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IV Colonial crossings/indigenous displacements

Early modern religious displacement and transnational Catholic subjects

Stephanie Kirk

This chapter focuses on the experience of these religious refugees in the early modern example of deterritorialization and religious persecution. While the Spanish felt kinship with the Irish through their shared hatred of the English, the English recusants themselves were often subject to suspicion by Spaniards who found themselves unable to see beyond these men’s nationality and embrace them as global Catholic subjects. This chapter examines the religious politics of this deterritorialization and how built into their migrancy was the possibility of a return to the homeland and the specter of martyrdom.

The sixteenth-century upheaval caused by the European Reformation saw Catholic subjects fleeing England and Ireland to Spain and Portugal and other Catholic continental strongholds, and Protestant refugees making the reverse journey from Catholic territories to seek safe haven in England and other Protestant countries. In his study Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World, Nicholas Terpstra deems the reformation not just a “movement for social and intellectual change” but also Europe's first “grand project in social purification” (7). This “sharp language of purification and purgation” with its origins in medical discourse was adopted by religious reformers and, in the early modern period, “the drive to purge and purify reshaped Europe and the globe” (2) through the creation of diasporic communities across Europe and beyond (5). Religion provided the principal force behind this migration, although these movements and mobilizations were complex and other factors too came into play. These religious migratory movements changed the nature of both religious practice and settlement across a wide range of faith and denominations, providing a common framework of suffering to religious groups that found themselves radically at odds in other-ways (Kroeker 1).

This chapter will focus on young men who sought a Catholic education and the opportunity to take holy orders and who constitute a subset of the Catholic refugees who fled England and Ireland for the Iberian Peninsula. I do not purport to offer new historical insights into the complexities surrounding these religious refugees but rather examine how these religious migrants were depicted in Catholic writings of the time as well as investigate the transformation of these migrant bodies into martyrs within the framework of clerical masculinity. Finally, my overall goal is to add to the conversation on the phenomena of religious migrancy during the early modern period.

While most studies engaged with the topic of religious migration and England have focused on the waves of popular Protestant migration to England and what is now the United States, Catholics also fled their homes in England although this migration was principally, although not exclusively, a clerical phenomenon. We see a similar pattern of movement in Ireland, with young men leaving their homes in both countries in search of a religious education and the chance to take holy orders without censure. In broad strokes, this history tells of a series of events and royal decrees that caused many of these migrant Irish and English young men to seek refuge in continental Europe where they might practice and study their religion without fear of persecution and punishment. Among the most impactful of these events we find the Tudor Protestant State's active takeover of Ireland in 1534, institutional Catholic oppression in England being reasserted through the settlement of 1559, and the Act of Uniformity and Parliament’s declaration that being a Jesuit or a seminarian constituted an act of treason. In the early modern period, the Catholic refugees I examine here thus fall wholly into the category of religious victims of State repression. While some had indeed lost their lands and other possessions, they did not flee to Spain for economic reasons as the Crown there made it clear that no opportunities for advancement existed for them, although exceptions to this rule continued to present themselves. These young men were, however, guaranteed at least a short-term existence free from religious repression and faith-based persecution and, most significantly, were able to forge transnational communities based on their shared membership in a Catholic commonwealth. This Catholic commonwealth offered a critique of “the emerging model of English nationhood” (part of which was predicated on England's colonization of Ireland) holding the doctrine that “in extraordinary circumstances” the papacy could “depose tyrannical or heretical Christian sovereigns” (Lockey 7). In going to Spain to study and take holy orders and then return to England or Ireland to spread the true faith and save souls, they evinced what Brian Lockey has called a “global perspective,” which is shown most particularly in their desire to view England and Ireland as part of Christendom or an encompassing Christian commonwealth in which Papal Supremacy would promote a cosmopolitan identity that ruled above all nations and empires and that was truly a transnational imperium (Lockey 72). Their status as religious migrants allowed these young men to fashion a new identity as global Catholic citizens. While they lost their homes and contact with their families and were forced to seek asylum in Spain and Portugal, migration allowed them to reimagine themselves as part of a larger community than that of the beleaguered recusant English minority or the colonized and suppressed Irish Catholic majority and helped mitigate the “sense of loss, displacement and alienation” operational in early modern migration stories (Kroeke 1). In their status as a community of Catholic or confessional refugees, figures such as the English and Irish Jesuits as well as men of other orders and secular priests (non-monastics) who studied in the European colleges “posit alternatives to the dominant narrative of nation formation” (Lockey 34).

