History of the Colony of Avalon

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Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726

1 January, 1631; [Brother] Simon Stock
Letter to Propaganda Fide

Archives propaganda Fide, SOCG, vol. 100, 263rv, 266rv, B:f.266r.

Published in Luca Codignola, ed., The Coldest Harbour of the Land: Simon Stock and Lord Baltimore's Colony in Newfoundland, 1621-1649, translated by Anita Weston (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, ©1988) 121-122. Revised by P.E. Pope.

Subjects: religion, Catholic Church, planters, women, weather.


My Most Eminent and Reverend Honoured Lords,

I only received Your Most Eminent Worships' letters of 22 June in late December. And as for matters in Avalon, two fathers of the Society went thither around Easter of the year 1629 and returned here before the following feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. They brought with them to England nearly all the Catholics who were there, leaving behind some thirty heretics and two or three Catholic women, with no priest or minister. They say that the winter before their arrival there was extremely cold and the earth sterile. I have spoken with the principal gentleman of that place, and he is sorry to be back and says that it is his intention to return thither once more, and that the fathers of the Society have a mission or a special commission for those places in America.

Since this part of the world is now for the most part at peace, and the English, French and Scots have colonies in those parts of America, if it would please His Holiness to establish in that part of America a colony of Italians, with a bishop and humble religious accustomed to withstanding hardship and privation to plant the Holy Faith in that part of the world, which is as big as Europe and near and opposite Europe and in no part converted, this would be a deed of great honour to the Holy Church, and in time very useful, and it is the most expedient way of converting them.

The decree of the Sacred Congregation concerning Monsignor the Bishop of Chalcedon has not been published. Therefore I am unable to write what effect it has had. But when it is published, I shall not fail to give the report you ask for. Both parties write books the one against the other, which is painful and piteous to see. And how grieved are the poor Catholics of this kingdom, and all those with which I have spoken say: If it should please His Holiness to settle the difference, they would be ready to obey his commands, since they truly hold the Holy Apostolic See in great veneration. And lastly I kiss the garments of Your Most Illustrious Worships and most humbly beg your holy benedictions, praying Our Lord that [illegible].

London, 1 January 1631.
Your Most Eminent Worships' most humble servant,
fra Simone Stocco

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