The aim of this collection is to make available to researchers from various disciplines a diverse collection of conversion narratives from non-Christian cults, aimed at informing the Holy See as to how neophytes from Asia, Africa and America were won to Christianity.
It contains lesser-known and previously uncatalogued sources, both published and unpublished, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. During this time many neophytes arrived in Rome after disembarking at the gates of Naples and Loreto.
They came from a variety of social and cultural contexts from across the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia and the New World.
The descriptions of their customs as well the stories of their (often violent) conversions gave rise to a specific narrative genre that has never been considered in its whole scope.
What emerges from the collections and archives of the missionary orders, the catalogues of the main Roman libraries, the documents from the Propaganda Fide and the papers of the Vatican Secret Archives are the experiences of men and women, the limits of missionaries’ strategies, and most of all the patterns that recur in narratives of conversion and shed light on how Catholic Europe looked at the rest of the world.