News in Jesuit Studies

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The Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York has organized a seminar with presentations on the theme “How to be a Jesuit Saint in 1622 ca: The Canonisation of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier in Context.” The online event takes place on June 26, 2021. Advanced registration is required.


The event uses the 400th anniversary of the canonization of the first Jesuit saints — Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier — to critically examine the process of making saints.  The seminar is organized by Simon Ditchfield, the CREMS director, and includes presentations by Rachel Miller, Steffen Zierholz, and Alejandro Caneque.


A full program appears below, and more information is available at the CREMS website:




“How to be a Jesuit Saint in 1622 ca: The Canonisation of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier in Context”

Wednesday 16 June 2021, 4.30pm to 6:00pm

Speaker(s): Rachel Miller (California State University, Sacramento), Steffen Zierholz (Bochum University), and Alejandro Caneque (University of Maryland)


The 400th anniversary of the canonisation of Loyola and Xavier in 1622 offers an excellent opportunity to reassess not only the politics of saint-making but also how saints were presented and represented visually as well as textually by those campaigning in support of the raising to the altar of their candidates. This panel brings together an international team of scholars with one paper each dedicated to Loyola and Xavier will be complemented by a paper on the Jesuit discourse of martyrdom, with specific reference to the Marianas Islands located in the Western Pacific Ocean, just 1,500 miles east of the Spanish colony of the Philippines.

Introduced by Simon Ditchfield, Professor of Early Modern History and director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies


Rachel Miller (California State University, Sacramento)

“From ‘Apostle of Japan’ to ‘Apostle of All the Christian World:’ The Iconography of St. Francis Xavier and the Global Catholic Church.”

In the years leading up to Francis Xavier’s canonization, hagiographers emphasized the unprecedented nature of his mission to Asia by giving him various appellations that specifically identified the places where he had spread the Gospel during his ministry, such as “the first Apostle to Japan.” However, the 1623 canonization bull introduced new titles for Xavier, including the “Apostle of the Indies,” implying both East and West, as well as the “Apostle to the New People” and “the Apostle of All the Christian World.” This more universalizing view of Xavier would have a strong influence on the development of his iconography in the visual arts. This paper will examine several different strains of this iconography, including images of Xavier triumphant over the four elements, Xavier preaching to allegories of the four continents, and the miracle of the languages, in which Xavier addresses a polyglot crowd and each person hears him speak in their own language. These images worked to create an image of Xavier as a universal saint working to unite the four continents of the world in Christianity and bring about the ultimate global triumph of the Catholic Church.


Steffen Zierholz (Bochum university)

Two Portraits of Ignatius of Loyola Painted on Copper

My paper will examine two small portraits of Ignatius of Loyola painted on copper around 1600. They are both unattributed, but we know that at least one of them was part of the third vera effigies campaign initiated by the Belgian father Olivier Mannaerts, a former companion of Ignatius (Fig. 1). I will point out the enlivening and transformational qualities of the two portraits by focusing on their materiality at the intersection between painting, metallurgy and alchemy. In this respect, fire, warmth, and heat play a major role, respectively, which I shall connect to the fiery nature of Ignatius of Loyola, as evidenced by the well-known Ignatius/igneus pun. Whereas Andrea Pozzo’s ceiling fresco in Sant’Ignazio in Rome is almost famous representations of Ignatius within a fiery iconography, the pun was also taken up in anti-Jesuit propaganda, e.g. in the frontispiece of the Pyrotechnica Loyolana, Ignatian Fireworks. Or, the Fiery Jesuits Temper and Behaviour, anonymously published in 1667. My paper will shed light on the early history of Ignatius’s fiery nature, at a time when the Jesuits began to firmly promote his canonization. I will first argue that the brilliance of colour, a distinctive feature of painting on copper, evokes a vivid, lifelike portrait, and likewise visualizes Filippo Neri’s account of Ignatius’s supernatural splendour. Secondly, I will focus on the transformative and generative power of fire. Flemish allegories of fire painted on copper by Jan Brueghel, among others, show the productive operations of fire necessary to refine base materials and to create glass- and metalwork. In the context of spiritual alchemy, Ignatius similarly functions as a generative (divine) fire that enflames the viewer’s heart and spiritually transmutes and perfects the beholder.


