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Society of Jesus
Abbreviation SJ, Jesuits
Formation 15 August 1534
Type Catholic religious order
Headquarters Church of the Gesu,
Rome, Italy
Superior General Adolfo Nicolás
Key people Ignatius of Loyola — founder
Society of Jesus

History of the Jesuits
Regimini militantis

Jesuit Hierarchy
Superior General
Adolfo Nicolás

Ignatian Spirituality
Spiritual Exercises
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam

Famous Jesuits
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Francis Xavier
Blessed Peter Faber
St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Peter Canisius
St. Edmund Campion

The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J. and S.I. or SJ, SI) is the largest male Catholic religious order whose members are called Jesuits. Jesuit priests and brothers—known colloquially as "God's marines"[1]—are engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents reflecting the Formula of the Institute (principle) of the Society. They are known in the fields of education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits in addition to missionary work, giving retreats, hospital and parish ministry, promoting social justice and ecumenical dialogue.

The Society was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who after being wounded in a battle, experienced a religious conversion and composed the Spiritual Exercises to closely follow Christ. In 1534, Ignatius gathered six young men to vow poverty, chastity, and then obedience to the pope. Rule 13 of Ignatius' Rules for Thinking with the Church said: "I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it"[2]. Ignatius' plan of the order's organization of 1539 was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by the bull containing the Formula. The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and later in modernizing the church.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General, currently Adolfo Nicolás.[3][4] The headquarters of the Society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of St Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.



The Jesuits today form the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church surpassed only by the Franciscan family of first orders OFMs, Capuchins, and Conventuals. As of 1 January 2007, Jesuits numbered 19,216[5]: 13,491 clerks regular (priests), 3,049 scholastics (students to become priests), 1,810 brothers (not priests) and 866 novices, serving in 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and USA. Their average age was 57.34 years; 63.40 years for the priests, 29.89 years for the scholastics and 65.54 years for the brothers. With regard to its administration, the Society is currently divided into 91 Provinces with 12 dependent Regions: three in Africa, four in the Americas and five in Asia and Oceania. All together, they constitute 10 administrative units (Assistances).[6]

Jesuits in the World (1 January 2007) [5]
Region Jesuits Percentage
South Asia Assistancy 4,018 20.9%
United States of America 2,952 15.4%
South Europe 2,448 12.7%
West Europe 1,958 10.2%
East Asia-Oceania 1,672 8.7%
South Latin America 1,513 7.9%
Africa 1,430 7.4%
North Latin America 1,374 7.2%
East Europe 1,119 5.8%
Central Europe 732 3.8%

The current Superior General of the Jesuits is the Spaniard Adolfo Nicolás. The Society is characterized by its ministries in the fields of missionary work, human rights, social justice and, most notably, higher education. It operates colleges and universities in various countries around the world and is particularly active in the Philippines and India. In the United States alone, it maintains over 50 colleges, universities and high schools. A typical conception of the mission of a Jesuit school will often contain such concepts as proposing Christ as the model of human life, the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning and life-long spiritual and intellectual growth.[7]

Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus

Ignatius lays out his original vision for the new order in the Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus (established principle), which is "the fundamental charter of the order, of which all subsequent documents were elaborations and to which they had to conform."[8] He ensured that his formula was contained in two papal bulls signed by Pope Paul III in 1540 and by Pope Julius III in 1550. The formula expressed the nature, spirituality, community life and apostolate of the new religious order. Its famous opening statement echoed Ignatius' military background: "Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures and any other ministration whatsoever of the Word of God, and further by means of retreats, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments. Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals, and indeed, to perform any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good".[9]



Church of Saint Pierre de Montmartre Paris.
Fresco of Approving of bylaw of Society of Jesus depicting Ignatius of Loyola receiving papal bull Regimini militantis Ecclesiae from Pope Paul 3. The fresco was created by Johann Christoph Handke in the Church of Our Lady Of the Snow in Olomouc after 1743.

On August 15, 1534, Ignatius of Loyola (born Íñigo López de Loyola), a Spaniard of Basque origin, and six other students at the University of ParisFrancisco Xavier from Navarre (modern Spain), Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla from Spain, Peter Faber from Savoy, and Simão Rodrigues from Portugal – met in Montmartre outside Paris, in a crypt beneath the church of Saint Denis, now Saint Pierre de Montmartre[10].

This group bound themselves by a vow of poverty and chastity, to "enter upon hospital and missionary work in Jerusalem, or to go without questioning wherever the pope might direct".

They called themselves the Company of Jesus, and also Amigos En El Señor or "Friends in the Lord," because they felt "they were placed together by Christ." The name had echoes of the military (as in an infantry "company"), as well as of discipleship (the "companions" of Jesus). The word "company" comes ultimately from Latin, cum + pane = "with bread," or a group that shares meals.

In 1537, they traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests. These initial steps led to the founding of what would be called the Society of Jesus later in 1540. The term societas in Latin is derived from socius, a partner or comrade.

They were ordained at Venice by the bishop of Arbe (June 24). They devoted themselves to preaching and charitable work in Italy, as the renewed Italian War of 1535-1538 between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Venice, the pope and the Ottoman Empire rendered any journey to Jerusalem impossible.

They presented the project to the Pope. After months of dispute, a congregation of cardinals reported favorably upon the Constitution presented, and Paul III confirmed the order through the bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae ("To the Government of the Church Militant"), on September 27, 1540, but limited the number of its members to sixty. This is the founding document of the Jesuits as an official Catholic religious order.

This limitation was removed through the bull Injunctum nobis (March 14, 1543). Ignatius was chosen as the first superior-general. He sent his companions as missionaries around Europe to create schools, colleges, and seminaries.[11]

In fulfilling the mission of the Formula of the Institute of the Society, the first Jesuits concentrated on a few key activities. First, they founded schools throughout Europe. Jesuit teachers were rigorously trained in both classical studies and theology, and their schools reflected this. Second, they sent out missionaries across the globe to evangelize those peoples who had not yet heard the Gospel, founding missions in widely diverse regions, such as modern-day Paraguay, Japan, Ontario, and Ethiopia. Finally, they aimed to stop Protestantism from spreading and to preserve communion with Rome and the successor of Peter. The zeal of the Jesuits overcame the drift toward Protestantism in Poland-Lithuania and southern Germany.

Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1554, which created a tightly centralized organization and stressed total abnegation and obedience to the Pope and their religious superiors (perinde ac cadaver, "[well-disciplined] like a corpse" as Ignatius put it).[12]

His main principle became the unofficial Jesuit motto: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam ("For the greater glory of God"). This phrase is designed to reflect the idea that any work that is not evil can be meritorious for the spiritual life if it is performed with this intention, even things considered normally indifferent.[11]

The Society of Jesus is classified among institutes as a mendicant order of clerks regular, that is, a body of priests organized for apostolic work, following a religious rule, and relying on alms, or donations, for support.

The term "Jesuit" (of fifteenth-century origin, meaning one who used too frequently or appropriated the name of Jesus), was first applied to the Society in reproach (1544–52). It was never used by its founder, though members and friends of the Society in time appropriated the name in its positive meaning.

Early works

The Jesuits were founded just before the Counter-Reformation (or at least before the date those historians with a classical view of the counter reformation hold to be the beginning of the Counter-Reformation), a movement whose purpose was to reform the Catholic Church from within and to counter the Protestant Reformers, whose teachings were spreading throughout Catholic Europe.

As part of their service to the Roman Church, the Jesuits encouraged people to continue their obedience to scripture as interpreted by Catholic doctrine. Ignatius is known to have written: "...: I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."[13]

Ignatius and the early Jesuits did recognize, though, that the hierarchical Church was in dire need of reform. Some of their greatest struggles were against corruption, venality, and spiritual lassitude within the Roman Catholic Church. Ignatius's insistence on an extremely high level of academic preparation for ministry, for instance, was a deliberate response to the relatively poor education of much of the clergy of his time. The Jesuit vow against "ambitioning prelacies" was a deliberate effort to prevent greed for money or power invading Jesuit circles.

As a result, in spite of their loyalty, Ignatius and his successors often tangled with the pope and the Roman Curia. Over the 450 years since its founding, the Society has both been called the papal "elite troops" and been forced into suppression.

St. Ignatius and the Jesuits who followed him believed that the reform of the Church had to begin with the conversion of an individual’s heart. One of the main tools the Jesuits have used to bring about this conversion has been the Ignatian retreat, called the Spiritual Exercises. During a four-week period of silence, individuals undergo a series of directed meditations on the life of Christ. During this period, they meet regularly with a spiritual director, who helps them understand whatever call or message God has offered in their meditations.

The retreat follows a "Purgative-Illuminative-Unitive" pattern in the tradition of the spirituality of John Cassian and the Desert Fathers. Ignatius' innovation was to make this style of contemplative mysticism available to all people in active life. Further, he used it as a means of rebuilding the spiritual life of the Church. The Exercises became both the basis for the training of Jesuits and one of the essential ministries of the order: giving the exercises to others in what became known as "retreats".

The Jesuits’ contributions to the late Renaissance were significant in their roles both as a missionary order and as the first religious order to operate colleges and universities as a principal and distinct ministry. By the time of Ignatius' death in 1556, the Jesuits were already operating a network of 74 colleges on three continents. A precursor to liberal education, the Jesuit plan of studies incorporated the Classical teachings of Renaissance humanism into the Scholastic structure of Catholic thought.

Jesuit missionary, painting from 1779.

In addition to teaching faith, the Ratio Studiorum emphasized the study of Latin, Greek, classical literature, poetry, and philosophy as well as non-European languages, sciences and the arts. Furthermore, Jesuit schools encouraged the study of vernacular literature and rhetoric, and thereby became important centers for the training of lawyers and public officials.

The Jesuit schools played an important part in winning back to Catholicism a number of European countries which had for a time been predominantly Protestant, notably Poland and Lithuania. Today, Jesuit colleges and universities are located in over one hundred nations around the world. Under the notion that God can be encountered through created things and especially art, they encouraged the use of ceremony and decoration in Catholic ritual and devotion. Perhaps as a result of this appreciation for art, coupled with their spiritual practice of "finding God in all things", many early Jesuits distinguished themselves in the visual and performing arts as well as in music.

Jesuit priests often acted as confessors to Kings during the Early Modern Period. They were an important force in the Counter-Reformation and in the Catholic missions, in part because their relatively loose structure (without the requirements of living in community, saying the divine office together, etc.) allowed them to be flexible to meet the needs of the people at the time.


The Bell of Nanbanji, made in Portugal for Nanbanji Church, established by Jesuit in 1576 and destroyed 1587, Japan.
The ruins of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana in Paraguay, one of the many Jesuit missions established in South America during the 17th and 18th centuries

Early missions in Japan resulted in the government granting the Jesuits the feudal fiefdom of Nagasaki in 1580. However, this was removed in 1587 due to fears over their growing influence.

Francis Xavier arrived in Goa, in Western India, in 1541 to consider evangelical service in the Indies. He died in China after a decade of evangelism in Southern India. Two Jesuit missionaries, Johann Grueber and Albert Dorville, reached Lhasa in Tibet in 1661.