These refugees cannot be viewed as passive victims of religious conflict and instead must be viewed as political and religious actors through the training and preparation for the return to their homelands as missionaries and perhaps even martyrs that they received through the institutions of the colleges, risking their lives to return their fellow subjects to the true faith, what the eminent Spanish Jesuit described as the mission to “uproot the thorns and the weeds from that neglected and abandoned vineyard’’ (665). The return home - reverse migration if you will - was built into their status as Catholic migrants and the Spanish Crown made the funding it offered contingent on this. In addition to his support of the colleges, Phillip III offered each young man who returned to his homeland mission a sum of 10 pounds in the form of a viaticum, the name of which derived from the Ancient Greek tradition of offering a meal to he who planned to embark on a journey. Not only was there a financial incentive embedded in the return home, but also students at both the English and the Irish colleges were obliged to swear an oath, promising that upon completion of their studies they would fulfill this obligation. The oath declared the following:

Mindful of the benefits that God our Lord has done me, first and foremost in having me removed from my homeland, which is so beset by heresies, and in having made me a member of his Catholic Church, wishing not to be ungrateful for so great a mercy of the Lord, have resolved to offer myself entirely to his divine service, to the extent that I can, in fulfillment of the aims of this college. And thus I promise and swear by Almighty God, that I am prepared in my soul, in as far as his divine grace will aid me, to receive holy orders in good time, and to return to England to seek win and convert the souls of my neighbors as and when the superiors of this college, according to its institute, judges it good, commanding me so in the Lord.

(Ribadeneyra 666)

What this oath fails to render explicit, however, is the possibility of martyrdom that awaited these young men, particularly in the case of the English, on their return home. And since the possibility of martyrdom was inculcated in them from the minute they arrived in the country of refuge, the identity of martyr became inextricably bound up with that of migrant. Indeed, the first Catholic martyrs of Elizabeth's reign - the Jesuits Edmund Campion and Alexander Briant and the secular priest Ralph Sherwin executed together at Tyburn in 15 81 - had graduated from the continental colleges and had taken the decision to return home to possible if not certain death having taken holy orders while religious refugees. Thomas Benstead was the first of the students of St. Albans' English college at Valladolid to become a martyr at the age of 21. Twenty-six others then followed, and 6 were canonized by the Church, with a further 16 beatified. Other factors consolidated the connection between religious refugee and martyr. While the colleges seemingly offered a safe haven from religious persecution of the homeland, life in exile remained fraught with danger. The English Crown had placed counterintelligence agents and spies at St. Albans, where, posing as religious migrants themselves, they monitored all seditious activities and provided information that would allow for immediate arrest once the newly ordained priests returned home.1 Some of these men, however, never returned to their homelands again and instead made the transition from migrant to global Catholic citizens in Spain and its empire and beyond. Thomas O’Connor takes a more open view regarding the return to the native mission, explaining that since the Irish Church was in a precarious state and the Irish students often lived in penury on the continent, “it is not surprising that there was considerable leakage out of the colleges into religious ministries abroad” (355). Those who did go abroad, according to O’Connor, tended to be those who had distinguished themselves during their studies and seminary training, and he dubs them “highflyers” (“Roles of the Early Modern Catholic Diaspora” 357).

The Irish Church founded 29 colleges on the continent between 1589 and 1649. The most famous in Spain being that in Salamanca, which Philip III founded in 1593 at the petition of Father Thomas White, S.J., and that bore the name of El Real Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses. Other Irish colleges soon followed in Alcalá de Henares (the only college not governed by the Jesuits, it trained men for the secular priesthood2), Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Madrid, and Lisbon, Portugal. The Jesuit Robert Persons, a key figure in the establishment of the English mission to convert the Protestant heretics, had founded the English colleges in Spain, the most significant of which was the aforementioned St. Albans, named after England’s proto martyr, founded in the conservative city of Valladolid in 1589, where in 1559 Spanish Protestants had been burned at the stake. In establishing the College of St. Albans, Persons undertook “a strategic step to consolidate the strength of the mission to convert England,” and since Spain was the “bastion of Catholic faith,” the location proved ideal (Cano-Echevarria and Sáez-Hidalgo 93). Subsequent foundations occurred in Seville in 1592 and Lisbon in 1622. The Irish and English colleges served as cultural, educational, and political centers for the communities in exile, including merchants and Irish and English Catholic soldiers who found employment in the King of Spain’s armies. Young men would enter the institution at around 18 years of age, having gained some knowledge of Latin at home, and would enroll usually for a period of seven years following the typical period of study. In their global educational institutions, the Jesuits strove to model the young men who studied there in their own image, providing a dynamic environment of rigorous learning, presentation, and performance skills - disquisition, rhetoric - to gain hegemony over intellectual production and elite scholarly and religious masculinity. In many cases, anxiety surrounding their position pushed them to excel even beyond the limits of the customary excellence of the Jesuit colleges, and on a royal visit Phillip II and his courtiers made to the college at Valladolid, Persons explains in a text he wrote to mark the occasion how the students outdid themselves in their rhetorical performances in ten languages (56). Despite the similarity in the training these English and Irish colleges offered to the global Jesuit model, and the fact that their rectors were almost always Spanish Jesuits, differences marked these institutions from those with whom they shared the urban Spanish landscape and that marked the young

