Michael Wadding (priest)

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Michael Wadding S.J. (1591–1644), also known as Miguel Godinez, was an Irish Jesuit priest and missionary to New Spain. A mystical theologian, he was born at Waterford, Kingdom of Ireland, in 1591, and died in Mexico, New Spain, where he had spent over 20 years as a missionary, on 12 or 18 December 1644.[a]


Wadding was the son of Marie Walsh and Thomas Wadding, Mayor of Waterford.[1] He had three brothers who also became Jesuits: Peter Wadding (c. 1581 - 1644), Thomas (aka Guadin, 1594-1615), and Luke (1593-1651).[2] In addition, at least two of his first cousins also became men of the cloth: Ambrose (1583-1619) a Jesuit[3] and Luke Wadding, the well-known Franciscan.[4] For two years he studied at the Irish seminary of Salamanca, where he took the name of Miguel Godinez, by which he is best known in Spanish sources. He entered the Society of Jesus on 15 April 1609.[5] After two years at the novitiate in Villagarcia, he pursued his theological studies and was ordained a priest, after which he obtained permission to go to the Jesuit missions of Mexico.[6]

Wadding was then assigned to serve in the Jesuit mission in Sinaloa, and in 1620 he worked among the Mayan people and the Tepehuán;[7] he also took charge of the Comicaris, and, at the cost of much labour, won over the Basiroas, whom he joined to Christian tribes. He related in his Teologia mistica (I, 3, VIII), as one who endured them himself, the privations and sufferings undergone by the missionaries. He made his profession of the Jesuit fourth vow on 26 August 1626. He taught for several years in various colleges in Mexico, including San Ildefonso and the Jesuit Colegio Máximo. In 1642 he became involved in the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico as a counselor and adviser.[8]

Wadding was distinguished by his profound knowledge of the supernatural states and by rare prudence in the direction of souls. He served as the confessor to two nuns in Puebla de los Ángeles, who are considered mystics, a Carmelite nun, Isabel de la Encarnación, and a Conceptionist nun, María de Jesús Tomelín, of the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception. He charged their secretaries with writing the lives of these spiritual women.[8] In his commentary on Wadding's writings, the Jesuit theologian Manuel La Reguera also ascribes to him a Life of Sister María de Jesús. Wadding certainly left notes on her life, but it does not seem that they were ever published.

Wadding's major work, Practica de la teología mistica, the fruit of long personal experience rather than of study, was published nearly 40 years after his death (1681), and went through 10 editions. Outside of Spanish, however, it is chiefly known by the voluminous commentary of Manuel La Reguera, S.J. (2 vols. in fol., Rome, 1740–45).

  • Godinez, S. J.: "Práctica de la teologia mystica" (La Puebla de los Angeles, 1681), which exists in a Latin edition together with a commentary by de la Reguera, S. J. (Rome, 1740).


  1. ^ The Jesuit historian, Alegre, remarks that, according to the archives of his ecclesiastical province, Wadding died on 18 December, and not the 12th, as is generally stated in agreement with Father La Reguera.


  1. ^ Redmond, Gabriel (1898). "Dr. French, Bishop of Ferns". Journal of the Waterford & South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society. IV: 243. hdl:2027/inu.30000116581194.
  2. ^ Hogan, Edmund (1898). "Worthies of Waterford and Tipperary". Journal of the Waterford & South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society. IV: 3–18. hdl:2027/inu.30000116581194.
  3. ^ O'Connor, Thomas (2016). Irish voices from the Spanish Inquisition: migrants, converts and brokers in early modern Iberia. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 99. ISBN 978-1137465894.
  4. ^ Zambrano, Francisco (1967). Diccionario Bio-Bibliographico de la Compañía de Jesús en Mexico. Editorial Jus. pp. Tomo VII, p. 199.
  5. ^ Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús. Rome: Institutum Historicum. 2001. pp. v.2, p.1762–1763. ISBN 8484680363.
  6. ^ Burrus, E.J. (1954). "Michael Wadding: Mystic and Missionary (1586-1644)". The Month. 11: 339–353.
  7. ^ Dunne, Peter Masten (1940). Pioneer Black Robes on the West Coast. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
  8. ^ a b Murray, Edmundo (March 2007). "Godínez, Miguel (formerly Michael Wadding) (1591-1644), Jesuit missionary to New Spain". Irish Migration Studies in Latin America. 5 (1): 81.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Michael Wadding". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.