Jesuit missions in Latin America were very controversial in Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal where they were seen as interfering with the proper colonial enterprises of the royal governments. The Jesuits were often the only force standing between the Native Americans and [slavery]]. Together throughout South America but especially in present-day Brazil and Paraguay, they formed Christian Native American city-states, called "reductions" (Spanish Reducciones, Portuguese Reduções). These were societies set up according to an idealized theocratic model. It is partly because the Jesuits, such as Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, protected the natives (whom certain Spanish and Portuguese colonizers wanted to enslave) that the Society of Jesus was suppressed.

Jesuit priests such as Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta founded several towns in Brazil in the 16th century, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and were very influential in the pacification, religious conversion and education of Indian nations.

Jesuit scholars working in foreign missions were very important in studying their unknown languages and strived to produce Latinized grammars and dictionaries. This was done, for instance, for Japanese (see Nippo jisho also known as Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam, (Vocabulary of the Japanese Language) a Japanese-Portuguese dictionary written 1603), Vietnamese (French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes formalized the Vietnamese alphabet in use today with his 1651 Vietnamese-Portuguese-Latin dictionary Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum) and Tupi-Guarani (a language group of South American aborigines). Jean François Pons in the 1740s pioneered the study of Sanskrit in the West.

Under Portuguese royal patronage, the order thrived in Goa and until 1759 successfully expanded its activities to education and healthcare. On 17 December 1759, the Marquis of Pombal, Secretary of State in Portugal, expelled the Jesuits from Portugal and Portuguese possessions overseas.

Jesuit missionaries were active among indigenous peoples in New France in North America. Many of them compiled dictionaries or glossaries of the First Nations and Native American languages which they learned. For instance, Jacques Gravier, vicar general of the Illinois mission in the Mississippi River valley, compiled the most extensive Kaskaskia Illinois-French dictionary among works of the missionaries before his death in 1708.[14]

Jesuit activity in China

The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China. The scientific revolution brought by the Jesuits coincided with a time when scientific innovation had declined in China:

[The Jesuits] made efforts to translate western mathematical and astronomical works into Chinese and aroused the interest of Chinese scholars in these sciences. They made very extensive astronomical observation and carried out the first modern cartographic work in China. They also learned to appreciate the scientific achievements of this ancient culture and made them known in Europe. Through their correspondence European scientists first learned about the Chinese science and culture.
—Agustín Udías, [15]

Conversely, the Jesuits were very active in transmitting Chinese knowledge and philosophy to Europe. Confucius's works were translated into European languages through the agency of Jesuit scholars stationed in China.

Jesuits in China.
"Life and works of Confucius, by Prospero Intorcetta, 1687.

Matteo Ricci started to report on the thoughts of Confucius, and father Prospero Intorcetta published the life and works of Confucius into Latin in 1687.[16] It is thought that such works had considerable importance on European thinkers of the period, particularly among the Deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment who were interested by the integration of the system of morality of Confucius into Christianity.[16][17] Two well known examples are:

Suppression and restoration

The Suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal, France, the Two Sicilies, Parma and the Spanish Empire by 1767 was troubling to the Society's defender, Pope Clement XIII. A decree signed under secular pressure by Pope Clement XIV in July 1773 suppressed the Order. The suppression was carried out in all countries except Prussia and Russia, where Catherine the Great had forbidden the papal decree to be executed. Because millions of Catholics (including many Jesuits) lived in the Polish western provinces of the Russian Empire, the Society was able to maintain its existence and carry on its work all through the period of suppression. Subsequently, Pope Pius VI would grant formal permission for the continuation of the Society in Russia and Poland. Based on that permission, Stanislaus Czerniewicz was elected superior of the Society in 1782. Pope Pius VII during his captivity in France, had resolved to restore the Jesuits universally; and after his return to Rome he did so with little delay: on 7 August 1814, by the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum, he reversed the suppression of the Order and therewith, the then Superior in Russia, Thaddeus Brzozowski, who had been elected in 1805, acquired universal jurisdiction.

Boston College is the home to one of the world's largest Jesuit communities

The period following the Restoration of the Jesuits in 1814 was marked by tremendous growth, as evidenced by the large number of Jesuit colleges and universities established in the 19th century. In the United States, 22 of the Society's 28 universities were founded or taken over by the Jesuits during this time. Some claim that the experience of suppression served to heighten orthodoxy among the Jesuits upon restoration. While this claim is debatable, Jesuits were generally supportive of Papal authority within the Church, and some members were associated with the Ultramontanist movement and the declaration of Papal Infallibility in 1870.

In Switzerland, following the defeat of the Ultramontanist Sonderbund by the other cantons, the constitution was modified and Jesuits were banished in 1848. The ban was lifted on 20 May 1973, when 54.9% of voters accepted a referendum modifying the Constitution.[22]

The 20th century witnessed both aspects of growth and decline. Following a trend within the Catholic priesthood at large, Jesuit numbers peaked in the 1950s and have declined steadily since. Meanwhile the number of Jesuit institutions has grown considerably, due in large part to a late 20th century focus on the establishment of Jesuit secondary schools in inner-city areas and an increase in lay association with the order. Among the notable Jesuits of the 20th century, John Courtney Murray, SJ, was called one of the "architects of the Second Vatican Council" and drafted what eventually became the council's endorsement of religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae Personae.

In the recent years

In Latin America, Liberal Jesuits have had significant influence in the development of liberation theology, a movement which has been highly controversial in the Catholic theological community and condemned by Pope John Paul II on several fundamental aspects.

Under Superior General Pedro Arrupe, social justice and the preferential option for the poor emerged as dominant themes of the work of the Jesuits. On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests (Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Joaquin López y López, Juan Ramon Moreno, and Amado López); their housekeeper, Elba Ramos; and her daughter, Celia Marisela Ramos, were murdered by the Salvadoran military on the campus of the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador, because they had been labeled as subversives by the government.[23] The assassinations galvanized the Society's peace and justice movements, including annual protests at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, where the assassins were trained under US government sponsorship.[citation needed]

On February 21, 2001, Father Avery Dulles, SJ, an internationally known author, lecturer and theologian, was created a Cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II. The son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Cardinal Dulles was long known for his carefully reasoned argumentation and fidelity to the teaching office of the Church. An author of 22 books and over 700 theological articles, Cardinal Dulles died on December 12, 2008 at Fordham University, where he taught for twenty years as the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society. He was, at his passing, one of ten Jesuit cardinals in the Catholic Church.

In 2002, Boston College president Father William P. Leahy, SJ, initiated the Church in the 21st Century program as a means of moving the Church "from crisis to renewal." The initiative has provided the Society with a platform for examining issues brought about by the worldwide Roman Catholic sex abuse cases, including the priesthood, celibacy, sexuality, women's roles, and the role of the laity.

On January 6, 2005, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, wrote that the Jesuits "should truly profit from the jubilee year to examine our way of life and taking the means to live more profoundly the charisms received from our Founders."[24]

In April 2005, Thomas J. Reese, SJ, editor of the American Jesuit weekly magazine America, resigned at the request of the Society. The move was widely published in the media as the result of pressure from the Vatican, following years of criticism by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on articles touching subjects such as HIV/AIDS, religious pluralism, homosexuality and the right of life for the unborn. Following his resignation, Reese spent a year-long sabbatical at Santa Clara University before being named a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C..

Visit of Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Gregorian University, "one of the greatest services the Society of Jesus carries out for the universal Church."

On February 2, 2006, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach informed members of the Society of Jesus, that, with the consent of Pope Benedict XVI, he intended to step down as Superior General in 2008, the year he would turn 80.

On April 22, 2006, Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Society of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI greeted thousands of Jesuits on pilgrimage to Rome, and took the opportunity to thank God "for having granted to your Company the gift of men of extraordinary sanctity and of exceptional apostolic zeal such as St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis Xavier and Bl Peter Faber." He said "St Ignatius of Loyola was above all a man of God, who gave the first place of his life to God, to his greater glory and his greater service. He was a man of profound prayer, which found its center and its culmination in the daily Eucharistic Celebration."[25]

In May 2006, Benedict XVI also wrote a letter to Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's encyclical Haurietis aquas, on devotion to the Sacred Heart, because the Jesuits have always been "extremely active in the promotion of this essential devotion".[26] In his November 3, 2006 visit to the Pontifical Gregorian University, Benedict XVI cited the university as "one of the greatest services that the Society of Jesus carries out for the universal Church".[27] The 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus convened on 5 January 2008 and elected Fr. Adolfo Nicolás as the new Superior General on 19 January 2008. A month after, the Pope received members of the General Congregation and urged them to "to continue on the path of this mission in full fidelity to your original charism" and asked them to reflect so as "to rediscover the fullest meaning of your characteristic 'fourth vow' of obedience to the Successor of Peter." For this, he told them to "adhere totally to the Word of God and to the Magisterium's task of preserving the integral truth and unity of Catholic doctrine." This clear identity, according to the Pope, is important so that "many others may share in your ideals and join you effectively and enthusiastically."[28] The Congregation responded with a formal declaration titled "With New Fervor and Dynamism, the Society of Jesus Responds to the Call of Benedict XVI," whereby they confirmed the Society's fidelity to the Pope.[29]

Ignatian spirituality

Like all Catholic spirituality, the spirituality practiced by the Jesuits, called Ignatian spirituality, is based on the Catholic faith and the gospels. Aside from the "Constitutions," "The Letters," and "Autobiography," Ignatian spirituality draws most specially from St. Ignatius' "Spiritual Exercises," whose purpose is "to conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment." In other words, the Exercises are intended, in Ignatius' view, to give the exercitant (the person undertaking them) a greater degree of freedom from his or her own likes, dislikes, comforts, wants, needs, drives, appetites and passions that they may choose based solely on what they discern God's will is for them.

In the words of former Jesuit Superior General, Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the Exercises try to "unite two apparently incompatible realities: exercises and spiritual." It invites to "unlimited generosity" in contemplating God, yet going down to the level of many details.[30]

Ignatian spirituality can be described as an active attentiveness united with a prompt responsiveness to God, who is ever active in people's lives. Though it includes many forms of prayer, discernment, and apostolic service, it is the interior dispositions of attentiveness and responsiveness that are ultimately crucial. The result is that Ignatian spirituality has a remarkable 'nowness,' both in its attentiveness to God and in its desire to respond to what God is asking of the person now.[31]

The Ignatian ideal has the following characteristics:[32]

God's greater glory: St Ignatius of Loyola—"a man who gave the first place of his life to God" says Benedict XVI—stressed that "Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord and by this means to save his soul." This is the "First Principle and Foundation" of the Exercises. Ignatius declares: "The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into us without limit... Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of God's life in me."

