Jesuit Survival and Restoration
200th Anniversary Perspectives from Boston and Macau
1. Robert A. Maryks (Boston College)
Jesuit Survival and Restoration: A Historical Context
Even if many (especially Jesuit) historians before David Friedrich Strauss and Leopold von Ranke established modern historical methods did not pay sufficient attention to the historical context and the critical examination of sources, the fate of the Society of Jesus between the suppression of the order in 1773 and its general restoration in 1814 and its development through the nineteenth century was intertwined with the political events in Europe and beyond, as this paper attempts to show.
2. Thomas Worcester, S.J. (College of the Holy Cross, Worcester)
Jesuits post-1814: A Restored Society of Jesus or a New Society of Jesus?
Diligent visitors to many European cities will notice both what had been a Jesuit church up to the eighteenth century and a Jesuit church built in the nineteenth century. Such a juxtaposition points to the topic of this paper, one that looks at the question of continuity and discontinuity between the Jesuits as they existed before their suppression by Clement XIV in 1773, and the Jesuits after their restoration by Pius VII in 1814. I approach this enormous topic by identifying some of the specific questions to ask and the kinds of sources to use in order to reach even tentative conclusions. The likelihood of different answers for different parts of the world will also be considered.
3. Robert Danieluk, S.J. (Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome)
Some Remarks on Jesuit Historiography 1773-1814
This paper is dedicated to the historiography of the Society of Jesus from the order’s suppression in 1773 through its universal restoration in 1814. Its goal is to examine what has already been done, what is being done, and what ought to be done for this chapter of Jesuit history. The first part reviews the existing historiography, focusing mostly on the initiatives of the Society’s members. The second part explores the biggest change in this historiography, which in the second half of the past century completely reshaped the entire historiographical panorama of scholarship about the Society. The third part raises pertinent questions that deserve the attention of scholars interested in this subject, as well as the complex issue of continuity and discontinuity in the order’s history, including its possible implications.
4. Peter Bernardi, S.J. (Loyola University Chicago)
The Modernist Crisis and the Society of Jesus: The Back Story of the Centennial Celebration of the Restoration Order
The bicentennial commemoration of the restoration of the Society of Jesus is an appropriate occasion for giving scholarly attention to the distressing circumstances that marked the centennial anniversary. In the context of the Modernist crisis, in the last years of the pontificate of Pius X, various persons and works of the Society, including Father General Francis Xavier Wernz, were subject to shrill attacks by the integrist press. The pope's congratulatory letter to Fr. Wernz to mark the centennial anniversary included an exhortation to avoid "spiritum mundi, animi levitatem, studium temerariae novitatis." This was not just a pro forma admonition. In 1928, Cardinal Gasparri testified that Pius X was not entirely sure of the Society's orthodoxy and considered the Jesuits "a bit tainted by modernism and said so in private." Roger Aubert has written that the pope seems to have been on the verge of replacing Wernz with a Jesuit "closely identified with integrist circles." My presentation will consider the discontent with Wernz and the Society and highlight an archival discovery of what seems to have been Wernz's last letter to the pope in which he defended the Society against the integrist attacks.
5. Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski (University College London)
Before and After Suppression: Jesuits and Former Jesuits in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1763-1795
In the decade before suppression, the Society of Jesus was expanding and flourishing in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Faced with an educational catastrophe, in 1773 the Commonwealth’s parliament enjoined former Jesuit teachers to stay at their posts, decreed that the former Jesuit property would constitute an educational fund, and established the Commission for National Education. Many former Jesuits contributed mightily to the new educational system, while others pursued a wide range of opportunities in other fields. The changes were not to the liking of many nobles, and some disgruntled ex-Jesuits fomented noble discontent. Most former Jesuits neither achieved intellectual prominence, nor enjoyed royal or aristocratic patronage. They were forced to seek parish work or employment as domestic chaplains to wealthier nobles. Testimony to their problems comes from the letters addressed to one of the most prominent former Jesuits, the rector of Wilno University, Marcin Poczobut.
