RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/47
TitleFr Francis Devas SJ (1877-1951)
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionLetters from, to, and about Fr Devas, sermons, poetry by Fr Devas and collected by him, photographs, diaries, and material about his time as a military chaplain 1916-1918.
Admin_HistoryFrancis Devas was born 3rd April 1877 in London, the second of nine children of Charles Stanton Devas, a convert. Two of his brothers became priests, and one sister became a nun. In 1888 Fr Devas went to Beaumont, in 1893 to Feldkirch for a year, and then to the French Jesuit College at Evreux. He entered the noviciate on 7th September 1895 under Fr Daniel Considine SJ with whom he became friends, and it was there he also met Fr William McMahon SJ, later writing biographies of them both.

He spent one year as a Junior at Manresa, and then two years at St Mary's Hall. The next year he spent partly at Wimbledon and partly at Mount St Mary's, followed by one year at Jersey and then some time at Stamford Hill before studying theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, aged 26. Fr Devas had severe doubts about his vocation while at Wimbledon, but overcame them. He then taught at Stonyhurst for a year, where he was loved by the boys, but unable to keep them in order, and subsequently made his tertianship at Tronchiennes. He returned to Manresa because of his health, and was ordained on 1st August 1909, finally secure in his vocation. He taught at Beaumont and St John's for three years before joining the Church staff at St Wilfrid's, Preston in 1912 (he had taken his final vows on 2nd February 1910).

He became a Chaplain in the First World War with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1915, and stayed with them until 1918, including at Gallipoli. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and later the Order of the British Empire.

After the war he was sent to Accrington and then helped at a Retreat-House at Stamford Hill. In 1923 he was appointed to Farm Street where he was involved with many different societies, and where he was well-known for his preaching. From 1932 until 1951 his sermons were taken down by short-hand writers wherever he preached.

He wrote a life of Mother Mary Magdalen Taylor founder of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, but his other biographies remained unpublished. Throughout his life he wrote poetry, some published in Catholic magazines and in 1935 'Our Ladye of Walsingham', a collection of poetry, was published.

At the end of June 1951 he suffered a slight stoke and was taken to St Antony's Hospital, Cheam, where he died on the 9th July. His brother, Fr Dominic Devas OFM celebrated his Requiem at Farm Street.
Related MaterialP. Gallwey 'Salvage from the Wreck' a discourse preached at the funeral of Eliza Devas (mother) pp.341-366

For another copy of Fr Francis Devas SJ Appreciations (reprint from Farm Street Calendar), see ALBSI/P/466

For the original published version of of 'Our Ladye of Walsingham' see ALBSI/P/467

Copy of the genealogy showing descent from Margaret Pole (46/17/5/3)

August 1928 letter from Fr Devas to the Rector of Beaumont sending a photo of his brother Bertrand Ward Devas (photo not included) (PF/5).

For photographs see SJ/PH/318.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
PublnNote'The Law of Love - the Spiritual teaching of F. Devas' edited with an introduction by P. Caraman, New York 1954.

'Love of self and love of God' (identical to 'What Law and Letter Kill'), St Paul Publication, London.

'Mother Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Heart (Fanny Margaret Taylor), foundress of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God 1832-1900'.

'What Law and Letter Kill - the spiritual teaching of F Devas' edited with an introduction by P. Caraman, London 1953.

'The history of St Stanislaus' College Beaumont-a record of fifty years, 1861-1911' with C Lattey, Beaumont Review Old Windsor 1911.
DS/UK/77Devas; Francis Charles (1877-1951); Jesuit Priest1877-1951

    Showcase items

    A list of our latest and most exciting new items.

    Copyright ©