Early modern religious displacement 149 men who studied there. Although fervent Catholics, these religious migrants were often distrusted as subjects of a Crown who was either Spain's sworn enemy or tolerated rival. While England and Spain maintained a fraught relationship that lurched from enmity to delicate diplomatic tensions, Ireland and Spain had built a relationship developed through the shared hatred of England but also on the foundations of a common religion. At the same time, Spain, ironically, provided a model that England emulated in some ways, including in its conquest of Ireland.3 These refugees, however, dependent to a great extent on Spain's largesse, could not quite shake the burden of the nations they fled and often, as in the case of the English, found themselves subject to suspicion and hostility despite the common cause their religion made with their host country. Persons himself spoke of the “great aversion” the Spanish populace held for them as a “consequence of the hatred that the English name has achieved in these parts” (qtd. in Cano-Echevarria and Saez-Hidalgo 95). Meanwhile, Catholicism forged a natural bond between Ireland and Spain, and indeed some have spoken of a Gaelic Hispanophilism and a sense of a shared cultural or even ethnic identity existed. As the English pushed into Ireland attempting to impose the Anglican revolution there, Irish Catholics turned to Spain for both military and emotional support, and in their role of chief international Catholic power, the Spanish Crown championed their beleaguered coreligionists. According to Declan Downey, despite the geographical distance between Ireland and Spain, a feeling of a pan-Iberianism existed, with Irish in Spain declared to be “nuestros hermanos del Norte”; and he speaks of an easy flow of Irish citizens into Spain from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries (225). A cultural connection between the two nations began in the Middle Ages in a variety of disparate texts over centuries beginning with Isidore of Seville, whose influence on sixteenth-century Irish works was “so pronounced that some Irish works were erroneously attributed to the Spanish author” (Recio Morales 34). These close bonds notwithstanding, the Irish also suffered due to their status as colonized English subjects. Some students, particularly the English, were imprisoned as spies, and Persons took great pains to constantly stress English Catholic loyalty to Spain and its monarch and to represent Spain as an exemplary and orthodox staging ground for young men who lived in exile - destierro - Spain “el Reyno tan Catolico” always wanting to return to secure “la conversion de la patria.” Writing to secure the release of young English migrants imprisoned in Burgos, for example, he explains that their imprisonment was divinely provident for them because it allowed Spaniards to understand their cause and know how many good English Catholics there were ready to sacrifice their sons to bring the nation back from heresy (qtd. in Hillgarth 405). Like many religious refugees, these young men were forced to confront challenges to their presence as migrants in Spain, and it seemed that only the most performative exemplarity would save them from suspicion, which Persons himself described when noting the “hatred that the English name has achieved in these past years,” thanks to the actions of the Protestants (qtd. in Cano-Echevarria and Saez-Hidalgo 95). He makes common cause between Spaniards and English Catholics by severing the ties between the latter and the "heretics who are between them more enemies than any nation isof the English” (qtd. in Cano-Echevarria and Saez-Hidalgo 95). In this formulation, the English Catholics forced to flee their country are the ones who retain their nationality, while the English Protestants' heresy renders them stateless. Despite the optimism Persons displays in his texts, the reality of the cultural conflict the English migrants encountered in Spain belied the discursive bridges he built in his writings. Even among the Society of Jesuits, nationalism would sometimes outweigh the bonds of transnational brotherhood, and Persons at times found the "provincialism” and “myopia” of the Spanish Jesuits irritating (McCoog). Jesuit historian Thomas McCoog refers to his role as peacemaker when conflicts arose between English and Spanish Jesuits so as to prevent a “personal irritation into a national conflict that would threaten the very existence of these institutions” (McCoog). Despite the difficulties associated with the assimilation of these religious migrants into Spanish society, the solidarity provided by the Church and the Society of Jesus provided a temporary refuge from the danger of the homeland. However, despite a shared religion and a common goal, the welcome afforded the English migrants often proved to be precarious.

