There was a time between the 1920s and 1960s that a number of excellent biographies were penned by a British Jesuit named James Brodrick. Among his works are classics such as Ignatius: The Pilgrim Years and Francis Xavier, but there are other books as well that attempt to chart the history of this Order of the Church.
Among the books that he published later in his life is Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar. It takes as its subject matter the life of one of the most important Jesuits during the Counter-Reformation: St. Robert Bellarmine. Yet the book that I am recommending was once two massive volumes that were published shortly before Bellarmine’s canonization in 1928. However, the author considered this version to be much better because he didn’t use quite as many adjectives, he says.
This book is by far the best account of one of the most extraordinary Jesuits. Robert Bellarmine was the son of a noble family and later rose to become the head of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. During his long life, he interacted with many different prelates and princes including Queen Elizabeth I of England, Pope Urban VIII, and Galileo. Not only these, but he was also the confessor and spiritual director of the young St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
Brodrick’s life of Bellarmine, like his many other books, is a vivid portrait of a man and his era. While popularly written, Brodrick does not fail to examine the pricklier issues that come up in Bellarmine’s writings and the events in his life. He devotes, for example, an entire chapter on Bellarmine’s relationship with Galileo and how Galileo’s troubles began. In all of this, Brodrick is a sympathetic and knowledgeable guide. He allows us to get to know this extraordinary man and to aprpeciate him even more.
To purchase a copy, visit this link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-9054735-3563604?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=robert+bellarmine%3A+saint+and+scholar+&x=4&y=22