Good health was a pre­req­uisite for joining the Society; potential members were ques­tioned about their medical con­di­tions prior to admission.  Once Jesuits had taken final vows, accom­mo­da­tions were made for members of advanced age or whose health made it dif­ficult for them to perform their assigned tasks, but certain popular items, like gloves to protect one’s skin while trav­elling, were per­ceived to be emas­cu­lating and were not allowed.  If men who had not yet taken final vows suf­fered from health chal­lenges, they gen­erally were allowed to depart from the Society in rel­a­tively short order; however, this was not the case for melan­cholic Jesuits.  Influ­enced by Huarte de San Juan’s the­ories that asso­ciated melan­choly with high intel­lectual potential in men, the order often encouraged melan­choly Jesuits in their voca­tions rather than quickly allowing them to leave.  Since the Society of Jesus did not establish a sister com­munity of nuns (and I explore some of the motives behind this choice in my chapter), we cannot make direct com­par­isons between atti­tudes toward melan­cholic men and women of the cloth in the same reli­gious order.  Nonetheless, the Society’s interest in helping melan­cholic Jesuits to cul­tivate their voca­tions stands in marked con­trast to the treatment of sim­i­larly afflicted reli­gious women. 

In terms of ele­ments that I did not include in my chapter, I have a number of anec­dotes about indi­vidual Jesuits that I am still inves­ti­gating.  In some cases, I need more infor­mation, such as deter­mining how many men in the province at a given time had the same rel­a­tively common name.  In other cases, however, I am trying to figure out what a par­ticular passage means.  I will discuss one of these instances, cor­re­spon­dence con­cerning Brother Pedro Urbano, in my lightning talk. 

This col­lection demon­strates the impor­tance of inter­dis­ci­plinary approaches that are grounded in the method­ologies of the human­ities.  (In many insti­tu­tional con­texts, inter­dis­ci­pli­narity often con­sists of the use sta­tis­tical methods more common in the social sci­ences by scholars of the human­ities).  This col­lection, however, demon­strates the value of deep engagement with texts and their inter­pre­tation.  Moreover, many of the authors, myself included, have done sig­nif­icant research in archives and rare book libraries to find the texts that we analyze. 

I would like to think that the study of gender has been accepted as a valid field of inquiry, but every time I think that this is the case, another naysayer reminds me that this still is not so.  This col­lection demon­strates the state of gender studies in 2021: gender is an inflection point in the­o­ret­i­cally engaged analysis of other topics.  In Health and Healing in the Early Modern Iberian World, gender is a fulcrum in the inter­action between mul­tiple fields, in this case between med­icine, treatment par­a­digms and faith.