Lecturer in Latin American History, Dr Andrew Redden, was recently in Mexico, speaking at the 16th annual conference on La religión y los jesuitas en el noroeste novohispano / Religion and the Jesuits in the north west of New Spain, organized by the Colegio de Sinaloa in Culiacán, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Dr Redden spoke on ‘Muchachos jesuitas, muchachos guerreros. Violencia juvenil en las fronteras hispano-jesuitas’ / ‘Jesuit boys, warrior boys. Youth violence on the Hispano-Jesuit frontiers.’

His talk was another building block in his new project on ‘Martyrdom’ and compared the life (and death) stories of two Jesuit-educated boys. The first was about an altar boy (aged 14) who was killed as a martyr in an indigenous uprising on the northern Spanish frontier (Mexico) while carrying a crucifix into the midst of the attacking Tepehuanes Indians in the hope that they would stop, while the other was about a young soldier (aged 16) who was captured on the southern Spanish frontier (Chile) by Mapuche warriors who then wanted to sacrifice him. In contrast to the bravery of the 14 year old altar boy, this young soldier begged for his life and survived. The talk not only discussed the different circumstances that led these boys to make such contrasting decisions but was also attempted to see if it was possible to see the Jesuit influences behind them.

The conference is an annual forum that discusses new research on the Jesuit Missions in the northern Spanish frontiers.