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|Richard Blount, S.J.|
Richard Blount, S.J. (1565–1638) was an English priest and the first Jesuit Provincial of England after the Elizabethan Laws were passed.
Richard was born into the Leicestershire branch of the Blount Family in 1565. He attended school at Balliol College, Oxford. Afterward he went to Trinity for his university studies, but left shortly after arriving having converted to Catholicism. He travelled to the English College run by English priests of the Roman Catholic Order of the Society of Jesus at Douai in the Spanish Netherlands, arriving on 22 July 1583. The college was temporarily in Rheims due to ongoing conflict in Douai. In 1584 he continued on to the English College, Rome.
After five years at the English College in Rome, Blount was ordained a priest in 1589. He worked with Father Robert Parsons, S.J. to smuggle himself back into England in 1591 posing as returning sailor prisoners-of-war from the failed expedition against Spain by the Earl of Essex. He was taken before the Lord High Admiral Howard of Effingham to present his story. His knowledge of the events and of seamanship were good enough for him to pass and be allowed back into England.
He worked as a priest from hiding in Scotney Castle.
English Jesuit Provincial
In 1617, Blount was selected as Superior of the English mission of the Society. As Superior he took on the yoke of leadership of the English Jesuits. At the time there were approximately 200 Jesuits, 109 of which were in hiding in England.
In 1619, the Pope made England a trial province. Identification as a province indicated that the area covered had stability and permanence. Blount was appointed to the highest leadership position in a trial province, Vice-Provincial. Blount's task as Vice-Provincial was to organize the province for further validation at the next meeting of the Society of Jesus leadership. Blount organized five fictional colleges in London, Lancashire, Suffolk, Leicestershire and Wales.
His work was recognized by the Order leadership and England was made a full Province of the Society with Blount as the first Provincial superior. Blount was the Provincial of the English Province of the Society of Jesus until 11 August 1635, when he was succeeded by Henry More, S.J.
Death and afterward
Richard Blount, S.J. died in London, on 13 May 1638. He was given a requiem in the private chapel of Henrietta Maria, Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland, and a devout Catholic from France.
Consultation entitled "Objections answered touching Maryland", drafted by Father R Blount, S.J., in 1632 (B. Johnston, "Foundation of Maryland", etc., 1883, 29)
- Francis Edwards, S.J., The Jesuits in England: From 1580 to the present day (Great Britain : Burns & Oates, 1985).
- Smith, George, Dictionary of National Biography (London : Oxford University Press, 1922)714-715.