6. Marek Inglot, S.J. (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)
The Society of Jesus in the Russian Empire (1772-1820) and the Restoration of the Order (1814)
With the incorporation of White Russia into the Russian empire, following the first partition of Poland in 1772, a small part of the Society of Jesus came to exist within the Orthodox empire of Catherine II, totalling 201 Jesuits in 18 residences. When Pope Clement canonically suppressed the Jesuits in 1773, the czarina forbade the promulgation of the papal decree in her realm. As a result, the Society of Jesus remained legitimately in existence within the Russian empire. The legitimacy of this survival derived principally from the non-promulgation of the brief of suppression, but also found support from a series of positive papal acts which first tolerated, then approved, and finally approved officially and solemnly this survival. Six years after the general restoration, Czar Alexander I signed the decree expelling the Jesuits from his empire.
7. Carolyn C. Guile (Colgate University, Hamilton [NY])
Sebastian Sierakowski and the Language of Architecture: A Jesuit Life during the Era of Suppression and Restoration
The dissolution of the Jesuit order necessitated the reinvention of Jesuit endeavors in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. An important political and cultural figure active in the immediate aftermath of the Jesuit dissolution, the former Jesuit Sebastian Sierakowski (1743-1824) worked for over a decade on a substantial two-volume work on architecture, the Architektura obejmująca wszelki gatunek murowania i budowania [Architecture, including every type of masonry and building], published at his own expense in 1810. Sierakowski’s association with the Commission of National Education’s Society for Elementary Textbooks from 1778 to 1792, his close relations with Stanisław Kostka Potocki (1755-1821), and his patriotic inclinations informed and shaped his architectural endeavors. This paper focuses on Sierakowski’s architectural theory and practice; it considers the problem of adaptation to the complex political and social conditions that defined and profoundly changed the Jesuit order and the commonwealth alike.
8. Jeffrey Chipps Smith (University of Texas, Austin)
The Jesuit Artistic Diaspora in Germany after 1773
Clement XIV’s suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773 caused a huge material as well as human toll. What was the subsequent fate of the Jesuits’ churches, colleges, libraries, and artistic possessions? Even with the reestablishment of the Society in 1814, their communities rarely regained the property they formerly possessed. In reality, the papal suppression was just one of several events that diminished the Society’s artistic patrimony. The Napoleonic Wars, state secularization of church property, neglect, and even the need to sell assets to fund pensions for the former Jesuits contributed to the losses as well as to the dispersal of the Society vast artistic treasures. Using the Jesuit communities in Cologne and Munich as case studies, this paper addresses the situation in Germany.
9. Paul Shore (St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg)
Enduring the Deluge: Hungarian Jesuit Astronomers from Suppression to Restoration
The trajectory of Jesuit astronomy in the lands of the Crown of St. Stephen in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries differs from many of the narratives of the Society’s literary, pedagogical, and missionary achievements. However, the characteristic Jesuit experiences of solitude and de facto autonomy survived in the act of collecting astronomical data. But in this period the gap between the system of beliefs that had defined the early Society and the theistic or completely mechanistic worldview of post-Newtonian astronomy widened so that baroque techniques of visualization were of little use in investigating or communicating the secrets of the skies. Indeed, although the undertaking of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius remained the touchstone of Jesuit experience, the writings of Hungarian Jesuits of the restored Society show scant evidence of the influence of the Exercises on the recording or interpretation of data. In the hearts of most Hungarian Jesuits, faith and astronomy were never estranged, but the audible conversation between them had fallen silent.
10. Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. (Fordham University, New York City)
“By any other name:” Retaining a Jesuit Identity in England during the Suppression
English Jesuit John Thorpe’s fortnightly newsletters from Rome to colleagues kept the province abreast of impending doom. After the fatal blow, now ex-English Jesuits benefited from the leniency of the prince-archbishop of Liège, and from medieval anti-papal legislation of England. The bishop demanded only that they abandon the traditional Jesuit cassock, and no longer refer to themselves as Jesuits. English vicars apostolic appointed former Jesuits (including the former provincial) to govern—at least pro tempore—ex-Jesuits who protected their financial assets against episcopal efforts to augment their own treasuries. Proposals for the formation of a permanent union in foro externo, perhaps along the lines of a religious congregation or institute were discussed, debated, but not implemented until aggregation with Jesuits in Russia in 1802. Persistent episcopal doubts regarding the legitimacy of the re-established province pre- and post- universal restoration continued until 1829.
