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date: 13 April 2021

Jesuits and Africa

Abstract and Keywords

Jesuits have commanded scholarly attention in recent years, with Jesuit studies almost becoming an independent academic discipline. However, their involvement in Africa remains largely unstudied, even though they were in parts of the continent for close to two centuries. Moreover, after their restoration in 1814, the Jesuits played a significant role in the evangelization of Africa. This essay is an overview of Jesuit presence in Africa over the centuries. While it gives more prominence to the historical missions of the pre-suppression period in Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia, it also covers more recent presence in Madagascar, southern Africa and Egypt, and concludes with a brief analysis of the state of the Society of Jesus in Africa today. The essay underscores the challenge of locating Jesuit records related to Africa and the importance of understanding early missionary efforts on the African continent for the benefit of similar efforts in our time.

Keywords: Jesuits, Society of Jesus, Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, southern Africa, Egypt

Jesuits are not strangers in Africa. From the time of their founding in 1540 to the present day, and because of a combination of historical factors, the members of the Society of Jesus (as their order is officially known) have viewed the continent as an appropriate mission territory. The Jesuits have been intermittently present in various parts of Africa over a long period of time, preaching, baptizing, building churches and schools, running farms, transacting businesses, mediating politics, and doing a variety of other works. However, a few regionalized monographs on the subject notwithstanding, Jesuits’ historical links with Africa remain so conspicuously understudied that The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits1 could only afford them a cursory mention.

The field is thus largely untilled. Researchers face an arduous task of first locating the sources of their research before they can write the history. Just as in other aspects of African history, records of Jesuits in Africa are scattered in places like Rome, Lisbon, Paris, Dublin, Quebec, and Goa, with little of value actually available in Jesuit archives on the continent of Africa. Of the nine Jesuit jurisdictions that cover Africa and Madagascar today, for instance, only Zimbabwe, Zambia-Malawi, Central Africa (comprising the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola), and Madagascar provinces can boast of catalogued and somewhat maintained archives in Harare, Lusaka, Kinshasa, and Antananarivo, respectively. According to a 2001 worldwide survey of Jesuits archives, only Zimbabwe-Mozambique and Zambia-Malawi provinces reported well-ordered archives. The rest lamented the sorry states of archives or reported absolutely nothing.2

To this point, therefore, a general survey of Jesuit history in Africa will heavily depend on pieces of information gathered from disparate secondary sources. The topic, like the rest of the history of the Society of Jesus, divides itself well into two periods: the first, extending from the beginning of the Society to its suppression in Portugal and its dominions in 1759, and the second, from the order’s universal restoration in 1814 to the present.

The First Period, 1541–1759

The story of the first period is particularly remarkable because, against all odds, some of the Jesuit missions endured on the continent of Africa for close to two centuries. At the inception of the Society of Jesus, European knowledge of the interior of Africa was so sketchy that the continent fitted well into the mission frontier the Jesuits loosely described as being “among the Turks or others who do not share our convictions, even as far as India, or … any heretics or schismatics.”3 To such lands the Jesuits were willing to go at the pope’s pleasure. Indeed some of them became ground-breakers in Africa, for the first time reporting back to Europeans what they had previously known only in legend. For example, Gonçalo da Silveira (1526‒1561), a Portuguese Jesuit, is to date acknowledged to be the first European (of whom detailed and accurate knowledge exists) who penetrated the interior of the southern part of Africa and reached as far as today’s Zimbabwe.4 Similarly, the Spanish Jesuit Pedro Páez (1564‒1622) dedicated a whole chapter to describing the sources of the Blue Nile long before James Bruce (1730‒1794), the acclaimed first tracer of the same sources, reached Ethiopia.5 If they were to succeed in Africa, therefore, the first Jesuits had to find out for themselves about the interior of the continent.

Moreover, what they lacked was not only geographical information but also cultural and religious knowledge about their new frontier. Consequently, their missions to Africa were often badly conceived, sometimes pegged on those legendary stories that informed the European mind, and generally demanded of their protagonists more than heroic stamina to maintain a mere presence (Fig. 1). In most cases, these missions were sparked by and depended on Portugal’s imperial adventures in Africa just as to some extent their missionary success depended on the Portuguese economic and political success.

Jesuits and Africa

Fig. 1 A seventeenth-century allegorical engraving of Africa from Matthias Tanner, SJ, Societas Jesu usque ad sanguinis et vitæ profusionem militans … (Pragae, 1675). The Latin caption says “The Society of Jesus in the African wilderness determined to tame it up to [the point of] shedding blood and being sacrificed for the faith.”

In 1498, Portugal obtained a padroado, or right of patronage, from Pope Alexander VI (1431‒1503), by which it assumed exclusive political and commercial privileges over the eastern half of the world. Tied to these imperial privileges was the responsibility to support ecclesiastics and missionary efforts in the region that included Africa and its adjacent islands. King John III (1502‒1557), nicknamed “the Pious,” was keen on exercising the rights and fulfilling the obligations that came with the padroado. He was a great benefactor of the nascent Society of Jesus, which he managed to introduce to his dominions fairly early in the Society’s history. Jesuits were on high demand from the very beginning and, in fact, Ignatius of Loyola (ca. 1491‒1556), the Society’s founder and first superior general, spent much of his time rejecting requests to send his companions to different parts of Europe. He, however, went out of his way to ensure that Jesuits were available for the missions in the east, especially those in Ethiopia that were clearly instigated by the Portuguese monarch. So important were the Ethiopian missions that the first Jesuit superior general was even willing to go there in person.6

Despite his enthusiasm, Ignatius never reached Africa. However, three of his early companions reached there in as early as 1541. This happened in the context of a huge Portuguese expedition to India that went around the African continent. Among the hundreds of travelers in the expedition were Francis Xavier (1506‒1552), one of the ten co-founders of the Society, and two other little known Jesuits who had just joined the order, Micer Paulo Camerino (Italian), and Francisco Mancillhas (Portuguese). Forced by the weather to winter at the island of Mozambique for a long time in the course of that voyage, these Jesuits opted to minister as nurses to sea-sick travelers. They administered the sacraments to those who were disposed to receiving them and buried the dead at the St. Gabriel Cemetery that had been set aside for Portuguese sailors. Francis, who was on this island between September 1541 and February 1542, wrote a letter, providing some details of their arduous journey and their service to the spiritual and temporal needs of their fellow travelers. He eventually left his two companions at Mozambique and proceeded north, stopping briefly at Malindi on the coast of today’s Kenya. Here too he buried a fellow voyageur in the town’s Portuguese graveyard that has been preserved to this day (Fig. 2). The burial drew attention to him and led to an interesting discussion with some learned Muslims, which ended in a mutual disagreement on matters of faith. From Malindi, Francis proceeded to Goa, his planned missionary destination.7

Besides the prolonged sojourn on the eastern African coast by their three members, Jesuits crossed from Southern Europe to North Africa fairly early in their history. João Nunes Barreto (ca. 1510‒1562), a Portuguese Jesuit, for instance, worked as a missionary at Tetuan in Morocco, specifically serving African slaves between 1548 and 1554. He had actually returned to Europe to raise funds for their liberation when he was named patriarch for Ethiopia, a story we shall meet again later.

