Welcome to Jesuit Collections

Welcome to Jesuit Collections, a name for the collaboration between the British Jesuit Archives and Stonyhurst College Collections and an online platform set up for showcasing joint projects such as virtual exhibitions. The above video provides background information about the collections and sets out the aims of this collaboration.

We hope you enjoy exploring the rich Jesuit history as shared on these pages.

Hot Holy Ladies

The exhibition, Hot Holy Ladies, launching 8 July 2022 at Stonyhurst College, examines the lives and achievements of a remarkable group of Catholic women in 16th and 17th century England.

Some of the women in the exhibition were influential and prominent, even royal, while others lived out of the spotlight, but all contributed to the continuation of the Jesuit mission to the Catholics of England and Wales running very real risks of imprisonment and execution as a result of their activities. The exhibition examines the lives, circles and works of many women whose extraordinary activities have been largely left in the shadows.

A collection of rare and breathtaking artefacts tell their story. The stunning beauty and creativity of Helena Wintour’s richly symbolic embroideries form the centrepiece of the display and is the focus of this online exhibition, while artefacts from the Stonyhurst collections featuring in the physical exhibition will be enhanced by generous and spectacular loans from the British Jesuit Province, Douai Abbey Library and Campion Hall, Oxford.

The physical exhibition will include medieval illustrations, jewellery, relics and church plate in addition to the vestments. It will be open to the public at Stonyhurst College until August 2022. Click here for more information and to book tickets.

Visit the exhibition

How Bleedeth Burning love

Prompted by the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, Jesuit Collections launched its first online exhibition in March 2021. The exhibition How Bleedeth Burning Love presents relics belonging to priests and laypeople martyred for their Roman Catholic faith in England and Wales in the 16th and 17th centuries, and canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970.

It examines the faith stories of these remarkable men and women and shines a light on an extraordinary and little-explored period of English history, when men and women were persecuted and executed for their religious beliefs. Some of the relics in the exhibition demonstrate vividly the barbaric nature of the penalties inflicted, while others tell very personal stories of individual spiritual journeys of historic figures such as Thomas More and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The exhibition is illustrated with images of the martyrs’ relics and other manuscripts and artefacts in the care of the British Jesuit Archives and Stonyhurst College Collections.

Visit the exhibition

400+ years serving Christ’s mission

Prompted by the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Collections has launched a virtual timeline showcasing the history of the Jesuits in England, Scotland, and Wales over the past four centuries. The timeline charts the early days of English Jesuit martyrs to rapid expansion in the 19th century to development to meet changing needs in more recent years.

The timeline provides both a framework of the Province’s development, allowing the Jesuits’ history to be seen as part of the larger national and international religious, political and social history, while also giving context to individual Jesuit Works.

Each event is illustrated by one or more items from the British Jesuit Archives, Stonyhurst College Collections or Campion Hall, which you can click to enlarge and scroll through. Most have links to resources to find out more.

View the timeline


A Discussion of God's Grandeur

A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Dr Michael D. Hurley (University of Cambridge, Chairman of the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst), Dr Rebekah Lamb (University of StAndrews, Trustee of the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst), and Dr Jan Graffius (Curator of the Museum, Library, and Archives at Stonyhurst) discuss Gerard Manley Hopkins's "God's Grandeur". The podcast offers an accessible overview of Hopkins's life, the literary and theological richness of his poetry, and some of the ways in which his religious, scientific, and creative imagination was shaped by his experiences at Stonyhurst.

The Significance of Vestments

An interview with Dr Jan Graffius

Rebecca Somerset (Archivist, British Jesuit Archives) conducts an interview with Dr Jan Graffius (Curator, Stonyhurst College Collections) about the Hot, Holy Ladies exhibition launched in April 2022. They discuss the remarkable life of Helena Wintour and the underappreciated but essential role of 16th and 17th century Catholic women in saving many of the artefacts held by Stonyhurst and the British Jesuit Province today. The podcast also offers an understanding that vestments are a fundamental part of English and Welsh creative, literary and artistic history.

Download transcript

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