The unexpected journey of a Jesuit manuscript

On Wednesday 5 June 2024, a book launch was hosted at the Roman Jesuit Archive (ARSI) for the latest publication by the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu (IHSI), In Studiosos Adolescentes: Il viaggio inaspettato di un manoscritto gesuita dal Brasile all’Italia (The unexpected journey of a Jesuit manuscript from Brazil to Italy) (sec. XVIII), edited by Marina Massimi and Alcir Pecora.

This book presents the critical edition of a didactic manuscript dating from 1751, from two Jesuit schools in Bahia (Brazil) and currently kept in the Municipal Library of Urbania (Marche, Italy). It offers the original Latin text of In Studiosos Adolescentes, together with a historical-literary analysis - in four introductory essays -outlining the context of its production and detailing the manuscript’s ‘unexpected’ and intercontinental journey between South America and Europe. The book is enriched by previously unpublished related documents and a detailed critical apparatus.

Co-editor Marina Massimi and contributing author Niccolò Guasti were present at the book launch to share with the audience the context of the manuscript’s production.They explained that the publication covers the period and events surrounding the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. Last year, 2023, marked 250 years since this dramatic event in the Society’s history, and IHSI was keen to mark the anniversary through this new publication.


The didactic manuscript likely was hidden, folded into the garments of Jesuits in Brazil, who were expelled from Portuguese territories in 1759 and forbidden to take their possessions with them. These Jesuits settled in Italy, in the lands of the Papal States, where they and their manuscript found refuge in the small locality of Urbania (Marche), and where the manuscript is preserved to this day.

During the launch event, Camilla Russell, Editor of publications for the IHSI, after welcoming the guests, stated: “The travails of the Jesuits in those years—and the fortunes of this single manuscript—illustrate the complex history of the suppressed Society of Jesus, pointing in turn to the distinctiveness of this period for scholars, who must search beyond the usual Jesuit repositories into the relative wildernesses where the Jesuits themselves were forced to travel and where traces of their lived experiences and the contexts for their long exiles may be found.It is a history that, even today, only partly has been told.IHSI, together with the editors of this volume, are proud to mark 250 years after the suppression of the Society of Jesus with this very touching artefact of rupture and continuity between continents and across the centuries.”

We are very fortunate to have with us this evening Professor Marina Massimi, co-editor of the volume (together with Alcir Pecora, professor at the University of São Paulo). Her numerous publications are in the history of psychological knowledge in Brazilian culture and in the Society of Jesus. To present this volume, we are grateful to Professor Niccolò Guasti, Professor of Modern History at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He has published extensively on 18th century Spanish reformism, the Neapolitan Enlightenment and the Italian exile of the expelled Iberian Jesuits.”

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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