Scholarly article on topic 'Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay'

Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Academic research paper on topic "Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay"



Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay

Paul F. Grendler Professor of History Emeritus, University of Toronto 110 Fern Lane Chapel Hill, NC 27514

The article surveys recent scholarship on Jesuit schools and universities in Europe from 1548 to 1773. It focuses on the period after the death of Ignatius of Loyola because that is when crucial decisions that shaped Jesuit schools were made. Diego Lainez made the most important decision in 1560 when he ordered that all Jesuits would teach. The goal of Jesuit teaching went beyond saving souls: Jesuit schools had the secular purpose of improving civil society by educating boys to earn a living and to fill leadership positions. Much recent scholarship has focused on Jesuit mathematical scholarship and teaching while insufficient attention has been devoted to philosophy. The Jesuits oversaw and taught in boarding schools for noble boys with considerable success. However, their attempts to become professors in universities often met with strong resistance and sometimes failed. The Jesuits devoted considerable time and effort to catechetical instruction using a variety of catechisms and approaches across Europe and the rest of the world. A major scholarly lacuna is the lack of attention paid to the financing of Jesuit colleges and schools, largely because of its complexity. A mix of subsidies from ruler or city council, designated taxes, private bequests of property or income, donations, living annuities, and other devices supported Jesuit schools. Lawsuits were a byproduct.


Jesuits - schools - universities - Lainez - humanism - mathematics - boarding schools - catechesis - finances

This is an article on recent scholarship and research opportunities in the study of Jesuit education in Europe before 1773. The Jesuits created the first free


© KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2014 | DOI 10.1163/22141332-00101002

public education system that Europe or the rest of the world had seen. It was an international system and program with the same curriculum, texts, and pedagogy, whether the school was located in Portugal or Poland, Rome or Goa.

Despite the international scope of Jesuit education, all Jesuit history is local history, because the foundation and life of every single college and its school— about 700 schools of all kinds in Europe in 1749 and another 100 in the rest of the world—was a complicated story involving many actors. They included the Jesuits who founded a college; the Jesuit leadership in Rome; civil and ecclesiastical rulers, officials, and prominent citizens who wanted to bring the Jesuits into a town; opponents who fought to keep them out, to limit the school, and sometimes drove them out; the architects and artists who erected and decorated Jesuit churches, colleges, and schools; the generations of Jesuits who lived in a college and taught in its school; the literary, artistic, musical, and theatrical works produced by a college and its schools; and the boys and men who studied with the Jesuits. There have been many excellent studies of individual colleges, and many more will be written. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include very many studies of individual colleges in this essay. Hence, it will emphasize broad issues in Jesuit education. What follow are comments on some important new scholarship, musings about the historiography of Jesuit education, and suggestions for future research.

The Schools after Ignatius

Scholars need to direct more attention to Jesuit education after the era of the first Jesuits, defined by John W. O'Malley as 1540 to 1565, and especially to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A number of recent studies indicate that this is beginning to happen. The Mercurian Project. Forming Jesuit Culture 1573-1580, edited by Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. (Rome: IHSI, and St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2004) is a splendid example. It includes articles on schools in Italy, the various Jesuit colleges in Rome, and the Jesuits at the University of Ingolstadt. In addition, its broader articles on the Jesuits in France, the Netherlands, and the German-speaking parts of Europe provide a good deal of information on schools in these regions.1 What is needed next is a similar volume (or volumes, because it lasted so long) on the generalate of

1 Two other large collective volumes contain some articles on Jesuit education and related topics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: The Jesuits. Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts 1540-1773. Edited by John W. O'Malley, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steven J. Harris and T. Frank Kennedy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999; and The Jesuits II. Cultures,

Claudio Acquaviva (1581-1615) during which the schools continued to expand, the Ratio Studiorum was adopted, and Acquaviva imposed restrictions on philosophical and theological speculation in teaching. In the meantime, the long article of Ladislaus (László) Lukács including its statistics on the number of Jesuit schools and teachers through 1600 remains fundamental.2

What were the purposes of a Jesuit education? Earlier historians have seen them as confirming Catholics in their faith, winning over Protestants, and confuting heresy. By contrast, O'Malley wrote that the first Jesuits saw the purpose of Jesuit schools as saving souls, helping one's neighbor, and contributing to the common good, which included civil society (ad civitatis utilitatem) and the church. Jesuit schools contributed to the common good by educating future leaders who would take action to improve society.3

Subsequent Jesuits emphasized the goal of improving civil society and educating boys to take their place in that world even more strongly. In 1584, Fulvio Cardulo (1529-1591), who taught rhetoric at the Collegio Romano for many years, wrote that a Jesuit humanities education would instruct noble youths so that as adults they would be able to prove their worth in pulpits, senates, secretariats, and embassies. Cardulo argued that the prudence and eloquence taught in Jesuit schools would serve the Christian state (repubblica christiana). It would make their former students into good preachers, senators, secretaries, nuncios, ambassadors, and others who served the common good. He added more in this vein in a memorandum of 1590.4 In both cases he was not "marketing" Jesuit schools to parents, but addressing members of the committees drafting the Ratio Studiorum. He believed that they were over-emphasizing theology at the expense of the humanities. Cardulo's words were similar to the arguments favoring a humanities education based on the classics of ancient Rome and Greece voiced by famous Italian Renaissance pedagogical humanists such as Pier Paolo Vergerio (c.1368-1444), Vittorino Rambaldoni da Feltre (1373 or 1378-1446/7), and Guarino Guarini of Verona (1374-1460), except that Cardulo's statements were stronger and clearer.

