News in Jesuit Studies

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Two 17th-century handbooks by Francesco Sacchini, on his method of teaching in Jesuit lower schools, are available with the new bilingual volume Exhortación y preceptiva para los maestros de las escuelas inferiores de la Compañía de Jesús. The work is co-edited by Javier Laspalas of the Universidad de Navarra and Alejandro Martínez of the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea. It is published by Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos in collaboration with the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.


Laspalas and Martínez provide an extensive introduction to Sacchini (1570-1625) and the context for his pedagogical theories. The first handbook, presented here in the original Latin and in a new Spanish translation, consists of three parts, including Sacchini’s consideration of the “dignity” and “utility” of the education of children. The second handbook, also appearing in both Latin and Spanish, has chapters on the more practical matters in the classroom, such as how a teacher was to serve as an example to his students and how he ought to distribute prizes, punishments, and reprimands.


Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos provides the volume’s full table of contents and a selection from its introduction online (

The Jesuit Historiography Online, hosted by Brill Reference, now includes an essay on Jesuit Devotional Literature. The essay is authored by Charles R. Keenan, formerly an Institute Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.


In defining the sources of devotional literature–among the “incredible amount of printed works” by Jesuits on the topic–Keenan’s essay focuses on “manuals for meditation, handbooks for prayer, printed collections of sermons, lives of the saints, and other spiritual and ascetical works.” It considers texts published by Jesuits as well as those by other authors “inspired, either directly or indirectly, by Jesuit spirituality.”


The essay looks at historians’ treatment of devotional literature in bibliographies and surveys, works from the early years of the Society of Jesus, significant publishers, translators, readers, and censors, the texts used in missionary enterprises, and the works appearing during and after the papal suppression of the Jesuits. It also suggests areas for further research.  “The popularity of Jesuit devotional literature over the centuries is undeniable,” Keenan concludes. “This is evidenced not only by the total number of titles written, but also by the multiple printings and translations of those same titles—often centuries after they were first published—as well as their many readers, both inside and outside the Society of Jesus.”


An Open Access resource due to support by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Jesuit Historiography Online presents essays by experts in their field summarizing key texts, surveying recent scholarship, and suggesting future areas of inquiry.


Keenan is the assistant director for the Core Curriculum at Boston College. He also recently translated Gasper Loarte’s The Exercise of the Christian Life, available in print and electronic format through Jesuit Sources.

Jesuit Sources has published a new English translation of The Duties of a Teacher, a handbook issued by the National Education Commission of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1787. Duties was written by Grzegorz Piramowicz, a former Jesuit teacher who sought to guide how grammar school teachers could serve the larger society. According to the publisher, Piramowicz “lays out a much more ambitious curriculum, one in keeping with the latest innovations in Enlightenment thinking,” while also hoping to “convince the ruling class of the Commonwealth that such sweeping pedagogical reform was not only necessary, but a moral imperative.”


The Duties of a Teacher is translated and edited by Mark O’Connor, formerly an instructor in the Honors Program at Boston College. Piramowicz’s text is divided into four parts:

  • “The Goal, the Duties, and the Means of Fulfilling These Duties of a Teacher”
  • “With Regard to the Upbringing of Children, Especially Those Raised in Small Towns and Villages”
  • “Teaching the Young about Duties, Morals, and of Instruction in the Virtues”
  • “By What Means the Teacher Can Present Effectively the Subjects Assigned to the Schools”


To learn more about this volume, please visit (