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The American Jesuits: A History Hardcover – October 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Schroth, a Jesuit priest and professor of humanities at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J., tells the story of the Society of Jesus' presence in North America in this account that begins with a martyrdom on the coast of Florida in 1566. From humble beginnings as missionaries bent on converting Native Americans, the society grew over nearly five centuries on this continent into an organization best known today for its work in education and social activism. In between, members have served as war chaplains and antiwar protesters, high school and college educators, and writers and editors addressing church and societal issues through the community's influential magazine America. Blending history and analysis, Schroth chronicles the society's weaknesses and failures, too, including its foot-dragging on racial issues, ranging from its involvement in slavery in the 19th century to slowness in integrating its schools in the 20th. Schroth also discusses the community's decline in numbers, but he ends on a hopeful note, quoting the late Karl Rahner: There will always be men who... pass by all the idols of this world and dare to give themselves unconditionally to the incomprehensibility of God, seen as love and mercy. This is absorbing reading for those with an interest in the Jesuits. (Oct.)
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“An enthralling celebration of the Jesuits’ presence in American Catholic life, masterfully testifying to the society’s achievements. It should also serve as a much-needed blueprint for similar histories of other influential orders in American Catholic life. Fr. Schroth has set the standard.”
-National Catholic Reporter
“Schroth’s lively, detailed, scrupulously honest narrative does not dispel the Jesuit mystique, but instead provides concrete examples from throughout the centuries that explain the society’s origins and survival. . . . This is institutional history at its best. . . . Essential.”
“Blending history and analysis, Schroth chronicles the society’s weaknesses and failures, too, including its foot-dragging on racial issues. . . . Schroth also discusses the community’s decline in numbers, but ends on a hopeful note. . . . This is an absorbing read for those with an interest in the Jesuits.”
“An engaging read, and an elegant synthesis of four centuries of Jesuit heroics, controversies, flops, and hard work in the United States. Should be assigned reading for students of American Catholicism.”
-Mark S. Massa, S.J.,The Karl Rahner Professor of Theology and Co-Director, The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, Fordham University
“Anyone who has encountered the Jesuits—in a college, a high school, a parish, or one of their many social ministries—will appreciate this well-written and comprehensive survey of the Jesuit experience in America.”
-James M. O’Toole,Boston College
Top customer reviews
a preeminent educational power-house (following WWII) to a more social-conscious impetus---looking to under-developed areas such as South America, India, and to the disadvantaged in the USA.
The Jesuit influence has dimmed in academe due to adherence to Scholastic pedagogy---very rich in classical literature (Latin & Greek & verbal/written expression), but extremely weak in math, science and economics---with the result that the modern Jesuit on the typical school college campus is more or less redundant.
But their influence is strong in under-developed countries where their work with the poor and oppressed is not particularly welcomed by the affluent power-structure.
There are many heroes in this story. Tho fewer in numbers the current company may be more effective in following the mission envisioned by their great founder Ignatius Loyola.
Fr. Schroth is a master storyteller as well as a thorough historian. This book is well worth reading.