Sciences, and the Arts 1540-1773. Edited by John W. O'Malley, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steven J. Harris, and T. Frank Kennedy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

2 Ladislaus Lukacs, "De origine collegiorum externorum deque controversiis circa eorum pau-pertatem obortis 1539-1608," in AHSI 29 (1960): 189-245; and 30 (1961): 61-89.

3 John W. O'Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1993), 208-216.

4 Fulvio Cardulo, "Discorso sopra gli studi di Humanita (1584)," in Mon. paed. VII, 128-129. He repeated much of this in 1590 (ibid., 130-131). On Cardulo see the short biography of Ladislaus Lukacs in DHCJ, 1:658-659.

Jesuits continued to endorse the civic and personal benefits of a Jesuit education. In about 1760, Father Tommaso Termanini (1730-1797) wrote a prolix treatise on Jesuit education. He had taught in several Jesuit schools in Italy, then served as a missionary in rural Lazio and Tuscany, and had published several works. He emphasized the importance of the lower school classes. Teaching the humanities to boys was of the greatest importance to students and parents, and to the state and Christian religion, he wrote. Those who learned letters would be able to support themselves and become prosperous. Teaching the humanities well was also of great importance to the state (umana repubblica), because the majority of positions that were so important to a well-ordered state and needed to be filled depended on a humanities education. Indeed, the lack of good letters was what caused the dark ages, which lasted from the year 800 to almost 1400, he judged. He asked rhetorically: if teaching letters to boys was so important to the state and to civil life (viver civile), how much more important was it to the Catholic religion and the Christian life?5 Termanini strongly urged his fellow Jesuit teachers to pay particular attention to boys from humble backgrounds, instead of lavishing attention on students with wealthy and noble parents. Much evidence documents that some Jesuits judged the success of their schools by the number of sons of the powerful who attended, and that they favored them in the classroom. Termanini urged the opposite. His treatise was never printed, possibly because the Jesuits had their hands full coping with attacks and expulsions in the 1760s.

As Cardulo and Termanini made explicit, a purpose of a Jesuit education was to educate boys so that they would have the skills to fill civic positions and earn a living. They would then be in a position to serve the common good.

5 "E di sommo interesse non solo degli scolari, e dei loro genitori, ma ancora della Repubblica civile, e della cristiana religione l'istruir bene i fanciulli nelle lettere. L'interesse degli scolari, e dei loro genitori è patente, perché la massima parte di loro dall'apprender bene le lettere aspetta, e spera il proprio mantenimento, ed avvanzamento nelle temporali prosperità. Ma quello stesso che è sommo interesse degli scolari, e dei parenti loro et anche sommo interesse dell'umana repubblica: Imperocchè una massima parte degli impieghi, che la repubblica dispensa, e che sono necessari al buon regolarmento [...] e felicità dei tenebrosi tempi, che corsero, cominciando dall'anno di nostra salute 800 fino quasi al 1400, per mancanza di buone lettere nel mondo, è ben nota a tutti quelli, che sono pratici della storia. [...] Che se l'istruire i fanciulli nelle lettere è di tanto interesse per la Repubblica umana quanto al viver civile; di quanto maggior interesse è alla Religione Cattolica quanto al vivere cristiano?" Treatise on teaching entitled "Della qualità che formano la perfettione propria dei maestri delle scuole inferiori di questo Istituto," by Tommaso Termanini in ARSI, Opp. NN., 459, 1-2, 3 (each recto and verso manuscript page is numbered). The prolix treatise fills Opp. NN. 458 and 459. For Termanini, see the short biography of Mario Zanfredini in DHCJ, 4:3779.

Termanini's comments also point out that the Jesuits were aware that the vast majority of their pupils were not the sons of wealthy nobles, but were middle-class and lower-class boys who would have to support themselves through gainful employment. Cardulo and Termanini did not ignore the first two goals of a Jesuit education (saving souls and helping neighbors). Instead, they saw the three goals of Jesuit education as a unity. Jesuit acceptance of secular educational goals, including enabling boys to earn a living, paralleled the Society's increasing involvement in secular life as a whole.

The statements of Cardulo and Termanini, and the research of O'Malley, also emphasize that Italian Renaissance humanism strongly influenced the Jesuit curriculum and educational policies. Without acknowledgment, and perhaps unwittingly, the Jesuits accepted the curriculum and goals of Italian Renaissance humanistic education formulated by Vergerio, Vittorino da Feltre, and Guarini, and put into practice by tens of thousands of humanist school masters in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere during the sixteenth century. This point of view modifies traditional historiography which sees the modus parisiensis (the style of Paris) as the formative and dominating influence on Jesuit education.6

The modus parisiensis meant teaching practices: graduated progress in learning texts characterized by numerous drills, exercises, and disputations patterned on classroom practices used in the Paris colleges at which Ignatius Loyola and almost all the other original Jesuits studied. Of course, the modus parisiensis influenced Jesuit classroom practice, but it was not the full story. The content of Jesuit humanities education consisted of texts from the ancient world in Latin and, to a lesser extent, Greek, that fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance pedagogical humanists had moved into the schoolroom. The publication of the seven volumes with over 5,200 pages of documents of the Monumenta Paedagogica Societatis Iesu (1965-1992) gathered and edited by Lukacs provide ample support for this statement. Scholars are just beginning to explore the rich material in the Monumenta Paedagogica.

Perhaps scholars have placed too much emphasis on the origins of Jesuit schools and the role of Ignatius Loyola. He was a brilliant opportunist who transformed the Society into a teaching order. He founded schools with shaky finances and not enough teachers, especially good teachers. Ignatius trusted in God and relied on frayed shoestrings, and some of them broke. Scholars have also paid a great deal of attention to what Ignatius and Juan Alfonso de Polanco wrote about schools in the Constitutions. Nevertheless, when Ignatius died in

6 Gabriel Codina Mir, Aux sources de la pédagogie des Jésuites. Le 'Modus Parisiensis' (Rome: IHSI, 1968) is the standard work.

