Luke Wadding



1588-1657; b. 16 Oct.; son of Walter Wadding, merchant, and Anastasia [ée] Lombard, through whom he was connected with Peter Lombard [q.v.]; Fr. Bonaventura Baron, was a sister’s son; first went to school with a Mrs. Jane Barden in Waterford, and afterwards under Peter White, at Kilkenny []Grammar School]; travelled to Lisbon and entered University of Coimbra, 1604; there he learnt Portuguese, Castilina and Hebrew; became a Franciscan friar, and commenced his novitiate at and spent his novitiate at Matozinhos, 1607; he was ordained by the Bishop of Viseo in 1613; appt. president of the Irish College at Salamanca, Master of Students, and Professor of Divinity at Salamanca University; appt. chaplain to the Spanish ambassador, Bishop Antonio Trejo de Sande, in Rome, 1618; issued Annales Ordinis Minorum, 8 vols. (1625-54) - a history of his order and his life’s work; his Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (1650) is a bibliography of the Franciscans;

fnd. the Irish College of St Isidore in Rome, opened in June 1625, and appointing four Irish teachers at the outset [see note]; he amassed 5,000 printed books and 800 MSS at the college library, and served as its Rector until 1640; served as Procurator of the Franciscans at Rome, 1630-34, and Vice-Commissary, 1645-48; he enthusiastically supported the Catholics of Ireland from 1641, and sent money and supplies to Owen Roe O’Neill; influenced Innocent X in appointing Giovanni Battista Rinuccini as papal nuncio to the Confederation of Kilkenny, though often attacked for his Old English (‘Palesman’) views; made the objet of criticism in the Commentarius Rinuccinianus (1661-62); his political viewpoint stance was so rooted in St. Isidore’s that Gladstone later blamed the college for the anti-English bias of the Vatican; founded Irish Franciscan College of St. Isidore in Rome, 1625; d. 18 Nov., 1657, and is buried in the church of the College of San Isidore, in Rome.

a petition to the Vatican to make him a cardinal was intercepted by the rector who succeeded him at St. Isidore’s (and survives among the archives of the College); Wadding inserted the Feast of St. Patrick as in the universal calendar of the Church while a member of the Breviary reform commission; his library at St. Isidore's was brought to Ireland by the Franciscan's in 1870, being houses in the Franciscan Convent on Merchant’s Quay, Dublin, and later in Killiney; there is a portrait in oil attrib. to Jusepe Ribera after Carlo Maratti (who also supplied drawings for engravings), subsequently acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland [NGI]; an early life was written by his nephew Francis Harold (Vita Fratris Lucae Waddingi, 1731); a statue of Wadding was erected opposite Reginald's Tower in Waterford, but afterwards replaced by that of Thomas Francis Meagher - the other being removed to Greyfriars in the city; the library of the RTC at Waterford is named after him. RR PI DIB DIW FDA OCIL

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  • ed. [with others], Johannes Duns Scotus, Opera Omnia, 12 vols. (1637; rep. Hildsheim: Olms 1968-69);
  • Annales Ordinis Minorum: Tomus Primus, Editio secunda, 8 vols. (Lugduni: Sumpt Claudii Prost, & I Bapt. Devenet 1647), fol. [copy in Marsh’s Library, Stillingfleet Coll.]

‘De Hebraicæ origine, præstantia, et utilitate’ is prefixed to the concordance of the Hebrew scriptures of Marius de Collasio which Wadding prepared for the press in 1621 [see Wikipedia, infra].

See also Brendan Jennings, OFM, ed., Wadding Papers 1614-38 (Dublin: Irish MSS Commission 1953).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 1, contains an extract from Annales Ordinis Minorum [pp.262-63].