Jesuits and Africa

Fig. 2 Michael Onu, SJ, a Nigerian Jesuit, on pilgrimage at a sixteenth-century Portuguese Chapel (visible behind him) in Malindi, coastal Kenya, which is named after St. Francis Xavier

Jesuits in the Congo-Angola Region

Of greater interest to history are the early missions that were directly meant for Africa, especially those that lasted for an extended period of time. One such mission went to the Congo-Angola region. The region was already under heavy Portuguese influence, and there existed a church with a local bishop. Four Jesuits—Fathers Jorge Vaz, Cristovao Ribeiro, and Jacome Dias, and a scholastic (as Jesuits refer to their members who are training for the priesthood), Diogo do Soveral—reached Mbanza, capital of the then Kongo kingdom, in 1548. They were responding to a request from King Dom Diogo I, who sought priests to assist a struggling Christianity in his lands. The request was made to King John III who passed it on to the Jesuits and commissioned the missionary venture.8

With the passing of time, the Kongo mission prospered more on its southern parts, concentrating on what would roughly fall under Angola in our time. This regional focus further tells of the link that existed between the Jesuit mission and Portugal’s general involvement in Africa, for, in the second half of the sixteenth century, Angola became its most significant settlement in the southwestern part of the continent. In 1560, four Jesuits joined the first Portuguese mission in Angola. The mission was led by Paulo Dias de Novais (ca. 1510‒1589), a grandson of the famous explorer Bartholomew Dias (ca. 1451‒1500). After overcoming initial African resistance, the Portuguese pacified the region, creating an environment that was conducive to both commerce and missionary activity. In recognition of their services, in 1580, Dias de Novais, then Portuguese governor of Angola, granted the Jesuits a piece of land on which they later built their signature edifice in the southern hemisphere. This comprised the Church of Jesus and the College of Jesus, about which more is said later.

In Angola, the Jesuits operated from two main centers: Mbanza, later renamed São Salvador after a Jesuit church that was dedicated to the Savior, and Luanda, reported to have had up to 8,000 Christians in 1593. To their credit, they focused significantly on ministering to Africans in the interior of Angola. These Jesuits packaged their message to suit the indigenous African populations. While, for instance, Fr. Mateus Cardoso (1584‒1625) translated the Cartilla de la Sagrada Doctrina (“Ideas of Christian Doctrine”) into Kikongo in 1624, another catechism by Fr. António do Couto (d. 1666), an Angolan-born Jesuit, was published in Latin, Portuguese, and Kimbundu in 1642.9

Moreover, the Jesuits established a number of Christian villages in the interior of Angola, which were tended by Angolan and Portuguese catechists and regularly visited by the Jesuits themselves. Fr. Pedro Tavares (1591‒1676) is said to have been continually traveling to these villages. He supervised courses for as many as 20,000 catechumens in 1624.10 Besides the Christian villages, the Jesuits established several sodalities to suit different devotions in Angola. These included, for example, the Corpo de Deus for the more learned citizens, the Onze Mil Viagens for students, and the Senhora do Rosário for more mature Africans, several of whom were slaves. The Jesuits sustained many of these ministries well into the eighteenth century.11

Besides catechizing and offering pastoral care, the Jesuits in Angola also assumed the task of “civilizing” the people, which took the form of education. A Jesuit college was built in São Salvador in 1623 and ran until 1669. Catering for a mixed population, this college was probably the earliest known institution where African and Portuguese children were allowed to learn together. Another college in Luanda became even more famous. Named Colégio de Jesus, this college opened its doors to students in 1622 spanning a century and a half to serve thousands of children. Students from the college assisted in giving catechetical instructions in the Kimbundu language.12 Attached to the Colégio de Jesus was a technical school that served the same mixed population. In 1655, the school was in an excellent condition, with one of its two cloisters said to be as big as the University of Évora. Seven Jesuits and five lay missionaries served at this college in 1754.13

The crowning glory of the Jesuit achievement in Angola during these years was arguably their main church in Luanda (Fig. 3). Its construction started in 1612 and continued for twenty-four years, culminating in a magnificent edifice—with well-adorned chapels, altarpieces, paintings, and columns—which was then described as the best and largest concrete structure in the southern hemisphere. To show its centrality in the imagination of the Jesuits in Angola, even before its completion the church housed large celebrations on the occasion of the canonizations of Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier in 1622. Moreover, its Baroque style and its very name, A Igreja de Jesus (the Church of Jesus), seem to have been designed to mirror the Jesuits’ mother church of Il Gesú in Rome.14 Although this church, together with the Colégio de Jesus, was briefly taken over and used by the Dutch during their occupation of southwest Africa (1641‒48), it was regained by the Jesuits, who looked after it until they were expelled from Angola in 1759.15

Jesuits and Africa

Fig. 3 A 2014 painting of the seventeenth-century Church of Jesus in Luanda, Angola (by Martin Waweru Kamau, SJ)

Jesuits in the Mozambique Region

Like Angola in southwestern Africa, the hinterland that loosely matches present-day Mozambique became the focal point of Portuguese activity in southeastern Africa in the seventeenth century. Here, too, was the concentration of Jesuit activities between 1610 and 1759. They invested significantly in primary evangelization of Africans and in pastoral ministry, managing up to six out of sixteen mission stations that were located in the main centers of Sena, Tete, and Sofala in 1667. The stations included schools in Tete and Sena and on the island of Mozambique.16 They also managed a hospital on the island between 1647 and 1681. A Jesuit college was built on the same island in 1640 and a seminary was launched at Sena in 1697.17

Furthermore, the Jesuits owned houses and mission stations in Cabaceira, Quelimane, Luabo, Caia, Chemba, Tambara, and Marangue. Although they did not permanently reside in all these places, they made it a point to visit them regularly. Located much further in the interior, Tete had a particular strategic importance. Opened in 1611, the college at this location served a vast area that included the Makaranga community and other peoples who were under the imperial control of the Monomotapa. From Tete, the Jesuits also sent missionaries beyond the borders of today’s Mozambique and successfully opened stations in present-day Zimbabwe.18

In order to sustain their missions, the Jesuits participated fully in the local economy of Mozambique. Francis Rea (1908‒1980), who did a comprehensive study of the missions’ economics,19 observed that the Jesuits earned an income from commerce and from agriculture. Their huge estates, or prazos, were mainly worked on by slaves to produce corn and stock, although sometimes they could also be leased to tenants who paid rent. A prazo belonging to the Jesuits at Tete is said to have been “one of the largest of the crown lands.”20 With seventeen such prazos across the region, the Jesuits were among the most prominent landholders, who owned an equally large number of slaves that worked the lands.21 In this way, the Jesuit mission heavily depended on the manner in which the Portuguese economy was organized in Mozambique, rendering itself susceptible to whatever would affect that economy in the future.