Jesuit masculinity in the English and Irish colleges

The colleges had not begun exclusively as seminaries, but eventually this is what they indeed became as the persecution of Irish and English Catholics gained traction throughout the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth and as the Smart dynasty replaced the Tudors. The history of the Irish and English colleges displays less than a united front between the various orders with the Jesuits often occupying the position of dominance as rectors of the colleges and other orders and the secular Church resisting their control. The Jesuits possessed the most developed system for transforming incoming clerical migrants into “successful and persevering agents of the Catholic mission” (O’Connor Irish Voices, 98). Their domination of the college network in Iberia as well as the founding of the Irish and English missions allowed them to take their pick of the promising young clerical aspirants coming out of these places, transforming them into “radicalized seminarians” who would embrace the return to the English and Irish mission fields and the hardships and potential martyrdom it entailed (Lockey 5). In England, this was a particularly fraught activity since anti-Catholic legislation such as the 1581 Act to Retain the Queen's Majesty's Subjects in the Due Obedience deliberately targeted the missionaries coming out of the continental colleges, explaining that should they be intercepted upon landing in England and caught in the act of persuading a subject of the queen to abandon the established Church in favor of the Church of Rome, they would be guilty of high treason. And in 1591, Elizabeth issued a proclamation singling out the English college in Valladolid whose existence she blamed on the King of Spain, who she accuses of conspiring with English clerics: “who, for furthering of other intentions against England, has dealt with Cardinal Allen and Father Persons to gather together with great labor upon his charges a multitude of dissolute youthes to begin this seminary of Valladolid and others in Spaine” (qtd. in Hillgarth 406). Elizabeth’s words, however, served only to inspire young

Catholic men, and Robert Persons himself describes the relative flooding of young English refugees to Valladolid “every week I see them come hither ... faster than the rooms can be made ready” (qtd. in Hillgarth 406).

The Society of Jesus’s Catholic identity was bound closely to that of Spain and the English and Irish young men studying in the Iberian colleges came under their charismatic sway. Persons, the English Jesuit, was convinced that Spain held the key to returning England to Catholicism. Persons, himself forced to leave England amid threats to his life, perhaps best exemplifies the cosmopolitan migrant subject Lockey identifies. The epistolary framing he gave to many of his works allowed him to build a stronger sense of community among the refugees dispersed throughout Catholic Europe. Lockey draws on the work of Benedict Anderson to show how Persons provided a textual link between the Catholics in England and those living as refugees in Europe. Moreover, his works possessed a deep transnationalism - he wrote in Latin or English and translated his own works into Spanish. He owned a printing press at Rouen and published the works of other exiled English Jesuits such as John Gerard and commissioned their translation into French, German, and Italian (Lockey 81). This trajectory, although influenced by the specific circumstances of his exile from England and his work with the English clerical migrants, shows the clear hallmarks of transnational Jesuit masculinity in which the politics of print, translation, and knowledge are all mobilized in the service the Society's hegemony as agents of the counterreformation and as exemplary scholar/missionaries. Under the tutelage of the Spanish Jesuits who acted as rectors, and the overall supervision of Persons, the colleges thus became laboratories of Catholic and specifically Jesuit masculinity as young men suffering from the psychic effects of deterritorialization received a bellicose counterreformation religious education that held martyrdom in the mission field of the home country as the ultimate manifestation of masculine agency and exemplarity. Martyrdom functioned as one of the facets of early modern Jesuit masculinity that, drawing on the conversion and formation of its founder, presented itself as a dynamic force that engaged with society instead of withdrawing from it. At the center of this dynamic masculinity was the knowledge that each Jesuit acquired during his years of rigorous education in the college and seminary. Moreover, the manifestation of potential sacrifice and bravery helped smooth the experiences of young English refugees in Spain who, as I mentioned earlier, were often viewed askance by locals (Cano-Echevarria and Saez-Hidalgo 93).

