Church historian Pat McNamara writes about how the Jesuits at St. John’s College (later Fordham University) befriended Edgar Allen Poe in the last years of his life. The poet, grief-stricken and depressed after the death of his wife, found companionship with the Jesuits.
One of them remembered Poe as a “familiar figure at the college . . . It seemed to soothe his mind to wander at will about the lawn and the beautiful grounds back of the college buildings.” Another wrote: “It was one of Poe’s greatest gifts that he could make friends wherever he went. To know him was to love him… It was a pleasure to see him and still more to listen to him.”
For his part, Poe liked the company of Jesuits. He told a friend they were “highly cultivated gentlemen and scholars, they smoked and they drank and they played cards, and they never said a word about religion.”