1556 the Jesuits had only about thirty-three schools across Europe and significant problems.

His successor, Diego Lainez (1512-1565), had to deal with the severe shortage of teachers that Ignatius bequeathed to the Society. Lainez found the solution: he elevated the schools to the most important ministry, and he decreed that every Jesuit must teach at some point in his career. On 10 August 1560, Polanco, writing for Lainez, sent a letter to all the superiors of the Society. He began by praising teaching. He then wrote, "There are two ways of helping our neighbors: one is in the colleges by the education of youth in letters, learning, and Christian life. The other is to help all universally through preaching, [hearing] confessions, and all the other means in accord with our customary way of proceeding." This was extraordinary and unprecedented. Lainez told the members of the Society that the ministry of the schools was as important as all the other ministries combined. Lainez then explained how his directive would be implemented: every Jesuit must ordinarily "bear part of the burden of the schools," that is, every Jesuit would teach at some point in his career, with a handful of exceptions. Most Jesuits would teach before beginning philosophical studies, some would teach after completing philosophical studies, and still others after completing theological studies.7

Lainez's decree determined the careers of almost all future Jesuits. In the two centuries between 1560 and 1773, practically every Jesuit taught three to five years in the lower school (classes in grammar, humanity, and/or rhetoric). This can be easily verified by checking the biographies in the DHCJ. The vast majority did so after completing three years of philosophical studies. After teaching in the lower school, some Jesuits moved to other ministries and did not return to teaching. A great many Jesuits then did their theological studies, were ordained, and then taught philosophy (metaphysics, natural philosophy, logic) and/or mathematics. A small number of Jesuits taught at all three levels: in the lower school, philosophy, and theology. O'Malley is the first scholar to emphasize the immense significance of Lainez's decision.8

As more and more young men became Jesuits, and every new Jesuit taught for at least three to five years, the decree solved the teaching shortage. Just as

7 "Essendovi generalmente parlando due maniere di aiutar li prossimi, una nelli collegii con la institutione della gioventù nelle lettere, dottrina et vita xpiana, l'altra con aiutar universalmente tutti con le prediche et confessioni, et altri mezzi conformi al nostro solito modo di procedere. [...] che tutti ordinariamente doveranno portar parte del peso delle schuole." Letter to the superiors of the Society, 10 August 1560, Rome, written by Polanco for Lainez, in Laínez 5:165-167, quotes on 165 and 166. It is also printed in Mon. paed., III, 304-306.

8 O'Malley, The FirstJesuits, 200-201. Lukács noted it but did not realize its importance.

importantly, this career path enabled the Jesuit leadership to solidify the Society as a teaching order and to plan ahead. By counting the number of novices and knowing on the basis of past experience approximately what percentage of them would complete the novitiate and their studies, they could roughly predict how many teachers would be available. Hence, when a city or prince asked them to establish a new school, or an existing school wanted to teach more classes, the Jesuit leadership could estimate if it had enough teachers, even though such calculations could never be precise. For scholars, the point is that, although Ignatius decided to emphasize the schools, his successors made far-reaching decisions on teachers, and the size, number, structure, curriculum, and culture of the schools.

Once the Society adopted the Ratio Studiorum of 1599, it had a fixed curriculum and detailed pedagogical methods to follow. However, there were changes and developments that those who drafted the Ratio Studiorum did not foresee and might not have countenanced. For example, the Ratio said very little about the teaching of mathematics. It told teachers to teach Euclid's Elements, "something about geography and the Sphere or about those things that are usually of interest."9 (The "Sphere" was De sphaera, written about 1220 by Johannes de Sacrobosco (John of Holywood, d 1244 or 1250). It summarized Ptolemaic astronomy and was the most used and commented on astronomical work in medieval and Renaissance universities.) Thus, the Ratio told Jesuit mathematicians to teach three things: Euclid, astronomy, and "things [...] of interest."

Recent scholarship has underscored the fact that Jesuit mathematicians taught and wrote about a wide variety of practical applications of mathematical principles. One "thing of interest" was military architecture. Jesuit mathematicians in Italy, France, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Paraguay, the Philippines, and elsewhere taught the application of mathematical principles to fortresses. They advised governments on the building of fortresses, and wrote at least sixty-four treatises on general military matters in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.10 Another practical subject of great

9 The Ratio Studiorum. The Official Plan for Jesuit Education. Translated and Annotated by Claude Pavur (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2005), paragraph 239, page 109.

10 See Denis De Lucca, Jesuits and Fortifications. The Contribution of the Jesuits to Military Architecture in the Baroque Age (Leiden: Brill, 2012), especially 348-352 for a list of printed and manuscript treatises on military matters written by Jesuit authors; and Geert Vanpaemel, "Jesuit Mathematicians, Military Architecture and the Transmission of Technical Knowledge," in The Jesuits of the Low Countries: Identity and Impact (1540-1773). Proceedings of the International Congress at the Faculty of Theology and Religious

interest to governments was hydraulics. State and city governments in northeastern Italy whose lands were subject to the ravages of the Po River sought out Jesuit mathematicians for advice on flood control projects including building dams, channeling rivers, draining swamps, and reclaiming land, all of which involved hydraulic engineering. They also wanted the Jesuits to teach this material to students and engineers employed by governments.!!