Union with Jesus: Ignatius emphasized an ardent love for the Saviour. In his Exercises, he devoted the last weeks to the contemplation of Jesus: from infancy and public ministry, to his passion and lastly his risen life. The Spiritual Exercises, in 104, sum this up in a prayer: "Lord, grant that I may see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly." There is a great emphasis on the emotions in Ignatius' methods, and a call for the person to be very sensitive to the emotional movements that shape them.[citation needed]

Self-awareness: Ignatius recommends the twice-daily examen (examination). This is a guided method of prayerfully reviewing the events of the day, to awaken one's inner sensitivity to one's own actions, desires, and spiritual state, through each moment reviewed. The goals are to see where God is challenging the person to change and to growth, where God is calling the person to deeper reflection (especially apt when discerning if one has a Jesuit vocation in life), to where sinful or imperfect attitudes or blind spots are found. The general examen, often at the end of the day, is, as the name implies, a general review. The particular examen, often in the middle of the day, focuses on a particular fault—identified by the person—to be worked upon in the course of some days or weeks.

Spiritual direction: Meditation and contemplation, and for instance the aforementioned examen, are best guided, Ignatius says, by an experienced person. Jesuits, and those following Ignatian spirituality, meet with their spiritual director (traditionally a priest, though in recent years many laypersons have undertaken this role) on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) to discuss the fruits of their prayer life and be offered guidance. Ignatius sees the director as someone who can rein in impulsiveness or excesses, goad the complacent, and keep people honest with themselves. If the director is a priest, spiritual direction may or may not be connected with the Sacrament of Penance. Ignatius counseled frequent use of sacrament and while some directors see them as integrally linked, others hold them to be two separate relationships.[citation needed]

Effective love: The founder of the Society of Jesus put effective love (love shown in deeds) above affective love (love based on nice feelings). He usually ended his most important letters with "I implore God to grant us all the grace to know His holy will and to accomplish it perfectly." True and perfect love demands sacrifice, the abandonment of tastes and personal preferences, and the perfect renunciation of self. This can be taken together with the prayer for generosity, which asks for teaching to be generous, to serve God as God deserves without counting any cost or seeking any reward except knowing that one is doing God's will.

Detachment: Where Francis of Assisi's concept of poverty emphasized the spiritual benefits of simplicity and dependency, Ignatius emphasized detachment, or "indifference." For Ignatius, whether one was rich or poor, healthy or sick, in an assignment one enjoyed or one didn't, was comfortable in a culture or not, etc., should be a matter of spiritual indifference—a modern phrasing might put it as serene acceptance. Hence, a Jesuit (or one following Ignatian spirituality), placed in a comfortable, wealthy neighborhood should continue to live the Gospel life without anxiety or possessiveness, and if plucked instantly from that situation to be placed in a poor area and subjected to hardships should simply cheerfully accept that as well, without a sense of loss or being deprived.

Prayers, efforts at self-conquest, and reflection: Ignatius's little book, the Spiritual Exercises is a fruit of months of prayer[33]. Jesuits stress the need to take time to reflect and to pray because prayer is at the foundation of Jesus's life. Prayer, in Ignatian spirituality, does not dispense from "helping oneself," a phrase frequently used by Ignatius. Thus, he also speaks of mortification and of amendment.

Upon his recovery from battle wounds, St. Ignatius of Loyola hung his military accoutrements before the image of the Virgin of Montserrat. Then he led a period of asceticism to found the Society of Jesus.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Eucharist, and Our Lady: The Society of Jesus has a relationship with the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary in a commitment to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart (though the concept of devotion to Christ's mercy, as symbolized in the image of the Sacred Heart, is more ancient, its modern origins can be traced to St. Marie Alacoque, a Visitation nun, whose spiritual director was St. Claude de la Colombière). The Jesuits particularly promoted this devotion to emphasize the compassion and overwhelming love of Christ for people, and to counteract the rigorism and spiritual pessimism of the Jansenists.

St. Ignatius counselled people to receive the Eucharist more often, and from the order's earliest days the Jesuits were promoters of "frequent communion". It should be noted that it was the custom for many Catholics at this time to receive Holy Communion perhaps once or twice a year, out of what Catholic theologians considered an exaggerated respect for the sacrament; Ignatius and others advocated receiving the sacrament at least monthly, emphasizing Holy Communion not as reward but as spiritual food; by the time of Pope St. Pius X (1903–1914), "frequent communion" had come to mean weekly, and even daily reception, of the Eucharist.

Ignatius made his initial commitment to a new way of life by leaving his soldier's weapons (and symbolically, his old values) on an altar before an image of the Christ child seated on the lap of Our Lady of Montserrat. The Jesuits were long promoters of the Sodality of Our Lady, their primary organization for their students until the 1960s, which they used to encourage frequent attendance at Mass, reception of communion, daily recitation of the Rosary, and attendance at retreats in the Ignatian tradition of the Spiritual Exercises.

Zeal for souls: The purpose of the Order, says the Summary of the Constitutions, is "not only to apply one's self to one's own salvation and to perfection with the help of divine grace but to employ all one's strength, for the salvation and perfection of one's neighbor."

Finding God in All Things: The vision that Ignatius places at the beginning of the Exercises keeps sight of both the Creator and the creature, the One and the other swept along in the same movement of love. In it, God offers himself to humankind in an absolute way through the Son, and humankind responds in an absolute way by a total self-donation. There is no longer sacred or profane, natural or supernatural, mortification or prayer—because it is one and the same Spirit who brings it about that the Christian will "love God in all things—and all things in God." Hence, Jesuits have always been active in the graphic and dramatic arts, literature and the sciences.

Examen of Consciousness: The Examen of Consciousness is a simple prayer directed toward developing a spiritual sensitivity to the special ways God approaches, invites, and calls. Ignatius recommends that the examen be done at least twice, and suggests five points of prayer:

  • Recalling that one is in the holy presence of God
  • Thanking God for all the blessings one has received
  • Examining how one has lived his day
  • Asking God for forgiveness
  • Resolution and offering a prayer of hopeful recommitment

It is important, however, that the person feels free to structure the Examen in a way that is most helpful to him. There is no right way to do it; nor is there a need to go through all of the five points each time. A person might, for instance, find himself spending the entire time on only one or two points. The basic rule is: Go wherever God draws you. And this touches upon an important point: the Examen of Consciousness is primarily a time of prayer; it is a "being with God." It focuses on one's consciousness of God, not necessarily one's conscience regarding sins and mistakes.

Discernment: Discernment is rooted in the understanding that God is ever at work in one's life, "inviting, directing, guiding and drawing" one "into the fullness of life." Its central action is reflection on the ordinary events of one's life. It presupposes an ability to reflect on the ordinary events of one's life, a habit of personal prayer, self-knowledge, knowledge of one's deepest desires and openness to God's direction and guidance. Discernment is a prayerful 'pondering' or 'mulling over' the choices a person wishes to consider. In his discernment, the person's focus should be on a quiet attentiveness to God and sensing rather than thinking. His goal is to understand the choices in his heart: to see them, as it were, as God might see them. In one sense, there is no limit to how long he might wish to continue in this. Discernment is a repetitive process, yet as the person continues, some choices should of their own accord fall by the wayside while others should gain clarity and focus. It is a process that should move inexorably toward a decision.

Service and humility: Ignatius emphasized the active expression of God's love in life and the need to be self-forgetful in humility. Part of Jesuit formation is the undertaking of service specifically to the poor and sick in the most humble ways: Ignatius wanted Jesuits in training to serve part of their time as novices and in tertianship (see Formation below) as the equivalent of orderlies in hospitals, for instance, emptying bed pans and washing patients, to learn humility and loving service. Jesuit educational institutions often adopt mottoes and mission statements that include the idea of making students "men for others," and the like. Jesuit missions have generally included medical clinics, schools and agricultural development projects as ways to serve the poor or needy while preaching the Gospel.

Jesuit Formation (training)

The formation (training) of Jesuits seeks to prepare men spiritually, academically and practically for the ministries they will be called to offer the Church and world. St. Ignatius was strongly influenced by the Renaissance and wanted Jesuits to be able to offer whatever ministries were most needed at any given moment, and especially, to be ready to respond to missions (assignments) from the Pope. Formation for Priesthood normally takes between 8 and 14 years, depending on the man's background and previous education, and final vows are taken several years after that, making Jesuit formation among the longest of any of the religious orders.

  • Candidacy is an informal precursor to becoming a Jesuit, wherein a man interested in joining the Jesuits explores his calling with a spiritual director. This varies from country to country. The candidate attends Jesuit vocation events, including retreats and discussions with other candidates and Jesuits. Candidacy can last any length of time, with the norm being about a year. During this time, the candidate may or may not live in a Jesuit community.
  • Novitiate is the first stage of formation. The Novice begins to live the three vows of poverty, chastity, obedience (though he has not yet vowed himself publicly), completes the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, learns about the history and practice of the order and enters into a series of “experiments.” These experiments are usually short ministerial assignments where the novice tests his aptitude for various ministries, such as, teaching, working with the marginalized or giving retreats. The novitiate lasts two years. Jesuit novices may place the letters "n. S.J." after their names.

At this point, the novice pronounces his First Vows (perpetual Simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and a vow to persevere to final profession and ordination) and becomes either a Scholastic (entering onto the path of priesthood) or a Jesuit brother (technically known as a "temporal coadjutor", but officially styled "brother" today). The scholastics (who may be addressed by the secular title "Mister") and the Brothers (addressed by the title "Brother") of the Society of Jesus have different courses of study, although they often overlap.

For scholastics, the usual course of studies is as follows:

  • First Studies is the period when the scholastic begins his academic formation. Depending on his prior education it will last 2–4 years, guaranteeing a grounding in philosophy and the attainment of at least a first university level degree thus, in the United States, a four-year bachelor's degree (unless this has already been earned). It may also introduce the study of theology or some other specialized area.
  • As Jesuits, particularly in the United States, serve on the faculties of high schools and universities, and in a wide variety of other positions, the Jesuit scholastic or Jesuit priest often earns a master or doctoral degree on some area—it may be, for instance, Theology or it may be History, English, Chemistry, Educational Administration, Law or any other subject. Hence, a Jesuit may spend another few years earning a graduate degree beyond the bachelor's.
  • Regency is the next stage, wherein the scholastic lives and works in a typical Jesuit community (as opposed to the “formation communities” he has lived insofar). He is engaged full-time in ministry (an Apostolate), which is traditionally teaching in a secondary school, but it may be any ministry Jesuits are engaged in. Regency lasts for 2–3 years.
  • Theology is the stage immediately preceding ordination. By universal canon law, every candidate for priestly ordination must complete four years of theology studies, though part of this requirement may have been met in first studies. This will include the attainment of a first degree in theology (such as the Bachelor of Sacred Theology), and usually a second (masters level) degree in a specialized area related to theology. (As such, it is not uncommon for a Jesuit to hold a master's level degree in Theology, and, as mentioned above, a second master's or a doctorate in a completely different field.)
  • Ordination follows, and the new priest may receive a ministerial assignment or be sent back for further studies in any academic field.
  • The ordained Jesuit priest will either be chosen for profession as a "spiritual coadjutor", taking the usual perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, or for profession as a "professed of the four vows."
  • A few years after ordination to priesthood, or for brothers after a number of years work, a Jesuit will undertake Tertianship, so named because it is something like a third year of novitiate. After his first fews years of experience of ministry as a priest or brother, the Jesuit completes the final stage of formal formation by revisiting the essentials of Jesuit life which he learned as a novice: once again, he studies the history and Constitutions of the Jesuits, he makes the Spiritual Exercises and participates in experimentism, most often by serving in ministries to the sick, terminally ill or poor.
  • Final Vows for the fully professed follow upon tertianship, wherein the Jesuit pronounces perpetual solemn vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and the Fourth vow, unique to Jesuits, of special obedience to the pope in matters regarding mission, promising to undertake any mission laid out in the Formula of the Institute the pope may choose.
  • Only the professed of the Four Vows are eligible for posts like novice master, provincial superior or assistant to the general of the society.
  • The professed of the Four Vows take, in addition to these solemn perpetual vows five additional Simple Vows: not to consent to any mitigation of the Society's observance of poverty; not to "ambition" or seek any prelacies (ecclesiastical offices) outside the Society; not to ambition any offices within the Society; a commitment to report any Jesuit who does so ambition; and, if a Jesuit does become a bishop, to permit the general to continue to provide advice to that bishop, though the vow of obedience to Jesuit superiors is not operative over matters the man undertakes as bishop. Under these vows, no Jesuit may "campaign" or even offer his name for appointment or election to any office, and if chosen for one must remind the appointing authority (even the Pope) of these Vows—if the Pope commands that the Jesuit accept ordination as a bishop anyway, the Jesuit must keep an open ear to the Jesuit general as an influence.