11. Niccolò Guasti (Università degli Studi di Foggia)
Exiled Spanish Jesuits and the Restoration of the Society of Jesus
The long Italian exile imposed on the Spanish Jesuits can be divided into at least three main phases. The first one starts with the expulsion ordered by Charles III in April 1767 and the consequent arrival of the Jesuits’ contingents in the Papal States, and ends in the summer of 1773 with the notification of the brief Dominus ac Redemptor that suppressed the Society. The second phase lasts about twenty years from 1773 to 1793. The third and last period begins with the re-founding of the Jesuit residences in the Duchy of Parma in 1793, and ends with the restoration of the Society in 1814 and the return of the few Spanish Jesuits still alive to the Iberian Peninsula and the overseas territories the following year. My attention will focus on the latter period when Iberian and South American Jesuits took an active part in the reconstitution of the order.
12. Eva Fontana Castelli (Independent scholar, Milan)
The Society of Jesus Under Another Name. The Paccanarists in the Restored Society of Jesus
The short-lived and troubled experience of the Company of the Faith of Jesus (1797-1814) represented an original endeavor to preserve, while at the same time “reform,” the Society of Jesus. With regard to the Jesuit order, this institution presented several peculiar features and its relationship with the Jesuits was particularly difficult and complex. Nonetheless, a notable number of its members, also known as Fathers of the Faith, or “Paccanarists” after their charismatic and controversial founder, Niccolò Paccanari, eventually joined the restored Society of Jesus. Many of them even played an important role within the order, such as Pierre Epinette, Nicolas Loriquet, Anton Kolhmann, Jean Luis Rozaven, Giuseppe Sineo Della Torre, and Joseph Varin. The study of this particular “group” of Jesuits allows us to piece together and appreciate the composite structure and the internal dynamics that characterized the Jesuits in the age of restoration.
13. Emanuele Colombo (DePaul University, Chicago)
Jesuit at Heart. Luigi Mozzi de’ Capitani (1746-1813) Between Suppression and Restoration
When the Brief Dominus ac Redemptor sanctioned the suppression of the Society of Jesus, Luigi Mozzi de’ Capitani was a young novice and a teacher at the Collegio dei Nobili in Milan. Mozzi worked for the rest of his life for the restoration of the Society and was constantly connected with an international network of ex-Jesuits. Through a set of unpublished sources, this paper shows Mozzi’s efforts to preserve the Jesuit “way of proceeding” for forty years. When he realized that there was no hope for an imminent restoration of the Society, Mozzi started a strong anti-Jansenist campaign. Later, he worked for the creation of confraternities and schools following the Jesuit model, and was dedicated to popular missions in Italian towns and cities. In the last part of his life, Mozzi had an active role in the restoration of the Society in Italy through his connections with prominent political and religious figures.
14. Ronnie Po-chia Hsia (Pennsylvania State University)
Twilight of the Jesuit China Mission, 1750-1800
In 1692, Emperor Kangxi praised his Jesuit servants in Beijing as loyal subjects who would stand by him even if their own national rulers would go to war against the Qing Empire. In turn, he promised protection for his Western missionaries. Three-quarters of a century later, when the Catholic monarchs in Europe suppressed the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit missionaries in Beijing were the only ones in the Portuguese assistancy who were not shipped back to Europe under guard, to languish in some cases for long years in Portuguese and Spanish prisons. This paper aims to address a lacuna in the scholarship on the Jesuit China missions. With the exceptions of a handful of monographs, the history of the Jesuit missions in China between 1748 (the beginning of the first large-scale anti-Catholic persecution) and 1800 (when the last ex-Jesuit missionaries died in Beijing) is neglected, even though archival material exists in abundance. Based on the correspondence of the vice-province of China (under Portuguese assistancy) and the French mission in China (under the French assistancy) at the Roman Archive of the Society of Jesus, I will attempt to describe the activities of the Jesuit missionaries in China during the last decades of the old Society and of the fate of the ex-Jesuits who remained in Beijing after dissolution.
