Stonyhurst. Minister’s Journal, 1847-1848

377 x 270 x 65 mm
Stonyhurst College Archives, Stonyhurst, England (UK)
Courtesy of the Stonyhurst Governorate

In 1848, Pope Pius IX ordered the Italian Jesuits to leave Italy, in voluntary exile. The decision was made due to the unstable political situation of the country and the widespread hostility against the Jesuits and their political influence. Secchi and other brothers sought refuge in England, at the College of Stonyhurst.
In the Minister‘s Journalhere reproduced, the page on the right shows the note of April 26, when it their arrival was recorded.
The Minister, in a Jesuit community, is a ordained priest who acts as a factotum, dealing with the daily needs of the community. This can involve tasks from business managers and various other administrative activities, including the control of consumer goods, and sometimes accounting.
At Stonyhurst, for the whole period of the permanence of the Jesuit community within the college–which was up to recent times–one of the minister’s duties was to record daily events. Today, the College archives retain a full set of these records from 1817 until 1971. Notable, among them, have always been those who keep trace of the arrival and departure of guests and visitors of the community, and other events or important events such as a noteworthy sermon, serious illness or someone’s recovery, but also ordinary things like what was ate for dinner or what time the lessons (known as ‘ schools ‘ for much of the nineteenth century) started that morning-in short everything that went slightly out of what is described as normal routine . In the days when nothing out of the ordinary happened , it was simply written down ‘ Schools ‘ or ‘ As usual ‘.
Ultimately, the Minister’s Journal (Figure 1) provides an extremely detailed and therefore fascinating descrpition of the history of the College. Disciplinary matters, however, were not wrote down, because they were the prerogative of the first prefect, the eldest member of a small team of Jesuits responsible for controlling all aspects of the regulation in the school. There was therefore a second register, known as First Prefect’s log , in which these matters were recorded, albeit quite briefly, which largely overlaps the Minister’s Journal in the recording of daily routines.

David Knight, Stonyhurst College