This chapter examines the way in which Early Modern Jesuits understood the practice of confession. As leading actors in the apostolic field, they often promoted a vision of the sacrament of penance, which, in stark contrast to its connotations as a means of punishment, turned it into an effective tool oriented toward inner reform of the individual. Based on analysis of the Iberian interior missions, a range of practices is considered—including examination of conscience, general confession, and spiritual direction—that imbued the act of confession with a strong introspective dimension in the Society’s missionary contexts. Thus, this chapter highlights the role of such instruments in the development of forms of subjectivity, which contributed to individuals “entering into themselves,” exploring inner spaces of their soul. The particular geography of this space had to be known to conquer it and to thus lead the penitent toward a devoted life and Christian perfection.
Kevin J. Wetmore Jr.
The historic Jesuit theater represents two centuries of didactic theater in which the Society of Jesus, following both the organizational instructions and Spiritual Exercises of founder Ignatius of Loyola, used theater to inculcate virtue in both performer and audience member while teaching Latin, dance, poise, rhetoric, oratory, and confidence to the students who performed. Jesuit spirituality is inherently theatrical, and conversely Jesuit theater was intended to also be highly spiritual. The dramaturgy and scenography was spectacular and designed to draw audiences who would delight in them and learn the moral lessons the Jesuits hoped to teach while simultaneously drawing them away from a corrupt public theater. This essay considers Jesuit drama and theater in four key aspects: (1) Jesuit spirituality and performative practice; (2) the historic Jesuit educational theater of early modern Europe; (3) Jesuit drama in the missions outside of Europe; and (4) contemporary Jesuits involved in theater.
Leonard Fernando SJ
Jesuits have been a continuing presence in India since the sixteenth century. With the help of local people, they not only spread the Christian faith but also did a lot for the growth of the Indian nation, especially through education, scientific advancements, and betterment of the lives of underprivileged people. They attempted enculturation of the Christian faith in multicultural India; learnt of, discussed, and respected other religions; and mastered and contributed to the growth of Indian languages. Now about 4,000 Jesuits—mostly Indians—are working in eighteen Provinces/Regions in India. There are three major phases in the history of Jesuits in India—the beginning, suppression, and restoration. All along, true to the Ignatian charism, members of the Society of Jesus have kept their daring missionary zeal of moving to the frontiers—challenging, unknown, and unexplored.