Thomas Grant (bishop)
|Bishop of Southwark|
|Appointed||27 June 1851|
|Installed||6 July 1851|
|Term ended||1 June 1870|
|Ordination||28 November 1841|
6 July 1851|
by Giacomo Filippo Fransoni
25 November 1816|
1 June 1870 53) (aged|
Thomas Grant (1816–1870) was a Catholic bishop.
Born at Ligny-les-Aires, Arras, France, on 25 November 1816, the son of Bernard Grant, an Irishman who enlisted in the British army, became sergeant, and finally purchased a commission. His mother, Ann MacGowan, was also Irish by birth. In January 1829 he was sent to Ushaw College, where he studied until 1836, when he went to the English College at Rome. There he was ordained priest on 28 November 1841, was created doctor of divinity and appointed as secretary to Cardinal Acton, a position in which he acquired a knowledge of canon law, and acquaintance with the method of conducting ecclesiastical affairs at Rome.
In October 1844, at the early age of twenty-eight, he became rector of the English College, Rome, and was made agent for the English bishops. In this capacity he assisted William Bernard Ullathorne, who was then negotiating for the restoration of the English hierarchy. He also translated for Propaganda all English documents relating to the matter, and furnished the materials for the historical preface to the Decree of 1850. A year later, he was appointed to the new Diocese of Southwark, and was consecrated bishop on 6 July 1851. Though he came to England almost as a stranger, he soon won the confidence of Catholics and others. As the Government was shy of transacting business directly with Cardinal Wiseman, many negotiations were carried on by Dr. Grant, who was specially successful in obtaining from the Government the appointment of military and naval chaplains, as well as prison chaplains.
To the newly appointed hierarchy he was, as Bishop Ullathorne testified, most useful: "His acuteness of learning, readiness of resource and knowledge of the forms of ecclesiastical business made him invaluable to our joint counsels at home, whether in synods or in our yearly episcopal meetings; and his obligingness, his untiring spirit of work, and the expedition and accuracy with which he struck off documents in Latin, Italian, or English, naturally brought the greater part of such work on his shoulders." In the administration of his diocese he proved equal to the task of organization, which was necessary in an age of rapid expansion, while the remarkable sanctity of his private life led to his being generally regarded as a saint, and caused Pius IX, when he learned of his death, to exclaim "Another saint in heaven!" The virtues of charity and humility in particular were practised by him in an heroic degree.
The last years of his life were spent in great suffering, caused by cancer, and when he set out to attend the First Vatican Council at Rome in 1870, he knew that he would not return. He was appointed member of the Congregation for the Oriental Rites and the Apostolic Missions, but was too ill to take an active part in the proceedings. He died in Rome on 1 June 1870. After death his body was brought back to England for burial.