Religious Orders of the Catholic Reformation. In Honor of John C. Olin on His Seventy-Fifth Birthdayed. by Richard L. DeMolen (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 82, Number 4, October 1996
- pp. 710-711
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710BOOK REVIEWS button to the growing body ofwork on Bucer, and it should help make the Strasbourg reformer's views better known to the English-speaking world. Amy Nelson Burnett University ofNebraska-Lincoln Religious Orders ofthe Catholic Reformation. In Honor ofJohn C. OUn on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday. Edited by Richard L. DeMolen. (New York: Fordham University Press. 1994. Pp. xxii, 290; 12 illustrations. $30.00.) This Festschrift in honor ofJohn OUn provides a soUd coUection of basic information on religious congregations Ui the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . Both the weU-known orders (like the Society ofJesus and the UrsuUnes) and the lesser-known (like the Piarists and theVisitation sisters) are covered. Although little new historical ground is broken, there are suggestions for future research and exceUent bibUographies that help qualify this volume as a substantial contribution to the history of early-modern CathoUcism. As in most volumes of coUected essays, those presented here are not uniform in quaUty. EUsabeth Gleason's contribution on the Capuchins is itselfuneven. At times, her analysis disintegrates into pious reteUing of secondary sources,whUe elsewhere she renders questionable negative judgments about the group. She asserts that die initial Capuchin rules leave modern readers "wondering whether their purpose was to virtuaUy prevent ... a cheerful Ufe," but she also says that a "fruitful tension between action and contemplation shaped each friar's existence," and all in a rather short span of pages (41-45). Other essays are far better, such as those by John O'MaUey on the Jesuits and by Paul Grendler on the Piarists. These give developed information on die apostolates chosen by the two orders, their unique contribution to that defining feature of post-Tridentine mentaUty: the desUe to do something—anything—at the service of God through others. Better stUl are the essays of Patrick DonneUy on the Oratorians, Wendy Wright on the Visitation sisters, Richard DeMolen on the Barnabites, and Charmarie BlaisdeU on the UrsuUnes. These contain flashes of creative reconsideration of the era. DonneUy shows that PhiUp Neri might have faUen into disfavor with infamously repressive popes like Paul IV and Pius V—he was, after aU, a cleric whose delight in practical jokes those moraUzers disdained was equaUy infamous—but thetf actions faUed to end his pranks. Wright finds a humanistinspired spirituaUty and real innovation Ui the Italian female communities whose late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century history she studied. DeMolen and BlaisdeU provide evidence to suggest that although the original sptfitual and apostoUc ideals of groups like the three Barnabite congregations and the UrsuUnes were compromised by the implementation of Tridentine enclosure BOOK REVIEWS711 rules, local clerics and the famUies of nuns viewed cloister and regularized common dress just as necessary as the councU fathers did.When one considers BlaisdeU's indication that Angela Merici and her hand-picked successor, Lucrezia Lodrone, boldly violated the more representative elements in their original rule, even the actions of Carlo Borromeo to bring the group under control in MUan appear as something other than merely repressive subjugation. OveraU, the coUection properly reiterates the central themes of Olin's academic endeavors. Those who sat in his Bronx lecture haUs, in addition to reading his scholarship,wUl immediately recaU his interest Ui the great, stiU on-going debate over"CathoUc" or"Counter" Reformation and his insistence that humanism stood as the common background of both. They wUl also recaU his conviction that the new religious orders of the era demonstrate the innovative, vibrant nature of CathoUc, early-modern culture long after the point when many would rather describe it as repressive or disciplinarian. For them, perhaps the most enjoyable part of this volume wUl be the dedication by his student and coUeague, Roger Wines. Persons like myself, lucky enough to remain in contact withJohn now as he has passed his eightieth birthday, find him today just as Wines did in 1954: generous, enthusiastic, encouraging, truly humble. This volume is a fitting tribute to a great teacher, a fine scholar, and an even finer man. William V Hudon Bloomsburg University Ignatius ofLoyola: The Pilgrim Saint. ByJosé Ignacio TeUechea Idígoras. Translated , edited, and with a preface by Cornelius Michael Buckley, SJ. (Chicago: Loyola University Press...