Historians have done an excellent job describing the mathematical instruction and multifaceted treatises of Jesuit mathematicians.!2 Jesuit mathematicians taught practical mathematical skills because city fathers, princes, and parents wanted them to do so. This enabled the Jesuits to contribute to the improvement of society, to spread mathematical knowledge among the public, and to win the approval and support of the powerful. One also wonders to what extent the prohibition against teaching heliocentricism as a physical reality might have encouraged Jesuits to turn their talents in less controversial directions. The extent to which Jesuit mathematicians may have tacitly, but not openly, concluded that Copernicus, Galilei, and Kepler were correct is difficult to determine. For example, a recent volume of studies on the distinguished Jesuit mathematician Giambattista Riccioli (1598-1671) contains two articles that reach opposed conclusions: that he was a secret Copernican but did not write about it because he worried about the impact on Catholic belief, and that he doubted heliocentricism.13

Studies, KU Leuven (3-5 December 2009). Edited by Rob Faesen and Leo Kenis (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 109-128.

11 See Alessandra Fiocca and Luigi Pepe, "La lettura di matematica nell'Università di Ferrara dal 1602 al 1771," in Annali dell'Università di Ferrara, Sezione 7, Scienze matematiche 31 (1985): 125-167; Fiocca, "Ferrara e i gesuiti periti in materia d'acque," in Gesuiti e università in Europa (secoliXVI-XVIII). Atti del Convegno di studi, Parma 13-15 dicembre 2001. A cura di Gian Paolo Brizzi e Roberto Greci (Bologna: CLUEB, 2002), 339-359; and Fiocca, "I gesuiti e il governo delle acque nel basso Po nel secolo XVII," in Giambattista Riccioli e il merito scientifico deigesuiti nell'etàBarocca, a cura di Maria Teresa Borgato (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2002), 319-370.

12 For Italian Jesuit mathematicians see the many articles of Ugo Baldini, some of which are collected in his Legem impone subactis. Studi sufilosofia e scienza dei Gesuiti in Italia 15401632 (Roma: Bulzoni Editore, 1992), and Saggisulla cultura della Compagnia di Gesù (secoli XVI-XVIII) (Padova: CLEUP Editrice, 2000). For French Jesuit mathematicians, see the splendid work of Antonella Romano, La Contre-Réforme mathématique. Constitution et diffusion d'une culture mathématique jésuite à la Renaissance (Rome: École Française de Rome, 1999).

13 See the articles of Alfredo Dinis, "Was Riccioli a Secret Copernican?," 49-77, and Juan Casanovas, "Riccioli e l'astronomia dopo Keplero," in Giambattista Riccioli, 119-131.

In contrast to the extensive scholarship on Jesuit mathematics, less new scholarship has appeared on Jesuit teaching and writing in natural philosophy and the rest of the philosophical curriculum. A major exception is Marcus Hellyer, Catholic Physics. Jesuit Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005). This is a comprehensive study of how German Jesuits taught and wrote on the middle subject in the Jesuit philosophical trio of logic, natural philosophy, and metaphysics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Hellyer demonstrates that German Jesuits transformed a subject heavily based on Aristotle into an experimental science that used mathematical techniques. Along the way the book offers much information about Jesuit schools in Germany. Another is Paul Blum's collection of studies which features many Jesuit philosophers, including Benito Perera (Pererius, 1535-1610), Honoré Fabri (1608-88), and oth-ers.14 A third recent volume provides new information on the origin, development, and use of the famous Coimbra commentaries. These were volumes of texts and commentaries on the works of Aristotle that a group of Jesuits at the college at Coimbra prepared and published between 1592 and 1598, with the volume on logic appearing in 1606. They were often reprinted, because many Jesuit and non-Jesuit schools and universities across Europe used them until the middle of the seventeenth century and sometimes beyond.15

The vast majority of Jesuit schools taught moral theology or cases of conscience (casuistry); the two were not quite identical, according to the Ratio. They taught cases of conscience as a kind of extension class intended for local clergymen, not as part of the curriculum intended for the regular enrollment of boys and young men. The Jesuits wrote extensively on the subject. Two recent studies of Jesuit moral theology focusing on tutiorism, probabilism, and probabiliorism view Jesuit moral theology in broader and more complex rhetorical and political contexts than past studies.16

The most interesting deviation from the first Jesuit schools came in the form of boarding schools for nobles. Ignatius and the other early Jesuits had little enthusiasm for boarding schools, but allowed them for seminaries and

14 Paul Richard Blum, Studies on Early Modern Aristotelianism (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012).

15 Cristiano Casalini, Aristotele a Coimbra. Il Cursus Conimbricensis e l'educazione nel Collegium Artium. Preface by John O'Malley (Rome: Anicia, 2012).

16 Robert Aleksander Maryks, Saint Cicero and theJesuits. The Influence of the Liberal Arts on the Adoption of Moral Probabilism (Aldershot, Hampshire, England, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate; and Rome: IHSI, 2008); and Jean-Pascal Gay, Jesuit Civil Wars. Theology, Politics and Government under Tirso González (1687-1705) (Farnham, Surrey, England, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012).

students in spiritual danger, such as boys living in Protestant lands. Yet Jesuit boarding schools for secular youths of noble birth, and a limited number of schools for boys from the citizen class, became numerous and extremely important in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The boarding schools added lessons in riding, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, fencing, designing fortifications, and vernacular languages to the curriculum of the Ratio. They also produced much theater. Numerous employees and servants provided for the needs and wishes of students. Although the curriculum of the Ratio was still free of charge, the parents of noble boarders paid high fees for lessons in the other disciplines taught by non-Jesuits, plus room, board, services, servants, and the privilege of attending a noble school.

