Publication Date

February 1, 2001

Perspectives Section


The 26th annual Howard R. Marraro Prize of the American Catholic Historical Association was conferred at its 81st annual meeting (held in conjunction with the AHA annual meeting in Boston) on Reverend Franco Mormando, S.J., associate professor of Italian at Boston College. He was honored for his book, The Preacher's Demons: Bernardino of Siena and the Social Underworld of Early Renaissance Italy (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Born on August 17, 1955, Franco Mormando received the BA degree from Columbia University, the MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University, and the MDiv and STL degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1983 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has been teaching at Boston College since 1994 and has been director of undergraduate studies there since 1997. He has edited a catalogue entitled Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image for a major art exhibition of which he was the originator and principal curator, at the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College. He has also written more than a dozen articles on Italian literature and art that have been published in various learned journals and volumes of collected essays. He has delivered numerous conference papers and other public lectures and is a member of several learned societies. Father Mormando resides in the Jesuit Community at Boston College.

The prize is named in memory of Howard R. Marraro (1879-1972), who was a professor in Columbia University and the author of more than a dozen books on Italian literature, history, and culture. In his last will Professor Marraro bequeathed to the association a sum to be invested as a fund, the income from which would be awarded each year to the author of a distinguished scholarly work dealing with Italian history or Halo-American history or relations.

Brad S. Gregory, who has been an assistant professor of history in Stanford University since 1996, was awarded the association’s John Gilmary Shea Prize for his book, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Harvard University Press, 1999).

Brad S. Gregory received bachelor's and licentiate's degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, and history degrees from Utah State University at Logan (BS), the University of Arizona ( MA), and Princeton University (PhD) in 1996. In 1998 he received the Walter J. Gores Faculty Achievement Award and in 2000 the Dean's Award. He is the editor of The Forgotten Writings of the Mennonite Martyrs, a volume in the series “Documenta Anabaptistica Neerlandica,” which will be published by E. J. Brill in Leiden, and the author of articles in English and Dutch published in learned journals and collections of scholarly essays. He is a member of the American Catholic Historical Association and other learned societies.

The prize is named in memory of the famous historian of American Catholicism, John Gilmary Shea (1824-92). It is given each year to the American or Canadian author who, in the opinion of a committee, has made the most original and significant contribution to the historiography of the Catholic Church in the form of a book published during the previous twelve-month period ending June 30.

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