St. Ignatius Loyola and the Remarkable History of the First Jesuits by John O’Malley

Summary: A five-hour course introducing the Jesuits.

Part of what I keep returning to with my study of Ignatian Spiritual Direction is my need to fill in the holes in my understanding of some of the basics. For instance, “who are the Jesuits, and what is their history ?” I have had John O’Malley’s longer The First Jesuits and his shorter Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present recommended to me. But neither of those was available on audiobook and I needed something to listen to as I was doing some busy work, so I picked up this audiobook lecture course.

At five hours it gives an overview, but it is just an overview. O’Malley is a historian and professor at Georgetown, but he is also a Jesuit. It is not that I don’t trust his opinion, but that I need to get some history from non-Jesuits as well. I have some introduction to the spiritual perspectives of Jesuits from James Martin, but I really want more history to place them in context and to see why they seem to be so loved and hated depending on who you ask.

I have read Ignatius’ autobiography and am familiar with his spiritual exercises, but this still filled in a lot of holes (and opened up plenty of awareness of holes I was previously unaware of and still need to fill.) The movement toward audiobook lectures as a whole is good. But like everything, the quality depends on who is doing the lecturing. This was neither the best nor the worst I have heard. At five hours, I think it was probably too short. But I was glad to pick it up based on the price and I will also pick up one or both of O’Malley’s books on the Jesuits relatively soon.

St. Ignatius Loyola and the Remarkable History of the First Jesuits by John O’Malley Purchase Link: Audiobook

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