Ranuccio I Farnese (r.1569-1622), duke of Parma and Piacenza, founded the Parma school for nobles in 1601 and entrusted it to the Jesuits in 1604. At its height in 1700, it enrolled 285 young nobles, and twenty-three per cent of its enrollment for the years 1601 through 1770 came from beyond Italy. The new study of Miriam Turrini uses diaries for the years 1710 to 1713 and her own perceptive analysis in order to describe the daily life and study inside the schools.^ Life inside the school was surprisingly austere and rigorous despite the servants and the pleasures of riding and hunting. In addition to the traditional Latin schooling and the other skills mentioned above, the Parma school taught law, on the grounds that legal studies were useful and necessary for good public and private government, and because legal studies taught students how to live a regulated life. Overall, the Jesuits at the Parma school sought to teach Christian piety, civil customs, the skills appropriate to a Christian knight (a term used by the school), solid traditional education, and practical leadership skills. The noble boarding schools also generated an educational culture marked by elite self-identification, noble bonding, learning the rules of civil life, an ethic of responsibility, many recreations and activities, and high academic achievement. The Jesuit noble boarding schools prefigured English public schools, except that the Jesuits prized learning to a greater extent. And if a young noble was not academically gifted, the noble boarding school provided tutoring.

The Jesuits spent considerable energy and resources educating nobles. But it should not be forgotten that the vast majority of their students were not

17 Miriam Turrini, Il 'giovin signore' in collegio. Igesuiti e l'educazione della nobiltà nelle con-suetudini del collegio ducale diParma (Bologna: CLUEB, 2006), a book that is a pleasure to read because of its clear presentation and meticulous documentation.

nobles. The Jesuit school at Munich (1559 to 1773) is one of the very few schools for which matriculation lists have survived and they indicate the status and occupation of fathers of students. Using the lists and his extensive additional research on the careers of students, Andreas Kraus has demonstrated that between 1601 and 1776, 4.9 % of the students came from noble families, and another 11.9 % came from families of civic office holders or reached that rank.18 Hence, 83.2 % of the students came from the rest of society. Free education was very important to these students and their parents.


The first Jesuit school, founded in Messina in 1548, has received considerable scholarly attention over the years but nothing comparable to the monograph of Daniela Novarese, which is based on a wealth of archival and other sources.19 Three strong themes that have not previously received sufficient emphasis emerge from her study. First, both the Jesuits and the city government of Messina expected that the school would quickly become a university. Ignatius especially wanted Messina to be the first Jesuit university. Second, both the Jesuits and the Messina city council sought full control over the proposed university. Third, they fought tenaciously over this issue and finances without reaching agreement. In the end, the city created the University of Messina in 1597 without the Jesuits.

The failure to turn the Messina school into a Jesuit university introduces a larger topic, the numerous efforts of the Jesuits to enter existing universities as professors or to establish new universities in which the Jesuits would hold professorships in theology, moral theology or cases of conscience, metaphysics, natural philosophy, logic, mathematics, and the humanities. On the other hand, according to their enemies, the Jesuits forced their way into universities, seized control of faculties of arts and theology, and evicted non-Jesuit professors.

18 Andreas Kraus, Das Gymnasium der Jesuiten zu München (1557-1773). Staatspolitische, Sozialgeschichtliche, Behördengeschichtliche und Kulturgeschichtliche Bedeutung (Munich: Beck, 2001). See page 18 for a succinct table. The book as a whole provides a vast amount of information on the students and much analysis.

19 Daniela Novarese, Istituzionipolitiche e studi di diritto fra Cinque e Seicento. IlMessanense Studium Generale tra politica gesuitica e istanze egemoniche cittadine (Milano: A Giuffre, 1994).

In 1981, Karl Hengst published an excellent comprehensive study of all the Jesuit universities, plus universities controlled by the prince or state in which the Jesuits did all or some of the teaching of philosophy and theology, in the Jesuit provinces of Upper Germany and the Rhineland from 1549 to 1648.20 They were a diverse lot, beginning with the Jesuit universities of Dillingen (founded in 1563), Paderborn (1616), Molsheim (1618), Osnabrück (1632), and Bamburg (1648) completely ruled and staffed by the Jesuits. However, these Jesuit universities did not teach civil law or medicine. Then there were the universities of Trier, Mainz, Würzburg, Heidelburg (from 1629), and Münster, in which the Jesuits controlled the faculties of philosophy and theology, meaning that they taught all the courses in these subjects, but no others. These universities had lay professors who taught a limited amount of law and medicine. Then there was the University of Ingolstadt at which, after a bitter struggle and the support of the Bavarian dukes, the Jesuits won control of the faculties of philosophy and theology.21 The Jesuits controlled the faculty of philosophy at Freiburg im Breisgau and three of their members taught theology there, although they did not control the faculty of theology. Finally, one or two Jesuits taught theology at the older and well-established universities of Erfurt and Cologne.

Whenever the Jesuits joined an existing university, battles raged. For example, the Jesuits arrived in the University of Leuven in 1542 and began teaching theology almost immediately. They were soon quarreling with the other theologians of the faculty of theology over Molinism, Jansenism, attracting students, and much else. The mutual denunciations and attempted purges by one side or the other continued until 1773.22

While the Jesuits had considerable university success in northern Europe and Spain, they had little success in Italy. The Jesuits were unable to enter any of the pre-existing Italian universities, with the exception of an occasional professorship, usually in mathematics. So they allied themselves with two princes

20 Karl Hengst, Jesuiten an Universitäten und Jesuitenuniversitäten. Zur Geschichte der Universitäten in der Oberdeutschen und Rheinischen Provinz der Gesellschaft Jesu im Zeitalter der Konfessionellen Auseinandersetzung (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1981). There is a diagram on p. 298 that summarizes the different kinds of universities. But one needs to read the book as a whole, including the many documents and references to primary and secondary sources, to understand the complexity of the picture.