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  • Charles Patrick Meehan, The Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries, and Memoirs of the Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century [5th edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons 1877), 504pp. [available at Google Books - online; accessed 17.09.2011;
  • Joseph A. O'Shea, The Life of Father Luke Wadding, Founder of St. Isidore's College, Rome (Dublin: M.H. Gill 1885), xvi, 200pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls; port.; 19cm].
Recent accounts
  • Gregory Cleary, Fr. Luke Wadding and St. Isidore’s College, Rome; Biograhpical and Historical Notes and Documents (Rome 1925), 263pp.

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W. B. Yeats [at the National Art Gallery, Dublin, in 1918]: ‘The glittering eyes in a death's head / Of old Luke Wadding's portrait said / Welcome, and the Ormondes all / Nodded upon the wall, / And even Strafford smiled as though / It made him happier to know / I understood his plan. ... ’ (“Demon and Beast”, in Coll. Poems, p.209.)
Note: the oil painting of Wadding at the Nat. Gallery of Ireland is by by Carlo Maratta. See in RICORSO Library > “Gallery”, attached.

Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (John Benjamins Pub. Co., Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1986), Thomas Dempster sought to attach Irish saints and scholars to Scotland rather than their native Ireland. Hugh Mac Caghwell published commentaries on Duns Scotus, while Luke Wadding with Mac Caghwell supervised the edition of Duns’ complete works, 12 vols. (Lyons 1629), having earlier in 1624 published Dun Scotus’s defence of Immaculate Conception. Wadding also issued the Franciscan history, Annales Minorum, in the 8 vols. (1625-34). (Leerssen, p.304.) [Cont].

Joseph Th. Leerssen (Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael [... &c.] 1986) - cont.: Thomas Strange wrote in March 1696 to Luke Wadding from the Franciscan house in Dublin where Michael Clery spent time copying, reporting that Ussher had offered to help the Gaelic antiquarians to the extent of lending his library; and there is evidence that such bi-partisan contacts continued even after the 1641 Rebellion. See RB Knox, James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh (Cardiff UP 1967).

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The cobbler and the Bible: ‘The cobbler with his great black thumb / Turning the bible will have it done.’ (Luke Wadding, bishop of Ferns, in A Small garland of Pious and Godly Songs, Ghent 1684, p.51; quoted in Raymond Gillespie, ‘Reading the Bible in Seventeenth Century Ireland’, in Bernadette Cunningham & Máire Kennedy, eds., The Experience of Reading: Irish Historical Perspectives, Dublin: Rare Books Group 1999, p.27.)

Wood & gold: ‘Time was when we had wooden chalices and golden priests, now we have golden chalices and wooden priests.’ From Annales Ordinis Minorum; quoted by Charles Kickham in The Irish People, and cited by John O’Leary in Recollections of Fenians and Fenianism (1896).

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Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica, Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, p.616. And note, no ODNB entry [Concise], but see Peter Wadding, infra. See also Ann Stewart, National Portrait Collection (1986).

[ There is a Luke Wadding page at Wikipedia - online; accessed 16.09.2011. ]

R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), calling him the ‘indirect instigator and director of Irish rebellion, sending officers and arms to the country, 1641 [and who] advised Pope to send Rinucinni as nuncio, 1645.’ (p.94).

Muriel McCarthy, comp., Hibernia Resurgens [Catalogue of Marsh’s Library Exhibition] (Dublin: Marsh’s Library 1994) [BIOG. and BIBL. as supra.]

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St. Is-a-door: Wadding collected funds to found the Irish College of St Isidore in Rome for the education of Irish priests, which opened 24 June 1625 with four lecturers - Anthony O'Hicidh of a famous bardic family in Thomond, Martin Breathnach from Donegal, Patrick Fleming from Louth, and John Ponce from Cork, catering initially to 30 students. He also gave the college a library of 5,000 printed books and 800 manuscripts and acted as rector for fifteen years. (See Wadding page at Wikipedia - online; accessed 16.09.2011.)

Confederate daze: Wadding appears in James Murphy’s in The Flight from the Cliffs (Duffy 1911), a historical romance of Confederation days.

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