News in Jesuit Studies

The following are notices of significant events related to the field of Jesuit Studies.
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Applications are welcome at the second annual Jesuit Heritage Summer School, hosted by the University of Antwerp. This year’s program is entitled: “Jesuit Heritage: Sanctity, Hagiography, Iconography.”


Taking place between September 5 and 9, 2022, the Jesuit Heritage Summer School will focus on the themes of sanctity, hagiography, and iconography. Sessions will examine Ignatius, Xavier and “the founder saints of the Society” as well as the transformation of Western hagiography by the Jesuits through the writings of the Bollandists and the use use of Baroque art by the Society’s iconographic campaigns.


The program is intended for current graduate students (Master’s or doctoral) with interests in Jesuit studies, religious history, art history, and history in general. Applications are due by June 15.


More information is available at:



Jean Luc Enyegue, SJ, the director of the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, has published a new book with the James Currey imprint of Boydell & Brewer. Competing Catholicisms: The Jesuits, the Vatican & the Making of Postcolonial French Africa is based on Enyegue’s dissertation at Boston University.


In Competing Catholicisms, Enyegue explores the Vatican’s “indigenization agenda” of the mid-20th century as a means to “secure its survival in sub-Saharan Africa.” As the same time, within context of rising African nationalism and a decrease in its colonial empire, the French government was seeking to reassert its influence in the territory.


An electronic version of Competing Catholicisms is available, with a subscription, at JSTOR:


Enyegue’s book, according to its publisher, “book shows how the Vatican, French Jesuits, the rising Cameroonian indigenous clergy and leadership, and the first Cameroonian Jesuits competed for the Catholic evangelization of French Africa during the mid-20th century. In the mission field, they also competed with different Protestant groups, with whom they shared a common aim: to convert African traditional religionists and different groups of African Muslims to Christ, while containing the spread of anti-religious ideologies such as Communism. Tracing the rapid expansion of Christianity in Central and Western French Africa during the second half of the twentieth century, the author shows in this book how this competition for faith helped both build the church in French West Africa and Africanize the church alongside missionary Christianity in postcolonial Africa. He also explores the African reaction to this diverse and competing global agenda of Christianization, especially after Chad and Cameroon came together as part of a single Jesuit jurisdiction in 1973, and the way in which, despite differing interpretations of Catholicity which generated internal conflicts, Western Jesuits focus on popular masses and the poor, was able to contain the spread of Islam, counter the Chad’s persecution of Christians during the Cultural Revolution (1973-1975) and secure the survival of Christianity as a missionary movement in which Western missionaries worked alongside a rising African clergy and leadership.”


A citation for Competing Catholicisms appears in the Jesuit Online Bibliography. The Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa is an institutional partner in the database, and Enyegue is among the voluntary contributors to the project as well as the senior consultants to its executive editor.

On Wednesday, May 4, the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College in collaboration with US China Catholic Association hosts a public lecture by Anthony E. Clark. “From Matteo Ricci to Pope Francis: Jesuits and Christian Dialogue in China” will explore the Christian dialogue maintained by the Jesuits in China from 1582 to the present.


The lecture is free and open to the public, both in person and virtually. Registration is available at Full details appear below.


“From Matteo Ricci to Pope Francis: Jesuits and Christian Dialogue in China”

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 5:30pm to 6:30pm (EDT, USA)

McMullen Museum Conference Center, 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston College Brighton Campus

With a visit to the Ricci Institute at 4:30 p.m. @ 2125 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston College Brighton Campus.

Prof. Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. is the Edward B. Lindaman Endowed Chair at Whitworth University, the Distinguished Combe Trust Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London. He is regarded as one of the most influential scholars of China’s Catholic culture and history.

The Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits) has played an important role throughout the long history of religious, intellectual, and cultural exchange between China and the West. Matteo Ricci, one of the most famous missionaries to China, has been called both the “father of the China mission” and the “founder of Sino-Western relations.” Meanwhile, no-one in our present time has appeared more often in media reports in connection with the situation of China’s Christian population than Pope Francis, who signed the Vatican’s first official agreement with China’s government since it became a communist state in 1949. Though centuries apart, both Ricci and Francis are Jesuits who represent an astonishing continuity in how the Society of Jesus has pursued its religious and diplomatic mission to China. Dr. Clark will examine how Jesuits have maintained a Christian dialogue with China from 1582 until the present. As representatives of this uniquely Jesuit approach, Matteo Ricci and Pope Francis frame that exchange.