News in Jesuit Studies

The following are notices of significant events related to the field of Jesuit Studies.
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On October 2, 2018, the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies welcomed Paul Grendler, eminent historian and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, to deliver the 2018 Feore Family Lecture on Jesuit Studies. Grendler’s lecture was titled “A Historian’s Journey to Jesuit Education.”

The event also celebrated Grendler’s scholarly contributions, with the Institute presenting him with the George E. Ganss, S.J., Award in Jesuit Studies. Previous lecturers and award recipients include: John O’Malley, S.J.; John Padberg, S.J.; and John McGreevy.

A native of Iowa, Professor Grendler received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has published ten books and 150 articles.  The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press 1540-1605 (1977) received the Marraro Prize of the American Catholic Historical Association.  Schooling in Renaissance Italy (1989) received the Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association.  The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (2002) also won the Marraro Prize.

Grendler was editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (6 volumes, 1999), which won the Dartmouth Medal of the American Library Association and the Roland H. Bainton Prize.  He was also editor-in-chief of Renaissance: An Encyclopedia for Students (4 volumes, 2004). He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies), the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the National Humanities Center, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and other organizations.

Grendler has been president of the Renaissance Society of America, which awarded him its lifetime achievement award in 2017, the Society for Italian Historical Studies, which awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and the American Catholic Historical Association.  He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2002.  In 2014 he received the Galileo Galilei International Prize presented annually to a non-Italian who has made major contributions to Italian scholarship.

More information about Grendler and the lecture series is available at the Institute’s website.

The newest edition of Cambridge University Press’s Camden Series of annotated primary source documents features “the continental travels of the Irish landowner Henry Piers and his conversion to the Catholic faith in Rome, during the heightened political and confession tensions of the 1590s.” The volume is edited and introduced by Brian Mac Cuarta, SJ, the director of the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.


Of particular interest in this document are the recollections that Piers has of his encounters with Jesuits in Rome and Spain. For example, as Mac Cuarta notes on the blog of the Royal Historical Society, Piers stayed at Rome’s English College, where, “under Jesuit guidance, he deepened his knowledge of the Catholic faith, and followed the seminary courses in philosophy.”


The volume of “Piers’s account,” Mac Cuarta continues, “adds vivid detail to our understanding of the febrile world of the Elizabethan Catholic exiles in late sixteenth-century Rome, where spies mingled with seminarians, and an appearance before the Inquisition was normal for many northern Europeans.”


Piers’s travels continued into Spain, “where he visited English Jesuit colleges in Valladolid and Seville,” hinting at connections he made through the Jesuit Robert Persons.


More information about Henry Piers’s Continental Travels, 1595–1598–including Mac Cuarta’s helpful introduction and bibliography–is available at the Cambridge University Press website.

Nadine Amsler, of the Goethe University Frankfurt, has published Jesuits and Matriarchs: Domestic Worship in Early Modern China with University of Washington Press.


The title is a rare investigation of “the domestic and devotional practices of women” in early modern China, according to the publishing, presenting “a rich body of evidence that demonstrates how Chinese households functioned as sites of evangelization, religious conflict, and indigenization of Christianity.” Jesuit missionaries, dealing more closely with the male elite, had only limited access to women and their ritual spaces. Amsler’s research vividly demonstrates the “networks of religious sociability and ritual communities among women as well as women’s remarkable acts of private piety” in seventeenth-century China.


The titles of the chapters appear below. More information about this important publication is available at the website of the University of Washington Press:



Clothes make the man: the Jesuits’ adoption of literati masculinity —

A kingdom of virtuous women: Jesuit descriptions of China’s moral topography —

A source of creative tension: literati Jesuits and priestly duties —

Strengthening the marital bond: the Christianization of Chinese marriage —

Praying for progeny: women and Catholic spiritual remedies —

Domestic communities: women’s congregations and communal piety —

Sharing genteel spirituality: the female networks of the Xus of Shanghai —

A widow and her virgins: the domestic convents of Hangzhou and Nanjing —

Fabrics of devotion: Catholic women’s pious patronage —

Women and gender in global Catholicism.