American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global
The Jesuits were believed to be consigned to the dustbin in history when they were dissolved in 1773. Even when they were restored in 1814 many people thought they would never recover. But recover they did, and they grew to become one of the largest religious orders in the world. This book covers one small aspect of that tremendous growth and that is how the Jesuits fit into America. Especially an America that was heavily Protestant and intolerant towards Catholics. But the Jesuits carved out a niche for themselves in the New World and slowly built up their institutions – especially the one that they became famous for – education, both in terms of high schools and universities. When they became more established, the Jesuits from America then spread throughout the world, especially into Asia, to spread Catholicism and their order. It is a shame that this book just doesn’t quite work. I expected a narrative approach that went over how the Jesuits rose to such prominence. Instead, what we get is an episodic approach, looking at individual stories of the Jesuits and how these individuals overcame adversary. I was just expecting something different.
John T. McGreevy
Princeton University Press