Owen Lewis (bishop)
Owen Lewis, also known as Lewis Owen (Italian: Ludovico Audoeno, Latin: Audoenus Ludovisi) (1532–1594) was a Welsh Roman Catholic priest, jurist, administrator and diplomat, who became bishop of Cassano.
Born on 28 December 1532 in the hamlet of Bodeon, Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, he was the son of a freeholder. He became a scholar of Winchester College in 1547, and a perpetual fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1554; and was admitted to the degree of B.C.L. 21 February 1558–9. Opposed to Protestantism, he left the university about 1561 and went to the University of Douai, where he completed degrees in both law and divinity, and was appointed regius professor of law. He was also made a canon of Cambrai Cathedral, official of the chapter, and archdeacon of Hainault.
A lawsuit of the chapter of Cambrai involved occasioned Lewis's going to Rome. Both Pope Sixtus V and Pope Gregory XIII made him referendary of both signatures, and secretary to the several congregations and consultations concerning the clergy and regulars.
With William Allen, Lewis helped set up the English College, Douai and English College, Rome. In 1578, Lewis had Morys Clynnog brought in as warden to the college in Rome. Nationalist feelings, however, came to the fore, and the English students agitated for a Jesuit to be put in charge. This incident has been identified as the beginning of the "Jesuit and secular" divide in the English mission.
Lewis was an administrator in Milan from 1580 to 1584. Charles Borromeo, as archbishop of Milan, brought in outsiders; he appointed Lewis one of the vicars-general of his diocese, at the same time taking him into his family. Borromeo died in Lewis's arms. Gruffydd Robert assisted Lewis in his work.
By the joint consent of Sixtus V and Philip II of Spain, Lewis was promoted to the bishopric of Cassano, in the Kingdom of Naples, and was consecrated at Rome 3 February (N.S.) 1588. At the time of the Spanish Armada there was support for him to be made archbishop of York in the event of the enterprise succeeding, but Allen disapproved of the idea; the proposal became for other bishoprics. Lewis continued to reside at Rome, and the pope appointed him one of the apostolic visitors of that city; and sent him as nuncio to Switzerland.
He died at Rome on 14 October (N.S.) 1594, and was buried in the chapel of the English College, where a monument was erected to his memory, with a Latin epitaph. Lewis's old schoolfellow Thomas Stapleton dedicated to him his Promptuarium Catholicum, Paris, 1595.
- Cooper 1892.
- Jones 2007.
- Brendan Bradshaw, Peter Roberts, British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707 (2003), pp. 21–2; Google Books.
- Wietse de Boer, The Conquest of the Soul: confession, discipline, and public order in Counter-Reformation Milan (2001), p. xiii; Google Books.
- Paul Burns, Butler's Lives of the Saints: February (1998), p. 207; Google Books.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cooper, Thompson (1893). "Lewis, Owen". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 33. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Jones, Emyr Gwynne (2008). "LEWIS, OWEN, or OWEN, LEWIS (1533-1595)". Welsh Biography Online. Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.