From migrants to martyrs

Transforming migrants into martyrs thus helped mitigate the author of distrust around the seminarians, and martyrdom provided “highly effective touchstones of group identity” (Terpstra 320). Martyrdom became the currency that kept the colleges going. Christopher Highley has drawn a distinction between exile and martyrdom, detailing how, in his opinion, critics have been drawn more to the latter than the former because of its “more sensational components of imprisonment, torture and execution” (24). Other reasons led martyrdom to be promoted over exile as a more complete form of sacrifice in the early modern period. According to Highley, “Christian culture defined martyrdom as the ultimate doctrinal form of witnessing” (24). But exile, he explains, contained “little doctrinal advocacy” (24). Martyrdom, in addition, had developed its own set of “representational forms,” including martyrology and hagiography (24). Whereas martyrs were celebrated those who went into exile, they were sometimes critiqued for supposedly attempting to avoid this fate (Highley 24). In the case of those who migrated to Spain, we can see that exile functioned as a necessary step in the path toward martyrdom. In order to return to England and Ireland and propagate the faith and risk losing their lives, the young men first had to study in the colleges and take holy orders. Perhaps rather than offering an alternative to martyrdom, we can see how it functions as a springboard.4

In St. Albans, which still functions as a seminary today, a clear visual representation of martyrdom’s strategic power can be found. In the seminary’s gallery hangs a long line of portraits of martyr-priests. The earliest dates from 1620 although others are more recent. Michael Williams draws a distinction between the martyr paintings in the English college in Rome where one finds depictions of scenes of martyrdom and those in Valladolid that bear few indications of violence (297). Instead, as he explains, they were intended to offer students models of “persons like themselves” or their professors (297). While some of the paintings offer illustrations of violent death in the background - such as a hangman in the act of dismembering the victim or bear signs of martyrdom such as the palm or the crown - Williams explains that the main focus is one the unremarkable portrait of the subject who is dressed in his priestly garb. The paintings feature a plaque with the man’s name, any alias he might have used to avoid capture in the English mission, and place of birth and death. These pictures normalize martyrdom for the students, making them realize that while considered to be a true sacrifice in the name of God, it was but one step in the journey of the migrant priest on his return home. For Cano-Echevarria and Sáez-Hidalgo, the artwork exhibited at St. Albans points to the bigger context of the Catholic refugee as discussed by Lockey as they explain how the paintings served to reinforce a performative “sense of community and Englishness” during a ceremony that would take place whenever news came of the martyrdom of a student in the English mission when all would gather in front of the artwork and a “Te Deum” would be sung (101). At the same time, the images of English martyrs of the early Church such as St. Albans, England’s protomartyr, linked the college and its students to the wider and global Church.

Besides pictorial representations, writings produced by both Spanish and English clerics seized on the trope of the return to martyrdom to press for acceptance in Spanish society and memorialize their sacrifice for generations to come for Catholic adherents. Writings such as the Historia particular de la persecución de Inglaterra y de los martirios mas insignes que en ella ha habido desde el anio del Señor 1570 by Diego de Yepes, Hieronymite, Confessor to Phillip II and Bishop of Tarragona and the noble Jesuit Pedro de Ribadeneyra, original companion of Ignatius of Loyola, whose history of the English Reformation,

Ecclesiastical History of the Schism of the Kingdom of England, included important chapters on the colleges and their martyrs and helped promote tolerance for confessional migrants. Exhorts Phillip III, “you should wonder at the patience and fortitude of our sainted martyrs, and both sorrow for the many, noble, wealthy English youths who wander in exile from their home for the sake of our Catholic faith” (551). He leverages this martyrdom to request the king continue his support for these refugees. He offers a specific connection between the education the migrants received in the colleges and fitness for the mission, explaining how they returned to their homeland with the “weapons” of their education, ready to "defend - and die for - the truth” (444). He also presents the statelessness of young men as fertile recruiting ground for the Society of Jesus, explaining how “in their days of exile, many of this nation (England), men of exemplary life and learning, had entered the Society of Jesus and settled beneath its banner” (444). Spencer Weinreich, editor of the Schism, here points out that the use of words such as “banner” or “standards” permeates the earliest documents of the Society (444) but it also speaks, it must be noted, to the idea of how the Catholic Church presented itself as a substitute for those expelled from their homelands.

