The history of the Jesuits is a topic of great interest for many fields of historical research. The centuries old exploits of Jesuits all over the world, as well as their frequent involvement in the social and political lives of nations, and the contributions of not few of them for developments in the sciences and the arts, are documented in innumerable letters, reports, official records and files, manuscripts and publications. Since the beginning of the Society, the regular written reporting was considered essential for the government of the missions of the Jesuits soon sent to all the corners of the planet. Each province and the General Curia in Rome maintain archives committed to preserving documents and making them available to researchers for consultation.

Through the initiative and coordination of ARSI (Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus) the archivists of the provinces of the JCEP began to meet in 2020, with the aim of promoting collaboration and networking between the Society’s archives in Europe. The first common project has been to prepare a list of some materials in the various archives for the period 1939-1958, following the accessibility to the documents of the pontificate of PIUS XII opened by the Vatican Archives.

The Kircher Network: The Jesuit Higher Education network in Europe and the Near East

In an increasingly interconnected world, the Society of Jesus is aware of the challenges and opportunities that academic collaboration and networking imply for its institutions' apostolic mission. Thus, in 2018, the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) was created to foster cooperation among the 200 Jesuit universities and colleges worldwide.

In July 2018, the Kircher Network was established to strengthen the sense of shared apostolic mission among its member Jesuit institutions in all aspects of academic life. It is a network of 29 higher education institutions linked to the Society of Jesus in Europe and the Near East. Our institutions aim to offer a different type of education. An integral formation of the individual based on the Ignatian charism that promotes four dimensions: utilitas, humanitas, iustitia, and most importantly, fides.

The network is named Kircher in honour of the German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680), a polyglot, scholar, and particularly distinguished for his knowledge of the sciences.

The Kircher Network has identified four strategic priorities to be developed in the coming years, namely.

  • To promote collaboration in research among its member institutions and with other Jesuit universities worldwide.
  • To increase academic collaboration between training programmes and scholars and students' academic mobility.
  • To support its members in their strategies and actions to strengthen their identity and mission as Catholic universities with an Ignatian charism.
  • To facilitate shared learning and the exchange of best practices in all university life areas among its members.

Visit the website of the Kircher Network here. Subscribe to the Newsletter here.

Jesuits have been possibly linked to the intellectual ministry since their foundation. Printing gave Jesuits the opportunity to disseminate knowledge across all their provinces, reaching places and societies unthought of before.

This exchange of knowledge between society and experts throughout the world is nowadays visible in the incisive reflections of numerous Jesuit reviews. Europe itself counts more than 80 of them. Their mission is to reflect, share knowledge and offer new insights on cultural, social, political and religious/spiritual issues. Twelve of them have teamed up to form a Euronetwork called “Editors of Cultural Reviews”. In the face of a crisis of European values, culture and beliefs, this network offers a possible way forward through its intellectual work; the promotion of synergies between the different reviews; and its commitment to answer the Church’s call more profoundly and effectively.

In a world where people tend to take things for granted, we need a good deal of critical thinking. JESPHIL provides this critical thinking approach to hot subjects through a Jesuit perspective. The network consists of a group of European Jesuit philosophers who meet every two years to make a philosophical contribution to the study of topical issues and to support the role of philosophy within Jesuit formation.

The group encourages networking and cooperation between member institutions by working together on the same topics. Among the themes tackled are : “Secularization, Secularity, Secularism. The Prospects of Belief/ Unbelief in a Secular Age”; “Philosophy in the Spiritual Exercises”; “Does Capitalism impede Human Flourishing?” and “Criticism and Culture: the role of Ontology”.