15. Paul Rule (La Trobe University, Melbourne)
Restoration or Recreation? The Return of the Society of Jesus to China
Perhaps nowhere was the break between the old Society of Jesus and the restored Society more complete than in China. The survivors in China, French and Portuguese, were unable to continue to live as Jesuits and died out before 1814. Conditions for a return to China were not favorable until the 1840s with the treaties after the First Opium War. The restored China mission, chastened by the aftermath of the Chinese Rites Controversy and its role in the suppression, was built on very different foundations: regional division of spheres of action along national lines, educational institutions rather than direct evangelization, a distant relationship to the imperial government and a strengthening of clerical and episcopal authority over the lay initiatives of the years of persecution. The focus of the mission shifted from the political capitals of Beijing and Nanjing to the new littoral commercial and modernizing centers of Shanghai and Tianjin. A distinctly Europeanizing agenda prevailed until well into the twentieth century, which owed more to circumstances than missionary agendas or theories.
16. César Guillen-Nuñez (Macau Ricci Institute, Macau)
Rising from the Ashes: the Gothic Revival and the Architecture of the New Society of Jesus in China and Macao
The Society of Jesus rose phoenix-like in the Middle Kingdom after the return of the first Jesuits sent to re-establish the China mission in 1841. This paper considers a number of significant art-historical developments connected with the restoration of the Society. It is divided into two parts. The first discusses the phenomenon of the Gothic-revival in Europe and its importance for the religious architecture of the age, as well as the disputes surrounding the term “Jesuit style,” today dismissed as inaccurate by specialists, which emerged at the time of the restoration of the Society. The second part examines two selected buildings, namely, the Cathedral of the Immaculate in Beijing, and the Cathedral of Saint Ignatius in Xujiahui, Shanghai, and how the Gothic revival influenced their plans and styles. These churches emerged during the first decade of the twentieth century in a greatly altered historical landscape in China after the Opium Wars and the treaty ports. This paper also includes a brief discussion of the vicissitudes that awaited the Jesuits after their return to Portuguese Macao in 1862. Notorious at the time was the state of two of the Jesuits’ most famous foundations in the Far East, the Church of Madre de Deus, popularly known as St. Paul’s, and the Seminary and Church of St. Joseph, which were both in a ruinous condition after decades of neglect.
17. François Picard (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
Music at the Beitang: Chinese Music and Church Songs at the French Jesuit Church in Beijing at the End of the Eighteenth Century
Catholic musical life in Beijing began in 1601, with the arrival of Matteo Ricci. Its high point, with choirs, organs, bells, ensembles of Chinese and Western instruments, ran from 1652 (Nantang) to 1768 (persecution). It is generally supposed to have ended with the dissolution of the Jesuits, and the death of the last Jesuit in China, Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, in 1793. It is generally understood that the Christianization of China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was more popular, less intellectual, and more focused on mass conversion than court influence compared to the Ricci-Amiot period. A strong gap is thus thought to separate the ritual practice in these two periods. However, recently discovered documents show a long continuity in a single tradition: the Catholic hymns and prayers sung in Chinese and accompanied by the local music associations Yinyue hui 音樂會.
18. Paul Mariani, S.J. (Santa Clara University, Santa Clara)
The Phoenix Rises from its Ashes: The Restoration of the Jesuit Shanghai Mission
This paper is a case study of the restoration of the Society of Jesus in Shanghai. The Shanghai mission had been established in 1608 by Matteo Ricci’s convert Paul Xu Guangqi. In the following years the community built strong institutions and developed deep-rooted indigenous structures that allowed the community to survive persecution and the dearth of foreign clergy. When the Society was restored, it was Shanghai’s Catholics that invited them back. In fact, within thirty years of the 1843 return of the Jesuits, the mission was once again flourishing, a phoenix resurrected from its ashes. What accounts for this success? How did Jesuit initiative come to terms with the indigenous structures of the Shanghai Catholic community? By some accounts Shanghai Catholics benefited from the convergence of strong indigenous structures and foreign money and personnel. By other accounts, there were serious struggles between the Jesuits and these same local communities.