The formation of Jesuit brothers has a much less structured form. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, Jesuit brothers worked almost exclusively within Jesuit communities as cooks, tailors, farmers, secretaries, accountants, librarians and maintenance support—they were thus technically known as "temporal coadjutors", as they assisted the professed priests by undertaking the more "worldly" jobs, freeing the professed of the four vows and the "spiritual coadjutors" to undertake the sacramental and spiritual missions of the Society. Following the Second Vatican Council, which recognized the mission of all the Christian faithful, not just those who are ordained, to share in the ministries of the Church, Jesuit brothers began to engage in ministries outside of their communities. Today, the formation of a Jesuit brother may take many forms, depending on his aptitude for ministry. He may pursue a highly academic formation which mirrors that of the scholastics (there are, for instance, some Jesuit brothers who serve as university professors), or he may pursue more practical training in areas such as pastoral counseling or spiritual direction (some assist in giving retreats, for instance), or he may continue in the traditional “supporting” roles in which so many Jesuit brothers have attained notable levels of holiness (as administrative aides, for example). Since Vatican II the Society has officially adopted the term "brother," which was always the unofficial form of address for the temporal coadjutors.

Regardless of the practical details, Jesuit formation is meant to form men who are open and ready to serve whatever is the Church’s current need. Today, all Jesuits are expected to learn English, and those who speak English as a first language are expected to learn Spanish.

Government of the Society

The Society is headed by a Superior General. In the Jesuit Order, the formal title of the Superior General is "Praepositus Generalis," Latin for Provost-General, more commonly called Father General or General, who is elected by the General Congregation for life or until he resigns, is confirmed by the Pope, and has absolute authority in running the Society. The current Superior General of the Jesuits is the Spanish Jesuit, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás Pachón who was elected on January 19, 2008.

He is assisted by "assistants," four of whom are "assistants for provident care" and serve as general advisors and a sort of inner council to the superior general, and several other regional assistants each of whom heads an "assistancy," which is either a geographic area (for instance, the North American Assistancy) or an area of ministry (for instance, higher education). The assistants normally reside with the General Superior in Rome. The assistants, together with a number of other advisors, form an advisory council to the General. A vicar general and secretary of the Society run day-to-day administration. The General is also required to have an "admonitor," a confidential advisor whose specific job is to warn the General honestly and confidentially when he is acting imprudently or is straying toward disobedience to the Pope or heresy. The central staff of the General is known as the Curia.

The order is divided into geographic provinces, each of which is headed by a Provincial Superior, generally called Father Provincial, chosen by the General. He has authority over all Jesuits and ministries in his area, and is assisted by a socius, who acts as a sort of secretary and chief of staff. With the approval of the General, the father provincial appoints a novice master and a master of tertians to oversee formation, and rectors of local houses of Jesuits.

Each individual Jesuit community within a province is normally headed by a rector who is assisted by a "minister," from the Latin for "servant," a priest who helps oversee the community's day-to-day needs.

The General Congregation is a meeting of all of the assistants, provincials and additional representatives who are elected by the professed Jesuits of each province. It meets irregularly and rarely, normally to elect a new superior general and/or to take up some major policy issues for the order. The General meets more regularly with smaller councils composed of just the provincials.

Habit and dress

Jesuits do not have an official habit. In the Constitutions of the Society, it gives these instructions concerning clothing; “The clothing too should have three characteristics: first, it should be proper; second, conformed to the usage of the country of residence; and third, not contradictory to the poverty we profess…” (Const. 577)

Historically, a "Jesuit-style cassock" became standard issue: it wrapped around the body and was tied with a cincture, rather than the customary buttoned front, a tuftless biretta (only diocesan clergy wore tufts), and a simple cape. As such, though Jesuit garb appeared distinctive, and became identifiable over time, it was the common priestly dress of Ignatius' day. During the missionary periods of the Continental Americas, the various native peoples referred to Jesuits as "Blackrobes" because of their black cassocks.

Today, most Jesuits wear the Roman collar tab shirts in non-liturgical, ministerial settings.[34]


The Monita Secreta, also known as the "Secret Instructions of the Jesuits" was published (1612 and 1614) in Kraków, and is alternately alleged to have been written by either Claudio Acquaviva, the fifth general of the society, or by Jerome Zahorowski. The document appears to lay down the methods to be adopted for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the order and for the Roman Catholic Church. Scholars generally agree that the Secreta were merely fabricated to give the Jesuits a sinister reputation and it has become widely considered a forgery.[35]

Henry Garnet, one of the leading English Jesuits, was hanged for misprision of treason because of his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot. The plan had been an attempt to kill King James I of England and VI of Scotland, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack by blowing up the Houses of Parliament in 1605; another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond, managed to escape arrest for involvement in the same plot.[36]

Jesuits have also been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for the unjustifiable (See: formulary controversy; Blaise Pascals' Lettres Provinciales).[37] In English, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, "Jesuitical" has acquired a secondary meaning of "equivocating". The Jesuits have also been targeted by many anti-Catholics like Jack Chick, Avro Manhattan, Alberto Rivera, and the late former Jesuit priest, Fr. Malachi Martin.[38]

Within the Catholic Church, some Jesuits are criticized by other parties for allegedly being overly liberal and for deviating substantially from official Church teaching and papal directives, especially on such issues as abortion, priestly celibacy, homosexuality, and liberation theology.[39]

However, the last two Popes have appointed Jesuits to notable positions within the Church. For instance, John Paul II appointed Roberto Tucci, S.J., to the College of Cardinals, after serving for many years as the chief organizer of papal trips and public events. In all, John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed 10 Jesuit Cardinals. Benedict XVI has appointed several Jesuits to positions of prominence in his curia, such as Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J. as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., Vatican Press Secretary.[40]

Jesuits rescue efforts during the Holocaust

Twelve Jesuit priests have been formally recognized by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust of World War II. Roger Braun (1910–1981) – France, Pierre Chaillet (1900–1972) – France, Jean-Baptist De Coster (1896–1968) – Belgium, Jean Fleury (1905–1982) – France, Emile Gessler (1891–1958) – Belgium, John B. Janssens (1889–1964) – Belgium, Alphonse Lambrette (1884–1970) – Belgium, Emile Planckaert (b. 1906) – France, Jacob Raile (1894–1949) – Hungary, Henri Revol (1904–1992) – France, Adam Sztark (1907–1942) – Poland, Henri Van Oostayen (1906–1945) – Belgium.

Several other Jesuits are known to have rescued or given refuge to Jews during that period.[41] A plaque commemorating the 152 Jesuit priests who gave of their lives during the Holocaust was installed at Rockhurst University, a Jesuit university, in Kansas City, Missouri, United States, in April 2007, the first such plaque in the world.

Famous Jesuits

Notable Jesuits include missionaries, educators, scientists, artists and philosophers. Among many distinguished early Jesuits was St. Francis Xavier, a missionary to Asia who converted more people to Catholicism than anyone before. José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega, founders of the city of São Paulo, Brazil, were also Jesuit priests. Another famous Jesuit was St. Jean de Brebeuf, a French missionary who was martyred in North America during the 1600s.

Jesuit Educational institutions

Though there is almost no occupation in civil life, and no ministry within the Church, which a Jesuit has not held at one time or another, and though the work of the Jesuits today embraces a wide variety of apostolates and ministries, they are probably most well known for their educational work.

Since the inception of the order, Jesuits have been teachers. Today, there are Jesuit-run universities, colleges, high schools and middle or elementary schools in dozens of countries. Jesuits also serve on the faculties of both Catholic and secular schools as well.


One of the most prominent of these universities is the Gregorian University in Rome, one of the Church's key seats of learning, associated in a consortium with the Pontifical Biblical Institute and Pontifical Oriental Institute.

In Spain the Jeuists run the University of Deusto, the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid and the ESADE (a business school) in Barcelona and several primary and high schools.

In Ireland, the Jesuits run five secondary schools: Belvedere College, Gonzaga College (both in Dublin), Clongowes Wood College in Clane, Co. Kildare, St Ignatius College, in Galway city, and Crescent College, which is in Limerick.

In the United Kingdom the Jesuit educational institutions are: Wimbledon College, St. Aloysius' College, Glasgow, Campion Hall, Oxford, Heythrop College (London), Mount St Mary's College (Sheffield) St Ignatius Enfield and Stonyhurst College (Clitheroe).

In Belgium, the Jesuits run various secondary schools (high schools) such as "Sint-Jozefscollege" in Aalst (Dutch-speaking) and "Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege" and "Sint-Xaverius College" both in Antwerp and "Sint-Jan Berchmans College" in Brussels. "Universitair Centrum Sint-Ignatius" in Antwerp (Dutch-speaking; now part of "Universiteit Antwerpen") and the 'Facultés Notre-Dame de la Paix' of Namur (French-speaking) are both Jesuit universities.

North America

In the United States, 28 Jesuit tertiary education institutions are organized as the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the oldest one being Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., founded by Bishop John Carroll in 1789. One of its presidents, Father Patrick Francis Healy, was the first African American to head a major university. The largest institution is Loyola University Chicago. The 46 Jesuit high schools of America are organized under the Jesuit Secondary Education Association. The Jesuits have recently opened a number of middle schools in poor neighborhoods in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Chicago, Omaha, and St. Louis. There are also Jesuits serving on the faculties of other Catholic colleges and universities; additionally they serve on many secular faculties.

Jesuits also operate retreat houses, for the purpose of offering the Spiritual Exercises (above) and other types of days of prayer or spiritual programs extended over weekends or weeks. The oldest Jesuit retreat house in the United States is Mount Manresa in Staten Island, New York, and today there are 34 retreat houses or spirituality centers run by the order in the U.S. Jesuits also serve on the staffs of other retreat centers.

South America

In Latin America Jesuit institutions are organized into the Asociación de Universidades Confiadas a la Compañía de Jesús en América Latina (Association of Universities Entrusted to the Jesuits in Latin America).