Besides preaching and managing farms, the Jesuits also occupied an influential position in the Portuguese administration of Mozambique. Their familiarity with the region’s interior made them knowledgeable about local politics and about opportunities for commerce. The political administration came to rely on their advice and even entrusted important business to them. At one point the Jesuits were contracted to repair an entire fortress because they were “more likely to see the work carried out properly than the civil or military officials.” Even financiers who lent money to the Portuguese in Mozambique did so through the Jesuits, whom they considered to be more reliable than their compatriots in the colony. The Jesuits had thus earned recognition as “the most refined and most highly educated men of the day,” for which reason “they were naturally regarded as the most competent to give advice in all matters.”22 Even as late as 1720, the Portuguese viceroy in India would still entrust to the Jesuits in Mozambique the task of verifying details of the customs due to the Crown treasury in Lisbon.23

Jesuit opinion acquired significant political value within Portugal itself where the government relied on Jesuit reports from its possessions in eastern Africa. Political authorities in Mozambique used Jesuits to convey important messages back home, trusting that their word carried greater weight than that of the local administrative bureaucrats. Fr. André Furtado, for example, was sent in person to impress on the government that Portugal must forget about her possessions in eastern Africa unless she was willing to enforce her authority by military force.24 A widely cited 1667 report by Fr. Manuel Barreto, then superior of the Jesuit college at Sena, advised the Portuguese authorities on all manner of topics, including reasons for making his mission territory an archbishopric or a patriarchate, the necessity of conquering Madagascar before the French, and when best to launch a military attack to subdue Africans in the interior of the Zambezi region.25 Writing in 1916, George McCall Theal (1837‒1919) concluded that such Jesuit reports from Mozambique were “the clearest, best written, and far the most interesting documents now in existence upon the country,” and added, “compared with the ordinary state papers, they are as polished marble to unhewn stone.”26 Theal’s own vast collection shows just how indispensable Jesuit records are for the history of southern Africa from the sixteenth century onward.27

In spite of all registered successes, however, the Jesuits themselves lamented their strides in Mozambique, especially with regard to African conversions to Christianity.28 The economic foundations of their mission also dwindled alongside those of the Portuguese empire in Africa, which declined significantly during the time of King João V. (r. 1706‒50). A fairly weakened mission was ultimately closed down with the expulsion of the Jesuits from Mozambique in 1759.

Jesuits in Ethiopia

The early Jesuit missions in Ethiopia are by far the most documented and also the most studied of the early Jesuit involvement in Africa, although they lasted a shorter time than those in Angola and Mozambique.29 Several factors led to the Jesuits’ involvement in this part of Africa from the very beginning of their order. The medieval European legend of Prester John30—a freelancing, well-meaning but schismatic Christian prince and priestly descendant of one of the biblical magi (see Matthew 2:1‒12), who reigned somewhere in the broadly perceived near-eastern region of the then imagined world—had just been linked to one Negus, as Ethiopian emperors were called. In the fifteenth century, the emperors seem to have known about the legend and actively exploited it for their own political benefit. They presented themselves as Christian princes who resisted Islam and who urgently needed help from fellow Christians in Europe. Pursuant to this call, Portugal sent military expeditions to Ethiopia from 1487. Between 1526 and 1543, the country was again overrun by a Muslim movement that was led by one Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (ca. 1506‒1543), better known as Ahmad Gran (the latter name meaning “the left-handed”). In the thick of the war, Emperor David II (Lebna Dengel, reigned as Wanag Sagad [r. 1508‒40]), appealed to King John III of Portugal for assistance.31 Four hundred Portuguese troops were sent to Ethiopia and helped in the fatal defeat of Ahmad Gran in 1543. These interventions created a significant Portuguese diaspora in Ethiopia, for whom John III bore spiritual and material responsibility.

The need to intervene militarily in Ethiopia in response to the emperors’ multiple invitations, and the Portuguese responsibility for its own diaspora, provide the context for the initial Jesuit involvement in that country. The interventions were always tied to the hope of winning Ethiopian Orthodox Christians back to union with Roman Catholicism. When the Jesuits were invited by John III to take up this mission, they responded with enthusiasm. It was to this mission that Ignatius had offered to go in person. In 1553, Ignatius appointed fifteen Jesuits and assigned them to the fabled Kingdom of Prester John, which he also constituted into a province of the Society of Jesus.32 The mission never materialized immediately; not until 1554 when João Nunes Barreto (already mentioned earlier) was appointed patriarch for Ethiopia, alongside André de Oviedo (1518‒1577) and Melchior Miguel Carneiro Leitão (1519‒1583) as his coadjutor bishops. These appointments went radically against a determination of the Jesuits never to become bishops, which further reveals the importance of what was referred to as “the question of Prester John.”33

Only a fraction of the envisioned team actually worked in Prester John’s country. Two Jesuits—Father Gonçalo Rodriguez and Brother Fulgentius Freire—were sent to Ethiopia to test the waters and prepare the way for the patriarch and his assistants. The two succeeded in meeting the emperor in May 1555. However, they returned to Goa with a less-than-good report, for the country was not ready for a patriarch from Rome. Following their report, it was judged unwise to have Barreto expose his “patriarchal dignity” to ecclesiastical confrontations in Ethiopia.34 While the patriarch waited in Goa, Oviedo, accompanied by two priests and three brothers, went ahead to formally open the mission. They successfully entered Ethiopia in March 1557, ready for a task that was of necessity arduous, largely fruitless, and which would gradually die out.

Right from the start, this first mission to Ethiopia was doomed to fail. Immediately after the six Jesuits had entered the country, the important port of Massawa was taken over by the Turks and the entire Red Sea coast was closed to Ethiopia. This made communication with fellow Jesuits difficult and fresh supplies of men and other resources completely impossible to come by. Within Ethiopia itself, they met with a significantly hostile mission environment. Emperor Claudius (Aṣnāf Sagad I, r. 1540‒59) had just won a few battles against his Muslim opponents and was thus under no immediate pressure to look for help from Europe. Moreover, just before the Jesuits arrived, a mysterious man by the name João Bermudez had given ample reason to hold in suspicion any missionaries claiming to have been sent from Rome. Bermudez had falsely presented himself as a patriarch sent by Pope Paul III (r. 1534‒49) and had claimed sweeping political and ecclesiastical powers within Ethiopia. Claudius took great pains to verify Bermudez’s credentials. Having learnt from King John III that the man was an imposter,35 he obtained an authentic patriarch from Egypt in accordance with Ethiopian custom and was thus not in a rush to consider yet another embassy from Rome. Furthermore, Oviedo could hardly count diplomacy among his many talents. His presentation of the Jesuit mission caused considerable friction within the imperial court and endangered his very life.

In the early days of the mission, Oviedo spent several days debating theology at court, mainly indicating why Catholicism was right and Ethiopian Orthodoxy wrong. As time passed, he lost his patience and became increasingly blunt as he called on the emperor to submit to the pope. At one point the emperor himself responded in kind: “My forefathers had always owned the Chair of St. Mark at Alexandria,” he said, “and I can see no occasion to disquiet the people, who are peaceable and satisfied with their Abuna [Patriarch].”36 After this exchange, Claudius vowed never to submit to the pope. Oviedo and his team left the imperial court in February 1559.

Rejected by their hosts, and unconnected to the rest of the world, the six Jesuits were left entirely to their own means. For a while they turned to the Portuguese diaspora together with their Ethiopian wives and their children. These constituted a sizable Catholic congregation, which the Jesuits were happy to serve.

