Venerating the Saints: An Ancient Tradition Actual Today

Nov 1, 2020
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Free and open to the public. This event is co-presented with the Bollandist Society and America Media, and is co-sponsored by the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, the Nova Forum, the Harvard Catholic Forum, the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC, the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, the Georgetown Office of Mission and Ministry, and the Collegium Institute. This event will be held on Zoom (registration required) and live-streamed to YouTube.

Few Christian practices are as ancient and widely popular as veneration of the saints.  It is appropriate on this Feast of All Saints to review that history, consider the challenges it has faced, and reflect on its appeal even in our day. Beginning with the early veneration of the martyrs, especially in Rome, the presentation will show how it expanded to confessors who “confessed” or witnessed to the faith under trial and then came to include the veneration of images and relics, which provoked severe controversy. The talk will conclude with consideration of Jesuit saints, saints today, and the work of the Bollandist Society, a unique group of Jesuits based in Belgium who have, for centuries, provided crucial editing and scholarship that have defined the field of “hagiography,” the serious, critical historical study of the lives of the saints.

You can learn more about the Bollandist Society here.