The Manor House of St. Thomas Manor witnessed the rebirth of the Jesuits
and has been conspicuous in the history of the Province. Here, for over
170 years, lived the Superiors of the Jesuits, acting as Vicar General
for the Vicar Apostolic of the London district in England.
Built in 1741 as the residence for the Superior of the Maryland Mission,
it was the center of the mission circuit of St. Thomas the Apostle, which
served all of Charles County, part of Prince Georges County, and
part of Virginia. Letters in Rome show that in 1741, some complained that
"The Jesuits at St. Thomas Manor are raising a palace unbecoming
a religious order."
The Jesuit Province of Maryland was established here in 1833 and St.
Thomas Manor was the home of Fr. William McSherry, S.J., the first Provincial
Many of the earliest Catholic missionaries met here on business, including
John Carroll, the first Bishop of the United States. His successor, Archbishop
Leonard Neale, lived in the neighborhood, and his brother, Francis Neale
was pastor at St. Ignatius. Fr. Francis Neale brought the first Carmelite
Nuns to America and settled them in this parish.
The ceilings of the Manor House are 12-1/2 feet high. All the interiors
date from 1867-68. The fancy plaster work was done by Jesuit Brothers
about 1875. The grandfather clock is more than 180 years old. In the rebuilding
after the fire, some modifications were made; otherwise, the structure
is as it was originally built. The Manor House itself is the oldest Jesuit
residence in continuous use in the world.