Spanish Jesuit historian; b. Undiano, Navarre, Nov. 17, 1857; d. Loyola, Spain, Jan. 4, 1928. After joining the jesuits (1871) and completing his priestly studies, he taught humanities and history to Jesuit scholastics for several years. In 1891 he became editor of the Mensajero del Sagrado Corazón. During his editorship he contributed important historical and literary studies to the Mensajero on the Spain of Loyola, Spaniards at the Council of Trent, the works of Menéndez y Pelayo and other such topics. Next he joined the staff of the Monumenta historica Societatis Iesu. This labor oriented him toward the great work that preoccupied his life after 1895, the principal one on which his scholarly reputation stands, Historia de la Compañia de Jesús en la asistencia de España. Seven volumes appeared (1902–25) detailing the Spanish Jesuit story from its origins to the mid-18th century. Illness and death prevented him from completing the history to the Jesuit expulsion from Spanish dominions (1767). The first volume is largely a life of St. ignatius of loyola, later reworked and published separately. The last four volumes devote half their pages to the work of Spanish Jesuits in the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and the Philippines. Astrain was greatly aided in preparing these sections by the prodigious archival researches of his fellow Jesuit, Pablo Pastells, although Astrain was no stranger in the great document depositories of Spain and Mexico.
[j. f. bannon]