The Historia Domus, literally translated as “house history” or “family history”, has been a customary practice within Jesuit communities wherein a designated Jesuit would jot down the events of the day in a diary. Although these diaries may have been meant to be mere narrativised histories, they in fact provide rich insight into Jesuit life and practices.
While the historia domus were diaries related to specific Jesuit communities or houses, the Jesuit understanding of domus is much larger. For him, it encompasses the world. This understanding goes back to Jerónimo Nadal1 who in exhorting his fellow Jesuits on their missionary apostolic vow to be able to “travel through the world and to live in any part of it where there is hope of greater service to God and of help of souls”2 formulated the now-popular expression, “the world is our home”.
The expression “the world is our home” fits with the global dimension of Jesuit histories that are as diverse and interconnected as their worldwide apostolic enterprise. It is in these contexts that the Historia Domus is reinvented on the web that considers the world its home.
Rinald D’Souza SJ
“They consider that they are in their most peaceful and pleasant house when they are constantly on the move, when they travel throughout the earth, when they have no place to call their own.”
Illam reputant esse quietissimam atque amoenissimam habitationem, si perpetuo peregrinari, orbem terrarum circumire, nullibi in suo habitare.
Jerónimo Nadal SJ
- Jerónimo Nadal (1507-1580) was among the first generation of Jesuits and a close aide to Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius entrusted Nadal the task of interpreting the Society’s documents to its members and of whom he remarked: “he altogether knows my mind and enjoys the same authority as myself”. ↩
- Ignatius of Loyola, The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, trans. George E. Ganss (Saint Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996), 129. ↩