The act of migrancy for Ribadeneyra fortifies the potential martyr creating a connection between the two. The action of leaving one’s country in the most adverse and dangerous of circumstances prepares the subject for the even more dangerous return and the glorious horror of martyrdom. In order to further persuade the king of the necessity to support the colleges, Ribadeneyra includes a letter from a seminarian, Francis Montfort, to the Pontiff Clement VIII in 1592, in which he details the reasons why he is willing to abandon continental Europe and refuge for a return to the homeland. England as Catholic country was “a delightful garden of holiness and religion” (546), but now Protestant has become “a forest of beasts and a wilderness of errors and heresies” (669). But Montfort must return to this place, leaving behind the protection of the Catholic nation, and he was executed by the English Crown shortly after arriving in London at the age of about 26 and after undergoing the arduous and dangerous journey back to the homeland. Learning about the experiences of those such as Montfort served, in theory, to inspire those still in Spain. Persons, unsurprisingly, also saw migrancy and martyrdom as possessing a symbiotic relationship and he connected the act of seeking refuge in Spain to the return to the homeland and martyrdom. In a pamphlet, he wrote about the college and dedicated it to the Infanta Isabela Clara, explaining how “this important enterprise of the conversion of England should prosper and from this Spanish seminaiy a copious harvest of glorious martyrs shall rise - like those from the seminaries in Rome and Reims be collected” (qtd. in Cano-Echevarria and Saez-Hidalgo 94). In an attempt, perhaps, to win favor from the Spanish and to consolidate funds, Persons brought Spain firmly into the discussion of English martyrs, claiming that many English Catholics were put to death because of they expressed their great love of their adopted home country of Spain.

There were exceptions, however, and a smaller group succeeded in staying in Spain to work at the colleges or, in some cases, embarked for the unknown territories of the New World mission. The latter option was not by most accounts an easy one. The Spanish Crown imposed controls on the movement of foreigners from Spain to the New World, and the English and Irish clergy offered no exception to this rule, with the Casa de Contratación in Seville monitoring the movement of people to the Americas (O’Connor 97). For the foreign clergy, the Crown required a lengthy period in Spain before travel to the New World could be guaranteed. Nonetheless, despite these obstacles, connections existed between the Irish and English colleges in Spain and the New World mission fields. In 1620, Phillip III addressed a cédula - a royal order - to the viceroys of Peru and New Spain, granting a four-year permit that allowed for the collection of alms on behalf of the Irish colleges in Spain there, suggesting that perhaps the monarchs may have had this circuit partly in mind when they permitted the establishment of these college networks within their realm (O'Connor 97). And apparently 170 copies of Creswell’s Martirio que padeció el padre Henrique Walpolo, which told of the death of the Jesuit Henry Walpole, founder and teacher of the English college of St. Gregory’s in Seville, were shipped to Peni in 1595, further demonstrating an interest there in the fate of the English migrant martyrs (Murphy 21). Martyrdom drove those who also wanted to migrate to the New World and save souls there. A notable example is provided in the seventeenth-century Jesuit, Michael Wadding, who came from a prestigious Irish Catholic family in Waterford and who, after studying at the Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses in Salamanca and under his Hispanicized name of Miguel Godinez, braved eight years in the dangers of the mission fields of the New Spanish Northern frontier before becoming the confessor of the famous poblana mystic, Sor Maria Jesus Tomellin, and the author of the first theological work on mysticism: Práctica de la teología mística. Many of the students deemed the journey both to and from the English and Irish missions as more hazardous than that to the New World. Many detours had to be made, they could be captured at sea by religious enemies of the nation in whose ship they sailed, they were forced to travel in disguise as soldiers, merchants, or even cabin boys, and spies were everywhere. The New World journey was, of course, full of peril, and the mission fields of the Northern frontier of New Spain were themselves replete with danger. While never meeting the glorious end of martyrdom himself, Wadding describes treks full of peril through Sinaloa, where many of his brethren met their end as they attempted to win the souls of the indigenous peoples for Christendom.

Godinez/Wadding's transnational migrancy from Ireland to Spain to New Spain reinforces the slippage between migrant and martyr, which is also apparent in the Iberian college network with their built-in return to the homeland for men who had been previously expelled for their faith. Ribadaneyra also highlights this transnational circuit when, in the Schism, he directly addresses those agents of the English Crown directly engaged in the execution of English priests:

By the same means you employ to torment, murder, and defame as traitors those servants of the Lord, the Lord himself will honor them all the more and render them glorious across the globe. And I have seen the image of the blessed Father Edmund Campion of the Society of Jesus - whom you so furiously slew in London for his Catholic faith, deftly rendered with the pen even in the Indies - that Father Edmund Campion bound and stretched and dismembered on your rack as you tortured him, is held and revered there (as he is here) as a martyr of Jesus.