19. Jeremy Clarke, S.J. (Boston College)
The Long Shadow of the Rites Controversy on a New Generation of China Jesuits
Although the Rites Controversy was formally concluded by papal decrees in the middle of the eighteenth century, the Jesuits who re-established the Society in China still faced the same cross-cultural challenges, as had their illustrious forebears. Now, however, the tyranny of distance had largely been overcome (or at least was sufficiently diminished when compared with pre-suppression days) and thus Roman decrees were strongly felt by the newly returned missionaries. This paper examines the ways in which the Rites Controversy cast shadows over the attempts of the China Jesuits to be true to the legacies of the earlier Jesuits and yet not bring about a second controversy or even a second suppression.
20. Greg Afinogenov (Harvard University)
Survival and Conspiracy: Jesuits, Russian Intelligence, and the Macartney Embassy to Beijing
In 1791, the news that Britain was sending an embassy to the Qing emperor sent shockwaves through the Russian court. Catherine II and her advisors feared that privileges granted to Britain would destroy the profitable Kiakhta trade by replacing Russian furs with cheaper, higher-quality ones provided by British merchants. Their solution was an elaborate and highly secretive plot to undermine the Macartney embassy by means of specially formulated messages, one of which—central to the affair—was to be sent from the Polotsk Jesuit college to the influential ex-Jesuit missionaries still resident in Beijing. My paper will use newly discovered evidence from Russian archives to analyze the nature and consequences of the Jesuit role in the plot, considering it both from the point of view of Russo-Jesuit relations and in the context of other intelligence links between Russia and the Qing in the late eighteenth century.
21. Sabina Pavone (University of Macerata)
The Jesuits in India between the Old and the New Society of Jesus
The aim of this paper is to follow the story of the Jesuit mission in India after the suppression of 1773 until the restoration of 1814 and into the first decades of the nineteenth century. There are many studies about the Indian mission between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, but after the sentence of the Roman Inquisition against the Malabar Rites there is a sort of damnatio memoriæ that damaged the Jesuits until the suppression. The story of the new mission established in the nineteenth century is also well known but we know very little about how the mission was rebuilt after the crisis of the end of the eighteenth century. The paper intends to deepen our understanding of the activities of the missionaries of the Society of Jesus who returned to India and the influence of the old Society’s heritage on the new. The paper will be based most of all on the very rich sources of the General Archive of the Society of Jesus in Rome.
22. Jonathan Wright (Durham University)
Saviors or Schemers? The American Response to Jesuit Restoration
When news of the 1814 restoration of the Society of Jesus reached the United States there was a bewildering range of responses from Thomas Jefferson regarding the event as a catastrophe to various Catholic leaders launching gleeful celebrations. In this paper I will utilize a wealth of neglected sources (newspaper articles, private correspondence, and printed works) to examine both the immediate reaction to the restoration and the longer-term consequences for Catholic culture in the United States. The generous terms of the First Amendment theoretically guaranteed American Catholics freedom of religion but this hardly ensured a nineteenth century free from harassment. I argue that the reaction to news of Jesuit restoration played a formative role in defining the terms and contours of anti-Catholic and anti-Jesuit sentiment during the remainder of the century. It is also crucial to look at the Catholic response to this pivotal event. In many ways, familiar patterns resurfaced: ranging from gratitude for the Jesuit role in many aspects of Catholic life to internecine suspicion and rivalry. Again, the immediate reaction to worldwide restoration was both telling and prophetic. The basic task is as follows: to report precisely what was said and written by citizens of the fledgling Republic (in private and in public) in the wake of the events of 1814. This is a relatively untapped body of evidence but it provides vital context for any understanding of how the American Jesuits' post-restoration enterprise evolved during the nineteenth century. By means of a case study, it gets to the heart of the matter: how was the restoration perceived by friends and foes? In this spirit, the final sections of the paper will include comparative elements, looking at analogous developments outside the USA.