In the Philippines, the Jesuit universities are all independent, although they maintain institutional ties. The Ateneo de Manila University, Sacred Heart School-Jesuit Cebu, Ateneo de Naga University, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Marian College of Ipil, and Ateneo de Davao University are all loosely federated. An affiliated association, Mindanao Consortium of Ateneo Universities, groups all of the Jesuit universities located in Mindanao island with the purpose of promoting Muslim-Christian unity and dialogue as well as to exchange knowledge and expertise in various academic fields.

In India, the Jesuits run top colleges and schools in the country including St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore (alumni include Rahul Dravid, Sabeer Bhatia, Nikihl Chinnapa),St. Lawrence High School, Kolkata, Loyola College, Chennai, St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, St. Xavier's College, Calcutta, Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB), Campion School Bhopal, Loyola School, Jamshedpur, St. Xavier's High School Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad, Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram,St.Aloysius College, Mangalore, St Xavier's College, Thiruananthapuram, St Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, Loyola College, Kunkuri, St Xavier's College, Balipara, St Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli, St Xavier's College, Goa, Andhra Loyola College, Vijaywada, Loyola Academy, Secunderabad, Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS) and Xavier Institute of Development and Service (XIDAS), St Vincent's High School, Pune and St Xavier's College, Ranchi, St Xavier's College, Ahmedabad. They also run some of the top theological colleges in India the famous ones being Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune (De Nobili College) and Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi. They also run 9 Regional Theology Centers (RTC) for contextual theologies in diverse regions of the country. Their educational institutions also have some of the country's best sportspersons producing centers, prominent among them being St Ignatius High School, Gumla, St Mary's High School, Samtoli, Loyola School Jakhama (Kohima). Some of the top bureaucrats and politicians (including those opposing Christianity) are Jesuit school alumni.[citation needed]

In Indonesia, the Jesuits run seven junior and/or high schools, including Canisius College (Kolese Kanisius), St.Mikael College, De Britto College, Loyola College (Kolese Loyola), Junior High School of Wood Technology (PIKA), Gonzaga College, and Le Coq d'Armanville College.

In Hong Kong S.A.R., the Jesuits run two leading secondary schools, Wah Yan College, Kowloon and Wah Yan College, Hong Kong.

In Japan, the Jesuits founded Sophia University. It is considered to be one of the best private universities in the country, and is one of Tokyo's top ranked private universities.

In Korea, the Jesuits are running Sogang University. It is established in February, 1960. It is founded by Art Dethlefs, Basil Price, Jin Song Man(진성만), Theodor Geppert, Ken Killoren and Clancy Herbst. Nowadays Sogang University is considered to be one of the best private universities in Korea.

In Taiwan, Jesuits founded the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Management of the Catholic Fu-Jen University during the 1950s. In 2003 another new Faculty of Social Sciences was derived from the Faculty of Law. Thus until today, the Fu Jen Catholic University is still considered to be one of the best private universities in Taiwan.


In Australia, the Jesuits run a number of high schools including Xavier College, St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Loyola Senior High School, Mount Druitt, Saint Ignatius' College, Athelstone and St Aloysius' College.


In Egypt, the Jesuits run College de la Sainte Famille, a private boys school in Fagalla, Cairo. They are also involved in charitable organisations in the South of the country.


Jesuits are also known for their involvement in publications. La Civiltà Cattolica, a periodical produced in Rome by the Jesuits, has often been used as a semi-official platform for popes and Vatican officials to float ideas for discussion or hint at future statements or positions. In the United States, America magazine has long had a prominent place in intellectual Catholic circles, and the Jesuits produce Company, a periodical specifically about Jesuit activities. Most Jesuit colleges and universities have their own presses which produce a variety of books, book series, textbooks and academic publications as well. Ignatius Press, staffed by Jesuits, is an independent publisher of Catholic books, most of which are of the popular academic or lay-intellectual variety.

In Australia, the Jesuits run a winery at Sevenhill, the Jesuit Mission Australia, and they produce a number of magazines, including Eureka Street, Madonna, Australian Catholics, and Province Express.

Jesuit buildings

Ruins of Saint Paul's Church, Macau, one of many churches built by the Jesuits in Asia during the 16th and 17th centuries
Church of the Gesu, mother church of the Society of Jesus in Rome

Many buildings and ruins give witness to the order's construction activity worldwide. Among these are:

Popular culture

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^ Loyola, Ignatius; Rules for Thinking with the Church. Bettenson, Henry. ed. Documents of the Christian Church (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press, 1999. pp. 364-367. ISBN 0192880713.,9493,1532993-,00.html. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  3. ^ News on the elections of the new Superior General
  4. ^, Spaniard becomes Jesuits' new "black pope"
  5. ^ a b Curia Generalis, Society of Jesus (2007-05-07). "News from the Curia (Vol. 11, N. 9)". The Jesuit Portal - Society of Jesus Homepage. Archived from the original on 2010-03-18. "The annual statistics of the Society for 2006 have been compiled and will be mailed to the Provinces within a few days. As of January 1, 2007 the number of Jesuits in the world was 19,216 (364 fewer than in 2005)..." 
  6. ^ Puca, Pasquale (30 January 2008). "St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Development of the Society of Jesus". L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English (The Cathedral Foundation): 12. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  7. ^ St. Aloysius College mission statement.
  8. ^ O'Malley, John (1993). The First Jesuits. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0674303133. 
  9. ^ Puca, Pasquale (30 January 2008). "St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Development of the Society of Jesus". L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English (The Cathedral Foundation): 12. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Höpfl, Harro (2004). Jesuit political thought: the Society of Jesus and the state, c. 1540–1630. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 426. ISBN 0521837790. 
  12. ^ Franklin Verzelius N. Painter (1903). A History of Education. New York: D. Appleton and Company. p. 167. 
  13. ^ Ignatius Loyola, The spiritual exercise'", trans. Anthony Mottola. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964, pp. 140–141. Reference from William B. Ashworth Jr, "Catholicism and Early Modern Science" in David C. Lindberg, Ronald L. Numbers, God and Nature, p. 159, n. 91 (p.166)
  14. ^ "Review" of Carl Masthay, Kaskaskia Illinois-to-French Dictionary], Saint Louis: Carl Masthay, 2002, International Journal of Lexicography, 17(3):325-327, accessed 1 Mar 2010
  15. ^ Udías, Agustín (2003). Searching the Heavens and the Earth: The History of Jesuit Observatories (Astrophysics and Space Science Library). Berlin: Springer. ISBN 140201189X. 
  16. ^ a b c Parker, John (1978). Windows into China: the Jesuits and their books, : delivered on the occasion of the fifth annual Bromsen Lecture, April 30, 1977. Boston: Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston. p. 25. 
  17. ^ Hobson, John M. (2004). The Eastern origins of Western civilisation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 194–195. 
  18. ^ Miller, Joseph Dana (1917). Single Tax Year Book. New York, U.S.: Single Tax Review Publishing Company. p. 318. 
  19. ^ Gerlach,Christian (2005) (PDF). Wu-Wei in Europe. A Study of Eurasian Economic Thought. Working Paper No 12/05. London School of Economics. 
  20. ^ Hobson, John M. (2004). The Eastern origins of Western civilisation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 196. 
  21. ^ Huanyin, Yang (1993), "Confucius (K’ung Tzu) (551–479 BC)" (PDF), Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education XXIII (No 1/2): 211–19, 
  22. ^ Chancellerie Fédérale Suisse, Votation populaire du 20 mai 1973 (1973-05-20) (in French), Arrêté fédéral abrogeant les articles de la constitution fédérale sur les jésuites et les couvents (art. 51 et 52),, retrieved 2007-10-23 
  23. ^ Global Capitalism, Liberation Theology, and the Social Sciences: An Analysis of the Contradictions of Modernity at the Turn of the Millennium (Paperback)by Andreas Muller (Editor), Arno Tausch (Editor), Paul M. Zulehner (Editor), Henry Wickens (Editor), Haupauge/Huntington, New York: Nova Science Publishers, ISBN 1560726792
  24. ^ Letter to major superiors, 6 January 2005.
  25. ^ Benedict XVI (2006-04-22), Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI to the Fathers and Brothers of the Society of Jesus,, retrieved 2007-10-23 
  26. ^ Benedict XVI (2006-05-15), Letter to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus on the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas,, retrieved 2007-10-23 
  27. ^ Benedict XVI (2006-11-03), Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI—Visit of the Holy Father to the Pontifical Gregorian University,, retrieved 2007-10-23 
  28. ^ Benedict XVI (2008-03-04), Papal Address to Members of Jesuit General Congregation: Rediscover the Fullest Meaning of Your Characteristic '4th Vow' of Obedience,, retrieved 2008-03-08 
  29. ^ Jesuits end meeting by approving decrees, confirming fidelity to pope, CNS March 7, 2008
  30. ^ Discourse given to the Rome Consultation, 16 February 2003.
  31. ^ Charles J. Jackson, Ignatian Spirituality.
  32. ^ Pinard De La Boullaye, Ignatian Spirituality.
  33. ^ O'Malley, John W. The first Jesuits Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1993, p. 25.
  34. ^ The Society of Jesus in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions
  35. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia online:
  36. ^ Fraser, Antonia (2005) [1996]. The Gunpowder Plot. London, UK: Phoenix. p. 448. ISBN 0753814013. 
  37. ^ "Pascal: Adversary and Advocate" Robert J. Nelson, Harvard University Press, 1981. p. 190
  38. ^ see Malachi Martin (1987) The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, Simon & Schuster, Linden Press, New York, 1987, ISBN 0671545051
  39. ^ See:
  40. ^ John Thavis (2006-09-08). "'Sala Stampa' style change: From toreador to low-key mathematician". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  41. ^ Hiatt Holocaust Collection

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JESUITS, the name generally given to the members of the Society of Jesus, a religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1539. This Society may be defined, in its original conception and well-avowed object, as a body of highly trained religious men of various degrees, bound by the three personal vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, together with, in some cases, a special vow to the pope's service, with the object of labouring for the spiritual good of themselves and their neighbours. They are declared to be mendicants and enjoy all the privileges of the other mendicant orders. They are governed and live by constitutions and rules, mostly drawn up by their founder, St Ignatius of Loyola, and approved by the popes. Their proper title is "Clerks Regulars of the Society of Jesus," the word Societas being taken as synonymous with the original Spanish term, Compania; perhaps the military term Cohors might more fully have expressed the original idea of a band of spiritual soldiers living under martial law and discipline. The ordinary term "Jesuit" was given to the Society by its avowed opponents; it is first found in the writings of Calvin and in the registers of the Parlement of Paris as early as 1552.

Constitution and Character

The formation of the Society was a masterpiece of genius on the part of a man (see Loyola) who was quick to realize the necessity of the moment. Just before Ignatius was experiencing the call to conversion, Luther had begun his revolt against the Roman Church by burning the papal bull of excommunication on the 10th of December 1520. But while Luther's most not to take place for eighteen years. Its of peace ceased when the life of the cloister had to be exchanged for the discipline of the camp; so in the sketch of the the older orders, which preserved to their members certain constitutional rights.