The situation quickly changed for the worse, however, when Claudius died in March 1559. His successor, Minas (Admās Sagad I, r. 1560‒63), was a much harsher ruler. He became completely intolerant of Catholicism. Backed by a high-ranking Orthodox clergy, he impoverished the Portuguese diaspora by taking away their lands and punished any Ethiopians who converted to Catholicism by public whipping, imprisonment, or beheading. He even took the children of Ethiopian converts away from their parents. Eventually he ordered Oviedo and his team never to carry out any ministries, to which order the bishop responded: “What I do is my office; I shall not on any grounds fail to carry it out and teach everyone who wants to hear the holy, true and Catholic faith from me, even if it costs me my own life.”37 Infuriated by this bold response, Minas aimed to eliminate Oviedo and, in person, physically assaulted him. Oviedo was however saved by those present at the incident but was held prisoner for six months before getting banished to the drier region of Fremona—so named by the Jesuits after St. Frumentius who is considered to be the first evangelizer of Ethiopia.

By this time, the first mission to Ethiopia was already in a slow process of death. The Jesuits were captured by the Turks who robbed them, imprisoned them, and finally released them in a state of beggary. Oviedo spent the rest of his life in a thatched cottage at Fremona while ministering to a persecuted poor congregation that had gathered around the Jesuit community. He lived like a hermit—a lifestyle he craved for before he went to Ethiopia38—and later on several people spoke about his holy and austere life.39 Oviedo died in March 1577. After forty-two years of a precarious existence, and without the possibility of bringing in new missionaries, the first mission in Ethiopia ended with Fr. Francis Lopez, the last Jesuit in the country, who died in May 1597.

It is said that, habitually, Jesuits revisit the scene of their last defeat.40 While the first mission was dying in Ethiopia, a second one was being prepared both in Rome and in Goa. Early in 1589, Fathers Antonio de Monserrate (1536‒1600) and Pedro Páez (1564‒1622) left Goa with the hope of entering Ethiopia. However, their attempt ended as a complete failure. They were taken captive and, in a period of seven years, were tossed from one caliphate to another within the Hadhramaut desert until they were ransomed and sent back to Goa.41

Undaunted, Páez started planning his next journey almost immediately. He reached Massawa in April 1603 and successfully entered the country, thus opening a second Jesuit mission in Ethiopia. At Fremona, he occupied the house that was previously inhabited by Oviedo. Shortly afterward he was joined by four other Jesuits who thus constituted an initial team of five missionaries.

As mission superior, Páez was significantly different from Oviedo. He started his work in the remote region of Fremona where he opened a school for little children. He had the Catechism of Fr. Marcos Jorge (1524‒1608)42 translated into Geez, the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia, and had the children memorize parts of it. News of the school’s success reached the imperial court even before Páez himself could meet the emperor. When he finally met Za Dengel (Asnāf Sagad, r. 1604‒5) at the emperor’s own invitation, Páez charmed his host with diplomacy and skill. In a response that was considered by Páez as too rushed to be meaningful, Za Dengel issued orders to ban worshiping on Saturdays and immediately wrote to Rome and Lisbon, promising to embrace Catholicism and asking for more learned missionaries, soldiers, and craftsmen.43 All this enthusiasm ended rather abruptly as the emperor was killed in a battle shortly after his encounter with Páez.

The two years following Za Dengel’s death were completely taken up by fighting among imperial pretenders. However, for the Jesuits, nothing was lost. During the same period, four other Jesuits entered Ethiopia, bringing their total number in the country to nine. Moreover, the man who eventually won the battle for succession turned out to be the best ally the Jesuits had in the entire history of their Ethiopian missions. Emperor Malak Sagad III (also Selṭān Sagad I, better known as “Sussenyos,” r. 1607‒32) ushered in a period of political stability during which the Jesuit mission prospered. Most important, although he was of unquestionable royal blood, Sussenyos grew up among the Oromo and was thus free from both court politics and Orthodox ecclesiastical control. He liberally admired Páez’s personality and talents and openly sought to relate with Rome and Lisbon. Persuaded by Páez not to go public about his faith, he privately accepted Catholicism fairly early in his imperial career. He supported the Jesuits with pieces of land and other donations and allowed Catholics to operate in the country with relative freedom. Some of his court officials and relatives openly confessed the new faith and became its zealous defenders, as the case was with his own brother, Ras Cela Christos (d. 1636).

It was during Sussenyos reign that the Jesuits experienced the most success in their Ethiopian missions. Responding to a particularly Ethiopian reverence for the written word, they translated theological material into local languages. They put an accent on what Ethiopia was believed to have had in common with Rome until the time of Dioscorus (d. ca. 454), whose supposed heresy the Jesuits considered to have been the beginning of an Ethiopian diversion from mainstream Catholicism. Besides translating material, the Jesuits also embarked on writing new accounts. For example, Páez’s History of Ethiopia, which has been cited in this essay, remains an indispensable source of information, not only about seventeenth-century practice of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity as he claimed to have observed it but also about the country’s political, cultural, and geographical history in general. The Jesuits also contributed significantly to architecture in Ethiopia. Several churches and residences were built throughout the country. A much-talked-about storied stone palace for the emperor was also constructed with notable expertise that was provided by Páez,44 although the extent of his personal contribution to this edifice is currently disputed by authors.45

While still at its very peak of success, the second Jesuit mission in Ethiopia went through a series of events that reversed its course to the direction of complete ruin. For years Sussenyos had been seeking Portuguese and Spanish support and protection before he could go public about the Catholic faith, which he was already practicing in private.46 Frustrated by a prolonged lack of response from Europe, he increasingly became overt about his inclinations. Early in 1622, Sussenyos was formally received into the Catholic Church and, through an imperial edict, declared his faith publicly. Although many from Sussenyos’s family and court followed suit, the general reaction throughout the empire was very mixed, ranging from mass conversions to Catholicism to a renewed anti-Catholic spirit and fresh rebellions against his political rule. To make matters worse, Páez, who had been pivotal in ensuring that there was no constitutional rupture between the virtually Catholic emperors and the Ethiopian state-church because of the new faith, died shortly after Sussenyos’s public confession. His successor, the Patriarch Alfonsus Mendez (1579‒1656), arrived in the country in 1625 with a missionary style that was markedly different from that of Páez.

