The Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project (SHMR) researches the lived experiences of enslaved adults and children whom the Jesuits owned. The project aims to know, and to share, a more complete history of Jesuit involvement in the institution of slavery. We pledge to make that information available as quickly as we can in ways accessible to descendants. We are committed to a transformative process of truth-telling, reconciliation, and healing that, in conversation with the descendants of those held in bondage, acknowledges historical harms, seeks to repair relationships, and works within our communities to address the legacies of slavery that persist in the form of racial inequities today.
The project is motivated by a desire to uncover the truth of people’s stories, to honor their memories and heal relationships. We hope it will be a positive contribution to national conversations on race, prejudice and social justice. At the same time, we acknowledge that there is no clear path for us to follow. Any process of reconciliation requires conversations with descendants of the people held in slavery by the Jesuits.
Enslaved people were disregarded and unheard. We will listen to their descendants.
The SHMR Project began in 2016 as a joint initiative of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province and Saint Louis University. Today, SHMR is a project of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. We also work in partnership with the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society in our research efforts. The SHMR office is located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Learn more about the SHMR Project’s development and process in the May 2018 status report.
The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, is a Catholic order of priests and brothers. More information about the Jesuits can be found here.