Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture
Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny
Hedvika Kuchařová and Jan Pařez The Last Community: Irish Franciscans after the Dissolution of the
Prague College, 1786 The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries bore witness to very intensive contact between Ireland and Bohemia, especially as religious intolerance in Ireland encouraged many Irish Catholics to leave their native land for the Continent. One of the destinations of these exiles was Prague, the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia. Medical students completed their studies at the university in the city, and some settled thereafter in Bohemia; soldiers entered the service of the Habsburgs; and noble families joined the local aristocratic community. This essay is focused on one of the more inf luential of these Irish-Bohemian connections: the Irish Franciscans of the stricter observance (the friars minor), who for a time had their own college in the city. Although the Irish Franciscans’ role in Prague has already been well studied, less has been published on the dissolution of the college and especially on the careers of the monks after the dissolution, many of whom returned to Ireland. The present essay outlines the historical context per- taining to the Irish Franciscan college; it then discusses the complications and dif ficulties associated with tracing the careers of individual friars; and finally, it explores the diverse fates of the members of the last community. Historical Background Irish Franciscans began to move to Bohemia from 1629, having received permission from the archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Ernest Harrach, and Emperor Ferdinand II to settle and work in the city. The Prague College 86 Hedvika Kuchařová and Jan Pařez of the Immaculate...
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