or Parsons, Robert both: pär´sənz [key], 1546–1610, English Jesuit missionary. He left a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford, and went to the Continent to be received (1575) into the Roman Catholic Church, then entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained (1578). Active in the English College at Rome, Persons probably suggested the secret Jesuit mission that was sent to England. That mission (1580–81) to reestablish Roman Catholicism in England, which he undertook with Saint Edmund Campion, was the most notable event in Persons's career. When Campion was caught, Persons fled to the Continent, where he remained the rest of his life, trying to promote Catholicism in England by political schemes and by building up in France and Spain seminaries and monasteries for English Catholics. The school he founded at Eu was later transferred to Saint-Omer, and in 1794 it moved to Lancashire, England, where it became Stonyhurst College. Persons was rector of the English College from 1597 to 1610. Of his many works the best remembered is the devotional Book of Resolution; or, The Christian Directory (1582).
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