23. Daniel Schlafly (Saint Louis University)
The “Russian” Society and the American Jesuits: Giovanni Grassi’s Crucial Role
The Russian empire saved the Society of Jesus from the general suppression in 1773. The “Russian” Society welcomed former Jesuits and new candidates, most from abroad, and sent out Jesuits like Giovanni Grassi (1775-1849), who came to the United States in 1810. As president of Georgetown College and superior of the Maryland Mission from 1812 to 1817, he revitalized the struggling college, reorganized the American Society, and developed close relations with civic and political leaders. The “Russian” Society was Grassi’s model for Jesuit education, spirituality, governance, and accommodation in a non-Catholic realm, reinforced in continual correspondence with the father general. Later, Grassi represented the American Church in Rome and wrote descriptions of the United States. Grassi’s success in the Russian empire, the United States, England, and Italy exemplifies how the “Russian” Society fostered Jesuit values and ideals in Russia and abroad.
24. John Meehan, S.J. (Campion College, Regina [Canada])
The Restoration in Canada: A Troubled Inheritance
After the fall of New France in 1760, Jesuits in Canada were spared the suppression experienced by their confreres elsewhere. Forbidden from recruiting new members, they faced a slow death by attrition. Of the 331 Jesuits who had come to New France since 1611, 38 were living in Canada and another 17 in Louisiana. By 1773, there were eight Jesuits and by 1790, only two. With the death of the last one, Jean-Joseph Casot, in 1800, their remaining assets went in trust to the Crown. The Jesuit estates, which at the time of the conquest accounted for nearly one-eighth of lands in Quebec settled by French Canadians, became, arguably, the greatest bone of contention in Canadian history. Designated to support education and native missions, they were coveted by dozens of claimants over the next eight decades. Despite the return of the Jesuits to Canada in 1842, the bitter controversy was not resolved until 1888 and only after the intervention of the premier of Quebec and Pope Leo XIII.
25. Andrés Prieto (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Jesuit Tradition and the Rise of South-American Nationalism, 1782-1810
When the Society of Jesus was banned from all Spanish-controlled territories in 1767, more than 2,000 Jesuits were shipped from South America to Italy, carrying little more than their most essential belongings. Forbidden to maintain any contact with their families and friends, they played, nonetheless, an important, albeit indirect, role in the nascent independence movements in the Spanish colonies. Partly as a rebuttal of the thesis of the inferiority of America advanced by Cornelius de Paw and the Abbot Raynal, and partly to promote the knowledge of their far away patrias, the exiled Jesuits published several works on the natural, civil, and moral history of the territories in which they had lived and worked. These works would not only shape what Antonello Gerbi so aptly termed the dispute of the New World; they articulated ideas and attitudes that would be appropriated by the ideologues of the newly constituted independent South American republics of the nineteenth century. In this paper, I will discuss the works of Juan de Velasco (Historia del reino de Quito, 1789) and Juan Ignacio de Molina (Saggio sulla storia naturalle del Chili, 1782 and 1810). I will show how these works, drawing heavily in the intellectual tradition of natural history forged by the South American Jesuits during the preceding two centuries, described the geography, geology, botany and zoology of the territories from which they had been exiled through a number of common tropes and figures that articulated and expressed a creole ideology of love of the patria and nationalistic sentiments that became prevalent in the nation-building discourses of the early nineteenth century.