As patriarch, Mendez seems to have had greater authority and hence more success in getting a greater number of Jesuits into Ethiopia. Under him the mission recorded the highest number of twenty-two men in 1628. Furthermore, Bishop Apollinaris d’Almeida successfully arrived in Ethiopia in 1630 as assistant to Mendez with the right to succeeding him as patriarch. Probably without requisite caution, several new stations were opened. Whereas the exact number of Catholic churches, outstations, and residences established by the Jesuits during this period has not been established with certitude, there have been mentions of as many as thirty-one residential sites and a hundred churches and chapels, most of them located in the regions of Tigray, Dambea, and Gojjam. Mendez also contributed to Ethiopian architecture, notably through the first bridge to cross the Blue Nile, which his own masons helped to construct.47

Despite his contribution to other developments, Mendez’s missionary style marked him essentially as one who presided over the collapse of the seventeenth-century Jesuit mission in Ethiopia. He insisted on a rigid observance of Roman rituals and demanded public conversion testimonies under pain of death. In some instances, he even ordered people to be rebaptized and the clergy to be reordained by him. Unlike Páez, Mendez exploited the piety of the sympathetic Sussenyos to make Catholicism a state religion over and above the Orthodox Church, causing non-conversion to become a treasonable act.48 Sussenyos found himself in a bloody war against a vast majority of his subjects who resisted these changes and against political opponents who made capital out of his religious inclinations. After a 1632 battle during which an estimated 8,000 opponents were killed, the emperor declared complete freedom of worship for both Catholics and Orthodox Ethiopians in the country and then handed over power to his son, Fasilidas (‘Ālam-Sagad, also Selṭān Sagad II, r. 1632‒67). Sussenyos died a Catholic on September 27, 1632, in the presence of two Jesuits.49

Fasilidas’s assumption of power brought change to the fortunes enjoyed by Catholics as he sought to re-establish authority by purging the empire of Catholicism. In March 1633, all Jesuits were ordered to leave their residences and march toward Fremona—a location later authors would term “the cradle and the grave” of the early Jesuit missions in Ethiopia.50 Together with them on this journey were numerous priests, seminarians, and lay Ethiopian Catholics. Later in 1633, all except eight Jesuits had been forced to leave Ethiopia. Of the eight that remained, one had been allowed to stay because of age and infirmity, and the rest, who included the assistant bishop, had opted to stay in hiding to look after their persecuted flock. For some time they managed to carry on with their clandestine ministry, changing locations as often as it was necessary to avoid capture. However, later they were killed in battle or captured and executed. The last two, Fathers Lewis Cardeira and Bruno Bruni, were promised an amnesty and, after surrendering, were publicly executed at Adaga Hamus, a hamlet south of Adwa, on April 12, 1640. It is estimated that the Jesuits left behind a large number of Catholics, variously estimated to be between 130,000 and 225,000. These continued to suffer persecution under Fasilidas’s long and fairly successful political reign.51

Thus did Jesuit efforts in Ethiopia end as a disaster after eighty-five years of sustained effort. In subsequent decades, attempts were made to return to the country through Egypt. Even though most of these attempts failed, one courageous German Jesuit, Fr. Francis Storer, successfully entered Ethiopia in 1656 and served at Fasilidas’s court disguised as an Armenian physician. He died at this post in 1665, leaving behind little more than hints of his stealthy career.52

The Ethiopian mission ended close to a century before the closure of those in Angola and Mozambique, which, as already mentioned, continued until the expulsion of the Jesuits from Portugal and its dominions in 1759. The expulsion from Portugal was followed by similar ones from France in 1764 and from Spain in 1767, and it culminated in the universal—albeit not universally observed—suppression of the Society of Jesus by a papal brief that was signed on July 21, 1773.53 The formal existence of the Jesuits was nipped off for the forty-one years that followed this suppression, making their missionary involvement in Africa impossible to sustain.

The Second Period, 1832–2014

The Society of Jesus was formally restored by another papal bull that was signed on the August 7, 1814. However, the Jesuits took their time before returning to Africa. And when they finally returned, they did not go back to old places; several of their missions in Africa broke completely new ground. Their return to Africa also coincided with the nineteenth century’s European occupation of large parts of the continent. At the same time, Portugal was no longer the only or even the dominant power in Africa. Most Jesuit missions in this period followed colonial patterns, and the earliest among them were fairly short-lived.

The second period in Africa was ushered in by the French Jesuits who reached Madagascar in 1832. However, their first initiates were obstructed by political intrigues and bore no fruit. In 1840, another French mission was sent to Algeria and an orphanage was opened there, which served as many as 250 children in 1848. Around the same time, a more mixed group of Jesuits took part in a precarious mission of the Holy See to the Sudan, where they first arrived in 1848. For a brief moment, a Polish Jesuit, Fr. Maksymillian Ryłło (1802‒1848), became the mission’s pro-vicar apostolic.54 Ryłło died in the mission, but all the other Jesuits were withdrawn from the Sudan in 1852. On another front, Queen Isabella of Spain invited the Jesuits to move to her newly acquired island of Fernando Po in 1858. A mission was opened on the island and for fourteen years the Jesuits became great reconcilers between the few but notoriously fractious islanders.55 Besides these smaller missions that started and died off, other nineteenth-century efforts in Madagascar, southern Africa, Congo, and Egypt survived and have lasted to the present day.

Jesuits in Madagascar

In Madagascar, Catholic establishments gained ground only after the death of Queen Ranavalona (r. 1828‒61), who had been particularly hostile to Christian missions.56 Following her death, the Jesuits played a significant role in the primary evangelization of the islanders. Even then, they faced strong competition from the Protestant London Missionary Society and were often pushed to peripheral islets. Both Catholic and Protestant missionary work continued to depend heavily on the local political climate. From 1855, there was a slightly favorable change for Catholics, which was marked by the arrival of Fr. Marc Finaz (1815‒1880) in Tananarivo. Finaz became prefect-apostolic of Madagascar from 1851 to 1865.57 Furthermore, when the French won political control over the island, Catholic and Jesuit chances of succeeding in their work also improved. In this way, the Jesuit missions in Madagascar mirrored what was happening elsewhere on the African continent by depending on the colonial climate of the time for their continued survival. As Paul Camboué wrote, “Many converts went over to Catholicism as they would have gone over to Protestantism had England conquered the island, or as some went over to Methodism when the prime minister and the queen, by their adherence to it, made that a sort of state religion.”58

Just as it was in Angola and Mozambique in the first period, the link between missionary and colonial opportunities rendered the Madagascar missions vulnerable to any prevailing political wind.59 The Jesuits were forced to leave the island during the Franco-Hova wars of 1883‒86 and 1894‒95 and during the protracted rebellions that ensued from the wars. Fr. Jacques Berthieu (1838‒1896), who was killed in the latter rebellion after he decided to stay with his community of converts, became known as the Proto-Martyr of Madagascar and was declared saint by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. A noteworthy difference in the Madagascar mission from those of Angola and Mozambique, however, was the success of the Jesuits and other missionaries on the island in forming a strong local church whose indigenous membership preserved the faith even after the exit of the missionaries. This success was exhibited in Victoria Rasoamanarivo (1848‒1894), a woman of great courage and determination who defended the church against political assault and became the pillar of the Catholic faith in the country when the expulsion of the missionaries was effected.60 She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1989.

Jesuits in Southern Africa

In southern Africa, Bishop James David Richards (1828‒1893) invited the Jesuits to establish a school that was designed to nurture local vocations among sons of European settlers. Responding to the invitation, Jesuits, mainly from England, came into the region in 1875 and took over St. Aidan’s College in Grahamstown. Shortly afterward the mission became quite international and the Jesuits came to be entrusted with a territory that covered the whole of today’s Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, and parts of Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. This extensive enterprise was known as the Zambezi Mission.61 The mission also covered the region of Mozambique between 1881 and 1910. This specific region was placed under the care of Portugal in 1890, which added to the international character of the entire mission.62

St. Aidan’s College remained in Jesuit hands for almost a century. In the early years, it became—as it was then described—“the first stone in the work of the evangelization of the south-eastern part of the dark continent.”63 However, it remained for many years the only significant Jesuit enclave in the region that is today’s South Africa. Foreign missionaries stopped by to learn a language before they moved further north; local South Africans who aspired to join the Jesuits also passed by to prepare themselves before proceeding to England. The Zambezi Mission expanded mainly in Zimbabwe and Zambia where it later attracted more Jesuits from France, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands. Several mission stations were opened in these countries. Some major stations included a church, a school, a farm, and, at times, a hospital or an orphanage. There were 55 Jesuits in these mission stations by the end of 1900 who, in collaboration with Dominican and Notre Dame Sisters, ran 10 “native” schools with a total of 670 children in them.64 Furthermore, at this point the Jesuits manned three mission stations in what used to be the Cape Colony and six in Zimbabwe.

