Promising Hope

 The Preface to Promising Hope describes writer Geoffrey Holt's books as 'windows into a relatively unknown period of English Catholic history'. But by combining them with other articles from and about the British Jesuits in the 18th and early 19th century, the book provides a fascinating vision of the Church at that time.

Using the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the British Province of the Jesuits, the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu (the Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus) has published a collection of articles, documents and translations which assess the state of the Society prior to its suppression by Pope Clement XIV in 1773, through to its restoration in 1803 and beyond.

Running to almost 500 pages, Promising Hope draws on such documents as correspondence between Novice Master, Charles Plowden SJ, and prolific letter-writer John Thorpe SJ (1726-92), to reflect different aspects of the Province in the latter half of the 18th century. It looks at the relationship between the Irish and English Jesuits in the context of the Restoration; it studies the impact of the move of the Jesuit college from Liège to Stonyhurst; and even includes minutes of meetings that took place during the thirty years the Society of Jesus was suppressed.

Father Geoffrey Holt SJ, now in his nineties, has researched the history of (what was) the English Province of the Society of Jesus for nearly forty years. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, and have become indispensable for any student of Catholic history in Britain.

Other authors in Promising Hope include: Thomas Morrissey SJ, Maurice Whitehead SJ, and the late Hubert Chadwick SJ. There are also significant contributions from Jan Graffius, the curator at Stonyhurst College, and the British Province's Archivist, Fr Thomas McCoog SJ, who edited Promising Hope. The title is taken from a letter by the Jesuits' first British Provincial after the Restoration, Fr Marmaduke Stone SJ, who described the Province's new novices as 'young men of promising hope'.

'Promising Hope', published by IHSI in Rome, is available from 114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH, @ £27 including postage and handling.

Source: Jesuit Communications Office, London

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