The soldier-mind of Ignatius can be seen throughout the constitutions. Even in the spiritual labours which the Society shares with the other orders, its own ways of dealing with persons and things result from the system of training which succeeds in forming men to a type that is considered desirable. But it must not be thought that in practice the rule of the Society and the high degree of obedience demanded ce the working is smooth his followers were flesh and blood, not machines. He made it clear from the first might prove a useful instrument for carrying out the Society's objects. Ignatius Polanco that "in those who offered themselves he looked less to purely natural goodness than to firmness of chara offices in theiety." He further declared that even exceptional qualities and endowments in a cere valuable in ving him the absolute disposal of all members of the Society in every place and for every purpose. He pushes the claim even further, requiring, besides entire outward submission to command, also the complete identification of the place of God, without reference to his personal wisdom, piety or discretion; that any obedience which falls short of making the superior's will one's own, in inward affection as well as in outward effect, is lax aect; that going beyond the letter of command, even in things abstractly good and praiseworthy, is disobedience, and that the "sacrifice of the intellect" is the third and highest grade of obedience, well pleasing to God, when the inferior not only wills what the superior wills, but thinks what he thinks, submitting his judgment, so far as it is possible for the will to influence and lead the judgment. This Letter on Obedience was written for the guidance and formation of Ignatius's own followers; it was an entirely domestic affair.came known beyond the Society the teaching met with great opposition, especially from members of other orders whose institutes represented the normal days of peace rather than those of war. The letter was condemned by the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal; and it tasked all the skill and learning of Bellarmine as its apologist, together with the whole influence of the Society, to avert what seemed to be a probable condemnation at Rome.

The teaching of the Letter must be understood in the living spirit of the Society. Ignatius himself lays down the rule that an inferior is bound to make all necessary representations to his superior so as to guide him in imposing a precept of obedience. When a superior knows the views of his inferior and still commands, it is because he is aware of other sides of the question which appear of greater importance than those that the inferior has brought forward. Ignatius distinctly excepts the case where obedience in itself would be sinful: "In all things except sin I ought to do the will of my superior and not my own." There may be cases where an inferior judges that what is commanded is sinful. What is to be done? Ignatius says: "When it seems to me that I am commanded by my superior to do a thing against wconscience]] revolts as sinful and my superior judges otherwise, it is my duty to yield my doubts to him unless I am otherwise constrained by evident reasons. ... If submissions do not appease my conscience I must imbts to two oersons of discretion and abide by their decision." From this it is clear that only in doubtful cases concerning sin should an inferior try to submit his judgment to that of his superior,to be not only one who would not order what is clearly sinful, but also a competent judge who knows and unds, better than the inferior, the nature and aspect of the command. As the Jesuit obedience is based law of God, it is clearly impossible that he should be bound to obey in what is directly opposed to the divine service. A Jesuit lives in obedience all his life, though the yoke is not galling nor always felt. He can accept no dignity or office which will make him independent of the Society; and even if ordered by the counsel him in important matters.

The Jesuits had to find their all such external peculiarities of dress or rule as tended to put obstacles way of his followers acting freely as emissaries, agents or missionaries in the most various places and circumstances. Another change he introduced even more completely than did the founders of the Friars. The Jesuit has no home: the whole world is his parish. Mobility and cosmopolitanism are of the very essence of the Society. As Ignatius said, the ancient monastic communities were the infantry of the Church, whose duty was to stand firmly in one place on the battlefield; the Jesuits were to be her light horse, capable of going anywhere at a moment's notice, but especially apt and designed for scouting and skirmishing. To carry out this view, it was one of his plans to send foreigners as superiors or officers to the Jesuit houses in each country, requiring of these envoys, however, invariably to use the language of their new place of residence and to study it both in speaking and writing till entire mastery of it hadlocality. But subsequent experience has, in practice, modified this interchange, as far as locgovernment goes, though the central government of the Society is always cosmopolitan.

Next we must consider the machinery by which the Society is constituted and governed so as to make its spirit a living energy and not a mere abstract Society is distributed into six grades: novices, scholastics, temporal coadjutors (lay brothers), spiritual coadjutors, professed of the three vows, and professed of the four vows. No one can become a postulant for admission to the Society until fourteen years old, unless by special dispensation. The novice is classified according as his destination is the priesthood or lay brotherhood, while a third class of "indifferents" receives such as are reserved for further inquiry before a decision of this kind a strict retreat, practically in solitary confinement, during which he receives from a director , yet relying on Thine infinite kindness and mercy and impelled by the desire of serving Thee, before the Most Holy Virgin Mary and all Thy heavenly host, I, N., vow to Thy divine Majesty Poverty, Chastity and Perpetual Obedience to the Society of Jesus, and promise that I will enter the same Society to live in it perpetually, understanding all things according to the Constitutions of the Society. I humbly pray from Thine immense goodness and clemency, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, that Thou wilt deign to accept this sacrifice in the odour of sweetness; and as Thou hast granted me to desire and to offer this, so wilt Thou bestow abundant grace to fulfil it." The scholastic then follows the ordinary course of an undergraduate at a university. After passing five years in arts he has, while still keeping up his own studies, to devote five or six years more to teaching the junior classes in various Jesuit schools or colleges. About this period he takes his Letter and Constitutions of the said Society." The lay brothers leave out the clause concerning education. The scholastic does not b, and then passes through a four or six years' course. Only when he is thirty-four or thirty-six can he be ordained a priest and enter on the grade of a spiritual coadjutor. A lay brother, before he can become called away to a third year's novitiate, called the tertianship, as a preparation for his solemn profession of the three vows. His former vows were simple and the Society was at liberty to dismiss him for any canonical reason. The formula of the famous Jesuit vow is as follows: "I, N., promise to Almighty God, before His Virgin Mother and the whole heavenly host, and to all standing by; and to thee, Reverend Father General of the Society of Jesus, holding the place of God, and to thy successors (or to thee, Reverend Father M. in place of the General of the Society of Jesus and his successors holding the place of God), Perpetual Poverty, Chastity and Obedience; and according to it a peculiar care in the education of boys according to the form of life contained in the Apostolic Letters of the Society of Jesus and in its Constitutions." concerning poverty should be changed; (2) that he will not directly nor indirectly procure election or promotion for himself to any prelacy or dignity in the Society; (3) that he will not accept or consent to his election to any dignity or prelacy outside the Society unless forced thereunto by obedience; (4) that if he knows of others doing these things he will denounce them to the superiors; (5) that if elected to a bishopric he will never refuse to hear such advice as the general may deign to send him and will follow it if he judges it is better than his own opinion. The professed is now eligible to certain offices in the Society, and he may remain as a professed father of the three vows for the rest of his life. The highest class, who constitute the real core of the Society, whence all its chief officers are taken, are the professed of the four vows. This glade can seldom be reached until she candidate is in his forty-fifth year, which involves a probaLion of thirty-one years in the case of those who have entered on the novitiate at the earliest legal age. The number of these select members is small in comparison with the whole Society; the exact proportion varies from time to time, the present tendency being to increase the number. The vows of this grade are the same as the last formula, with the addition of the following important clause: "Moreover I promise the special obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff concerning missions, as is contained in the same Apostolic Letter and Constitutions." These various members of the Society are distributed in its novitiate houses, its colleges, its professed houses and its mission residences. The question has been hotly debated whether, in addition to these six grades, there be not a seventh answering in some degree to the tertiaries of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, but secretly affiliated to the Society and acting as its emissaries in various lay positions. This class was styled in France "Jesuits of the short robe," and there is some evidence in support of its actual existence under Louis XV. The Jesuits themselves deny the existence of any such body, and are able to adduce the negative disproof that no provision for it is to be found in their constitutions. On the other hand there are clauses therein which make the creation of such a class perfectly feasible if thought expedient. An admitted instance is the case of Francisco allowed to receive her vows, but that she might make them if she wished and then receive his direction. The archaeologist George Oliver of Exeter was, according to Foley's Records of the English Province, the last of the secular priests of England who vowed obedience to the Society before its suppression.

The general lives permanently at Rome and holds in his hands the right to appoint, not only to the office of provincial over each of the head districts into which the Society is mapped, but to the offices of each house in particular. There is no standard of electoral right in the Society except in the election of the general himself. By a minute and frequent system of official and private reports he is informed of the doings and progress of every member of the Society and of everything that concerns it throughout the world. Every Jesuit has not only the right but the duty in certain cases of communicating, directly and privately, with his general. While the general thus controls everything, he himself is not exempt from supervision on the part of the Society. A consultative council is imposed upon him by the general congregation, consisting of the assistants of the various nations, a socius, or adviser, to warn him of mistakes, and a confessor. These he cannot remove nor select; and he is bound, in certain circumstances, to listen to their advice, although he is It is said that the general of the Jesuits is independent of the pope; and his popular name, "the black pope," has gone to confirm this idea. But it is based on an entirely wrong conception of the two offices. The suppression of the Society by Clement XIV. in 1773 was an object-lesson in the supremacy of the pope. The Society became very numerous and, from time to time, received extraordinary privileges from popes, who were warranted by the necessities of the times in granting them. A great number after the restoration that an attempt should be made to pick up again the threads that were dropped; but soon they came to realize the truth


The separate article on Loyola tells of his early years, his conversion, and his first gathering of companions. It was not until November 1537, when all hope of going to the Holy Land was given up, that any outward steps were taken to form these companions into an organized body. It was on the eve of their going to Rome, for the second time, that the fathers met Ignatius at Vicenza and it was determined to adopt a common rule and, at the suggestion of Ignatius, the name of the Company of Jesus. Whatever may have been his private hopes and intentions, it was not until he, Laynez and Faber (Pierre Lefevre), in the name of their companions, were sent to lay their services at the feet of the pope that the history of the Society really begins.

On their arrival at Rome the three Jesuits were favourably received by Paul III., who at once appointed Faber to the chair of scripture and Laynez to that of scholastic theology in the university of the Sapienza. But they encountered much opposition and were even charged with heresy; when this accusation had been disposed of, there were still difficulties in the way of starting any new order. Despite the approval of Cardinal Contarini and the goodwill of the pope (who is said to have exclaimed on perusing the scheme of Ignatius, "The finger of God is here"), there was a strong and general feeling that the regular system had broken down and could not be wisely developed farther. Cardinal Guidiccioni, one of the commission of three appointed to examine the draft constitution, was known to advocate the abolition of all existing orders, save four which were to be remodelled and put under strict control. That very year, 1538, a commission of cardinals, including Reginald Pole, Contarini, Sadolet, Caraffa (afterwards Paul IV.), Fregoso and others, had reported that the conventual orders, which they had to deal with, had drifted into such a state that they should all be abolished. Not only so, but, when greater strictness of rule and of enclosure seemed the most needful reforms in communities that had become too secular in tone, the proposal of Ignatius, to make it a first principle that the members of his institute should mix freely in the world and be as little marked off as possible externally from secular clerical life and usages, ran counter to all tradition and prejudice, save that Cara.ffa's then recent order of Theatines, which had some analogy with the proposed Society, had taken some steps in the same direction.

