Alban Butler
Alban Butler
    Alban Butler
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Alban Butler
    Historian, b. 10 October, 1710, at Appletree, Northamptonshire, England; d. at St-Omer, France, 15 May, 1773. He shares with the venerable Bishop Challoner the reputation of being one of the two most prominent Catholic students during the first half of the dreary eighteenth century, when the prospects of English Catholics were at their lowest. After the death of his father in 1712, he was sent to the celebrated "Dame Alice's School", at Fernyhalgh, in Lancashire. From thence while still young he was transferred to the English College at Douai, where he went through the full course, and was ordained priest in 1735. He had already gained a reputation for extraordinary diligence and regularity, and was asked to remain at the college as professor, first of philosophy, later on of theology. During his years at Douai, he devoted himself to what became the great work of his life, "The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints". His mastery of ancient and modern languages fitted him specially for a task which involved such wide reading, while his unremitting industry and steady perseverance enabled him to overcome all obstacles. He also assisted Dr. Challoner, by preparing matter for the latter's "Memoirs of Missionary Priests", the standard work on the martyrs of the reign of Elizabeth and later. Butler's notes are still preserved at Oscott College.
    In 1745 Alban Butler was chosen to accompany the Earl of Shrewsbury and his two brothers, James and Thomas Talbot, both afterwards bishops, on a tour through Europe. On his return he acted as mission priest in various parts of the Midland District, to which he belonged by origin. Though ever seeking leisure for study, we are told that he was precise in the discharge of all his duties, and his time was always at the disposal of the poor or others who had a claim upon him. We next find him acting as chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk, whose nephew (and heir presumptive), the Hon. Edward Howard, he accompanied to Paris as tutor. During his residence there, Butler at length completed his work on the "Lives of the Saints", on which he had been engaged nearly thirty years. It contains biographies of more than 1,600 saints arranged in order of date; and is a monument of work and research. It was published anonymously, in London, in 1756-59, nominally in four, really in seven octavo volumes. This was the only edition which appeared during the author's lifetime; but there have been many others since, and the work has been translated into Italian and French.
    In 1766 the presidency of the English College at St-Omer, in France, falling vacant by the elevation of Thomas Talbot to the episcopate, Alban Butler was appointed to succeed his former pupil, no doubt that he might be placed where he would have greater facilities for study. The college had formerly belonged to the Jesuits, but had been handed over to the secular clergy by the French Government when the Society of Jesus was banished from France. The Douai authorities accepted the college in order to save it from being confiscated, with the intention of restoring it to its owners should circumstances ever permit. The Jesuits, however, resented their action, and under these circumstances, Alban Butler hesitated about accepting the postion offered him; but we are told by his nephew and biographer, Charles Butler, that having taken counsel of the Bishops of Amiens and Boulogne, he was advised that he could accept the post with a safe conscience. A few years later the general suppression of the Society of Jesus throughout the world put an end to any doubt on the matter. Butler found, however, that his hopes of leading a studious life were doomed to disappointment, for his reputation by this time was such that no less than four bishops of neighbouring dioceses, Arras, Boulogne, St-Omer, and Ypres, continually sought his advice, and invested him with faculties as vicar-general. Thus during the concluding years of his life he had to devote himself to active work more than at any previous time. He was buried in the parish church of St-Denis almost opposite to the English College at St- Omer. Since the Revolution, all traces of his tomb have disappeared. His works include: "Letters to a Gentleman on Bower's Lives of the Popes" (1754); "Lives of the Saints" (1756-59; many times republished); "Life of Mary of the Holy Cross" (1767). After his death Bishop Challoner published "The Movable Feasts and Fasts"; and Charles Butler edited: "Travels" (1791), "Meditations" (1791) and, "Life of Sir Tobie Matthews" (1795).
    BUTLER, Life; COOPER in Dict. Nat. Biog.; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath.; KIRK, Biog. Collections, MS.
    BERNARD WARD
    Transcribed by Herman F. Holbrook Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei, intercedite pro nobis.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

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  • Alban Butler — (October 13, 1709 St Omer, France May 15, 1773), English Roman Catholic priest and hagiographer, was born at Appletree, Northamptonshire.He was educated at the English college, Douai, where on his ordination to the priesthood in 1735 he held… …   Wikipedia

  • Alban Butler — (Northamptonshire, Inglaterra, 1709 Saint Omer, Francia, 1773), fue un sacerdote católico y hagiógrafo. Fue educado en el colegio inglés Douai, donde tras su ordenación en 1735 tuvo sucesivamente los cargos de filosofía y divinidad. Laboró por… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alban Butler — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Butler. Alban Butler, prêtre catholique anglais, né en octobre 1710 dans le comté de Northampton, il fut ordonné prêtre en 1734 et il est mort le 15 mai 1773 à Saint Omer (Artois). Il étudia au collège anglais de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Butler (surname) — Butler is a surname that has been associated with many different places and people. It can be either: * an English occupational name that originally denoted a servant in charge of the wine cellar, from the Norman French word butuiller . It… …   Wikipedia

  • Butler — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Butler », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Butler, Alban — (1710–73)    Historian and Devotional Writer.    Butler was orphaned as a child and was educated at the Catholic Seminary at Douai. After ordination, he acted as chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk’s household and travelled abroad a great deal. He is …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Butler, Alban — • Seventeenth century English Catholic Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Butler, Alban — ▪ English priest and educator born October 24, 1710, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England died May 15, 1773, Saint Omer, France  Roman Catholic priest and educator renowned for his classic Lives of the Saints.       Butler was educated at the… …   Universalium

  • BUTLER, ALBAN —    hagiographer, born in Northampton; head of the college at St. Omer; wrote Lives of the Saints (1710 1773) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Charles Butler —     Charles Butler     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Charles Butler     One of the most prominent figures among the English Catholics of his day, b. in London, 1750, d. 2 June, 1832.     He belonged to an ancient Northamptonshire family, and was a… …   Catholic encyclopedia

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