Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Brief and Exact Account: The Recollections of Simão Rodrigues on the Origin and Progress of the Society of Jesus

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Brief and Exact Account: The Recollections of Simão Rodrigues on the Origin and Progress of the Society of Jesus

Article excerpt

Conwell, Joseph F., S.J. (Translation, Introduction, and Commentary by). A Brief and Exact Account: The Recollections of Simão Rodrigues on the Origin and Progress of the Society of Jesus. (Jesuit Primary Sources in English Translations, Series I, No. 20.] (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources. 2004. Pp. xvii, 104. $15.95 paperback.)

Among the early companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola, all great characters, two stand out as particularly difficult: Bobadilla, who described the first draft of Ignatius' Constitutions as a "prolix labyrinth," and the Portuguese Simão Rodrigues, who almost wrecked the nascent Portuguese province-at least if some accounts are to be believed. The value of the present volume is that it allows one to read a document written by Rodrigues himself. Moreover the translator-editor provides a sympathetic running commentary that highlights important aspects of the text.

There are difficulties: in the first place this "brief account" of the founding of the Society of Jesus stops short in the year 1540, when papal approval was first granted to the new order, and does not cover the crucial years when Rodrigues returned to Portugal, was appointed the first provincial superior there, and was largely responsible for its extraordinary and rapid growth-only to see his work cut short, himself exiled, and the allegiance of his province divided. The reverberations of this conflict would stretch across the Atlantic into Brazil, where missioners would be split into supporters and critics of Rodrigues. …

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