“God has blessed the Society with an incomparable fund of documents, which allow us to contemplate clearly our origins, our fundamental charism.” – Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1965-1983) – Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1965-1983)
The Society of Jesus formally mandates and supports record keeping and the maintenance of archives to provide a window into the origins, development, spirit, and charism of the Society and its members throughout the world.
Since 1997, The Jesuit Archives: Central United States, located in the Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri has housed the collective memory of seven past and current administrative provinces of the Society of Jesus in the United States. These seven include the Central and Southern, Chicago, Chicago-Detroit, Detroit, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York and New England Provinces. In 2000, the archives accepted the records of the governing body of the Society of Jesus in the US, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
The Jesuit Archives grew out of the Missouri Jesuit Province Archives, which was officially established in 1941. The Missouri Jesuit Province Archives was first housed at the Missouri Province office and later transferred to St. Louis University’s Pius XII Library where it resided until it was moved to another on campus location, Fusz Memorial Hall. The collection returned to a renovated archives space at Missouri Province office building at 4511 West Pine boulevard to accommodate the arrival of the Wisconsin, Chicago, and Detroit province collections in 1996. The Jesuit Archives: Central United States is currently housed at the 4511 West Pine location.
Mission of the Jesuit Archives
From a desire to honor the wisdom of Superior General Pedro Arrupe, the Jesuit Archives has striven to fulfill its mission as a repository of record for the largest religious order of men in the Catholic Church.
The Jesuit Archives:
- Serves an essential function of the intellectual apostolate of the Society as a “place of memory.”
- Provides a secure, organized repository for the patrimony of documents and artifacts. This preserves the history of a province, its communities, and apostolic works, as well as the lives of its members. Thus the Society of Jesus may understand its past and animate its present and future endeavors.
- Supports the current administration of a province and its apostolic mission.
- Makes resources of history and spirituality available to help with the cultivation of Jesuit identity and the evangelization of cultures.
- Preserves the patrimony of the Society of Jesus in order to transmit it to future generations of Jesuits, who will act as emissaries to the culture at large.