Maccarthy, Nicholas Tuite (DNB00)

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MACCARTHY, NICHOLAS TUITE, called the Abbé de Lévignac (1769–1833), divine, was the son of Justin MacCarthy, only surviving representative of the MacCarthy Reagh family, by Mary Winifred, daughter of Nicholas Tuite, chamberlain to the king of Denmark. Born at Dublin 19 May 1769, at four years of age he was taken to Toulouse, where his father was naturalised (1776) and made a French count. When seven years old he was sent to the college Du Plessis in Paris, and at fourteen he received the tonsure at St. Magloire seminary, being styled, from a property near Bordeaux, purchased by his father, the Abbé de Lévignac. His kinsman, Arthur Dillon, archbishop of Narbonne, would have at once given him a benefice in commendam, but MacCarthy could not conscientiously accept a sinecure. The revolution interrupted his studies at the Sorbonne, and drove him back to Toulouse, where he profited by his father's large library, and helped to educate his younger brothers. A weakness of the reins rendering it painful for him to kneel or to stand upright, he long hesitated to become a priest, but the death in childbed of a sister-in-law, wife of Viscount (afterwards Count) Robert MacCarthy, deputy for the Drome in 1815–20, put an end to his irresolution. Ordained in 1814, he soon became known as one of the most eloquent French preachers, and in 1817 he was offered the bishopric of Montauban, but he declined preferment, having determined on joining the jesuits. This he did in 1820, and as an Advent or Lent preacher he had a great reputation at court, in the principal French towns, and at Geneva. The revolution of 1830 led him to retire to Savoy, whence he was summoned to Rome, a preaching visit which undermined his health. Just after concluding Lent sermons at Annécy in 1833, he was attacked by a fatal illness, expired on 3 May in the bishop's palace, and was buried in the cathedral.

[Life prefixed to his Sermons by the Abbé Deplace, Lyons, 1834; Genealogy in Annuaire de la Pairie, 1845.]

J. G. A.