This site has been archived for historical purposes. These pages are no longer being updated.
The fact that eighty countries of the world have found that the Jesuit impact on these countries deserves commemorative stamps is an emphatic endorsement of world-wide interest in Jesuits. A few copies of the hundreds of stamps concerning Jesuit apostolates have been selected and displayed on these pages. They are arranged in eight different categories with as many stamps on a page as could reasonably fit. The narratives for the stamps derive from sources such as The Jesuit Annuarium (Yearbook) and Bangert's History of the Society of Jesus.
Some Jesuits fall into several categories so are mentioned more than once as long as there were different stamps for the different categories. Unfortunately many Jesuits who deserve mention were never honored by stamps. So, while this collection is not an exhaustive history of the Jesuit Society, it does indicate the world-wide interest in Jesuits. Pozzo's celebrated fresco on the ceiling of St. Ignatius provides a fitting introduction. (Joseph F. MacDonnell, S.J.)
Part 7 Explorers and Missionaries
1. Emmanuel Nobrega, S.J. (1517-1570) A Brazilian stamp honors this Portugese Jesuit missionary and explorer who upon his arrival in the New World, told his companions: "This land is our enterprise". His daring and optimism were read in the sails of his ship: "One world is not big enough".
2. Benito de Goës, S.J. (1562-1607) A 1962 Portugese stamp celebrates the astonishing story of this Jesuit explorer from the Azores. De Goës undertook one of the greatest explorations in history in search of the fabled Kingdom of Cathay with its ancient Christian community reported by Marco Polo. After 4,000 miles and 3 years he ended his journey at the great wall of China in 1605 proving that Cathay was the China of Ricci.
3. Alexander de Rhodes, S.J. (1591-1660) A 1960 Indo-China stamp (overprinted by North Vietnam) honors the French missionary/explorer who gave tremendous impetus to the onward sweep of the Church in Indo-China in spite of the fact that the civil authorities had taken a hostile attitude toward Christianity. He labored there until 1645 then went to Ispahan in Persia, where he died, mourned by the Shah.
4. Jacques Marquette, S.J. (1637-1675) The first commemorative stamp to a Jesuit was this 1898 American stamp which honored this French Jesuit born in Laon who was one of the first to encounter the American Indian. He spoke six Amerindian languages and worked with the Illinois, the Pottawatimis, the Foxes, the Huron, the Ottawa, the Mackinac and Sioux. Although he was only 38 when he died, Wisconsin dedicated a statue of Marquette, noted for his amazing explorations, in Statuary Hall in the Capital in Washington, D. C.
5. Eusebio Kino, S.J. (1644-1711) A 1987 Mexican stamp marks the arrival in California of the Austrian explorer, Eusebio Kino. He was one of the great cartographers and explorers of the American Southwest and Mexico has commemorated him in stamps periodically. The map on this stamp shows Tucson in the North. Indefatigable rider, he seemed to live in the saddle. He taught the Indians how to raise cattle. In 1965 the State of Arizona dedicated a sculpture of Kino in Statuary Hall in the Capitol at Washington, D.C.
6. Peter Claver, S.J. (1580-1654) Colombia issued many stamps honoring this Spanish Jesuit because of his remarkable life of dedication as Apostle to slaves who were shipped like cattle from Africa to Cartagena. Peter worked relentlessly to alleviate their sufferings, and was the only doctor and teacher they would know. He baptized and instructed more than 300,000 and called himself the "slave of the black slaves for all time". When he died the slaves chanted: "Our best friend is dead".
7. Antonio Vieira, S.J. (1608-1697) A 1941 Brazilian stamp honors this Portugese theologian, adviser to the court, diplomatic representative of the crown, orator, social critic and man of letters. People came from great distances to hear his exhaustive sermons. Not always tactful, however, he claimed that the Dominicans live off the faith while the Jesuits died for the faith . He left for Brazil and labored among the Amazon Indians. Vierira alienated the colonialists by his bitter denunciation of the European slave traders. At his funeral the poor were his chief mourners. The Jesuit school in Bahia is named in his honor.
8. John de Britto, S.J. (1647-1693) An 1947 Indian stamp honors the Portugese missionary João de Britto who came from Portugese aristocracy and at one time was a page boy at the court of Lisbon. Against parental wishes he joined the Jesuits and went to India. Here he is dressed in the ocher-colored robe of a swami and holding the sword of his martyrdom. As a Pandaram swami he was able to deal with all classes in India and became the Apostle of Madura .
9. Matteo Ricci, S.J. (d 1610) A 1964 Chinese stamp recalls Ricci's protector, Hsü Kuang Ch'i.
10. Blessed Joseph Anchieta, S.J. (1534-1597) A Brazilian stamp celebrates National Apostle of Brazil who started his work 15 years after the Jesuit Society started. Here he is shown instructing a native.
11. Saturnino Urios, S.J. was a missionary of Mindanao who is remembered in this portrait on a 1981 stamp commemorating the 400 years of Jesuits in the Philippines. Also shown is the famous national hero, a rallying focus in the fight for independence, Joseph P. Rizal, a student of the Ateneo who was executed in 1896.
12. Educator Hugh Costigan, S.J. A 1990 strip of six stamps recall the extraordinary initiatives of this missionary from New York who received so much support from the New York Police department.
13. The Jesuit Reductions or Settlements in Paraguay (1607-1767) were called "one of the most altruistic ventures in human history" by Rousseau,hardly a friend of the Jesuits. These Paraguay stamps indicate that the History of Latin America would have been quite different if this unquestioned form of democracy had been been allowed to develop according to its own momentum, 100 years ahead of its time.
