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Open Access Copies With Souls: The Late Seventeenth-century Marianas Martyrs, Francis Xavier, and the Question of Clerical Reproduction

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Copies With Souls: The Late Seventeenth-century Marianas Martyrs, Francis Xavier, and the Question of Clerical Reproduction

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image of Journal of Jesuit Studies

Although Ignatius created the template for Jesuit manhood, the task of modeling missionary masculinity for future generations fell to Francis Xavier as the first member to venture beyond Europe. This essay focuses on two late seventeenth-century followers of Xavier in the Marianas mission, Diego Luis de Sanvitores and Augustin Strobach, whom contemporaries characterized as virtual “copies” of Xavier with a twist: while the original Xavier longed for martyrdom in vain, Sanvitores and Strobach were able to shed blood for the faith. Their stories are set against the backdrop of the post-Trent revival of martyrdom and the Society’s need to keep generating new Christians as well as new missionaries to extend its reach across space and time. Print technology, which circulated images and stories of saintly exemplars worldwide and offered a cultural template for mimetic copying, was crucial in facilitating such clerical reproduction across the much greater distances involved in early modern evangelization.

Affiliations: 1: University of California San Diego, ustrasser@ucsd.edu

Although Ignatius created the template for Jesuit manhood, the task of modeling missionary masculinity for future generations fell to Francis Xavier as the first member to venture beyond Europe. This essay focuses on two late seventeenth-century followers of Xavier in the Marianas mission, Diego Luis de Sanvitores and Augustin Strobach, whom contemporaries characterized as virtual “copies” of Xavier with a twist: while the original Xavier longed for martyrdom in vain, Sanvitores and Strobach were able to shed blood for the faith. Their stories are set against the backdrop of the post-Trent revival of martyrdom and the Society’s need to keep generating new Christians as well as new missionaries to extend its reach across space and time. Print technology, which circulated images and stories of saintly exemplars worldwide and offered a cultural template for mimetic copying, was crucial in facilitating such clerical reproduction across the much greater distances involved in early modern evangelization.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22141332-00204002
2015-09-30
2017-11-24

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