THOMÁS, de Jesús

THOMÁS, de Jesús Stimulus missionum: siue de propaganda a religiosis per vniuersum orbem fide..

Rome, apud Iacobum Mascardum, 1610


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. (viii), 234, (vi). , A-P . Roman and Italic letter. Woodcut device to title of Ss. Peter and Paul with Papal arms in between, historiated, floriated and grotesque woodcut initials, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, the very rare marginal spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in eighteenth century French calf, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments, richly gilt with large fleurons to centres, red morocco label gilt lettered, a.e.r. covers scratched.

Important first edition of this major work on missionary theory by the great Discalced Carmelite Monk Tomas de Jesus, (Diego Sanchez Davila) one of the most important figures of the Discalced Carmelite movement, a work of great influence in the establishment of missions throughout the New World. Thomas was named Provincial of Casilla in 1597 and founded another desert Monastery at Las Batuecas shortly after. During this time he was invited by the Carmelite fathers of the Italian congregation to join a missionary expedition to the Congo, however he preferred to remain in solitude in his retreat. Shortly after however, on rereading the first chapter of the foundation work of the order by St. Theresa D’Avilla, he had a profound change of heart. He made a vow to work on the conversion to Christianity of all those who were outside the Church, and wrote to his Italian confreres to inform them of his availability to travel anywhere in the world. With this goal he returned to Rome. The African mission had not materialised so whilst in Rome he wrote this treatise in which he formed the view Carmelites should give themselves to the missions as it was entirely within the spirit of contemplation that founded the order. He developed the idea that Monks and Solitaries, due to their rigorous training were most qualified for this apostolic mission. He developed these thoughts in a second work ‘De procuranda salute omnium gentium’ which, together with this, would serve as one the chief works used in the formation of missionaries for centuries especially after the creation of the congregation for the propagation of the faith.

“An attempt in this direction (creating new missionaries) had been made soon after the Council of Trent, but was not followed up. The pope, struck with the missionary zeal of the Carmelites, consulted Thomas of Jesus as to the best means of bringing about the conversion of infidels. This religious, in his works “Stimulus missionum” (Rome, 1610) and especially “De procurandâ salute omnium gentium” (Antwerp, 1613), laid down the disciples upon which the Holy See actually instituted and organized the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda.” Catholic Encyclopaedia. “His purpose was not only to prepare missionaries to Evangelize the indigenous peoples of the Americas, but also to provide them with arguments to refute the convictions of any kind of unbeliever. His focus on missionary activity anticipated the creation of the church’s missionary office, the congregation for the propagation of the faith.” Jo Eldridge Carney ‘Renaissance and Reformation, 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary.’

An excellent copy of this important first edition.

Not in BM STC It. C17th or Alden.
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