Jesuítas Publications Series

Jesuítas Publications Series

The Macau Ricci Institute has published a short biography of Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ, based on a collection of essays presented in the Institute respectively by Dr. Gianni Criveller and Dr. César Guillén Nuñez, dedicated to the memory of a great pioneer after whom our Institute is named. This modest publication which would like somehow to contribute to the worldwide commemoration of Matteo Ricci’s demise in Beijing in 1610, intends to inaugurate a series of MRI studies related to the Jesuit history in the old China mission. It will be published under the name of Jesuítas Publication Series and will introduce to the readers such outstanding figures of the past as Alessandro Valignano, Melchior Carneiro and Tomás Pereira. Each title of the series will be available in English and Chinese simplify versions.

Jesuítas Publications Series

Jesuítas Publications Series:

Matteo Ricci

 

Introduction

Recently, the Macau Ricci Institute has published a short biography of Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J., based on a collection of essays presented at the Institute by Dr. Gianni Criveller and Dr. César Guillén Nuñez respectively, dedicated to the memory of a great pioneer after whom our Institute is named. This booklet which aims to contribute to the worldwide commemoration of Matteo Ricci’s demise in Beijing in 1610, intends to inaugurate a series of MRI studies related to Jesuit history in the old China mission. It will be published under the name of Jesuítas Publication Series and will introduce to the readers such outstanding figures of the past as Alessandro Valignano, Melchior Carneiro and Tomás Pereira. Each title of the series will be available in English and Chinese versions (simplified characters).

Together with the commemoration of Ricci, a model of accommodation and intercultural exchange and dialogue, the MRI also marks its own tenth anniversary.

The present publication is addressed to MRI friends, benefactors, contributing scholars, and cooperating institutions, as well as to fellow Jesuits and communities. It gathers four essays: two of them are concerned with the life of Matteo Ricci and are written, and were earlier presented at MRI Forums by Dr. Gianni Criveller, PIME; the other two are about the iconography related to a well-known portrait of Matteo Ricci and about the Beijing church that he founded, and are written by Dr. César Guillén Nuñez, MRI researcher.

We sincerely hope that the present MRI publication will bring Matteo Ricci’s life and achievements closer to Chinese and Western readers and that it will instill in them his spirit of knowledge, virtue and sharing of spiritual and intellectual traditions in dialogue within our globalising world.

Alessandro Valignano
Jesuítas Publications Series

Jesuítas Publications Series:

Alessandro Valignano

 

Introduction

Our second volume of the MRI Jesuitas Publications Series Portrait of a Jesuit is dedicated to the memory of Fr. Alessandro Valignano, SJ, a great figure in Macau and in Asian history.

A history chronicle records that Valignano (1536-1606), a native of Chieti in Abruzzi, at the age of 30 was received into the Society of Jesus by its general Francesco Borgia, SJ. Four years later, when ordained a priest, he first assumed the post of novice master and welcomed Matteo Ricci to the novitiate of Sant’Andrea di Quirinale. One year later he was nominated rector of the Jesuit College in Macerata, Ricci’s place of birth. In August 1573 he was called to Rome by the newly elected General, Everard Mercurian, SJ, to be assigned Visitor of all the East Indies. In this capacity he sailed from Lisbon to Goa (via Mozambique) where he arrived in the company of forty four brothers on September 6th 1574 and spent his first three years of hard work in India. Finally he left Goa and arrived in Macao (via Malacca) on September 6, 1578 which marked the first of a series of his six arrivals in Macau during his twenty seven years of highly productive work.

During these years Macao became his missionary base and home from which he conducted diverse activities, which stimulated both Japanese and Chinese missions, while he kept an eye on Portuguese expansion in the region, especially India.

Subsequently, during his six following sojourns in Macao, which all told took almost ten years of his life, he made the most valuable contribution to the Jesuit mission in East Asia. According to the chronology relating to his stay in Macao, we can highlight some of his most eventful initiatives and implementations.

These and many other facts of Valignano’s busy life will be revealed by reading the present collection of four essays and a chronology, written by distinguished historians and friends of our Institute. Among them I would like first to emphasize two of our Jesuit companions who are no longer with us today, namely Fr Edward J. Malatesta, SJ, and Fr John W. Witek, SJ, whose expertise, care of the Jesuit heritage and profound respect and understanding of Chinese history and of the role that Macao could and should play in and contribute to the region, were crucial in the decision to found and incorporate our Macau Ricci Institute into the long Jesuit tradition of dialogue and mutual enrichment in Sino-European cultural and academic relations and exchange.

Alessandro Valignano