Like the Ethiopian mission in the first period, the Zambezi Mission is by far the best documented65 and, relatively, the most studied in the second period of Jesuit presence in Africa.66 It was obviously the most elaborate Jesuit enterprise on the continent within that period. Unlike several other initiatives of its kind, it was originally directed from the Jesuit headquarters in Rome and not placed under one specific European province. This arrangement attracted significant human resources for the enterprise. In spite of a number of setbacks and closures, the Zambezi Mission endured for a long period of time. Current Jesuit presence and institutions in Zimbabwe and Zambia—and, to a lesser degree, South Africa and Mozambique—have clear historical links with this nineteenth-century enterprise.

Jesuits in Egypt

The Zambezi Mission was already blossoming when another frontier was opened in Egypt. Following instructions from Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878‒1903), the Jesuits opened a minor seminary in Cairo in 1879, aimed at preparing Coptic candidates for seminary training in Beirut.67 Jesuit presence grew fairly steadily both in Cairo and in Alexandria—two cities that hosted two Jesuit colleges in those early years. In 1900 there were about forty-four Jesuits in Egypt. These numbers increased in subsequent years and more schools, parishes, and residences were opened up in Cairo, Garagos, Maadi, and Miniah. The Holy Family College in Cairo is probably the symbol of the enduring Jesuit presence in Egypt during this second period. Although the mission had also been initially viewed as an effort to counter the advances of Protestantism, the local context and the realities at this college made interfaith and ecumenical encounters the hallmark of Jesuit work in Egypt. With a student body that was largely Muslim and Coptic-Orthodox, for example, the college evolved to become a place “for learning to live together in harmony, for mutual respect and for acceptance of each other’s differences.”68 Thus did the entire Jesuit involvement in Egypt—in its multifaceted dimensions and so deeply inserted among Muslims—come to be viewed as an endeavor to witness to the practical possibility of a genuine friendship between Christians and Muslims, which was once described by one of the Jesuits as “Our Mediterranean Vocation.”69

Jesuits in the Congo

As the century of the restoration of the Society of Jesus was coming to a close, seven Belgian Jesuits established a mission at Kwango in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. Opened in 1893, this new mission marked a return to the region the Jesuits had left in the seventeenth century and laid the foundation for a work that would contribute significantly to the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in the country. Before the end of the century, Jesuits had stations at Kimwenza, Ndembo, Lemfu, and Boense in the diocese of Kisantu. Within the first decade of the twentieth century, they had gone beyond Kisantu, having established a mission at Wombali, Kenge, in 1901.70 In subsequent decades they spread to the dioceses of Kikwit, Kenge, and Popokabaka, with about fifty mission stations in the whole country before its independence in 1961.71 The jurisdiction of the Jesuits in Congo also extended to Rwanda and Burundi, which, like Congo, were under Belgian colonial rule.

In the twentieth century, Congo, probably more than any other place in Africa, attracted a large number of Jesuits, which explains their fast and vast spread in the country. They also became notable actors in both the evangelization and the social-economic development of the areas in which they settled.72 There were 91 Jesuits in 1931, manning 23 primary schools, 8 colleges for catechists, 2 minor seminaries, 2 other colleges (one for medical assistants and another for agricultural assistants), besides several other parochial and spirituality ministries. They also attracted significant numbers of local vocations, which led to the opening of a novitiate in 1948 and a college for the philosophical training of young Jesuits in 1954.73

Jesuits in Africa Today

The increase in the number of indigenous Africans who joined the Jesuits and the establishment of centers for their training in Congo signified a more profound establishment of the Society of Jesus on the continent. The trend was reflected in other parts of Africa especially after World War II. Although, as aforementioned, earlier missions had retained some connection with colonial occupation, the greater freedom experienced in Africa after the war seems to have had a positive impact on the spread and effectiveness of the Jesuits in Africa. While older establishments in Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Congo admitted more Africans to their ranks, new and far more international missions burgeoned all over the continent.

At the invitation of Emperor Haile Selassie, Canadian Jesuits went to Ethiopia in 1945 and dedicated themselves to modernizing the country’s educational system, ultimately playing a key role in the establishment of what is now the University of Addis Ababa.74 In 1947, French Jesuits went to Chad where they helped in founding two dioceses and in establishing a local hierarchy in the country. In Cameroon, they accepted responsibility for a school in Duala in 1957, and, in Ivory Coast, they established the African Institute for Economic and Social Development (Institut Africaine pour le Dévelopment Economique et Sociale, abbreviated as INADES) in 1962. In Eastern Africa, Indian Jesuits moved to Tanzania in 1961 and, starting with a parish at the shores of Lake Victoria, opened a mission that spread to the rest of the region. They were later joined by Maltese Jesuits, who concentrated mainly on seminary work in Uganda. Following the 1964 expulsion of European missionaries from the Sudan,75 Indian Jesuits were allowed to move into the country in 1971. They helped to rebuild the church in South Sudan as they concentrated on the formation of a local clergy in minor and senior seminaries.76 In 1962, one Jesuit from New York joined the faculty at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and in the following year he was joined by two others from the same place, who taught at the university and provided chaplaincy services in various institutions around the city. Another Jesuit from New York was sent to teach at the University of Ghana in 1974. Like those in Lagos, he also worked as a chaplain to a number of institutions in Legon, near Accra.77

All of the postwar Jesuit missions in Africa have survived in one form or another and have given rise to a myriad of other activities in several new locations. As the Society of Jesus shed off its mission status and became more locally established, the Jesuits had to reorganize the governance of their Society in Africa. A number of independent administrative jurisdictions (usually called provinces or regions) were established during the first two decades of African political independence, especially when the order was under the leadership of Fr. Pedro Arrupe (1907‒1991) as its general superior. After he had observed the changes that were happening at that time, Arrupe noted that Jesuits in Africa had to make decisions “with a better knowledge of the local situations” and to organize themselves “in accord with the present trend of the history both of Africa and the Church on that continent, where the Hierarchy has been established a few years ago.”78 This implied ending the practice where major decisions about Jesuit work in Africa depended entirely on superiors who resided in America, Asia, or Europe.

Arrupe’s strategy bore visible fruit. Today there are over 1,600 Jesuits in Africa, a majority of whom are indigenous Africans. They are organized in nine provinces and regions and they work in thirty-six African countries, in parishes, schools and colleges, as well as in advocacy, social development, and spirituality centers (Fig. 4). In recent years their focus has moved considerably toward secondary and college education in their own institutions and in those that are owned by others. Currently, plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of Jesuit university structures in Madagascar, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya. Along the same line, the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) was recently established in Nairobi, Kenya. Designed to preserve memory and promote historical knowledge, the JHIA collects, conserves, and provides primary sources for the study of the histories, cultures, and religions of the peoples of Africa and thus offers a unique service to scholarly research on the continent (Fig. 4).