21 Susan Spruell Mobley, "The Jesuits at the University of Ingolstadt," in The Mercurian Project, 213-248.

22 Jan Roegiers, "Awkward Neighbours: The Leuven Faculty of Theology and the Jesuit College (1542-1773)," in The Jesuits of the Low Countries, 153-175.

and one city council to found new joint civic and Jesuit universities: the University of Parma in 1601, the University of Mantua in 1625, and the tiny University of Fermo founded in 1585 which added Jesuit professors of theology and philosophy in 1609. In all three, the Jesuits filled only about one-third of the professorships (in theology, philosophy, mathematics, and the humanities) and had limited authority. The prince or city council appointed the far more numerous, prestigious, and better paid professors of law and medicine, and exercised overall authority over the university. Mantua, the most intellectually innovative of the three, survived for only four years, a victim of war, plague, and the brutal sack of the city in 1630, while Fermo lasted until the Napoleonic period.23 Only the University of Parma survives today, as a state university without any Jesuits. The Jesuits had some successes in founding new universities and entering pre-existing universities. They also had many failures, in which strong opposition thwarted the combined efforts of prince and Society to found a new university.24

Once in a while the opposition between Jesuit and Protestant universities eased and students profited. Simona Negruzzo has examined the small Jesuit University of Molsheim in Alsace from an unusual perspective—its relationship with the famous Lutheran Gymnasium (later University) of Strasbourg founded by Jacob Sturm (1507-1589) in 1538. Located only twenty kilometers apart but separated by religious denomination, they competed for students, both of them using theater and music to attract them. In 1681, Strasbourg surrendered to Louis XIV and became part of the kingdom of France. However, Protestants retained the freedom to worship and the University of Strasbourg lived on. At this time, the smaller Jesuit University of Molsheim moved to Strasbourg to become the Jesuit University of Strasbourg with a royal charter. Some students then attended both institutions. For example, a Catholic might

23 For Parma, see Gian Paolo Brizzi, Alessandro D'Alessandro, and Alessandra Del Fante, Universita, Principe, Gesuiti: La politica farnesiana dell'istruzione a Parma e Piacenza (15451622) (Rome: Bulzoni, 1980); for Mantua, see Paul F. Grendler, The University of Mantua, the Gonzaga & and the Jesuits, 1584-1630 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009); for Fermo see L'antica Universita di Fermo. Testo di Gian Paolo Brizzi. Schedatura a cura di Maria Luisi Accorsi. Fotografíe di Alberto Lagomaggiore (Fermo: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Fermo and Carifermo, 2001).

24 See Paul F. Grendler, "The Attempt to Found a Civic and Jesuit University in Chambéry, 1679-1681," in Losjesuitas. Religión, política y educación (siglos XVI-XVIII). Ed. José Martínez Millán, Henar Pizarro Llorente, and Esther Jiménez Pablo. 3 vols. (Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2012), 1:407-432.

study philosophy at the Jesuit university and then law or medicine at the Lutheran university. A French revolutionary decree of 1793 suppressed both institutions. 25


Although the Jesuits founded and taught in universities, they were also devoted to the simplest form of education, teaching the catechism to children and unlearned adults. Not enough scholarly attention has been paid to Jesuit catechetical instruction, even though Ignatius and the first Jesuits strongly emphasized it and subsequent Jesuits maintained that commitment. Practically every triennial or visitation report from a Jesuit college in Europe mentions that the Jesuits taught the catechism. They also oversaw lay men and women who served as catechetical instructors, and they sometimes persuaded students in Jesuit colleges to teach Christian doctrine as well. A recent article documents the importance of Jesuit catechetical instruction in Valladolid.26

However, Jesuit catechesis was not uniform across the Society. Although basic Catholic doctrine was the same, the author of a catechism had to make decisions that brought forward subtle but meaningful differences in approach and emphasis. What should be taught first? Which attribute of God should be highlighted? How should the believer reach out to God? Which sacraments should be given priority? How much emphasis should be given to the Ten Commandments and confession? Which prayers should be included? How much should the intercession of Mary and the saints be emphasized? Ignatius Loyola emphasized confession in his catechesis.27 And past scholarship has accentuated the influence throughout the Society of the three catechisms of Peter Canisius, who stressed the Ten Commandments.28

25 Simona Negruzzo, L'armonia contesa. Identita ed educazione nell'Alsazia moderna (Bologna: II Mulino, 2005).

26 Íñigo Arranz Roa, "Educar a rudos y pobres: La Casa de los Niños del Amor de Dios (Valladolid, 1595-1860)," in Los Jesuitas, 1:491-526.

27 This is a tentative statement, because Ignatius never wrote a catechism. The only account of his catechetical instruction is a combination of verbatim transcription of what Ignatius said and summary notes of his catechetical teaching prepared by an anonymous listener about 1541. Epp. ign, XII, 666-673. See also O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 115-126.

28 They were the large Summa doctrinae christianae (first published in 1555) for priests and teachers; the middle-sized Parvus catechismus catholicorum (1559), about 100 pages

However, catechisms written by Jesuits from different lands and in different languages tended to reflect local catechetical traditions. Canisius's catechisms were widely used in German speaking lands but not everywhere else. Even though Canisius was a Dutchman, the Jesuits of the Netherlands made little use of his catechisms and never printed them. Instead they wrote and used their own vernacular catechisms, some of which generated controversy. 29 In Italy, the Dottrina christiana breve per insegnare in pochi giorni, & per interrogazioni a modo di dialogo, fra il Maestro e Discepolo (first printing 1567 or 1568) of Diego Ledesma (1524-1575), who was influenced by pre-Jesuit Italian catechetical traditions, was the dominant Italian Jesuit catechism until the end of the century. Then Robert Bellarmine's Dottrina cristiana breve (1597), intended for children, and an expanded version in 1598, replaced it in Italy.30 In Spain, the Practica del catecismo romano, y doctrina Christiana (1640) of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595-1658) became the most popular catechism, in part because "it was written for the purpose of being read out loud during Mass and other liturgical celebrations, and could even be used in the place of a homily."3i Other Jesuit catechisms written in European vernacular languages followed and Jesuit catechisms written for Christians in Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania had to take into account cultural differences in order to be effective.


