Dear Friends of the Bollandists,
It was already a few years ago that the Bollandists trusted me with the challenging task of making them better known to a wider public and finding the necessary funds for their research to continue for years to come. I accepted with enthusiasm, totally enthralled by their history, their mission and their Library. Little did I know that I was starting to make stone soup! Many of you must be familiar with the parable of the three soldiers in the middle of a village boiling a stone and trying to turn it into a rich broth. Actually, I did not know this story, but  a great enthusiast and supporter of our work told me about it and so I started stirring my pot with nothing in it but a stone. Like the three soldiers, I was often met with scepticism, incredulity, doubt, even downright incomprehension about what it was all about but at the same time some others came to my rescue. Some did so timidly and threw something into the pot. Others were more enthusiastic but what is for sure is that all of you have kept me and the work of the Bollandists going, and we cannot thank you enough for that. For those of you still thinking about it, please come forward and add whatever ingredient you can offer to the pot. Each contribution makes the broth more tasty and, as in the story, where the final result is destined to be shared with the villagers, in the same way the Bollandists’ work continues to be shared freely with society, academia and churches alike. With our deep gratitude, please accept the profound wishes from all of us in the Library for a peaceful Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Irini de Saint Sernin
Bollandist Activities:
Fr Robert Godding, S.J. taught the course of Hagiography at the Pontifical Gregorian University during the first quarter of this academic year. He participated in three international conferences: one was a memorial of the eminent book historian Jean-François Gilmont organised by the Catholic University of Milan, where he spoke about “Jean-François Gilmont and the bibliography of the early Society of Jesus”.  The other two were dedicated to St Robert Bellarmine on the 400th anniversary of his death: one in Montepulciano (Tuscany) on September 16 and 17 (with a paper on “Robert Bellarmine and Hagiography”), and one in Rome from the 17th to the 19th of  November (paper entitled “Bellarmine preaches in Louvain…and re-reads himself 40 years later”).
Fr Bernard Joassart, S.J. took part in the study day organised by Prof. Philippe Martin (University of Lyon 2) on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2021, on the theme of ‘Saints and Jesuits’ and gave a paper entitled ‘Jesuit Saints and Bollandists’.
Dr Xavier Lequeux participated on the 16th and 17th of September 2021 in the symposium “Kirchenjahr weiblich”, Munich, Ev. Theologische Fakultät Lehrstuhl für Kirchengeschichte, with the paper: “Les femmes de l’entourage de Jésus dans le sanctoral byzantin”. From 23rd to 24th of September 2021 he participated in the colloquium “La construction et la reconstruction des mémoires et des figures du premier christianisme: questions de méthode entre études apocryphes et études hagiographiques”, Strasbourg, Faculté de Théologie catholique, with the paper: “La nature du document hagiographique: le dossier du pape Clément I”. The proceedings of the colloquium will be published in the collection “Subsidia hagiographica” in 2022. From the 6th to the 8th of October 2021 he took part in the colloquium “Passio imaginis Salvatoris: histoire et transmission”, Paris, SAPRAT/Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes, with a paper: “La passio imaginis Salvatoris et les Bollandistes (XVIIe-XXIe s.)”. On the 26th of November 2021 the Charles Diehl Medal was awarded to Sophie Métivier for the Subsidia Hagiographica 97 (“Aristocratie et sainteté à Byzance, VIIIe-XIe siècle”), solemn re-opening session under the dome of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris.
Mr François De Vriendt participated in the 58th Congress of the Federation of the archaeological and historical associations of Belgium (19-22 August) with a paper entitled “Nouvelles recherches sur l’iconographie de Ste Waudru”.  A lavish book dedicated to the former Jesuit church of Saint-Loup in Namur and published last September contains the results of his research on the relics kept in that church in the 17th century based on the testimony of a manuscript kept in the Bollandist library.
Fr Diego Arfuch, PSS, participated via Zoom in the First International conference on Early Christian Literature, Late Antique and Byzantine Hagiography on the ‘Literary connections between the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and the Saints’ Lives’- Portraits of Holy (Wo)men’, organised by the university of Valencia in Spain and which was held in Valencia from the 1st to the 3rd of September 2021.

A new Tabularium Hagiographicum

The volume containing the conference proceedings from our International Study Day that took place on February 14, 2020, marking the end of the cataloguing project made possible thanks to the support of the Baillet-Latour Foundation, is out now and it can be purchased from our e-shop:

Thanks to a donation we were able to acquire at public auction two small and rather rare works from the 17th century . 

-The first is the “Coenobiarchia Ogniacensis” by François Moschus, a work containing the biographies of all the priors of Oignies (priory of canons regular in Hainaut). A first edition appeared in Douai in 1598 and was quickly sold out. Arnold de Raisse prepared a second edition, augmented by a catalogue of the relics preserved in Oignies, as well as the editio princeps of the Supplement to the Life of Marie d’Oignies by Jacques de Vitry, composed by Thomas de Cantimpré. This second edition, also published in Douai in 1636, is therefore much more interesting than the first and, it seems, even rarer: it is the one we have acquired!

-The second work is entitled “La Vie admirable du glorieux confesseur de Jésus-Christ St Dié, religieux anacorête du Blaisois”, published in Blois in 1658. It contains the French translation of a Latin life of the saint, ignored by the Bollandists when they published his dossier in 1675 (the Latin text was not published until 1873). The “Remarques et Antiquitez” which follow the translation are of great interest for the history of his cult and relics.

A positive internship experience!

Our young trainee completed his three-month internship successfully as part of his Master’s degree specialisation in the Catholic University of Louvain.

The Bollandist Fund Appeal

Every gift, no matter the amount, has a significant impact on our work: supporting a research project on hagiographic manuscripts, helping our library to purchase a rare book and contributing to the digitization of our card catalogues, are just a few examples of what can be achieved with your help.
You can support the Bollandists by using the link below to make a tax-deductible gift:

If you have any questions, please email us at

We thank you in advance for your generosity and we extend our gratitude to those who support us already.

Fr. Mark Rotsaert, our President, used this portrait of St Ignatius to illustrate the cover of his new book. It is exhibited in the museum of the small town of Sondrio, Northern Italy, and is believed to be the first ever to be painted of the saint. A short article about the history of the portrait will be published in the next issue of Analecta Bollandiana.