Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/270

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AIKENHEAD
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the colony of Canada which received a large share of her benefits. She especially recommended this work to her uncle, and Richelieu sent some Jesuits there. The Hôtel-Dieu at Quebec was erected at her expense, and she put the Religieuses Hospitalières of Dieppe in charge of it, after providing for it an annual income of three thousand francs. Masses are still said there daily for the intention of herself and of Richelieu, and an inscription composed by her is over the principal entrance. It was under her exalted patronage that the first Ursulines were sent there. With Olier, she conceived the plan of founding the Colony of Montreal and got the Pope to approve of the society which was formed for this purpose. Finally she had the creation of the bishopric of Quebec brought before the General Assembly of the French clergy, and obtained from Mazarin a pension of 1,200 crowns for its support.

This woman of great mind was sought in marriage by princes of the royal blood, but she preferred remaining a widow the better to pursue her good works. When she was created Duchesse d'Aiguillon she gave twenty-two thousand livres to found a mission for instructing the poor of the duchy. She was equally the enlightened patroness of the writers of her time. Voiture, Scudéry, Molière, Scarron, and Corneille were recipients of her favors. The last named dedicated to her "Le Cid."

After the death of Richelieu, who made her his principal heir, she retired to the Petit-Luxembourg, published her uncle's works and continued her generous benefactions to all kinds of charities. She carried out the Cardinal's last request by having the church and the college of the Sorbonne completed, as well as the Hôtel Richelieu, which has since been converted into the Bibliothèque Nationale. The great Fléchier was charged with pronouncing her funeral oration, which is regarded as one of the masterpieces of eloquence of French pulpit oratory.

Bonneau-Avenant, La duchesse d'Aiguillon, nièce du cardinal de Richelieu, sa vie et ses œuvres charitables (Paris, 1879); Revue Canadienne, nouvelle série, II, 735; III, 27.

Aikenhead, Mary, foundress of the Irish Sisters of Charity, b. in Cork, 19 January, 1787; d. in Dublin, 22 July, 18,58; daughter of David Aikenhead, a physician, member of the Established Church, and Mary Stacpole, a Catholic.

She was brought up in the Church of England, but became a Catholic 6 June, 1802, some time after the death of her father who had been received into the Church on his death-bed. Accustomed as she was to an active life of charity, and feeling called to the religious life, she looked in vain for an order devoted to outside charitable work. Against her will she was chosen by Archbishop Murray, Coadjutor of Dublin, to carry out his plan of founding a congregation of the Sisters of Charity in Ireland, and in preparation for it made a novitiate of three years (1812–15) in the Convent of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin at Micklegate Bar, York, the rule of which corresponded most nearly to the ideas of the Archbishop. She there assumed the name she kept till death, Sister Mary Augustine, though always known to the world as Mrs. Aikenhead. On 1 September, 1815, the first members of the new Order took their vows, Sister Mary Augustine being appointed Superior-General. The following sixteen years were filled with the arduous work of organizing the community and extending its sphere of labour to every phase of charity, chiefly hospital and rescue work. In 1831 overexertion and disease shattered Mrs. Aikenhead's health, leaving her an invalid. Her activity was unceasing, however, and she directed her sisters in their heroic work during the plague of 1832, placed them in charge of new institutions, and sent them on missions to France and Australia. After a long period of trial and suffering she passed away in her seventy-second year, having left her Order in a flourishing condition, in charge of ten institutions, besides innumerable missions and branches of charitable work.

Ailbe, Saint, Bishop of Emly in Munster (Ireland); d. about 527, or 541. It is very difficult to sift out the germs of truth from among the mass of legends which have gathered round the life of this Irish saint. Beyond the fact, which is itself disputed, that he was a disciple of St. Patrick and was probably ordained priest by him, we know really nothing of the history of St. Ailbe. Legend says that in his infancy he was left in the forest to be devoured by the wolves, but that a she-wolf took compassion upon him and suckled him. Long afterwards, when Ailbe was bishop, an old she-wolf, pursued by a hunting party, fled to the Bishop and laid her head upon his breast. Ailbe protected his old foster-mother, and every day thereafter she and her little ones came to take their food in his hall. The Acts of St. Ailbe are quite untrustworthy; they represent Ailbe as preaching in Ireland before St. Patrick, but this is directly contradicted by St. Patrick's biographer, Tirechan. Probably the most authentic information we possess about Ailbe is that contained in Cuimmon's eulogium: Ailbe loved hospitality. The devotion was not untruthful. Never entered a body of clay one that was better as to food and raiment. His feast, which is 12 September, is kept throughout Ireland as a greater double.

The Acts of St. Ailbe may be found in the Codex Salmanticensis, edited in 1588 by the Bollandists under the title of Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ, at the charges of the Marquis of Bute (cf. Suysken, in Acta SS., Sept., IV, 26–33); Healy, Irish Schools and Scholars; Lanigan, Eccl. Hist. of Ireland.

Aileran, an Irish saint, generally known as "Sapiens" (the Wise), one of the most distinguished professors at the School of Clonard in the seventh century. He died of the all-destroying Yellow Plague, and his death is chronicled in the "Annals of Ulster", 29 December, 664. His early life is not recorded, but he was attracted to the great School of Clonard by the fame of St. Finian and his disciples, and, about 650, was rector, of this celebrated seat of learning. As a classical scholar he was almost without a rival in his day, and his acquaintance with the works of Origen, Philo, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and others, stamps him as a master of Latin and Greek. According to Colgan, numerous works are to be ascribed to St. Aileran, including the "Fourth Life of St. Patrick", a Latin-Irish Litany, and the "Lives of St. Brigid and St. Fechin of Fore." As regards the Latin-Irish Litany, there is scarcely a doubt but that St. Aileran was its author. An excellent transcript of it is in the "Yellow Book of Lecain" (Leabhar Buidhe Lecain), a valuable Irish manuscript copied by the MacFirbises in the four-