The Jesuit Archives: Central United States is pleased to share information about Loyola University Chicago’s Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project. The project, in short, aims to understand the members of the nineteenth-century Saint Ignatius College community and to appreciate their hybrid identities. Some, such as Jesuit Peter J. De Smet, literally straddled two worlds. He made multiple trips across the Atlantic on fundraising missions to support his pioneering work spreading the gospel to Native Peoples of the Rocky Mountains. Most Jesuits were born in Europe, and had no chance to return to the lands of their nativity. Most students were the children of immigrants and reminded of the Old World in the homes in which they grew up. Chicago Catholics declared their submission to the pope nearly five thousand miles away. But they also joined organizations like the Lincoln Law Club where they demonstrated their allegiance to their nation.
Jesuit libraries abundantly reveal this double consciousness of nineteenth-century Roman Catholics. Their shelves are filled with works of European theology and philosophy. But the History and Literature sections had a strong number of imprints related to the United States. Through these works, students at Saint Ignatius College learned about what it meant to be an American citizen. How they negotiated and ultimately reconciled these competing demands likely varied from person to person, but hopefully reminds us of the complex position in which they found themselves.
An exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of the Jesuit Restoration and a century of women’s education at Loyola-Mundelein in Chicago.
July 19-October 19, 2014
Loyola University Museum of Art