Ignatius and his companions, however, had but little doubt of ultimate success, and so bound themselves, on the 15th of April 1539, to obey any superior chosen from amongst their body, and added ,on the 4th of May certain other rules, the most important of which was a vow of special allegiance to the pope for mission purposes to be taken by all the members of the society. But Guidiccioni, on a careful study of the papers, changed his mind; it is supposed that the cause of this change was in large measure the strong interest in the new scheme exhibited by John III., king of Portugal, who instructed his ambassador to press it on the pope and to ask Ignatius to send some priests of his Society for mission work in Portugal and its Indian possessions. Francis Xavier and Simon Rodriguez were sent to the king in March 1540. Obstacles being cleared away, Paul III., on the 27th of September 1540, issued his bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae, by which he confirmed the new Society (the term "order" does not belong to it), but limited the members to sixty, a restriction which was removed by the same pope in the bull Injunctum nobis of the 14th of March 1543. In the former bull, the pope gives the text of the formula submitted by Ignatius as the scheme of the proposed society, and in it we get the founder's own ideas: ". .. This Society, instituted to this special end, namely, to offer spiritual consolation for the advancement of souls in life and Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith by public preaching and the ministry of the word of God, spiritual exercises and works of charity and, especially, by the instruction .of children and ignorant people in Christianity, and by the spiritual ,consolation of the faithful in Christ in hearing confessions...." In this original scheme it is clearly marked out "that this entire Society and all its members fight for God under the faithful obedience of the most sacred lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs his successors"; and Ignatius makes particular mention th4t each member should "be bound by a special vow," beyond that formal obligation under which all Christians are of obeying the pope, "so that whatsoever the present and other Roman pontiffs for the time being shall ordain, pertaining to the advancement of souls and the propagation of the faith, to whatever provinces he shall resolve to send us, we are straightway bound to obey, as far as in us lies, without any tergiversation or excuse, whether he send us among the Turks or to any other unbelievers in being, even to those parts called India, or to any heretics or schismatics or likewise to any believers." Obedience to the general is enjoined "in all things pertaining to the institute of the Society ... and in him they shall acknowledge Christ as though present, and as far as is becoming shall venerate him"; poverty is enjoined, and this rule affects not only the individual but the common sustentation or care of the Society, except that in the case of colleges revenues are allowed "to be applied to the wants and necessities of the students"; and the private recitation of the Office is distinctly mentioned. On the other hand, the perpetuity of the general's office during his life was no part of the original scheme.

On the 7th of April 1541, Ignatius was unanimously chosen general. His refusal of this post was overruled, so he entered on his office on the 13th of April; and two days after, the newly constituted Society took its formal corporate vows in the basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura. Scarcely was the Society launched when its members dispersed in various directions to their new tasks. Alfonso Salmeron and Pasquier-Brouet, as papal delegates, were sent on a secret mission to Ireland to encourage the native clergy and people to resist the religious changes introduced by Henry VIII.; Nicholas Bobadilla went to Naples; Faber, first to the diet of Worms and then to Spain; Laynez and Claude le Jay to Germany, while Ignatius busied himself at Rome in good works and in drawing up the constitutions and completing the Spiritual Exercises. Success crowned these first efforts; and the Society began to win golden opinions. The first college was founded at Coimbra in 1542 by John III. of Portugal and put under the rectorship of Rodriguez. It was designed as a training school to feed the Indian mission of which Francis Xavier had already taken the oversight, while a seminary at Goa was the second institution founded outside Rome in connexion with the Society. Both from the original scheme and from the foundation at Coimbra it is clear that the original idea of the colleges was to provide for the education of future Jesuits. In Spain, national pride in the founder aided the Society's cause almost as much as royal patronage did in Portugal; and the third house was opened in Gandia under the protection of its duke, Francisco Borgia, a grandson of Alexander VI. In Germany, the Jesuits were eagerly welcomed as the only persons able to meet the Lutherans on equal terms. Only in France, among the countries which still were united with the Roman Church, was their advance checked, owing to political distrust of their Spanish origin, together with the hostility of the Sorbonne and the bishop of Paris. However, after many difficulties, they succeeded in getting a footing through the help of Guillaume du Prat, bishop of Clermont (d. 1560), who founded a college for them in 1545 in the town of Billom, besides making over to them his house at Paris, the hotel de Clermont, which became the nucleus of the afterwards famous college of Louis-le-Grand, while a formal legalization was granted to them by the states-general at Poissy in 1561. In Rome, Paul III.'s favour did not lessen. He bestowed on them the church of St Andrea and conferred at the same time the valuable privilege of making and altering their own statutes; besides the other points, in 1546, which Ignatius had still more at heart, as touching the very essence of his institute, namely, exemption from ecclesiastical offices and dignities and from the task of acting as directors and confessors to convents of women. The former of these measures effectually stopped any drain of the best members away from the society and limited their hopes within its bounds, by putting them more freely at the general's disposal, especially as it was provided that the final vows could not be annulled, nor could a professed member be dismissed, save by the joint action of the general and the pope. The regulation as to convents seems partly due to a desire to avoid the worry and expenditure of time involved in the discharge of such offices and partly to a conviction that penitents living in enclosure, as all religious persons then were, would be of no effective use to the Society; whereas the founder, against the wishes of several of his companions, laid much stress on the duty of accepting the post of confessor to kings, queens and women of high rank when opportunity presented itself. And the year 1546 is notable in the annals of the Society as that in which it embarked on its great educational career, especially by the annexation of free day-schools to all its colleges.

The council of Trent, in its first period, seemed to increase the reputation of the Society; for the pope chose Laynez, Faber and Salmeron to act as his theologians in that assembly, and in this capacity they had no little influence in framing its decrees. When the council reassembled under Pius IV., Laynez and Salmeron again attended in the same capacity. It is sometimes said that the council formally approved of the Society. This is impossible; for as the Society had received the papal approval, that of the council would have been impertinent as well as unnecessary. St Charles Borromeo wrote to the presiding cardinals, on the 11th of May 1562, saying that, as France was disaffected to the Jesuits whom the pope wished to see established in every country, Pius IV. desired, when the council was occupying itself about regulars, that it should make some honourable mention of the Society in order to recommend it. This was done in the twenty-fifth session (cap. XVI., d.r.) when the decree was passed that at the end of the time of probation novices should either be professed or dismissed; and the words of the council are: "By these things, however, the Synod does not intend to make any innovation or prohibition, so as to hinder the religious order of Clerks of the Society of Jesus from being able to serve God and His Church, in accordance with their pious institute approved of by the Holy Apostolic See." In 1548 the Society received a valuable recruit in the person of Francisco Borgia, duke of Gandia, afterwards thrice general, while two important events marked 1550 - the foundation of the Collegio Romano and a fresh confirmation of the Society by Julius III. The German college, for the children of poor nobles, was founded in 1552; and in the same year Ignatius firmly settled the discipline of the Society by putting down, with promptness and severity, some attempts at independent action on the part of Rodriguez at Coimbra - this being the occasion of the famous letter on obedience; while 1553 saw the despatch of a mission to Abyssinia with one of the fathers as patriarch, and the first rift within the lute when the pope thought that the Spanish Jesuits were taking part with the emperor against the Holy See. Paul IV. (whose election alarmed the Jesuits, for they had not found him very friendly as cardinal) was for a time managed with supreme tact by Ignatius, whom he respected personally. In 1556, the founder died and left the Society consisting of fortyfive professed fathers and two thousand ordinary members, distributed over twelve provinces, with more than a hundred colleges and houses.

After the death of the first general there was an interregnum of two years, with Laynez as vicar. During this long period he occupied himself with completing the constitutions by incorporating certain declarations, said to be Ignatian, which explained and sometimes completely altered the meaning of the original text. Laynez was an astute politician and saw the vast capabilities of the Society over a far wider field than the founder contemplated; and he prepared to give it the direction that it has since followed. In some senses, this learned and consummately clever man may be looked upon as the real founder of the Society as history knows it. Having carefully prepared the way, he summoned the general congregation from which he emerged as second general in 1556. As soon as Ignatius had died Paul IV. announced his intention of instituting reforms in the Society, especially in two points: the public recitation of the office in choir and the limitation of the general's office to a term of three years. Despite all the protests and negotiations of Laynez, the pope remained obstinate; and there was nothing but to submit. On the 8th of September 1558, two points were added to the constitutions: that the generalship should be triennial and not perpetual, although after the three years the general might be confirmed; and that the canonical hours should be observed in choir after the manner of the other orders, but with that moderation which should seem expedient to the general. Taking advantage of this last clause, Laynez applied the new law to two houses only, namely, Rome and Lisbon, the other houses contenting themselves with singing vespers on feast days; and as soon as Paul IV. died, Laynez, acting on advice, quietly ignored for the future the orders of the late pope. He also succeeded in increasing further the already enormous powers of the general. Laynez took a leading part in the colloquy of Poissy in 1561 between the Catholics and Huguenots; and obtained a legal footing from the states-general for colleges of the Society in France. He died in 1564, leaving the Society increased to eighteen provinces with a hundred and thirty colleges, and was succeeded by Francisco Borgia. During the third generalate, Pius V. confirmed all the former privileges, and in the amplest form extended to the Society, as being a mendicant institute, all favours that had been or might afterwards be granted to such mendicant bodies. It was a trifling set-off that in 1567 the pope again enjoined the fathers to keep choir and to admit only the professed to priests' orders, especially as Gregory XIII. rescinded both these injunctions in 1573; and indeed, as regards the hours, all that Pius V. was able to obtain was the nominal concession that the breviary should be recited in choir in the professed houses only, and that not of necessity by more than two persons at a time. Everard Mercurian, a Fleming, and a subject of Spain, succeeded Borgia in 1 573, being forced on the Society by the pope, in preference to Polanco, Ignatius's secretary and the vicar-general, who was rejected partly as a Spaniard and still more because he was a "New Christian" of Jewish origin and therefore objected to in Spain itself. During his term of office there took place the troubles in Rome concerning the English college and the subsequent Jesuit rule over that institution; and in 1580 the first Jesuit mission, headed by the redoubtable Robert Parsons and the saintly Edmund Campion, set out for England. This mission, on one side, carried on an active propaganda against Elizabeth in favour of Spain; and on the other, among the true missionaries, was marked with devoted zeal and heroism even to the ghastly death of traitors. Claude Acquaviva, the fifth general, held office from 1581 to 1615, a time almost coinciding with the high tide of the successful reaction, chiefly due to the Jesuits. He was an able, strong-willed man, and crushed what was tantamount to a rebellion in Spain. It was during this struggle that Mariana, the historian and the author of the famous De rege in which he defends tyrannicide, wrote his treatise On the Defects in the Government of the Society. He confessed freely that the Society had faults and that there was a great deal of unrest among the members; and he mentioned among the various points calling for reform the education of the novices and students; the state of the lay brother and the possessions of the Society; the spying system, which he declared to be carried so far that, if the general's archives at Rome should be searched, not one Jesuit's character would be found to escape; the monopoly of the higher offices by a small clique: and the absence of all encouragement and recompense for the best men of the Society.

