When Irish Jesuit Annual Letters, 1604-1674 was launched in September, Bill Toner SJ took it upon himself to read right through the two volumes to get a detailed sense of the earliest Jesuit missions in Ireland. The work was published by Irish Manuscripts Commission, as the second part of a larger project to mark the bicentenary of the restoration of the Jesuits in 1815. The first book in this archival project was a Calendar of Correspondence 1566-1752, published by the Roman Archive of the Society of Jesus in Rome earlier this year. Both works were edited by Vera Moynes, and she was also one of the team of fourteen translators of the Irish Jesuit annual letters.
In his reflections on the annual letters, Bill notes that the priorities and the attitudes of Jesuits has changed a great deal since the 17th century, but he is impressed by the remarkable zeal his Jesuit forebears showed even in the perilous circumstances of the time, when the Jesuits were a particular target of anti-catholic penal laws in Ireland.