14. Canadian Jesuit Huron Missions (1610-1649) are honored in this Canadian stamp.
Part 8 Saints and Martyrs
1. Saint Ignatius Loyola, S.J. (1490-1556) Many stamps commemorated the 500th anniversary of Loyola's birth in 1491. He founded the Society of Jesus in 1540 and its expansion was nothing less than miraculous. By the time of his death in 1556 it had grown from 10 men to 1000 men living in 101 houses.
2. Saint Francis Xavier, S.J. (1506-1552) Patron Saint of all Missions Since the time of the Apostles there has not been a greater missionary than Francis Xavier. He left behind him a flourishing church wherever he went and the effects of his labors remain to the present day. An Indian stamp displays the Saint's signature, another his right arm. A Belgian Congo stamp depicts Xavier using Peter Paul Rubens.
3. Saint Peter Claver, S.J. (1580-1654) A 1980 Colombia stamp honors the Spanish Jesuit Saint who dedicated all his energy to the black slaves who were shipped like cattle from Africa to Cartagena to be sold to the highest bidder. He is considered an integral part of the history of Colombia.
4. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J. (1568-1591) A 1968 Italian stamp honors this young Italian Jesuit scholastic who died while attending the sick during the 1591 Roman plague. He is the Patron of youth.
5. Saint John Berchmans, S.J. (1599-1621) A 1965 Belgian stamp honors this young Belgian Jesuit Scholastic who was born in the town of Diest which later reconstructed the house he was born.
6. Saint Jean de Brebeuf, S.J. (1593-1649) Three 1977 Canadian Christmas stamps honor this French Jesuit missionary. The story of the Magi is told in Brebeuf's hymn in the Huron language Jesous Ahatonhia. Against the background of the aurora borealis are the "three chiefs" coming to worship at the crib.
7. Blessed Joseph Anchieta,S.J. (1534-1597) A 1980 Brazilian stamp celebrates the beatification of Joseph Anchieta, Brazil's greatest and most famous missionary - the Apostle of Brazil who worked with the Indians for 44 years. He is called "the wonder-worker of the New World".
8. Assumption Sanctuary at Velehrad A Czechoslovakian stamp shows the Sanctuary of the Assumption at Velehrad, a reminder of how terribly the Jesuits suffered under the Communist regimes.
9. 40 Jesuit Martyrs of Brazil Three 1970 Brazilian stamps commemorate the 40 young Jesuit Martyrs of Brazil in 1570 when Calvinist pirates captured these scholastics and threw them overboard.
10. Saint John de Britto, S.J. (1647-1693) An Indian stamp honors this Portugese Jesuit martyr who became the Apostle of India, where he was beheaded after he had converted more than 10,000 natives.
11. Saint Roque Gonzalez, S.J. (1576-1628) A 1966 Paraguayan stamp honors this Spanish Jesuit born in Paraguay, martyred at River Plate and one of the main architects of the Jesuit Reductions there.
12. Chèvremont Jesuit Chapel near Liège A Belgian stamp shows the chapel built by the English Jesuits in exile from England. One can still read the poignant words: "16-Sancta Maria, ora pro Anglia-88".
13 North American Martyrs A Canadian stamps honor the Jesuits who worked with the Huron Indians in Canada and arrived in Canada long before the pilgrims. Jeous Ahatonhia was Brebeuf's own Christmas carol.
14. Alfred Delp, S.J. (d.1945) A 1964 German stamp honors the memory of this German Jesuit for his opposition to the Nazis and courageous opposition to Hitler. In 1943 Alfred Delp, S.J. joined the Kreisau Circle, an anti-Nazi group which laid plans for a new social order built on Christian principles. In 1944 he was captured and tried. On 2 February, 1945 he was executed by strangulation by government order.
15. Blessed Rupert Mayer, S.J. (1876-1945) A 1987 German stamp celebrates the beatification of this very popular German preacher in Munich. Eventually in 1939 he was arrested and taken to the Oranienburg Nazi Concentration Camp. In order to avoid making him a martyr, the government ordered him placed incommunicado until the war was over, and shortly after the war he died while preaching.
16. Blessed Jacques Desire Laval, S. J.(1803-1864) led 50,000 Mauritians to a better way of life by instilling freed slaves with religious principles. He built schools and chapels. When he died in 1864 40,000 Mauritians followed his coffin. Today hundreds of pilgrims of every creed come to pray at his tomb.
17. S. G. Francis da Cruz, S.J. (1859-1948) A 1960 Portugese stamp honors this Servant of God who was called "the Good Samaritan of Portugal". Born near Lisbon, Portugal, he entered the Society at the age of 81- after waiting for 60 years because of sickness. Within 3 years of his death his cause was introduced.
18. Jesuit martyrs in Micronesia A 1991 Caroline Island "Palau" stamp honors the Jesuit missionaries who labored there and recalls three Spanish Jesuits martyred during the First World War.
19. King Charles III A 1984 Spanish stamp is a reminder of the Jesuit expulsion from Spain by King Charles III whose egotism was easily manipulated. After he extracted the decree of Suppression of the Jesuits he considered it a sacrilege against the divine right of kings to be asked for a reason and would merely allow: "for grave reasons which I keep in my royal heart".
A Philatelic Display of the Jesuit Mission has four parts
Jesuit Mathematicians and Scientists
Jesuit Artists and Scholars
Jesuit Founders and Schools
Jesuit Missionaries and Saints