The Jesuits in the United States: The Italian Heritage

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The Jesuits in the United States: The Italian Heritage. By Vincent A. Lapomarda. (Worcester, Massachusetts: The Jesuits of Holy Cross College, Inc. 2004. Pp. x, 178. Paperback.)

In his second volume of Italian-American History, entitled The Italian Contribution to the Catholic Church (1949), Giovanni E. Schiavo provided an encyclopedic list of Italian male and female religious in the Catholic Church in Americans well as a brief history of every extant Italian national parish. Vincent Lapomarda claims he does not wish to profile every Jesuit with an Italian surname, which "would become more a directory of names than a story of what happened in the past and why it happened" (p. 2). But a series of profiles of Italian immigrant and Italian American Jesuits is exactly what this slim volume offers, with no narrative line, no analysis, and no substantive historiographical discussion. Chapters more or less serve up one-paragraph summaries of the life of an Italian or Italian American Jesuit-date and place of birth, Jesuit province, date of ordination, apostolic activity, date of death.

Unlike many religious congregations of men whose Italian clergy created a separate juridical structure that segregated them from their confreres of other nationalities in the United States (such as the Servants of Mary, the Augustinians, the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, the Franciscans Minor, the Capuchins), Italian Jesuits from several Italian provinces and nations worked alongside one another. …