Ribadaneyra here promotes a transnationalism Catholic commonwealth built on the cosmopolitan blood of migrants and martyrs that undercuts the heretical confines of the nation of England at every turn.


  • 1 The most infamous of these spies was Titus Oates, who entered St. Albans in 1677 but was expelled five months later and sent back to England. He later succeeded in entering the College of St. Omer only to be expelled from there. Shortly afterward, he concocted the Popish Plot, in which he accused a network of Jesuits and other Catholics of plotting to murder Charles I and place his brother James, Duke of York, on the throne. More tiran 30 Catholics were put to death on his evidence.
  • 2 For a detailed study of this college, see Patricia O’Connell’s The Irish College at Alcalá de Henares.
  • 3 J.H. Elliott elucidates the differences between the Spanish conquest practices and English attempts to subdue Ireland but also points to some of the models they tried to emulate, including wholesale expulsion of Moriscos from the Iberian Peninsula. He details the “grudging admiration” for what appeared to be the conversion of the Aztecs to “Christianity and civility, even if the Christianity they introduced was full of popish superstitions” (38).
  • 4 Highley describes how exile was sometimes viewed as a “bloodless” or “white” martyrdom, “unlike the ‘red’ martyrs who died for their convictions” (24).

Works cited

Cano-Echevarria, Berta and Ana Sáez-Hidalgo. “Educating for Martyrdom: British Exiles in the English College at Valladolid.” Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile. Ed. Timothy G. Fehler et al. Routledge, 2014, pp. 93-106.

Downey, Declan. “Purity of Blood and Purity of Faith in Early Modern Ireland.” The Origins of Sectarianism in Early Modern Ireland. Ed. Alan Ford and John McCafferty. Cambridge University Press, 2009. 216-228.

Elliott, J.H. Spain, Europe and the Wider World, 1500-1S00. Yale University Press, 2009. Fehler, Timothy G. et al. Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile. Routledge, 2014.

Highley, Christopher. Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Hilgarth, J. N. The Mirror of Spain, 1500-1700: The Formation of a Myth. University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Kroeker, Greta Grace. “Introduction.” Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile. Ed. Timothy G. Fehler et al. Routledge, 2014, pp. 1-8.

Lockey, Brian. Early Modern Catholics, Royalists, and Cosmopolitans: English Transnationalism and the Christian Commonwealth. Ashgate, 2015.

McCoog, Thomas S.J. “Persons the Peacemaker.” Thinking Faith. Posted on: 19th May 2010.

Murphy, Martin. St. Gregory's College, Seville 1592-1767. Catholic Record Society, 1993. O’Connell, Patricia. The Irish College at Alacalá de Henares 1649-1785. Four Courts Press, 1997.

O’Connor, Thomas. Irish Voices from the Spanish Inquisition: Migrants, Converts and Brokers in Early Modern Iberia. Palgrave, 2016.

Persons, Robert. Relación de vn sacerdote ingles, escrita a Flandes, á vn cauallero de su tierra en la qual le da cuenta de la venida de su Magostad a Valladolid, y al Colegio de los Ingleses, y lo que allí se hizo en su recebimiento. [By Robert Persons.] Traduzida de Ingles en Castellano, por Tomas Eclesal cauallero ingles [pseudonym of H. Cristóbal López]. Pedro Madrigal, 1592.

Recio Morales, Óscar. Ireland and the Spanish Empire. 1600-1825. Trans. Michael White. Four Courts Press, 2010.

Ribadeneyra, Pedro de. Pedro de Ribadeneyra’s Ecclesiastical Histoiy of the Schism of the Kingdom of England’: A Spanish Jesuit’s Histoiy of the English Reformation. Ed. Spenser Weinreich. Brill, 2017.

Terpstra, Nicholas. Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Wiliams, Michael. “Campion and the English Continental Seminaries.” The Reckoned Expense: Edmund Campion and the Early English Jesuits: Essays in Celebration of the First Centenary of Campion Hall, Oxford (1896-1996). Ed. Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. Boydell and Brewer, 1996. 285-300.

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