26. Ignacio Telesca (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Buenos Aires)
The First Return of the Jesuits to Paraguay
The Jesuits definitively returned to Paraguay only in 1927. It was 160 years after their expulsion from Spanish imperial territories in 1767 and 113 years after the formal restoration of the Society of Jesus. It seems strange that for a territory so emblematic of the Jesuit presence in the Americas that it took so long for them to return. However, the explanations for this should not only be sought in the motives of the Jesuits but also in the new social and political reality that transformed Paraguay after its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1811. There was an earlier attempt to return, but it lasted only a short time, barely three years, from 1846 to 1849. In this paper, we ponder this attempt to return to understand the reasons for its failure. In this brief relation of the context and immediate events surrounding the attempted re-insertion of the Jesuits into Paraguay, we will find that the best hopes and most sincere intentions could not overcome the suspicions and sensitivities born of the delicate politics of post-colonial sovereignty. For just as the for the Spanish Empire the Society of Jesus represented an instrument of colonial expansion in the Americas, in the nineteenth century the Jesuits were much closer to Rome than they were to Madrid, Buenos Aires, or Asunción.
27. Perla Chinchilla Pawling (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City)
The Restoration of the Jesuits in Mexico: Some Historiographical Remarks
The literature on the restoration of the Society of Jesus is still very scarce in general, and in particular for the Mexican case. The process of reintegration of the order in Mexico lasted practically the entire nineteenth century. Most of the historical accounts of the restoration process were written by members of the order with a clear vindicatory approach. This is explained by the conflictive context of nineteenth-century Mexico, where the confrontation between the church and state (liberales versus conservadores, centralistas versus federalistas, etc.) was especially violent. Therefore, as part of the church, Jesuits were vulnerable. Their stability relied on the faction that ruled in certain moment, though from 1814-1867 nine governments succeeded in Mexico. This situation had a negative economic impact on the Society. It also affected the development and growth of the ministries of education and mission.
28. Festo Mkenda, S.J. (Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Nairobi)
The Restoration in Africa—an Overview
Shortly after they were founded, the Jesuits reached Africa and labored in different parts of the continent. At the point of their suppression, they were concentrated in the eastern and western regions of southern Africa. For nearly two centuries they evangelized among native Africans and, in precarious circumstances, established educational structures that were later reckoned to have been successful. In spite of their long survival and modicum of success, the pre-suppression missions in Africa have attracted little research. This historical oversight implies a missed learning opportunity for post-restoration missions on the continent, which started late and, apparently, with no obvious link to their predecessor missions. Why, for example, did Christianity so completely disappear from the lands the Jesuits had so painstakingly evangelized before the suppression? An answer to this and to similar questions calls for serious and systematic research, and it will be to the benefit of new Christian efforts in Africa.
29. Aquinata Nanyonjo Agonga (Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Nairobi)
The Survival of the Jesuits in Southern Africa after the Restoration of the Society of Jesus (1875-1900)
The establishment of the Jesuits in southern Africa was by no means easy. The number of missionaries was limited, the climate harsh, and the local population hostile. Thus, what is today a successful and well-established Jesuit mission would be non-existent but for the great tenacity of the first Jesuit missionaries in southern Africa. It took the missionaries’ combination of dogged determination, youthful optimism, and a spirit of unquestioning obedience to overcome these challenges. The survival and success of the mission in the face of the many obstacles have constituted a subject of great historical interest, and is replete with lessons that can inspire contemporary missionary enterprises. In this paper, I seek to establish an account of the success of the first Jesuit mission in southern Africa.
30. Jean Luc Enyegue, S.J. (Boston University)
The Post-Restoration Jesuit Mission in Fernando Po, 1859-1871
From 1858 to 1872, Spanish Jesuits directed a mission in Fernando Po and its dependencies, a territory that constitutes today’s Republic of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. It was the first mission of the Society in the African continent after the restoration. The historiography, begun by missionaries themselves, assessed this mission as a failure. Why? What went wrong and what could the missionaries have done better? This study traces the local and international context of the mission of the Society in Fernando Po, its preparation, execution, and end. Historically, harsh climate, malaria, the hostility of Fernandians “intoxicated” by Protestants, and the 1868 expulsion have been presented as the most important reasons of this failure. I argue that the Society deliberately ended a fruitless mission, and that its outcome might have been different had the missionaries been freer from patriotic concerns and stereotypes and prejudices about Africans and Protestants.