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Godfrey Henschen

Jesuit, hagiographer; b. at Venray (Limburg), June 21, 1601; d. at Antwerp, Sept. 11, 1681

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Henschen (or HENSKENS), GODFREY, Jesuit, hagiographer; b. at Venray (Limburg), June 21, 1601; d. at Antwerp, September 11, 1681. The son of Henry Henschen, a cloth merchant, and Sibylla Pauwels, he studied the humanities at the Jesuit College of Bois-le-Duc ( ‘s Hertogenbosch), and entered the novitiate at Mechlin on October 22, 1619. He taught successively Greek, poetry, and rhetoric at Bergues, Bailleul, Ypres, and Ghent, was ordained priest on April 15, 1634, sent to the professed house at Antwerp in the following year, and admitted to the profession of the four vows on May 12, 1636. He remained at Antwerp until his death, September 11, 1681. From the time of his arrival in the city he was associated as collaborator with Father Bollandus, who was then preparing the first volumes of the “Acta Sanctorum”. As has been said in speaking of this collection (see Bollandists), it was Henschen who, by his commentary on the Acts of St. Amand, suggested to Bollandus the course to follow, and gave to the scientific work undertaken by his learned master its definitive form. The same article speaks of the literary journey, undertaken by Henschen in company with Father Papebroch, to Italy, France, and Germany (July 22, 1660-21, December, 1662). He collaborated on the volumes for January, February, March, and April, and on the first six volumes for May, that is on seventeen volumes of the “Acta Sanctorum”. Several of his posthumous commentaries appeared in the succeeding volumes. A list of some other works from his pen will be found in De Backer’s “Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jesus”. Henschen was the first librarian of the Museum Bollandianum at Antwerp.



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