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Thomas Lewis Brittain

Catholic convert, Dominican (1744-1827)

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Brittain, THOMAS LEWIS, b. near Chester, England, 1744; d. at Hartpury Court, 1827. His parents were Protestants, but at the age of sixteen Thomas became a Catholic. Shortly after his conversion he went to Picardy to pursue his studies, and later tined the Dominicans at Bornheim, where he made is profession October 22, 1767. His studies were continued at Louvain, and subsequently he taught with marked success at Bornheim, where he was made regent of studies. In 1790 the doctor’s cap, with title of Master of Sacred Theology, was conferred on him. The same year he was transferred to Brussels, where he became director of the exiled English Dominican nuns, an office he held for thirty-seven years. In 1794, when the French army was expected at Brussels, Father Brittain conducted the sisters to Bornheim, whence, joined by eighteen Dominican fathers, they were conducted by an American captain to England. Father Brittain secured a foundation for the sisters at Hartpury Court near Gloucester. On May 3, 1814, he was elected provincial of the Dominicans, and during his four years of office gained the respect and confidence of his brethren. He is the author of the following works: “Rudiments of English Grammar” (London, 1790), considered authoritative in its day, and highly commended by Walker, the lexicographer; “Principles of the Christian Religion and Catholic Faith Investigated” (London, 1790); “Collection of Poems Occasionally Written” (Cheltenham, 1822); “The Divinity of Jesus Christ and Beauties of His Gospels” (London, 1822); some unpublished MSS. are in the archives of the English province.


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