Moving from catechesis to money is an abrupt change, even though both were very important and have been neglected by historians. Scholars have devoted little attention to the finances of Jesuit schools because the financial history of

and intended for adolescents; and the Catechismus minimus (1559), about sixteen pages and intended for children.

29 See Joep van Gennip, "Cornelius Hazart S. J. and the Jansenist Controversies, 1682-1690," in The Jesuits of the Low Countries, 177-196, an excellent article that ranges beyond Hazart and his catechisms.

30 See Miriam Turrini, "'Riformare il mondo a vera vita christiana': le scuole di catechismo nell'Italia del Cinquecento," Annali dell'Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento 8 (1982), 407-489; and Grendler, "Fifteenth-Century Catechesis, the Schools of Christian Doctrine, and the Jesuits," in Prima di Carlo Borromeo. Istituzioni, religione e societa agli inizi del Cinquecento. A cura di Alberto Rocca e Paola Vismara. Studia Borromaica, 26 (Milan: Biblioteca Ambrosiana, and Rome: Bulzoni, 2012), 291-319.

31 D. Scott Hendrickson, "A Jesuit Catechism: Aspects of Discernment in Juan Eusebio Nieremberg's Doctrina Christiana (1640)," in Los Jesuitas, 2:1221-1236, quote on page 1221.

even a tiny college was immensely complicated and hard to follow. In the early years of the Society, the Jesuits sometimes angled to be invited to establish a college in a city by sending a brilliant Jesuit to preach there, or Ignatius spoke directly to a prince or imperial governor. During the vicariate and gen-eralate of Diego Lainez (1556-1565) the Jesuits made a strong effort to establish colleges, schools, and universities in central and eastern Europe, and even in France, in the hope of strengthening Catholics in their faith and winning over some Protestants.32 But later Jesuits waited for offers. A prince, city council, individual, or group of potential donors asked the Jesuits to establish a college with a school. Then negotiations began. The Jesuits insisted on legal guarantees, because they had learned the hard way not to trust promises.

The Jesuits needed a church for their exclusive use, a college building to serve as living quarters, and another building for classrooms. Most importantly, they had to have continuous and guaranteed financial support. If the Jesuits were to receive payment in exchange for teaching, the Jesuits and the city or prince had to sign what the Jesuits called "a foundation contract." It stipulated the amount of money to be received, the building(s) to be assigned to them and often renovated, how many Jesuits would teach, and exactly which classes would be taught. The money might come from an annual subsidy from the city, the proceeds of a designated tax, a bequest, a gift of property, or a combination of all four. Foundation contracts also listed the conditions for dissolution, such as failure of the Jesuits to provide the required number of teachers and classes, or failure of the city or prince to provide the contracted amount of money. The papacy had to designate a church for Jesuit use and, often, to provide a benefice for a displaced pastor. Once the contract was signed and the money and/or property was received, the local Jesuit college had to make the property produce the needed income, through rents, farm produce, interest-bearing investments, or other means.

After a college and school opened, much additional money was needed. This usually came in the form of bequests, land, or jewels given to the Jesuits by pious members of the town grateful for Jesuit ministries. The Jesuits often made financial arrangements with current and future donors: the Jesuits provided annuities to donors in exchange for a legacy, which came to the Jesuits immediately or when the benefactor died. The Jesuits often discovered that bequests entangled them in lengthy legal disputes, or that a gift of land did not

32 See Paul F. Grendler, "Lainez and the Schools of Europe," in Diego Lainez (1512-1565) and his Generalate. Jesuit with Jewish Roots, Close Confident of Ignatius of Loyola, Preeminent Theologian of the Council of Trent. Edited by Paul Oberholzer (Rome: IHSI, forthcoming).

yield the expected income because it was in a flood plain or came with obligations that the donor had neglected to mention. Miquel Batllori did pioneering work on the finances of the Collegio Romano and the Jesuit colleges at Messina, Sassari, Paris, Vienna, Madrid, Ratisbon, and Osnabrück.33 And Grendler has described the complicated financial and other negotiations that brought the Jesuits to Mantua in 1584 and produced a university in 162534 A great deal more needs to be done.

Jesuit college chronicles, when they exist, offer a means for studying college finances. Two recent publications offer examples. Giuseppe Gorzoni (16371713) was a Jesuit who spent the last eighteen years of his life at the Jesuit college at Mantua administering the properties and investments that produced the income that supported rural missions in the Mantovano. He wrote a chronicle of the history of the college which abounds in financial information, stories of donors and lawsuits, and insights. He concluded that the college never profited from living annuities, which led to labyrinthine legal difficulties. Indeed, reading his chronicle gives the impression that the Mantua Jesuits were not particularly astute businessmen. A similar diary for the Jesuit college at Paderborn for the years 1580 to 1659 provides information on bequests and other financial matters35 Nevertheless, some Jesuit colleges became quite wealthy, thanks to many bequests received over a period of more than a century. An inventory of the properties and other wealth of the Jesuit college at Ellwangen (near Stuttgart, in the current state of Baden-Württemberg), made in 1773 and 1774 reveals that this college, which was not particularly large or distinguished, was quite wealthy36

The Jesuits knew that accurate financial records were crucial. Father Ludovico Flori (1579 or 1580-1647), who spent most of his career as a Jesuit in Palermo, provided some help. In 1636, he published a comprehensive accounting manual in order to teach his fellow Jesuits how to keep good financial records: Trattato del modo di tenere il libro doppio domestico col suo essemplare composto dal Padre Lodovico Flori della Compagnia di Giesu. Per uso delle case,

33 Miquel Batllori, Cultura efinanze. Studi sulla storia dei Gesuiti da S. Ignazio al Vaticano II (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1983), 121-174.

