American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global

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9780691171623: American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global
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At the start of the nineteenth century, the Jesuits seemed fated for oblivion. Dissolved as a religious order in 1773 by one pope, they were restored in 1814 by another, but with only six hundred aged members. Yet a century later, the Jesuits numbered seventeen thousand men and were at the vanguard of the Catholic Church's expansion around the world. In the United States especially, foreign-born Jesuits built universities and schools, aided Catholic immigrants, and served as missionaries. This book traces this nineteenth-century resurgence, showing how Jesuits nurtured a Catholic modernity through a disciplined counterculture of parishes, schools, and associations.

Drawing on archival materials from three continents, American Jesuits and the World tracks Jesuits who left Europe for America and Jesuits who left the United States for missionary ventures across the Pacific. Each chapter tells the story of a revealing or controversial event, including the tarring and feathering of an exiled Swiss Jesuit in Maine, the efforts of French Jesuits in Louisiana to obtain Vatican approval of a miraculous healing, and the educational efforts of American Jesuits in Manila. These stories place the Jesuits at the center of the worldwide clash between Catholics and liberal nationalists, and reveal how the Jesuits not only revived their own order but made modern Catholicism more global.

The result is a major contribution to modern global history and an invaluable examination of the meaning of religious liberty in a pluralistic age.

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"Told through brilliantly rendered portraits, American Jesuits and the World describes how European Jesuits, unmoored by revolution in their home countries, fled to the United States and from their new home contributed to shaping a distinctly Catholic global modernity. This is not solely a book about a religious order, but a new history of American Catholicism. A stunning achievement."--Robert A. Orsi, author of History and Presence

"Global history is all the rage today, yet one of the most global institutions--the Catholic Church--has largely been ignored in this new wave of scholarship. In this timely and brilliantly argued book, McGreevy convincingly shows that in order to understand the modern world--and modern America--we need to come to terms with globe-trotting priests with a global vision. A lively and often surprising account."--Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History

"This is a fine book by an accomplished and well-recognized historian of Catholicism in the United States. McGreevy writes in clear and accessible prose, and he fills his narrative with fascinating characters that reveal a great deal about how Catholic immigrants dealt with the nation they adopted as their own."--John W. O'Malley, SJ, author of The Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present

"American Jesuits and the World will rightly be recognized as the history of American Jesuits--deftly conceived, superbly researched, and beautifully written."--Jon Butler, coauthor of Religion in American Life: A Short History

About the Author:

John T. McGreevy is dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. His books include Catholicism and American Freedom: A History. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.

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