Jesuits and Africa

Fig. 4 Jesuit provinces and regions in Africa and Madagascar today

With its African membership among the youngest in the entire order, it would seem to be the case that the Society of Jesus is at the most vibrant stage of its history on the continent. However, one must note that, compared to the pre-suppression missions of the first period that lasted up to two centuries, the current Jesuit missions in Africa are fairly young. Moreover, none of them have a direct link with those early Jesuit efforts to evangelize Africa. This disjunction would seem to emphasize my claim at the beginning of this essay that Jesuit historical links with Africa remain largely undocumented and understudied. Yet, one wonders whether the new missions—indeed, all current Christian efforts in sub-Saharan Africa—would not benefit from a more comprehensive attempt at understanding the import and the fate of similar efforts from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The economics of the early missions in Mozambique, for example, could greatly inform arrangements in Africa today when the impressive growth of the Society of Jesus and its greater localization call for commensurate financial freedom from the American and European provinces that initiated current Jesuit works on the continent. Moreover, although nineteenth-century missions clearly depended on colonial establishments, there is a curious link between recent Jesuit progress in Africa and political independence, which might also be true about other missionary congregations, and which might constitute an interesting subject of inquiry. Just how much did colonial rule facilitate or obstruct missionary success?


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(1) Thomas Worcester, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

(2) Cf. Thomas M. McCoog, A Guide to Jesuit Archives (St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuits Sources/Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2001), 11, 118, 159–161.

(3) “Formula of the Institute,” no. 3, in Society of Jesus, The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and Their Complementary Norms: A Complete English Translation of the Official Latin Texts (St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996); cf. Anonymous, Missions de la Compagnie de Jésus parmi les infidèls: Quelques notes historiques et statistiques (Turin: Tipoografia Bravalle e Falconieri, 1925), 25–34.

(4) W. F. Rea, Gonçalo da Silveira: Protomartyr of Southern Africa (Salisbury: Rhodesian Society, 1960), iii.

(5) Pedro Páez, Pedro Páez’s History of Ethiopia, 1622, 2 vols., ed. Isabel Boavida, Hervé Pennec, and Manuel João Ramos, trans. Christopher J. Tribe (London: Hakluyt Society, 2011), 1:244–250; Jeronymo Lobo, A Short Relation of the River Nile; of Its Sources and Current …, trans. Peter Wyche (London: Lackington, Alen & Co., 1798); also cf. Alan Moorehead, The Blue Nile (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1962), 24, 27.

(6) Ignatius of Loyola, Letters and Instructions, trans. Martin E. Palmer, John Padberg, and John L. McCarthy (St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2006), 144.

(7) Francis Xavier, The Letters and Instructions of Francis Xavier, trans. and intro. M. Joseph Castelloe (Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1993), 39–41, 46–48; Georg Schurhammer, Francis Xavier, His Life, His Times, 4 vols., trans. M. Joseph Costelloe (Rome: Jesuit Historical Institute, 1977), 2:87–113.

(8) Marcel Matungulu, “The Presence of the Society of Jesus in Africa from the Beginnings to the Present Day,” Year Book of the Society of Jesus 39 (1999): 31–34.

(9) J. Vaz de Carvalho, “Angola,” in Diccionario Histórico de la Compagñía de Jesús: Biográfico-Temático [hereinafter DHCJ], 4 vols., ed. Charles E. O’Neill and Joaquín M. Domínguez (Rome: Institutuum Historicum, S.I./Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2001), 1:171, 174.

(10) John Baur, 200 Years of Christianity in Africa: An African Church History, 2d ed. (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2009), 73–74; Manuel Nunes Gabriel, Os Jesuítas: Na Primeira Evangelização de Angola (Cucujães: Biblioteca Evangelização e Culturas, 1993), 47–50.

(13) Vaz de Carvalho, “Angola,” 1:173; Francisco Rodrigues, História da Companhia de Jesus na Assistêcia de Portugal, 7 vols. (Porto: Livraria Apostolado da Imprensa, 1931‒1950), 4/1: 226.

(14) Maria Amélia, “Angola Field Trip: Seven Historic Churches Tour,” February 2009, on

(16) George McCall Theal, A History of Africa South of the Zambesi: From the Settlement of the Portuguese at Sofala in September 1505 to the Conquest of the Cape Colony by the British in September 1795, 3 vols., 3d ed. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1916), 1:433; idem, Records of South-Eastern Africa: Collected in Various Libraries and Archive Departments in Europe, 9 vols. (London: William Clowes and Sons, 1898‒1903), 3:488.

(17) W. F. Rea, Missionary Endeavour in Southern Rhodesia (unknown publication details, ca. 1962), 6.

(18) J. Vaz de Carvalho, “Mozambique,” in DHCJ, 3:2756–2760, here 2757; José Augusto Alves de Souza, Os Jesuítas em Moçambique, 1541‒1991: No Cinquentenário do Quarto Período da Nossa Missão (Braga: Libraria Apostolado da Imprensa, 1991), 64–65.

(19) William Francis Rea, The Economics of the Zambezi Missions: 1580‒1759 (Rome: Institutum Historicum, S.I., 1976).

(20) M. D. D. Newitt, Portuguese Settlement on the Zambesi (London: Longman, 1973), 89.

(21) W. F. Rea, “Agony on the Zambezi: The First Christian Mission to Southern Africa and Its Failure, 1580–1759,” Zambezia 1/2 (1970): 46–53, here 50.

(22) Theal, History of Africa, 1:441–442.

(24) Theal, History of Africa, 1:435–436; idem, Records of SE Africa, 8:501.

(25) Cf. Theal, Records of SE Africa, 3:436–495, and Edgar Prestage and A. P. Newton, “The Portuguese in South Africa,” in The Cambridge History of the British Empire, vol. 8, South Africa, Rhodesia and the Protectorates, ed. A. P. Newton, E. A. Benians, and Eric A. Walker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936), 100–102.

(27) Most of the works of George McCall Theal can be accessed in digital format at

(28) Cf. Theal, Records of SE Africa, 5:210–211.

(29) Original documents relating to the Ethiopian Jesuit mission have been compiled in Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales, 15 vols., edited by Camillo Beccari (Rome: Casa Editrice Italiana, 1903–1917).

(30) Cf. John Reader, Africa: A Biography of the Continent (London: Penguin Books, 1998), 341–352.

(31) Jerome Lobo, A Voyage to Abyssinia, trans. Henry Johnson (N.p.: Tutis Digital Publishing Pvt. Ltd., [1887/1735] 2008), 48.

(32) Pedro Arrupe, “Decretum: Nova Regio independens Africae Orientalis Constituitur,” Acta Romana Societatis Iesu 16/4 (1976/1977): 903–906, here 903 (English version).

(33) Ignatius of Loyola, A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola, rev. ed., intro., trans., and commentary by Joseph N. Tylenda (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2001), 34.

