Finding Aid Date
MS Ashe MJ
All physical materials associated with the New England Province Archive are currently held by the Jesuit Archives in St. Louis, MO. Any inquiries about these materials should be directed to Jesuit Archives. Electronic versions of some items and the descriptions and finding aids to the Archives, which are hosted in CrossWorks, are provided only as a courtesy.
Matthew J. Ashe, the son of Matthew D. Ashe and Margaret Fitzgerald Ashe, was born in Springfield, MA, on December 22, 2011. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1929. He entered the Society of Jesus at Shadowbrook, Lenox, MA, after graduating from Holy Cross College in 1933. He pursued his further studies for the priesthood at Weston College in Weston where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1943.
Father Ashe was a teacher at Holy Cross College from 1938 to 1940. After his final year of studies as a Jesuit in Pomfret, Connecticut, he was sent as a missionary to Jamaica in the West Indies where he spent the next thirty eight years of his life. The first fourteen years of his missionary life in Jamaica he worked among the very poor, first at St. Ann’s parish in Kingston and then at St. Joseph’s parish in Spanish Town. While in Spanish Town Father Ashe served as chaplain to the leprosarium and also to the prison, in addition to his many other tasks as pastor of the church and administrator of a large grammar school.
In December of 1959 Father Ashe was sent to Kingston and became one of the founding fathers of Campion College, a secondary school for boys. He was a close friend and confidant of the first headmaster of the school, Samuel Emmanuel Carter, S.J., who became the Archbishop of the Diocese of Kingston, Jamaica. Together they laid a solid foundation for a school which is now co-ed. Father Ashe remained at the school until 1983 and built a reputation as a fine teacher and good friend of his many students.
In 1984 he returned to the United States and to Campion Center because of failing health. He died June 17, 1990 at the age of 78 and is buried in the Jesuit Cemetery at Campion Center, Weston, MA.
The collection consists of 1-5” document box of papers and 1 folder of photographs. The papers, dated from 1954-1987, consist of correspondence, homilies, and a unpublished memoir titled: “I Cared to Go to Jamaica.” There are a few personal photographs.
New England Jesuit Province Archives; New England Province of the Society of Jesus; and Ashe, Matthew J. SJ, "Matthew J. Ashe, SJ Papers" (2015). Finding Aids, Special Collections. 16.