Douai: Jean Bogard, 1586.
16mo: 180 (viii) pp. Collation: A-S8
NINTH EDITION (1st 1548) and one of the rarest of the 16th c. editions of the Exercises. The printer, Jean Bogard (d. 1636) was born in Leuven, where he began his career as a printer in 1564. In 1600 he started a second press at Douai.
Bound in contemporary vellum, lightly soiled, re-cased but binding original. Title page dusty, a few blank corners a little frayed, occ. light soiling, corners slightly rounded. Clean tear (no loss) in blank margin of leaf G5. Woodcut Jesuit device on title. Woodcut floriated initials in the text.
With the contemporary ex libris of the Jesuit collegium of Liége (Belgium). Also known as Collège en Isle and Collège des jésuites wallons, it was founded in 1582 and was very successful, with over a thousand students every year from 1600 until the departure of the Jesuits in 1773. About the beginning of the 20th century, the book entered the (now-dispersed) Library of the Jesuit seminary ‘Maison Saint-Augustin’ in Enghien (not far from Liége), founded in 1887 by the French Jesuits in exile on the site of the former Monastery of St. Augustin.
This is the ninth printed edition of the Spiritual Exercises. Thirteen editions appeared in the 16th century: Rome 1548, Coimbra 1553, Vienna 1563, Burgos 1574, Rome 1576, Dillingen 1582, Vilnius 1583, Dillingen 1583, Douai 1586, Seville 1587, Toulouse 1593, Rome 1596, Valencia 1599. The first 17th c. edition was printed at Mainz in 1600. All editions are rare.
"The 'Spiritual Exercises' encapsulated the essence of Ignatius' own spiritual turn-around and presented it in a form meant to guide others to analogous changes of vision and motivation. Ignatius used the 'Exercises' as the primary means of motivating his first disciples and prescribed it as an experience for all who later entered the Society of Jesus. Although at no point intended exclusively for Jesuits, the 'Exercises' remain the document that told Jesuits on the most profound level what they were and what they were supposed to be. Furthermore, the 'Exercises' set the pattern and goals of all the ministries in which the Society engaged, even though it was not always explicitly recognized as doing so. There is no understanding the Jesuits without reference to that book." (John W. O'Malley, "The First Jesuits", p. 4)
"The 'Exercises', though undoubtedly influenced by the ascetic teachings of Garcia de Cisneros of Montserrat and the Brothers of the Common Life, form a unique book, inspired by a remarkable fixity of purpose and designed for a clearly defined and practical end: the molding of character by the precepts of the Gospel. Its asceticism is not one of resignation and withdrawal, but full of a positive recognition of active life. It is this characteristic in particular which made the book such a powerful influence when it became (with the Constitutiones, on which Ignatius was still at work when he died) the handbook of the Society of Jesus, which is devoted to educational, missionary and other active works. St Ignatius introduced many innovations when founding the Society of the Jesuit Order; the abandonment of such traditional forms of worship as chanting the divine office, a monarchical rather than collegiate constitution, and much simpler vows. These elements, together with the spiritual power of the 'Exercises', gave the Order its militant character and enabled it to exercise its great influence on the world. As a work of religious inspiration the impact of the 'Exercises' has been almost as great outside the Society of Jesus as within" (PMM).
De Backer-Sommervogel, V, column 61; Palau 291091; PMM 74 (for the 1st ed.). 2 copies located in North America (Boston College, Saint Louis University).