Father Andrew White (1579-1656)
Father Andrew White was a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Society of Jesus. Priests from the Society of Jesus are also called Jesuits. The Jesuits are Catholic priests who devote their lives to learning and science. They also help people as ministers and as priests. Many Jesuits travel to other countries on special missions for the Catholic Church.
Father White was born in England and went to school at colleges in England, Spain and France. After he became a Jesuit priest, he taught students at two universities in France. But Father White liked adventures, and wanted to see the world.
Catholic priests were not allowed to live or work in England at that time. Father White secretly came to England many times to visit his Catholic friends. Finally, he got a job working for Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. Cecil Calvert needed Father White's help to find Catholic families to settle in his new colony, Maryland. Father White wanted the Jesuits to establish a Catholic mission in the Maryland colony. He thought that the Jesuits could convert the Native Americans to the Catholic faith.
In November 1633, he and his fellow priests and nine servants prepared for a long voyage. They met the ship Ark at the Isle of Wight, just before it sailed for the New World. Father White kept a journal of this voyage called, Voyage into Maryland, to Cecil Calvert in England and to the Society of Jesus. It is a very important book about Maryland's early history.
This journal describes what life was like for the colonists on their voyage and during the first months of their settlement. It was a difficult journey that took four months. In the middle of their voyage, the passengers and crew were afraid because of a terrible storm. They thought their ship might capsize.
Father White wrote in his journal that he was afriad. He prayed to God for help. Fortunately, the storm's winds blew the Ark towards the south and the British colony on Barbados, which is in the Caribbean Sea. The settlers rested at the English colony on Barbados. They repaired the Ark, and once again set sail for the coast of North America.
First, they landed in Virginia. They picked up more supplies and experienced guides, like Captain Henry Fleet. Finally, on March 25, 1664, all the passengers aboard the Ark landed on shore near the mouth of the St. Mary's River.
Father White celebrated the first Catholic mass in Maryland to thank God for their safe landing. They made a treaty with the Yaocomico Indians for land at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. There they stayed, and built a new town called St. Mary's City.
Father White worked very hard to learn the Native American languages of the Piscataway Indian people from Southern Maryland. He wrote down a dictionary of Indian words. He translated Catholic prayers into the Indian language. In 1639 Father White met the Tayac, or head chieftain, of the Piscataway Indians. The tayac's name was Kittamaquund.
Kittamaquund said he believed in the Catholic religion. Father White baptised Kittamaquund and his family. Father White also wanted to trade with the Indians for food and valuable beaver furs. He provided a boat in 1641 for Mathias de Souza, to use when he traded with the Indians.
Father White's mission to Maryland ended in 1645 when Richard Ingle and his fellow Protestants raided St. Mary's. Ingle's men captured the Catholic priests and leaders of the Maryland colony. Ingle brought Father White and other Catholic leaders back to England.
The English government kept Father White in jail until January 1648. Finally Father White went on trial before the English Court. The Court decided Father White had not done anything wrong, so they set him free. Fahter White went back to Europe to help the Society of Jesus. He died in England in December 1656.
LINKED DOCUMENTS OR IMAGES:
© 2024 Maryland Public Television. All Rights Reserved.