Thursday, 27 June 2013

Herefordshire Catholic History Society review of the day

I am very grateful to Brenda Warde for this review of the day's proceedings. Brenda is Secretary of the recently formed Herefordshire Catholic History Society, and Archivist at Belmont Abbey. 

"At the Herefordshire Catholic History Society, of which I am secretary, we have been most fortunate to have had several talks by Hannah Thomas on the progress of her research into the fate of the books from The Jesuit Cwm Library.  Hannah had mentioned that a symposium was in preparation and as soon as I saw the planned programme for the day I jumped at the chance to sign up.   

The day lived up entirely to expectations with the six main speakers complementing each other beautifully through their different aspects on the subject.  The three morning speakers provided a comprehensive overview of the contributions made by the Jesuits to the culture of the seventeenth century, linking my previously rather unconnected bits of knowledge into a more cohesive background.    

I found Dr. McCoog’s explanation as to why the Jesuit Order decided to establish an English mission in the first place, in what were generally unpromising circumstances, a useful and informative setting for Hannah’s analysis of the actual books.  And, of course, the programme provided excellent opportunities, over a leisurely lunchtime and in the afternoon, to inspect the artefacts from Stoneyhurst, having heard a fascinating account of their provenance, and indeed the Cwm books themselves.

Apart from the major contribution of Swansea University to the actual programme, I also have to compliment the staff at the Cathedral for the smooth running of the day.  Then, of course, it was a wonderful rounding –off of the symposium to sit in the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier’s to listen to a concert of outstanding quality.  For the future I shall try, as Canon Pullin suggested, to take a more sympathetic view of Bishop Croft’s seizure of the Library in the first place!"

Brenda Warde

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

some photos of the conference

I am very grateful to Gordon Taylor LRPS who has provided me with these images of the day - all images are the property of Gordon, and should not be used or copied in any way







College Hall, Hereford Cathedral - packed with delegates!











Speakers in Panel 1 (L-R):
Professor Peter Davidson, University of Aberdeen
Dr Adam Mosley, Swansea University
Dr Peter Leech, Swansea University
Speakers and organisers in the beautiful Cloister Gardens (L-R): Canon Chris Pullin, Dr Rosemary Firman,
Professor Maurice Whitehead, Dr Adam Mosley, Hannah Thomas, Professor Peter Davidson, Janet Graffius,
Dr Peter Leech, Revd Dr Thomas McCoog, SJ




Hannah Thomas speaking to delegates from the Irish Jesuit Archives Damien Burke and Vera Orschel









Speakers in Panel 2 (L-R):
Janet Graffius, Curator of Special Collections,
Stonyhurst College

Hannah Thomas, Swansea University

Revd Dr Thomas McCoog, SJ, Fordham University, New York and Archivist of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, London

Irish Jesuit Archives conference report

What follows below is a report of the 'World is Our House' symposium and concert, written by delegates from the Irish Jesuit Archives, and also posted on their own blog, http://sjarchives.tumblr.com/. The archives, which contain the records of the Jesuits in Ireland from 1575-1980, have also posted a number of photos from the symposium on their Flickr page. Huge thanks to Vera and Damien for attending the conference and contributing their feedback.
Last Friday, 21 June 2013, I was lucky enough to attend the excellent Midsummer symposium on international Jesuit culture, 1540-1700 at Hereford Cathedral, Hereford, England. This was followed with an evening concert of early Jesuit music, to celebrate the re-evaluation of the Cwm Jesuit Library, housed at Hereford Cathedral since 1679. The Cwm Library(pronounced Coombe) is:

the largest surviving seventeenth-century Jesuit missionary library in Britain, is currently being analysed in depth as part of an exciting joint project between Swansea University and Hereford Cathedral, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
The symposium, ‘The World is Our House’, sponsored by the Jesuit Institute in London and the British Province of the Society of Jesus, sought to focus on Jesuit Arts, Science and Music in the early modern period and the Jesuits in late-sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England and Wales. Introductions were by Dr. Rosemary Firman, Canon Chris Pullin and Professor Maurice Whitehead. Talks included:
The Jesuits and the Arts, 1540-1700 by Professor Peter Davidson, University of Aberdeen
The Jesuits and Science, 1540-1700 by Dr Adam Mosley, Swansea University
The Jesuits and Music, 1540-1750 by Dr Peter Leech, Swansea University
The Jesuits in England and Wales, 1580-1700: an overview by Reverend Dr Thomas McCoog, SJ, Fordham University, New York, and Archivist of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, London
Helen Wintour and Jesuit vestment-making in seventeenth-century Worcestershire by Janet Graffius, Curator of Special Collections, Stonyhurst College
The Cwm Jesuit Library at Hereford Cathedral by Hannah Thomas, PhD candidate, Swansea University 
image
There were also a number of fantastic exhibitions on show: Mappa MundiChained Library exhibitionBooks from the Cwm Library and Vestments from the seventeenth-century
We were afforded the opportunity to attend Choral Evensong in Hereford Cathedral, featuring unaccompanied seventeenth-century music and afterwards a concert of music, at St Francis Xavier’s RC Church, Hereford, associated with Jesuit colleges in the early modern era, 1600-1750. Dr. Peter Leech, the Musical Director of Cappella Fede organised the concert which included reference to William Byrd, Tom├ís Luis de Victoria, Matthew Locke, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and others, including the first modern performances of some recent archival discoveries that have not been played since the mid-1600s.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The World is Our House - a successful symposium!

