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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/701

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BOLLANDISTS


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BOLLANDISTS


libraries; in loans and gifts of books, of manuscripts, and of copies of manuscripts; and in pecuniary assist- ance. Rosweyde quite counted on completing by his own efforts the monument of wliich he had dreamed, and on bringing it to a worthy end. As a matter of fact, he did not get beyond the first stages of the structure. His literary activity was expended on a multitude of historical works, both religious and polemical, some of which, it is true, would have later formed a part of the great hagiographical compila- tion. The majority, however, bear no relation what- ever to the work. The writings which would have been available are: the edition of the Little Roman Martyrology, in which Rosweyde believed he recog- nized the collection mentioned by St. Gregory the Great in his letter to Eulogius of Alexandria; the edi- tion of the martyrologj' of Ado of Vienne (1613); the ten books of the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert, which he first published in Latin (1615 in fol.), dedicating the work to the Abbot of Liessies, and later in Flemish (1617 in fol.), with an inscription to Jeanne de BailUencourt, Abbess of Messines. The rest, however, as for instance the Flemish edition of Ribadeneira's "Flowers of the Saints" (1619, two folio volumes), the "General History of the Church" (1623), to which he added as an appendix the de- tailed history of the Church in the Netherlands, both in Flemish; the Flemish lives of St. Ignatius and St. Philip Neri; the Flemish translation of the first part of the "Treatise on Perfection", drew his attention completely from what he should have regarded as his principal task. It is due to him, however, to say that for several years his superiors, -without ceas- . ing to encourage him in the pursuit of his project, were forced through the necessity of filling vacant offices, to lay upon him duties which did not leave him the absolutely indispensable leisure. He set this forth clearly himself in the memorandum ad- dressed to them in 1611, in response to their inquiry as to how he was progressing with the preparation of his volumes. But it is not less true that nearly all his publications, the most important of which have been mentioned above, are of a later date than this, and undoubtedly Rosweyde himself was chiefly to blame for the delay, which, however, may be called a fortunate one, since it resulted in advantageotis modifications of the plan of the work. At the time of Rosweyde's death, then, which took place in .Antwerp in 1629, not a page was ready for the printer. Moreover, the superiors of the order, on their part, hesitated to have the work carried on by another. For more than twenty years, however, Rosweyde had been extremely active; he had secured access to a quantity of manuscripts and had enlisted the co-uperation of many learned men who had mani- fested the keenest interest in his undertaking; thanks to their assistance, he had collected many manu- scripts and books relating to the lives of the saints; in a word, he had aroused an eager interest in his compilation, so great and so universal that it was necessary to satisfy it.

Father John van Holland (b. at Julemont, in Lim- burg, 1596; d. at Antwerp, 12 September, 1665) was at this time prefect of studies in the college of Mechlin, and had charge of a congregation composed of the principal people of the city. It was called the "Latin Congregation", because all the exercises, ser- mons included, were conducted in that language. His family either took their name from, or gave it to, the village of Bolland, near Julemont. Before making his theological studies he had taught belles- lettres with distinction in the three higher classes of the humanities at Ruremonde, Mechlin, Brussels, and Antwerp. The superior of the Belgian province of the Society of Jesus bade him examine the papers left by Rosweyde, and report to him his opinion as to what it was advisable to do with them. Bolland


John van Bolland, S. J.


went to Antwerp, familiarized himself with the man- uscripts, and, while admitting that the work was- still merely a rough and faulty draft, gave reasons for believing that without an undue expenditure of labour it miglit be brought to a successful comple- tion. He even showed himself disposed to take charge of the work, but only under two con- ditioiLs: first, that he should be left free to modify the plan of Ros- weyde as he un- derstood it; sec- ond, that the copies, notes, and books which had been collected by Rosweyde should be remo\- ed from the li- brarj' of the Pro- fessed House, where they were inters persed among the books in common use, and set apart in a place of their own for the ex- clusive use of the new director of the undertaking. The provincial,

Jacques van Straten, accepted with alacrity both offer and conditions. Bolland was removed from the college of Mechlin and attached to the Pro- fessed House at Antwerp, to be director of the Latin Congregation and confessor in the church, and with the charge of preparing, in his leisure hours {horis siibsecivis) the Acta Sanctorum for pub- lication. Happily, he had not the least idea, any more than had the provincial, of all the undertaking involved. He fancied that he could finish it by his. o^\Ti unaided efforts, and that after the completion of the work proper and the preparation of historical, chronological, geographical, and other tables, as an- noimced by Rosweyde, he could complete the pub- lication by adding to it a comprehensive collection of notices of holy persons who flourished in the Church subsequent to the fifteenth century, but have not been honoured with a public cult. "And after all that is done", he wrote in his general preface, at the beginning of the first volume of January, "if I still have any time to live, I shall lend a charm to the leisure hours of my old age by gathering the ascetical doctrine foimd in the teachings of the saints recorded in this work." And nevertheless, he began by outlining a plan of quite another vpstness from that of Rosweyde, whose programme had already appalled Bellarmine. Rosweyde had confined his quest of original texts to the libraries of Belgium and the neighbouring regions. He had not gone be- yond Paris to the south, or Cologne and Trier to the east. Bolland made appeal to collaborators, either Jesuits or others, residing in all the different countries of Europe. Then Rosweyde had proposed to publish at first only the original texts, without commentaries or annotations, relegating to the last volumes the studies intended to enable one to ap- preciate their value and to throw light on their dif- ficulties. Bolland recognized at once how defective this plan was. So he decided to give in connexion with each saint and his cult aU the information he had been able to find, from whatever sources; to preface each text \xith a preliminary study destined