(34) J. B. Coulbeaux, Histoire politique et religieuse de l’Abyssinie depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à l’avènement de Ménélick II, 3 vols. (Paris: GEUTCHNER, ca. 1928), 1:134; Páez, History of Ethiopia, 2:24.

(35) Cf. R. S. Whiteway, trans. and ed., The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541‒1543, as Narrated by Castanhoso, with Some Contemporary Letters, the Short Account of Bermudez, and Certain Extracts from Correa (London: Hakluyt Society, 1902), 110–112.

(36) Balthazar Tellez, The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (London: J. Knapton in St. Paul’s Churchyard, [1660] 1710), 140; also cf. Festo Mkenda, Mission for Everyone: A History of the Jesuits in Eastern Africa, 1555‒2012 (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 58–59.

(38) John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 352.

(39) Tellez, Travels, 148; also cf. A. H. M. Jones and Elizabeth Monroe, A History of Abyssinia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1935), 90–91.

(40) George Bishop, A Lion to Judah: The Travels and Adventures of Pedro Paez, SJ (Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1998), 29.

(41) C. F. Beckingham and R. B. Serjeant, “A Journey by Two Jesuits from Dhurfār to Sa’nā in 1590,” Geographical Journal 115/4–6 (1950): 194–207.

(42) Doctrina Christã Ordenada a maneira de Dialogo para ensinarosmeninos, pelo Padre Marcos Jorge … (Lisbon, 1556).

(43) Tellez, Travels, 168–169; Coulbeaux, Histoire, 2:165, 176–177.

(44) Cf. James Bruce, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years 1768 … 1773, 5 vols. (Edinburgh: G. G. J. and J. Robertson, 1790), 2:267, 294–295; Girma Beshah and Merid Wolde Aregay, The Quest of the Union of the Churches in Luso-Ethiopian Relations (1500‒1632) (Lisbon: Junta de Investigações and Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, 1964), 94–95; Bishop, Lion to Judah, 172–176.

(45) See editors’ “Introduction” to Páez, History of Ethiopia, 1:1–65, here 39.

(48) Coulbeaux, Histoire, 2:230; Philip Caraman, The Lost Empire: The Story of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985), 148, 156.

(51) Kevin O’Mahoney, “Abune Tobia and His Apostolic Predecessors: In Commemoration of the Bicentenary of an Ethiopian Bishop’s Consecration,” Quaderni di STUDI ETIOPICI 8–9 (1987–1989): 102–171, here 103–112; cf. Mkenda, Mission for Everyone, 107–118.

(53) Cf. Jonathan Wright, “The Suppression and Restoration,” in Worcester, Cambridge Companion, 263–277.

(54) Cf. M. Czermiǹski, O. Maksymilian Ryłło: Misyonarz Apostolski, 2 vols. (Kraków: Czcionkami Drukarni “Czasu,” 1911‒1912), 2:219–330; Elias Toniolo and Richard Hill, eds., The Opening of the Nile Basin: Writings by Members of the Catholic Mission to Central Africa on the Geography and Ethnography of the Sudan, 1842‒1881 (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1974), 2–3.

(55) I owe this information to the Rev. Jean Luc Enyegue, SJ, a doctoral student at Boston University, whose research subject is the nineteenth-century Jesuit mission in Fernando Po.

(56) James Sibree, The Madagascar Mission (London: London Missionary Society, 1907), 31–42.

(57) Cf. Adrien Boudou, Les Jésuites à Madagascar au xixe siècle, 2 vols. (Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne et ses Fils, 1940), 1:210 and passim.

(58) Paul Camboué, “Madagascar,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911 ed.).

(60) Cf. Brou, Les Missions des jésuites de France, 1930‒1931, an issue of Relations de Chine 30/1 (1932): 19–20.

(61) Cf. Edward P. Murphy, ed., A History of the Jesuits in Zambia: A Mission Becomes a Province (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2003), 201–203.

(63) “History of the Zambesi Mission,” Zambesi Mission Record 1/1 (1898): 49–52, here 49.

(64) “Notes from the Different Stations,” Zambesi Mission Record 1/12 (1901): 395–402, here 402.

(65) See, e.g., The Zambesi Mission Record: A Missionary Publication for Home Readers, published between 1898 and 1934; Diaries of the Jesuit Missionaries at Bulawayo 1879‒1881: Publication No. 4 of the Rhodesiana Society (Salisbury: Rhodesia Publishing Co. [Pvt.] Ltd., 1959); R. S. Roberts, ed., Journeys beyond Gubulawayo to the Gaza, Tonga and Lozi: Letters of the Jesuits’ Zambezi Mission, 1880‒1883, trans. Véronique Wakerley (Harare: Weaver Press, 2009).

(66) See, e.g., Murphy, History of Jesuits; Francisco Augusto da Cruz Correia, O Método Missionário dos Jesuítas em Moçambique 1881‒1910: Um Contributo para a História da Missão da Zambézia (Braga: Livraria A. I., 1992); and Nicholas M. Creary, Domesticating a Religious Import: The Jesuits and the Inculturation of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, 1879‒1980 (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011).

(67) Henri Jalabert, La Vice-province du Proche-Orient de la Compagnie de Jésus (Égypte, Syrie, Liban) (Beyrouth: Imprimerie Catholique, 1960), 26–27.

(68) Charles Libois et al., “The Jesuits in Egypt,” Year Book of the Society of Jesus (1990): 130–133, here 31 and passim.

(69) Vicenzo Poggi, “Jesuits and Islam,” Year Book of the Society of Jesus (2008): 74–76, here 74.

(70) Anicet N’Teba Mbengi, La Mission de la Compagnie de Jésus au Kwilu: Contribution à la transformation d’une région congolaise (1901‒1954) (Rome: Editrice Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, 2010), 11.

(71) Cf. Anicet N’Teba Mbengi, Paulin Manwelo, and Jan Evers, eds., Comme l’or qu’on affine: Florilèges et perspectives à l’occasion du jubilé d’or de la Province d’Afrique Centrale de la Compagnie de Jésus (Kinshasa: Editions Loyola, 2012), 20.

(72) Cf. N’Teba Mbengi, Mission de la Compagnie, 345–363, 446–454.

(73) Jesuit Conference on Africa and Madagascar, Jesuit Response to the Challenge of Mission in Africa and Madagascar Today (Washington, DC: Jesuit Missions, 1976), 29–30.

(75) Cf. Catholic Missionaries Expelled from the Southern Sudan, The Black Book of the Sudan: On the Expulsion of the Missionaries from Southern Sudan, an Answer (Milan: Instituto Artiganelli, 1964).

(76) Cf. Mkenda, Mission for Everyone, 220–229.

(77) Anonymous, From Generation to Generation: The Story of the Nigeria/Ghana Mission of the Society of Jesus (N.p.: Something More Publications, 1994), 19–20; Gabriel Ujah Ejembi, “Story of Success: The Golden Jubilee of the North-West Province of Africa (ANW),” Year Book of the Society of Jesus (2012): 25–28; Bill Wood, “Nigeria-Ghana Mission has University Roots,” National Jesuit News: Africa Supplement (January 1992).

(78) Cf. Mkenda, Mission for Everyone, 238–239.