This Friday, 21 June 2013, the 'World is Our House' symposium took place in the beautiful College Hall, Hereford Cathedral, followed by an evening concert in the nearby St Francis Xavier's RC Church, Broad Street, Hereford.


The title of the conference. 'the World is Our House' was chosen to embrace the core concept of the Society of Jesus that God is everywhere and can be served in every way, without the restrictions of a more traditional monastic way of life. One aim of the conference was to demonstrate how cohesive and connected every element of the Jesuit way of being is, even something as seemingly localised as the Cwm library is part of a bigger international tapestry. The phrase was used by Jerome Nadal SJ (1507-1580), an extremely important and influential early member of the Society of Jesus, who played a huge role in the success and growth of the Society.

Jerome Nadal, SJ (1507-1580)


The 'World is Our House' conference was a huge success - a sell out crowd of some 85 delegates from a huge variety of organisations and institutions attended to hear the six papers, as well as view the three exhibitions of Peter Leech's rare books and other items of Jesuitica, a display of some of the key inscriptions and texts from the Cwm Jesuit Library at Hereford Cathedral (pictured) and the beautiful embroidered 17th century chalice veils made by Helena Wintour and Mary Bodenham, which are on loan to Hereford Cathedral until the end of August. 

Cwm books on display in Hereford Cathedral Library & Archives Reading Room
The conference was opened by Canon Chris Pullin and Professor Maurice Whitehead, both of whom spoke of their individual experiences and connections with the Cwm Jesuit Library Project. The opening comments also set the aim of the day, which was to set the seventeenth century Cwm Jesuit Library in an international context, and to draw links between the Cwm library and the wider international Jesuit ideas, ideals and culture. 

The morning papers were focused on setting the scene, and introducing the Jesuits as an active and varied organisation in many areas of 17th century culture. Papers included the Jesuits and Art, 1540-1700 (Professor Peter Davidson, University of Aberdeen), the Jesuits and Science, 1540-1700 (Dr Adam Mosley, Swansea University) and the Jesuits and Music, 1540-1750 (Dr Peter Leech, Swansea University). All three papers were very well received, prompting a stimulating discussion and many interesting questions.

Over lunch time, delegates had the chance to view the three exhibitions, as well as the Hereford Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition. 

After lunch, the focus of the afternoon papers shifted to a regional perspective, with papers specifically discussing the Jesuits in England and Wales, 1580-1700 (Reverend Dr Thomas McCoog, SJ, Fordham University, New York and Archivist of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, London) and Helena Wintour and Jesuit vestment-making in 17th century Worcestershire (Janet Graffius, Curator of Special Collections, Stonyhurst College). 

The final paper of the day was an overview of the Cwm Jesuit Library Project at Hereford Cathedral (Hannah Thomas, Swansea University), presenting delegates with the story of the project so far: discoveries made, key inscriptions identified and analysed, big research questions currently still unanswered and next steps that the project is going to take. Hannah's paper will be published in part in the next few blog posts, so keep an eye out for that! I would also be delighted if other delegates would like to contribute their own feedback and reviews of the day to the project blog at worldisourhouse.blogspot.com 

After lots of interesting questions and discussion, and ways to further enhance the project, the symposium part of the day was drawn to a close. Both Canon Chris Pullin and Maurice Whitehead gave thanks for the hard work of the Hereford Cathedral staff and volunteers who had made the day possible, as well as the generous sponsorship of the Jesuit Institute in London, the British Province of the Society of Jesus and an anonymous donor, who made the whole day possible. 

Delegates were given the opportunity to attend the exhibitions once more, which remained open until 5.15, and also to attend Choral Evensong in Hereford Cathedral, which featured specially chose unaccompanied 17th century music.

Finally, the day was rounded up with a fantastic concert of music associated with Jesuit Colleges in the early modern era, 1600-1750. Performed by Cappella Fede under the direction of Dr Peter Leech, the evening featured a range of musical pieces by William Byrd, Matthew Locke, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and others, and included the first modern performances of some recent archival discoveries that have not been heard since the 17th century. The concert took place at the nearby St Francis Xavier's RC Church, Hereford: the institutional successor of the Cwm as the headquarters of the College of St Francis Xavier, or the Welsh District, and therefore a fitting end to a fabulous day.