MacGeoghegan, Roche (DNB00)

MACGEOGHEGAN, ROCHE, also called ‘Rochus de Cruce’ (1580–1644), Irish Dominican and bishop of Kildare, son of Ross MacGeoghegan, chief of the sept of the MacGeoghegans of Moycashel or Kinelfiacha, co. Westmeath, was born in 1580. He studied at the Irish College in Lisbon, at Coimbra, where he entered the order of St. Dominic, and at Salamanca, where he spent eight years. The general of the Dominicans was anxious to revive in Ireland the Dominican order, which at the death of Queen Elizabeth had become almost extinct, and MacGeoghegan was selected to carry the revival into effect. He was present at a general chapter of the Dominicans held at Milan in 1622, and was there appointed provincial of Ireland. He worked with indomitable energy in Ireland, restored his order to vigour, and, it is stated, converted to the catholic faith several persons of prominence in the country (Moran, Persecutions of Irish Catholics). On three occasions the government ordered his arrest, and a reward of 200l. was offered for his capture; but each time he succeeded in escaping. He ultimately resigned the office of provincial and withdrew to Louvain, where he aided in the foundation of a convent for Irish Dominicans. On the death of Peter Lombard [q.v.], archbishop of Armagh, in 1625, it was urged on Pope Urban VIII without result that he should appoint MacGeoghegan to the vacant see. In 1629 he was appointed bishop of Kildare, being consecrated at Brussels by the Archbishop of Mechlin. Throughout his episcopate he was the constant object of persecution, and was frequently obliged to keep in hiding. He died at Kilbeggan in co. Westmeath in 1644, and was buried in the cathedral of Kildare.

MacGeoghegan had collected a large library, which, according to Moran, was burned by his persecutors; according to others, he pledged it in order to relieve the poor of his flock.

[De Burgo's Hibernia Dominicana, pp. 98, 106, 108, 431, 487, 561; Moran's Historical Sketch of the Persecutions suffered by the Catholics of Ireland (wherein the author quotes from a manuscript History of the Irish Bishops, by Dr. John Lynch), pp. 366–71; Comerford's Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, 1st ser. pp. 30–5; Meehan's Memoirs of the Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century, pp. 158–9, and Appendix, pp. 309–10, 341.]

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