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ABBAS
ABBESS
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establishment. He died 16 March, 1620. His namesake, St. Abban of New Ross, also known as St. Ewin, Abhan, or Evin, but whose name has been locally corrupted as "Stephen," "Neville," and "Nevin," was his contemporary. Some writers have confounded him with St. Evin of Monasterovan, County Kildare. Even Colgan (followed by Dr. Lanigan) fell into the error of identifying Rosglas (Monastorevan) with Ros-mic-treoin (New Ross). St. Evin of Rosglas, author of the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick," died 22 December, at his own foundation, afterwards called Monaster Evin (County Kildare), whereas St. Abban, or Evin, of Ros-mic-treoin. died at Ross, County Wexford. A third saint of this name, St. Abban the Hermit, of Abingdon (England), was certainly an Irishman, and is commemorated on 13 May, though the year of his death is not definitely known. He was undoubtedly pre-Patrician.

Grattan Flood. Irish Saints; Buck, in Aeta SS. (1867), Oct., XII. 270–274; Bibl. hagiogr. Lat. (1898), I, 306; O'Hanlon, Lives of Irish Saints (III, 16 March, V, 13 May, and XII. 22 December); Colgan, Aeta S.S. Hiberniæ (1645), I. 624, 627; Bradshaw in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v.

Abbas Siculus. See Panormitanus.

Abbé, a French word meaning primarily and strictly an abbot or superior of a monastery of men. It came eventually to be applied, in France, to every man who wears the dress of a secular ecclesiastic (Littré). This extension of meaning dates from the time of Francis I (1515–47), who, by consent of the Holy See, named secular clerics Abbots in commendam (See Abbot, under III. Kinds of Abbot). During the following centuries the name was applied to clerics, often not in sacred Orders, engaged as professors or tutors, or in some similar capacity in the houses of the nobility.

Abbeloos, Jean Baptiste, orientalist, b. 15 January, 1836, at Goyck, Belgium; d. 25 February, 1906. He was educated in the seminary of Malines, 1849–60. After his ordination to the priesthood, 22 September, 1860, he studied at Louvain and Rome, devoting himself especially to Syriac language and literature. He received the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Louvain, 15 July, 1867, spent the following winter in London, and on his return to Belgium was appointed Professor of Holy Scripture in the seminary of Malines. Failing health obliged him to abandon the work of teaching, and he became, in 1876, pastor at Duffel. He was appointed in 1883 vicar-general under Cardinal Dechamps and held that position until 10 February, 1887, when he was appointed Rector of the University of Louvain. During his administration the University grew rapidly in equipment and organization. Abbeloos, although in the midst of his official duties, was always the scholar and the man of high ideals, whose word and example stimulated younger men to earnest work. Modest and unassuming, he realized none the less the significance of his position as rector of a great Catholic university, and he exerted his influence in behalf of Church and country so effectually that his retirement in 1900 occasioned regret both in the University and in the whole kingdom. His published works are: "De vita et scriptis S. Jacobi Sarugensis" (Louvain, 1867); "Gregorii Barhebraei Chronicon Ecclesiasticum" (Paris and Louvain, 1872-77); "Acta Sancti Maris" (Brussels and Leipzig, 1885); "Acta Mar Kardaghi Martyris" (Brussels, 1900).

Colinet, in Le Muréon, VII. 159 (1906); Caeymaex, in Revue bibliographique Belge, 30 April, 1906.

Abbess, the female superior in spirituals and temporals of a community of twelve or more nuns. With a few necessary exceptions, the position of an Abbess in her convent corresponds generally with that of an Abbot in his monastery. The title was originally the distinctive appellation of Benedictine superiors, but in the course of time it came to be applied also to the conventual superiors in other orders, especially to those of the Second Order of St. Francis (Poor Clares) and to those of certain colleges of canonesses.

Historical Origin.—Monastic communities for women had sprung up in the East at a very early period. After their introduction into Europe, towards the close of the fourth century, they began to flourish also in the West, particularly in Gaul, where tradition ascribes the foundation of many religious houses to St. Martin of Tours. Cassian, the great organizer of monachism in Gaul, founded a famous convent at Marseilles, at the beginning of the fifth century, and from this convent, at a later period, St. Cæsarius (d. 542) called his sister Cæsaria, and placed her over a religious house which he was then founding at Arles. St. Benedict is also said to have founded a community of virgins consecrated to God, and to have placed it under the direction of his sister St. Scholastica, but whether or not the great Patriarch established a nunnery, it is certain that in a short time he was looked upon as a guide and father to the many convents already existing. His rule was almost universally adopted by them, and with it the title Abbess came into general use to designate the superior of a convent of nuns. Before this time the titles Mater Monasterii, Mater Monacharum, and Præposita were more common. The name Abbess appears for the first time in a sepulchral inscription of the year 514, found in 1901 on the site of an ancient convent of virgines sacre which stood in Rome near the Basilica of St. Agnes extra Muros. The inscription commemorates the Abbess Serena who presided over this convent up to the time of her death at the age of eighty-five years: "Hic requiescit in pace, Serena Abbatissa S. V. quae vixit annos P. M. LXXXV."

Mode of Election.—The office of an Abbess is elective, the choice being by the secret suffrages of the sisters. By the common law of the Church, all the nuns of a community, professed for the choir, and free from censures, are entitled to vote; but by particular law some constitutions extend the right of an active voice only to those who have been professed for a certain number of years. Lay sisters are excluded by the constitutions of most orders, but in communities where they have the right to vote their privilege is to be respected. In non-exempt monasteries the election is presided over by the ordinary of the diocese or his vicar; in exempt houses, under the immediate jurisdiction of the Holy See, the Bishop likewise presides, but only as the delegate of the Pope. In those under the jurisdiction of a regular prelate the nuns are obliged to inform the diocesan of the day and time of election, so that, if he wish, he or his representative may be present. The Bishop and the regular prelate preside jointly, but in no instance have they a vote, not even a casting vote. And the Council of Trent prescribes, further, that "he who presides at the election, whether it be the bishop or other superior, shall not enter the enclosure of the monastery, but shall listen to or receive the vote of each at the grille." (Cone. Trid., Sess. XXV, De regular, et monial., Cap. vii.) The voting must be strictly secret, and if secrecy be not observed (whether through ignorance of the law or not), the election is null and void. A simple majority of votes for one candidate is sufficient for a valid election, unless the constitutions of an order require more than the bare majority. The result is to be proclaimed at once, by announcing the number of votes cast for each nun, so that in case of a dispute an immediate opportunity may be afforded for