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Patrick Anderson

Scotch Jesuit (1575-1624)

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Anderson, PATRICK, a Scotch Jesuit, b. at Elgin in Morayshire in 1575; d. in London, September 24, 1624. He was the nephew of Dr. John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, a faithful adherent of Mary Queen of Scots, and her ambassador at the French Court. After completing his education at the University of Edinburgh, he entered the Society of Jesus at Rome, in 1597, and in due time acquired a reputation as a linguist, mathematician, philosopher, and divine. In 1609 he was appointed to the Scotch mission, where his labors were highly successful and his hairbreadth escapes from the pursuivants truly marvellous. He left Scotland for Paris to meet his superior, Father James Gordon, late in 1611. Father Anderson undertook to supply the great dearth of missionaries in his native country by collecting nearly one hundred youths in Scotland, all of them most eager to serve God and the Church. In 1615 he became the first Jesuit Rector of the Scots College in Rome, founded fifteen years before by Pope Clement VIII. Returning to Scotland he was soon after betrayed by a pretended Catholic, and committed to the Tolbooth jail, Edinburgh, where, in the daily expectation of torture and death, he displayed the heroic intrepidity of a true martyr. He was finally set at liberty on the petition, it is supposed, of the French Ambassador, who requested to have him for his confessor.

Father Anderson has left us some valuable and interesting letters relating to his missionary labors in Scotland; these letters may be found in part in the London “Month” for December, 1876. No one was better qualified to bear witness to the state of the Church in Scotland during the reign of James the First. In 1623 he published “The Ground of the Catholicke and Roman Religion in the Word of God“, a work which shows that he had carefully studied the scriptural argument for the Catholic Faith. While imprisoned in Edinburgh he also compiled the “Memoirs of the Scotch Saints” formerly in manuscript at the Scots College in Paris.


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