34 Grendler, The University ofMantua, 29-32, 75-79.

35 Johannes Sander, S.J., Geschichte des Jesuitenkollegs in Paderborn 1580-1659. Textedition und Übersetzung von Gerhard Ludwig Kneissler. Mit Anmerkungen versehen von Friedrich Gerhard Hohmann (Paderborn: Bonifatius, 2011).

36 Immo Eberl, "Die Umwandlung des Jesuitengymnasiums in Ellwangen in das Collegium Ignatianum und dessen Tätigkeit bis zur Säkularisation," in Jesuiten in Ellwangen. Oberdeutsche Provinz, Wallfahrt, Weltmission. Ed. Franz Brendle, Fabian Fechner, Anselm Grupp (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 2012), 61-109, at 83-109.

e collegii della medesima Compagnia nel Regno di Sicilia (In Palermo, per Decio Cirillo, 1636).37 It was reprinted at least once, in Palermo in 1677.38 There is now a modern critical edition with a good analysis of the work and Flori's career.

After the Suppression

The European Jesuit schools all closed between the first suppression in Portugal in 1759 and the papal suppression of 1773. Governments seized the buildings, properties, and financial assets of Jesuits, then sold them, gave them away, or put them to non-educational purposes. The Austrian empire created state schools in the former Jesuit buildings, using confiscated Jesuit wealth to support them. Although the Society of Jesus was universally reinstated in 1814, only a small number of the previous schools in continental Europe were restored, because governments continued to exile or suppress the Society. A national government or monarch permitted the Society to resume operations within its borders, the Society started a handful of schools, then that same government or a subsequent one expelled the Society. After a few years, the cycle repeated itself. This happened around 1820, 1830, in 1848, the 1870s, and later. The fate of the Collegio Romano was typical. Pope Leo XII returned the Collegio Romano building to the Jesuits in 1824 and they re-opened their school. But the new kingdom of Italy closed it for good in 1870 and seized its substantial library39

The Society made two major changes in educational policy in the nineteenth century. It revised the Ratio Studiorum and promulgated it on a trial basis in 1832. The revised version made a number of changes, including recommending the teaching of vernacular languages and paying more attention to the natural sciences, history, and geography. The other change came in 1833 when Pope Gregory XVI authorized the Jesuits to charge students for tuition.

37 See Giovanna Centorrino, Il trattato di Padre Ludovico Flori. Analisi del contenuto e traspo-sizione in linguaggio contemporaneo (Rome: Aracne, 2008). It consists of an extensive introduction and analysis, a reproduction of the 1636 edition, and a side-by-side modern Italian version of the text.

38 Same title, Palermo, per il Lazzare Varese, 1677. There is a copy in the Rare Book Room of the Columbia University Libraries.

39 For brief summaries, see William V. Bangert, S.J., A History of the Society of Jesus. Second edition: Revised and Updated (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1986), 431-471; and James Sauvé, Gabriel Codina, and José Martínez de la Escalera, "Educación," in DHCJ, 2:1202-1214, at 1207-1214.

The Society did not completely accept these changes at the time. It never formally adopted the revised Ratio, and the twenty-second general congregation of 1853 did not endorse charging for tuition. It did, however, authorize the superior general to permit colleges to levy tuition "for the time being" because of the Society's penury.40 Hence, Jesuit schools charged tuition.

These two changes were not sufficient to revive very many Jesuit schools in continental Europe but they had an impact elsewhere. After 1814, the Jesuits founded many more schools and universities outside of Europe, especially in North America. Although segments of American society were quite anti-Catholic until the era of the two Johns (John XXIII and John F. Kennedy), the American Constitution mandated religious freedom. Therefore, neither the federal nor state governments could expel the Jesuits. Instead, a vast tide of Catholic immigrants came from Europe. They and their numerous and wealthier descendants provided the financial support that made it possible for the Jesuits to create a large number of schools and universities in the New World. In the early twenty-first century there are twenty-eight Jesuit university-level schools, some of them affiliated with larger institutions, and about fifty high schools in the United States and Canada.4i Some of them have interesting histories that should be examined in more detail by scholars.

The handful of Jesuits who went to Messina in 1548 to found a school were followed by thousands of Jesuits who taught before 1773 and continue to teach in Europe and the rest of the world in the twenty-first century. The Society of Jesus created an extraordinary number of schools that educated a countless number of students. As noted earlier, each school has a history worthy of study. Fortunately, many able scholars are bringing to light the stories of individual schools and investigating broader themes in Jesuit education. The past few years have been rich in new scholarship and the future promises even more.

40 Allan P. Farrell, The Jesuit Code of Liberal Education. Development and Scope of the Ratio Studiorum (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1938), 383-395, 398-400; Broderick, 435-437, 482; For Matters of Greater Moment. The First Thirty Jesuit General Congregations. A Brief History and a Translation of the Decrees. Edited by John W. Padberg, Martin D. O'Keefe, and John L. McCarthy (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1994), 36-37, 440-442 (General Congregation 21, decrees 13-19), 455-457 (General Congregation 22, decrees 38-39, 42-43), quote at 457.

41 This information comes from Mark Lewis, S.J., for which I am grateful.