A Compendium of Irish Biography/Wadding, Luke

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Wadding, Luke, Rev., an historian, and a prominent Franciscan monk, was born in Waterford, 16th October 1588. After receiving his early education, he was placed at the Irish College in Lisbon, received the Franciscan habit in September 1605, and completed his studies at Liria and Coimbra. In 1618 he went to Rome in the train of the Spanish Ambassador, and there passed the remainder of his life. Ware says: "He grew unto such authority, and the world had conceived such an opinion of his wisdom, dexterity, and industry, and his good fortune in transacting business, that every person was fond of courting his advice and aid in the most difficult matters." In June 1625 he founded and endowed, out of money he had collected for the purpose, the great College of St. Isidore, which for many after generations afforded a refuge to Irish ecclesiastics of his order. In January 1628 he founded another college, for Irish youths, and shortly afterwards a seminary for Irish novices at Capranica, twenty-eight miles from Rome. He was Procurator of the Franciscans at Rome from 1630 to 1634; and Vice-Commissary of the order from 1645 to 1648. Wadding warmly seconded the cause of the Irish Catholics in the struggle of 1641-'52. He engaged officers, and raised supplies of money, arms, and munitions in France and Flanders. In 1642 he was appointed agent of the Irish Catholics, and it was at his instance that Urban VIII. sent Father Scarampi to Ireland with his benediction and large supplies of money. Through his influence, also, Leo X. sent Rinuccini as his apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Several pages of Harris's Ware are devoted to a consideration of Luke Wadding's writings. The most important of these is Annales Minorum Ordinum Franciscanorum, published in 8 vols. between 1625 and 1654. He was an ardent admirer of Duns Scotus, an edition of whose works in twelve folio volumes he prepared for the press in 1639. He died in Rome, 18th November 1657, aged 69, and was buried at St. Isidore's, where a monument was erected to his memory. Mr. Anderson, in his Historical Sketches of the Ancient Native Irish, thus sums up Wadding's labours: "We may form some idea of the prodigious activity of this man when it is stated that during his lifetime he wrote and published ten volumes in folio, two in quarto, and four in octavo; besides preparing, with great labour, sixteen volumes in folio for the press, and superintending four others of the same size. Of these, fourteen he got printed at Rome, twenty-one at Lyons, and one at Antwerp, or thirty-six in all!" Many of the greatest treasures in Irish manuscripts, which during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were secretly conveyed away from Ireland and placed for safety in the library of St. Isidore's, have been within the last few years brought back again to Ireland, and are now in the library of the Franciscans in Dublin. There also may be seen, among other interesting relics, a contemporary portrait of the great Franciscan himself. [He must not be confused with Luke Wadding, Bishop of Ferns, who in Charles II.'s reign published A Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs for the Solace of his Friends and Neighbours in their Afflictions.] [1] [2]

Authorities
  1. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.
  2. Ware, Sir James, Works: Walter Harris. 2 vols. Dublin, 1764.