After its launch this summer, the newly formed Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College—a center begun within the University that aims to collect, archive, share, and publish historical and scholarly materials relating to the Order of the Society of Jesus—will finalize its residence at 9 Lake St. on Brighton Campus in November after a temporary stay in Stokes Hall.
Having developed this past July, the institute was led under the direction of Rev. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the institute’s director and GCAS ’13; Associate Director and associate professor of history Robert Maryks; and Assistant Director Seth Meehan, GCAS ’14. The three-man staff now seeks to work in conjunction with not only the immediate Jesuit community at BC, but also with all colleges within the University and fellow Jesuit institutions across the country, according to Beaumier.
“The catalyst for this new initiative is the University itself, it seems to me,” Beamier said in an email. “Boston College is an excellent university—and the ‘advanced’ dimension of the new institute exists solely because of BC. We intend to partner with the School of Theology and Ministry [STM], CSOM, Lynch, Arts and Sciences in order to create courses, workshops, publications, and scholarly symposia.”
The newly created institute has not yet formed any official partnerships with other Jesuit universities, but intends to serve as an unprecedented source for institutions to use in studying the Jesuit mission.
“While there hasn’t [been] formal partnerships with other Jesuit schools—we certainly intend to be resourceful for them—our hope is that BC will be the ‘go to’ for Jesuit studies,” Beamier said.
The center will include both scholarly materials and educational opportunities such as student programs, workshops, courses, and workshops, among other channels for students to gain a fuller understanding of the Jesuit identity, and will be accessible for all students—regardless of undergraduate or graduate academic status.
“There will be opportunities for BC faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students to work with the new institute,” Beaumier said. “For example, we will be piloting a program this coming summer for rising junior and senior high school students to have them come to BC to experience something of the charism of the Jesuits’ spirituality and how it relates to a great university like Boston College.”
“Our hope is to have BC students help to facilitate this program,” he said. “We will offer a variety of publications through the new institute and as we get established, I intend to have students contribute to the development of these works—as interns, copy editors, [and] book review writers. We hope to collaborate with the University in offering courses in Jesuit history, spirituality, and pedagogy—there will be a lot of opportunity for our students.”
Beaumier noted a goal of the institute is to also collaborate with teaching faculty across schools in offering courses in Jesuit spirituality, history, and pedagogy.
A major bolster for the institute came when the Institute of Jesuit Sources (IJS)—an innovative hub focused on collecting and publishing English-speaking literature on the Society of Jesus—was acquired by the University this past July. The former IJS, which began in 1961 at St. Louis University and remained at the university until its move this past summer, pioneered the idea of housing historical materials and generating publications on the Jesuit order.
After more than 50 years in Missouri, IJS has now been absorbed into the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, where its collections will continue to serve at a frontier space for Jesuit scholasticism.
“IJS has been looking for a new home, and Boston College seemed to be a perfect place for Jesuit Sources to continue its mission of providing English translations of Jesuit source material,” Beaumier said. “As we developed our vision, the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies emerged, and Jesuit Sources from Saint Louis is a key part of the overall work of the new institute at BC.”
Still in its initial stages, the institute will offer five primary resources and programs for students including scholarly texts, publication opportunities through Jesuit literary outlets, a biannual International Symposium on Jesuit Studies, an online bibliography of works in Jesuit studies, and a summer immersion program. The first of the slated international symposiums will take place next June 10-14.
The institute, in collaboration with STM, also initiated its inaugural program through a summer immersion trip that led participants on a 10-day pilgrimage throughout Spain and Rome, where the group visited the sites of Ignatius Loyola and other historical beginnings of the Jesuits, according to Beamier.
“We then returned to BC and offered courses in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius and the history of the Jesuits,” he said. “It was a great success, and we hope to expand the program in the coming summer.”
Next week, the center will host an event for the end of the current Burns Library exhibition The Mastery And Majesty Of It: Jesuit Spirituality in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, during which English professor Paul Mariani will speak on the exhibition’s closing.
Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff