Benedict Sestini, SJ (1816-1890) embodied the commitment to the sciences that Jesuits long championed, even when doing so meant clashing with not only atheists but also with Catholic Anti-Modernists. He also exemplified the intellectual breadth and depth typical of many Jesuits of his time, and especially those he trained at Woodstock College and Georgetown. The availability of these selected works will enable a wider exploration and appreciation of Sestini's Jesuit training as a scientist and priest.

Born in Florence, Italy on March 20, 1816, Sestini entered the Jesuit novitiate on October 30, 1836. Sestini was the student of Andrea Caraffa, the Jesuit professor of higher mathematics and mathematical physics at the Roman College. Sestini became the assistant director of the Observatory of the Roman College until 1848, but due to the Italian Revolution in 1848, was sent to Georgetown to work in its observatory as an astronomer. There he also taught mathematics and the natural sciences to the young Jesuits.

One of Sestini's important contributions to the Woodstock College Library was the ceiling he designed and painted that depicted the solar system according to Copernicus. He was also founding editor for Messenger of the Sacred Heart, a Jesuit magazine published at Woodstock College. It offered spiritual reflections and news from all over the United States on Catholic activities and events.

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