Jesuit history on the Liffey

June 20, 2022 in Featured News, News

The stages of an individual Jesuit life, in the Society in Italy in the century 1540-1640, featured among the several hundred presentations at the Renaissance Society of America convention recently. It was held in Dublin’s Convention Centre, from Monday 28 March to Saturday 2 April 2022.

Calling on the personal stories of individual men, Camilla Russell spoke about what it was like to join the Society, how men were selected for the mission in Asia, and the experience of dying and (for some) of leaving the Society.

There were about twenty other Jesuit-themed presentations in the four-day-long event, which attracted just under 2000 researchers on early modern history. These came from across USA and Europe. In the atmospheric surroundings of Marsh’s Library, Jan Graffius, of Stonyhurst College Archives, spoke about 4 books that shaped the early modern Jesuit landscape, including one from 1633 on garden symbols for prayer, to help sodalities and prayer groups.

On the fringe of the convention, about thirty friends and colleagues gathered for the book launch of Being a Jesuit in Renaissance Italy: biographical writing in the early global age (Harvard, 2022), by Camilla Russell. (See photo: Brian Mac Cuarta SJ, Jan Graffius, and Damien Burke)

Camilla is publications editor at Jesuit Archives, Rome. Brian Mac Cuarta SJ, former director, Jesuit Archives, spoke at the event. Said Brian: “The text is replete with various insights on a Jesuit life – including the impact of the poverty of a man’s family, a gendered reading of obedience and mission, the discussion between individual and designated leaders in arriving at a man’s assignment, and the how the individual was central in a Jesuit vocation and mission … Lucid, engaging and accessible, the book succeeds in elucidating how these men understood their lives and service. It serves as a model in drawing on archival series to contextualize the procedures used in integrating individual men within the Society’s goals.”