Alejandro Caneque (University of Maryland)

In the shadow of Francis Xavier: martyrdom and Colonialism in the Jesuit Asian Missions

Starting in the last decades of the sixteenth century, the idea of martyrdom contributed to energizing the Society of Jesus’s determined efforts to convert the peoples of Asia to Christianity. This does not mean that the Society’s authorities fomented the martyrdom of its members. On the contrary, they exhibited a prudent attitude at all times, since conversion of heretics and pagans was always more important than martyrdom. But if a missionary was killed, then the Jesuit authors, with their superiors’ acquiescence, would get down to work to construct a most brilliant and compelling martyr figure. This article will examine the process through which the killings and excecutions of Rodolfo Acquaviva (1550-1583) in India; Marcello Mastrilli (1603-1637) in Japan and Diego Luis de San Vitores (1627-1672) in the Marianas islands were transformed into powerful instances of martyrdom. In the efforts to enhance the status of the martyrs and present them as saintly figures, their hagiographers would present a special connection between the martyrs and St Francis Xavier. The article will also pay particular attention to the ways in which these deaths intersected with the history of Iberian imperialism and colonialism in Asia.

Leuven University Press inaugurates a new series entitled ‘Leuven Studies in Mission and Modernity’ with the publication of Missionary Education: Historical Approaches and Global Perspectives.


The LUP’s new series “aims to showcase groundbreaking works on the history of missionaries and missionary organisations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Titles will “steer mission history towards new thematic frontiers by exploring the multiple ways in which missionary operations have affected local societies and cultures around the globe, and how their significance is negotiated in the present.” The series board features Kim Christiaens (KADOC-KU Leuven), Carine Dujardin (KADOC-KU Leuven), Idesbald Goddeeris (KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts), Jonas Van Mulder (KADOC-KU Leuven), Dries Vanysacker (KU Leuven, Theology and Religious Studies), and Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven, Psychology and Educational Sciences).


A table of contents for the first volume of this new series appears below. Missionary Education: Historical Approaches and Global Perspectives is edited by Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris, and Pieter Verstraete and features contributions by fifteen scholars. The essays focus on the educational work of missionaries and “elaborate on Protestantism as well as Catholicism, work with cases from the 18th to the 21st century, and cover different colonial empires in Asia and Africa.” The publisher promises that the book “introduces new angles, such as gender, the agency of the local population, and the perspective of the child.”


Missionary Education: Historical Approaches and Global Perspectives

Table of Contents

Mission and Education. An Introduction
— Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris, and Pieter Verstraete



The Educational Turn in Catholic Missionary Policies and Practices. Belgian Franciscans in China, 1872-1949
— Carine Dujardin

Fashioning a Catholic Javanese Elite. The Catholic Mission and Colonial Education in Central Java, 1904-1942
— Maaike Derksen

The Postcolonial Expansion of a Mission. Jesuit Education in Ranchi, India, after 1950
— Aditi Athreya, Rinald D’Souza, and Idesbald Goddeeris

The Jesuit Mission and Business Education in Contemporary India. The Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar
— Lourens van Haaften



The Colonial State, Protestant Missionaries and Indian Education, 1790-1858
— Parimala V. Rao

Tending Community and Country. Jesuit Colleges in Colonial India, 1835-1902
— Joseph Bara

Breaking the Colour Bar? Missionary Education in Australasian Colonies before World War II
— Gwendal Rannou

Forming Elites of the Church and of the Nation. Lutheran Resistance to Protestant Secondary Education in Madagascar in the 1920s and 1930s
— Ellen Vea Rosnes



The Africa Inland Mission and the Education for Girls among the Kipsigis of the Kericho and Bomet Counties, Kenya, 1900-1945
— Mary Chepkemoi

Femininity and Everyday Spaces at St. Stephen’s Girls’ College in Hong Kong, 1921-1941
— Meng Wang

Melanesian Children as European Wards. Representation and ‘Redemption’ of Colonial Children in Late-Nineteenth-Century Netherlands
— Marleen Reichgelt

The Gregorian Archives is hosting a series of online seminars led by researchers who consult the facility’s archival manuscripts.


The first seminar occurs on June 7, 2021. It will be led by Karie Schultz, with a presentation titled “Education and Confessional Identity: The Collegio Romano in the Seventeenth Century.” Archivist and Prof. Martín M. Morales and Dr. Ginevra Crosignani of Beda Pontifical College will also be present.


Schultz will present the preliminary findings from her consultation of archived lecture notes, manuscript treatises, and philosophical theses from the Collegio Romano to demonstrate the college’s crucial role in enabling seventeenth-century Catholic students to reaffirm their confessional identity and form religious communities that transcended national boundaries.


Further details in Italian and in English are available.