Mission with the oldest Jesuit in our Chinese mission: both lost their fathers to execution by the British. Bartholomew Esmonde returned from his studies in Sicily in 1814 to join the staff of the new college of Clongowes. Some ten years earlier his father, Dr John Esmonde of Sallins, Kildare, had been publicly hanged on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin for his part in the 1798 rebellion. William Aylmer of Kilcock,  whose Jesuit brother founded Belvedere, was convicted of treason for the same reason, but escaped execution. Michael Mallin, a leader in the 1916 rising, called his family to Kilmainham Gaol on the eve of his execution, and prayed that his little son Joseph would be a priest. 94-year-old Joseph SJ is still ministering in Hong Kong. Despite stereotypes, many Jesuits are of rebel stock.