RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/89
TitleFr Luke Bellanti SJ (1882-1955)
DescriptionThis small collection contains Fr Bellanti's 1941 identity card, a pass obtained from the War Department, and a letter received from Fr St Lawrence SJ.
Admin_HistoryLuke Eli Bellanti was born on 18 October 1882 in Sliema, Malta, and educated there at the College of St. Ignatius, entering the noviceship at Roehampton, while still in his sixteenth year, on 2 September 1899.

After taking his first vows, he did two years Juniorate, followed by two years Philosophy at St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst , at the end of which, in 1905, he went to the College to teach owing to a breakdown in health. Whilst there Bellanti was part of a special class of three which studied Hebrew with the idea of specialising in that language and if possible taking a London Degree with Hebrew as one of the subjects.
In 1906 Bellanti was sent to Campion Hall, Oxford, but after a short time had to abandon his studied there owing to a tired head. He then taught at Stamford Hill 1906-1908 and at Stonyhurst 1908-1912, having meanwhile graduated B.A. at London University. In 1912 he returned to St Mary's Hall to complete his third year of philosophy, but at Christmas was obliged to give up studies and again taught at Stonyhurst. In 1913 he began his Theology at St Beuno's, where he was ordained priest on September 24, 1916. Towards the end of January 1917, his health not being good, he went to supply at Leeds, but later in the same year, with a small group of Fathers, he went in March to France as Military Chaplain.

For Bellanti's recurring acts of bravery - crawling into no-man's land between the trenches to minister to the dying - he was recommended for the Victoria Cross but was awarded instead with the Military Cross.

After being transferred to Italy in February 1918 Bellanti suffered a severe attack of jaundice. He returned to England, after four months in an Italian Hospital, in June 1918, but bronchial pneumonia developed and he was twice anointed. After a long convalescence he was sent to Southend on home service and was able later to return to France until he was demobilised in March 1919. The rest of that scholastic year was spent at St Beuno's preparing his points. In September he went to Tullabeg for his Tertianship and unhappily, soon after the Long Retreat, again his health broke down and he returned to the teaching staff at Stonyhurst for the next few months.

In September 1920 Bellanti was appointed Prefect of Studies at Stonyhurst.

When Bellanti left Stonyhurst he went as Min. Dom. to St Aloysius' Oxford, where he remained for two years. In 1935 the Bishop of Portsmouth asked for a College of the Society in his Diocese and Fr Bellanti was chosen to see what could be done. He spent some months at Boscombe and Bournemouth making enquiries and once a suitable house and grounds were found he started St Peter's School, Southbourne, on September 29, 1936, with 36 boys and 8 boarders, Fr Bellanti himself being Headmaster and Prefect of Studies under the Superior, Fr W. Ross, at Bournemouth.

The school became well known in the district and after three years Fr Bellanti was transferred to Worcester, and subsequently in January 1941 to Loyola Hall, Rainhill, to help with the Retreats during the Second World War. At the end of 1941 he went to fill a gap as master at Corby Hall School, Sunderland, and in 1942 passed to St Wilfrid's Preston, as Minister, where he led monthly religious discussion meetings of all the clergy, Catholic and non-Catholic, in the town.

In 1945 Fr Bellanti went on to be the first resident Chaplain to the Catholic students at Manchester University. During this role he spent the long vacations in apostolic work, Retreats, Triduums and Supplies, and was very much in demand, especially by the Secular Clergy.

In 1953 Fr Bellanti came to Mount Street to edit the Supplementary Obituary Notices of Our Dead for 'Letter and Notices'. In spite of constant ill health and countless difficulties, he was able to publish Parts IV and V of a new volume of 'Our Dead', and to start Part VI.

In mid-November, 1954, his health again faltered and he had to go into the Hospital of SS. John and Elizabeth on 14 December 1954. After about six weeks there he returned to Mount Street but had to be taken into hospital again on 25 February 1955, this time at St Anthony's, North Cheam, where he died on March 4th.
Related MaterialArchives:
For a typescript of a memoir of Fr Francis Devas SJ and correspondence relating to it see: ABSI/SJ/47/15/2
For two black and white photographs of Fr Bellanti see: ABSI/SJ/PH/55
For a letter by Bellanti regarding the end of D'Arcy's Provincialate see: ABSI/SJ/21/6/2
For notes of renovation given by Fr Bellanti in 1938 at New Hall see: ABSI/DC/NHA/R/109
For Fr Bellanti's renovation of vows in 1938 at New Hall see: ABSI/DC/NHA/R/107
For notes by Bellanti in 1938 at New Hall on renovation see: ABSI/DC/NHA/S/14

For his obituary see Letters and Notices vol. 61, pages 262-268
FormatPrinted document
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
DS/UK/159Bellanti; Luke Eli (1882-1955); Jesuit Priest1882-1955

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