News Detail
Jesuit Father Thomas W. Worcester. Photo by Matthew Atanian.
"To do this the way it should be done and have time for anything else is perhaps my biggest challenge to date," — Jesuit Father Thomas Worcester
Jesuit Author Takes on New Challenge: An Encyclopedia of the Society

September 30, 2013 — Chances are, when Jesuit Father Thomas W. Worcester is not teaching or speaking about religious history, he’s writing about it. Fr. Worcester, a professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is editor of two best-sellers and currently at work on a comprehensive reference book: “The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits.”

Fr. Worcester has made a name for himself as one of the most successful authors in his field. In 2004, he was asked by the prestigious Cambridge University Press to edit a volume in the Cambridge Companions to Religion series, “The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits,” a collection of 18 essays examining the religious and cultural significance of the Society of Jesus.

His favorite part of the project was working with the authors, who represent a variety of perspectives and specialties, from art history to theology. “Collaborative and interdisciplinary work is more interesting than single-authored scholarship, which can be very lonely,” Fr. Worcester said. “And it makes a more interesting book.”

Soon after completing the “Companion,” which was released in 2008, Fr. Worcester approached Cambridge Press with his own proposal. Born out of a history course he teaches at Holy Cross, titled "The Papacy in the Modern World," the concept was a collection of essays exploring the evolution of the papacy in the last 500 years — from the pope as an Italian Renaissance prince and patron, to the pope as universal pastor concerned with the well-being and salvation of human beings everywhere.

The resulting book was “The Papacy Since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor,” co-edited with Jesuit Father James Corkery. It was published in 2010 and spent several months alongside the “Companion” at the top of the press's best-seller list in church history.

Fr. Worcester’s newest project is “The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits,” a one-volume, 500,000-word tome that will contain approximately 600 entries on everything about the Society, from its founding in 1540 to today, including significant people, concepts, places and institutions.

Fr. Worcester is charged with identifying, assigning and editing each entry, and he anticipates working with upward of 125 contributors. With the vast amount of work involved and the fact that the Jesuits will celebrate the bicentennial of their restoration as an order in 2014 — a major anniversary that will generate conferences, publications and events that he wants to take into account in the encyclopedia — he estimates a publication date of 2016, at the earliest.

"To do this the way it should be done and have time for anything else is perhaps my biggest challenge to date," Fr. Worcester said. [Holy Cross Magazine]


Recent News

September 21, 2016 — Jesuit Father Ante Gabric, a Croatian missionary who at times worked alongside Mother Teresa, is a candidate for sainthood.

September 21, 2016 — This fall, 47 new Jesuit novices joined the Society of Jesus in Canada, Haiti and the U.S., the largest group of novices in the last 10 years.

September 19, 2016 — Fr. Fitzgerald died Sept. 17. He stepped down as president of Jesuit High in New Orleans in 2014, after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease.

September 16, 2016 — Tomorrow is the feast day of Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), a Jesuit who was one of the most important cardinals of the Catholic Reformation.

September 14, 2016 — The video features interviews with five Jesuits preparing to be priests and is designed to reach young men and draw them to the Jesuits’ vocation site.

September 12, 2016 — This summer, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Baltimore teachers launched Cura Urbi, a program giving high school students a closer look at some of the social justice issues in Baltimore.

September 12, 2016 — Bruemmer has been named Dame Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester, Pope and Martyr.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 9/19/16

America 9/12/16

America 8/29/16



Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House
Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House is located on 80 acres of gently rolling meadows and wooded countryside just 35 miles northwest of Chicago.