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The Ruins of a Dream: 

The Jesuits and the Paraguay Reductions

Someday when I have time (I will pause now so you can all get the laughing out of your systems)...I am going to write something here about the Paraguay Reductions, a specific facet of my Jesuit obsession.

The history of the Jesuits and the Guarani Indians fascinates me.  I'm not entirely sure why, except that art, theology and tragedy are three of my major fascinations, so if you mix all three, it's definitely my idea of a good time! 

The way my schedule looks now, I figure I should get around to writing this about two weeks after my daughter goes to college.  She's currently eleven.  But in the meantime, here are all the links I've found, with lots of good articles that other people have written.  (Not nearly enough photos, but I'll scan some as soon as...well, you know...)

If you've already seen "The Mission", you should recognize this waterfall. If I'd been Fr. Gabriel, I would have looked at this and  said, "Obviously God didn't want us 

up there." 

 

 

Leftt:  A different and no less 

intimidating angle.

 

 

 

"A Paraguayan Jesuit decides to contact an isolated Guarani community living in the middle of the forest.  He is morally certain that he will be accepted, even adopted, by the Indians.  It will be enough, he thinks, to present himself to them as the successor of those Fathers who in times past did so much or their ancestors.  Received the members of the tribe with their characteristically distant politeness, he begins to deliver the speech that he prepared at length and has often repeated in his head.  The Indians listen to him in silence, looking upon him without any expression.  Hardly does he conclude when, one after another, the Indians turn their backs on him and leave.  Only an old man remains, awaiting a likely question, which is not long in coming:  "Why have they done this?" asks the priest.  The old man answers, "Because the Fathers who loved us left us a long time ago.'" 

(From The Jesuit "Republic of the Guaranis)

 

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Above:  Before I get letters from 250 Jesuits telling me of my mistake, I do know that these  are the ruins of San Ignacio Mini in Argentina, and that Argentina and Paraguay are two separate countries.

If you want to learn something about the Paraguay Reductions (and see a great movie in the process) "The Mission" is a great place to start.  Jeremy Irons' performance is as close to perfection as humans ever get.  And if you are an aspiring writer, Robert Bolt's script is worth studying.

(Find the movie at a video store near you, or cllick on the photo above to order it from Amazon.com.)

Links:

Paradise Lost:  The Jesuit Missions of Paraguay

A Vanished Arcadia: The Jesuits of Paraguay 1588-1767  

Catholic Encyclopedia Entry (Paraguay Reductions)

The Jesuit Missions:  Shattered Dreams)  (Great photos!)

Paraguay: The Sword of the Word

Music from the Paraguay Reductions  (Well worth the downloading time!

The Jesuit Missions (Reducciones)  in South America

Jesuit Art & Architecture in South America

The Jesuit "Republic" of the Guaranis (1600-1768) Very nice book with great photos.

A FEW LINKS FOR THE TRULY OBSESSED:

Radio Guarani

Interactive Guarani Dictionary

Guarani Language Products

TEKOVE YVYPORA KUERA MAYMAYVA DERECHO KUAAUKAHA  (The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Guarani.)

(I'm sad to report that the Guarani Homepage is no longer being maintained.)