October 2018: Symposium on Jesuit Missions of New France and Asia

From October 18–20, the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at the University of San Francisco and Mary’s Shrine in Ontario co-sponsored an international symposium entitled “Life and Death in the Missions of New France and East Asia: Narratives of Faith and Martyrdom.”


The symposium began with remarks by Thomas Worcester, S.J., the president of Regis College, before moving to Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, one of the Ontario Huronia Historical Parks. An introductory panel included presentations by M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J., of the Ricci Institute, and Michael Knox, S.J., of Martyrs’ Shrine. Another five panels featured presentations by scholars from around the globe.


A schedule of the symposium appears below.


October 18

Regis College, University of Toronto

12:15–45 p.m.: Lunch followed by a presentation on the history of the Jesuits in France in the 17th century by Regis College President, Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J


October 19

Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons

9:00 – 10:45 a.m.: INTRODUCTORY PANEL

Chair: Wu Xiaoxin (Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco, USA)

“Life and Death in the Missions of New France & East Asia: ‘Connected Histories’ of Faith & Martyrdom,” by M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. (Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco, USA)

“The Jesuit Martyrs of New France & Sainte-Marie among the Hurons,” by Michael Knox, S.J. (Martyrs’ Shrine)


11:00 – 12:30 p.m.: PANEL I: CONTEXTS & FAITH

Chair: Fred Hacker, Esq. (Midland Cultural Centre)

Discussant: Donald L. Baker University of British Columbia, Canada & EDS-Stewart Chair (Ricci

Institute, USA)

“On the online collective memory of the Christian martyrs of the Boxer incident (1900) in Shanxi province,” by Tao Feiya (Shanghai University, China)

“The Historical Context for the Acceptance of Catholicism in Joseon Korea,” Kwon Youngpa (for Prof. Cho Kwang, National Institute of Korean History)

“Building Word Bridges Across a Cultural Divide: 17th Century Jesuits and the Wendat (Huron),” by John L. Steckley (Emeritus, Humber College, Canada)

“An Interpretation on the Nineteenth-Century Vietnamese Martyrdom according to Traditionally Established Codes of Exemplary Deified Deaths,” by Lân Ngô, S.J. (Loyola Marymount University, USA)



Chair: William Baird (General Manager of Huronia Historical Parks)

Discussant: Robert Carbonneau, CP (University of Scranton, USA)

“Bishop Bai’s Cave: The Fujian Martyrs and the Politics of Martyrdom between China, the Philippines, and Europe, 18th century to the present,” by  Eugenio Menegon (Boston University, USA)

“The Transmission of Religious Experience in the Jesuit Relations from New France: The Case of the Torture and Death of Jean de Brébeuf,” by Micah True (University of Alberta, Canada)

“Martyrdom in Japan as a new way of Cultural Encounter: The Influence of Christian Martyrdom in a non-Christian Culture,” by Renzo De Luca, S.J. (Jesuit Provincial of Japan)

“Seeking Sanctity in a Fallen World: Tension, Transformation, and Martyrdom in early Korean Catholicism,” by Franklin Rausch (Lander University, USA)


October 20

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.: PANEL III: IMPACTS & RESPONSES

Chair: Nahanni Born (Huronia Museum)

Discussant: Anthony E. Clark (Whitworth University, USA)

“The Two-Edged Sword of Confucianism for the Early Korean Martyrs,” by Kim Sung Hae, S.C. (Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, USA)

“A Diachronic Connection between New France Reports and Japan Reports, on the Practice of Christianity and on Non-European Cultures,” by Abe Takao (Yamagata Prefectural Yonezawa Women’s Junior College, Japan)

“Catholic Writings and the Formation of Catholic Identity in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Vietnam,” by Anh Q. Tran, S.J. (Santa Clara University Jesuit School of Theology, USA)

“Chinese Responses to Christian ‘Thanatopsis’ in the Seventeenth Century,” by Dong Shaoxin (Fudan University, China)


11:00 – 12:30 p.m.: PANEL IV: CRISIS & PERSECUTION

Chair: Jamie Hunter (Huronia Archaeological Society of Midland)

Discussant: Michael Knox, S.J. (Martyrs’ Shrine)

“From New France to the ‘Civilizing Mission’: Noël Chabanel and the Jesuit Martyrs of China,” by Anthony E. Clark (Whitworth University, USA)

“‘Re-member’ the Women Martyrs in Seventeenth-Century Japan,” by Haruko Nawata Ward (Columbia Theological Seminary, USA)

“Philosophy and Persecution: The Catholic Challenge to Korean Neo-Confucian Beliefs and Values,” by Donald L. Baker (University of British Columbia, Canada & EDS-Stewart Chair, Ricci Institute, USA)

“‘To the bone’: Emotion and Relics at the Foundation of the French Missions in North America in the 17th Century,” by Dominique Deslandres (Université de Montréal, Canada)


2:00 – 3:30 p.m.: PANEL V: STORIES & TESTIMONIES

Chair: Rosemary Vyvyan (Retired Manager of Programmes for Huronia Historical Museum)

Discussant: Robert Danieluk, S.J. (Roman Jesuit Archives, Italy [ARSI])

“Fruits of Autumn: The Martyrs of the Urakami ‘Yonban Kuzure,’” by Simon Hull (Nagasaki Junshin University, Japan)

“Pilgrims in the Margins: The Meaning of the West to Early Korean Catholics,” by Deberniere Janet Torrey (University of Utah, USA)

“Voice, Materiality and Stewardship: An Archivist’s Perspective,” by Theresa Rowat (Archives of the Jesuits in Canada, Montréal)

“Jesuit Teachings and Vietnamese Reception in Early Vietnamese Christianity, 1625-1700,” by Nhung Tuyet Tran (University of Toronto, Canada)