Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What more for a boy with everything?

Today, June 21, is the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga, the Jesuit saint in whose honour the Oxford Oratory church is dedicated. The church was built in 1875 by the Society of Jesus and the youthful St Aloysius seen a very suitable patron for a church in a University town - even if at that date in 1875 Catholics were discouraged by the hierarchy from sending their sons to Oxford, and later on when that was approved, the church was seen as being for the townspeople rather than students who were expected to go to the Chaplaincy established in the 1890s.

There is an online account of his life and sanctity at Aloysius Gonzaga and a Jesuit account from IgnatianSpirituality.com at  St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ (1568—1591)

St Aloysius Gonzaga in Glory
Gian Battista Tiepolo

Image: Wikipedia

This evening I attended the Mass celebrating his feast day at the Oratory. As is the custom on this day the preacher was a Jesuit, and this year the choice fell on Fr Keith McMillan SJ. His sermon drew out the extent of St Aloysius' many connections to the rich and powerful, and that when the future saint told his father he ws destined for better things than his family and its inheritance could offer that thing was indeed Heaven. That indeed was the what more for a boy with everything.

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