It was chiefly during the generalship of Acquaviva that the Society began to gain an evil reputation which eclipsed its good report. In France the Jesuits joined, if they did not originate, the league against Henry of Navarre. Absolution was refused by them to those who would not join in the Guise rebellion, and Acquaviva is said to have tried to stop them, but in vain. The assassination of Henry III. in the interests of the league and the wounding of Henry IV. in 1594 by Chastel, a pupil of theirs, revealed the danger that the whole Society was running by the intrigues of a few men. The Jesuits were banished from France in 1594, but were allowed to return by Henry IV. under conditions; as Sully has recorded, the king declared his only motive to be the expediency of not driving them into a corner with possible disastrous results to his life, and because his only hope of tranquillity lay in appeasing them and their powerful friends. In England the political schemings of Parsons were no small factors in the odium which fell on the Society at large; and his determination to capture the English Catholics as an apanage of the Society, to the exclusion of all else, was an object lesson to the rest of Europe of a restless ambition and lust of domination which were to find many imitators. The political turn which was being given by some to the Society, to the detriment of its real spiritual work, evoked the fears of the wiser heads of the body; and in the fifth general congregation held in1593-1594it was decreed: "Whereas in these times of difficulty and danger it has happened through the fault of certain individuals, through ambition and intemperate zeal, that our institute has been ill spoken of in divers places and before divers sovereigns. .. it is severely and strictly forbidden to all members of the Society to interfere in any manner whatever in public affairs even though they be thereto invited; or to deviate from the institute through entreaty, persuasion or any other motive whatever." It would have been well had Acquaviva enforced this decree; but Parsons was allowed to keep on with his work, and other Jesuits in France for many years after directed, to the loss of religion, affairs of state. In 1605 took place in England the Gunpowder Plot, in which Henry Garnet, the superior of the Society in England, was implicated. That the Jesuits were the instigators of the plot there is no evidence, but they were in close touch with the conspirators, of whose designs Garnet had a general knowledge. There is now no reasonable doubt that he and other Jesuits were legally accessories, and that the condemnation of Garnet as a traitor was substantially just (see Garnet, Henry).

It was during Acquaviva's generalship that Philip II. of Spain complained bitterly of the Society to Sixtus V., and encouraged him in those plans of reform (even to changing the name) which were only cut short by the pope's death in 1590, and also that the long protracted discussions on grace, wherein the Dominicans contended against the Jesuits, were carried on at Rome with little practical result, by the Congregation de auxiliis, which sat from 1598 till 1607. The Ratio Studiorum took its shape during this time. The Jesuit influence at Rome was supported by the Spanish ambassador; but when Henry IV. "went to Mass," the balance inclined to the side of France, and the Spanish monopoly became a thing of the past. Acquaviva saw the expulsion of the Jesuits from Venice in 1606 for siding with Paul V. when he placed the republic under interdict, but did not live to see their recall, which took place at the intercession of Louis XIV. in 1657. He also had to banish Parsons from Rome, by order of Clement VIII., who was wearied with the perpetual complaints made against that intriguer. Gregory XIV., by the bull Ecclesiae Christi (July 28, 1591), again confirmed the Society, and granted that Jesuits might, for true cause, be expelled from the body without any form of trial or even documentary procedure, besides denouncing excommunications against every one, save the pope or his legates, who directly or indirectly infringed the constitutions of the Society or attempted to bring about any change therein.

Under Vitelleschi, the next general, the Society celebrated its first centenary on the 25th of September 1639, the hundredth anniversary of the verbal approbation given to the scheme by Paul III. During this hundred years the Society had grown to thirty-six provinces, with eight hundred houses containing some fifteen thousand members. In 1640 broke out the great Jansenist controversy, in which the Society took the leading part on one side and finally secured the victory. In this same year, considering themselves ill-used by Olivarez, prime minister of Philip IV. of Spain, the Jesuits powerfully aided the revolution which placed the duke of Braganza on the throne of Portugal; and their services were rewarded for nearly one hundred years with the practical control of ecclesiastical and almost of civil affairs in that kingdom.

The Society also gained ground steadily in France; for, though held in check by Richelieu and little more favoured by Mazarin, yet from the moment that Louis XIV. took the reins, their star was in the ascendant, and Jesuit confessors, the most celebrated of whom were Francois de La Chaise and Michel Le Tellier (1643-1719), guided the policy of the king, not hesitating to take his side in his quarrel with the Holy See, which nearly resulted in a schism, nor to sign the Gallican articles. Their hostility to the Huguenots forced on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and their war against their Jansenist opponents did not cease till the very walls of Port Royal were demolished in 1710, even to the very abbey church itself, and the bodies of the dead taken with every mark of insult from their graves and literally flung to the dogs to devour. But while thus gaining power in one direction, the Society was losing it in another. The Japanese mission had vanished in blood in 1651; and though many Jesuits died with their converts bravely as martyrs for the faith, yet it is impossible to acquit them of a large share in the causes of that overthrow. It was also about this same period that the grave scandal of the Chinese and Malabar rites began to attract attention in Europe, and to make thinking men ask seriously whether the Jesuit missionaries in those parts taught anything which could fairly be called Christianity at all. When it was remembered, too, that they had decided, at a council held at Lima, that it was inexpedient to impose any act of Christian devotion except baptism on the South American converts, without the greatest precautions, on the ground of intellectual difficulties, it is not wonderful that this doubt was not satisfactorily cleared up, notably in face of the charges brought against the Society by Bernardin de Cardonas, bishop of Paraguay, and the saintly Juan de Palafox, bishop of Angelopolis in Mexico.

But "the terrible power in the universal church, the great riches and the extraordinary prestige" of the Society, which Palafox complained had raised it "above all dignities, laws, councils and apostolic constitutions," carried with them the seeds of rapid and inevitable decay. A succession of devout but incapable generals, after the death of Acquaviva, saw the gradual secularization of tone by the flocking in of recruits of rank and wealth desirous to share in the glories and influence of the Society, but not well adapted to increase them. The general's supremacy received a shock when the eleventh general congregation appointed Oliva as vicar, with the right of succession and powers that practically superseded those of the general Goswin Nickel, whose infirmities, it is said, did not permit him to govern with the necessary application and vigour; and an attempt was made to depose Tirso Gonzalez, the thirteenth general, whose views on probabilism diverged from those favoured by the rest of the Jesuits. Though the political weight of the Society continued to increase in the cabinets of Europe, it was being steadily weakened internally. The Jesuits abandoned the system of free education which had won them so much influence and honour; by attaching themselves exclusively to the interests of courts, they lost favour with the middle and lower classes; and above all, their monopoly of power and patronage in France, with the fatal use they had made of it, drew down the bitterest hostility upon them. It was to their credit, indeed, that the encyclopaedists attacked them as the foremost representatives of Christianity, but they are accountable in no small degree in France, as in England, for alienating the minds of men from the religion for which they professed to work.

But the most fatal part of the policy of the Society was its activity, wealth and importance as a great trading firm with branch houses scattered over the richest countries of the world. Its founder, with a wise instinct, had forbidden the accumulation of wealth; its own constitutions, as revised in the 84th decree of the sixth general congregation, had forbidden all pursuits of a commercial nature, as also had various popes; but nevertheless the trade went on unceasingly, necessarily with the full knowledge of the general, unless it be pleaded that the system of obligatory espionage had completely broken down. The first muttering of the storm which was soon to break was heard in a breve issued in 1741 by Benedict XIV., wherein he denounced the Jesuit offenders as "disobedient, contumacious, captious and reprobate persons," and enacted many stringent regulations for their better government. The first serious attack came from a country where they had been long dominant. In 1753 Spain and Portugal exchanged certain American provinces with each other, which involved a transfer of sovereign rights over Paraguay; but it was also provided that the populations should severally migrate also, that the subjects of each crown might remain the same as before. The inhabitants of the "reductions," whom the Jesuits had trained in the use of European arms and discipline, naturally rose in defence of their homes, and attacked the troops and authorities. Their previous docility and their entire submission to the Jesuits left no possible doubt as to the source of the rebellion, and gave the enemies of the Jesuits a handle against them that was not forgotten. In 1757 Carvalho, marquis of Pombal, prime minister of Joseph I. of Portugal, and an old pupil of the Jesuits at Coimbra, dismissed the three Jesuit chaplains of the king and named three secular priests in their stead. He next complained to Benedict XIV. that the trading operations of the Society hampered the commercial prosperity of the nation, and asked for remedial measures. The pope, who knew the situation, committed a visitation of the Society to Cardinal Saldanha, an intimate friend of Pombal, who issued a severe decree against the Jesuits and ordered the confiscation of all their merchandise. But at this juncture Benedict XIV., the most learned and able pope of the period, was succeeded by a pope strongly in favour of the Jesuits, Clement XIII. Pombal, finding no help from Rome, adopted other means. The king was fired at and wounded on returning from a visit to his mistress on the 3rd of September 1758. The duke of Aveiro and other high personages were tried and executed for conspiracy; while some of the Jesuits, who had undoubtedly been in communication with them, were charged, on doubtful evidence, with complicity in the attempted assassination. Pombal charged the whole Society with the possible guilt of a few, and, unwilling to wait the dubious issue of an application to the pope for licence to try them in the civil courts, whence they were exempt, issued on the 1st of September 1759 a decree ordering the immediate deportation of every Jesuit from Portugal and all its dependencies and their suppression by the bishops in the schools and universities. Those in Portugal were at once shipped, in great misery, to the papal states, and were soon followed by those in the colonies. In France, Madame de Pompadour was their enemy because they had refused her absolution while she remained the king's mistress; but the immediate cause of their ruin was the bankruptcy of Father Lavalette, the Jesuit superior in Martinique, a daring speculator, who failed, after trading for some years, for 2,400,000 francs and brought ruin upon some French commercial houses of note. Lorenzo Ricci, then general of the Society, repudiated the debt, alleging lack of authority on Lavalette's part to pledge the credit of the Society, and he was sued by the creditors. Losing his cause, he appealed to the parlement of Paris, and it, to decide the issue raised by Ricci, required the constitutions of the Jesuits to be produced in evidence, and affirmed the judgment of the courts below. But the publicity given to a document scarcely known till then raised the utmost indignation against the Society. A royal commission, appointed by the duc de Choiseul to examine the constitutions, convoked a private assembly of fifty-one archbishops and bishops under the presidency of Cardinal de Luynes, all of whom except six voted that the unlimited authority of the general was incompatible with the laws of France, and that the appointment of a resident vicar, subject to those laws, was the only solution of the question fair on all sides. Ricci replied with the historical answer, Sint ut sunt, aut non sint; and after some further delay, during which much interest was exerted in their favour, the Jesuits were suppressed by an edict in November 1764, but suffered to remain on the footing of secular priests, a grace withdrawn in 1767, when they were expelled from the kingdom. In the very same year, Charles III. of Spain, a monarch known for personal devoutness, convinced, on evidence not now forthcoming, that the Jesuits were plotting against his authority, prepared, through his minister D'Aranda, a decree suppressing the Society in every part of his dominions. Sealed despatches were sent to every Spanish colony, to be opened on the same day, the 2nd of April 1767, when the measure was to take effect in Spain itself, and the expulsion was relentlessly carried out, nearly six thousand priests being deported from Spain alone, and sent to the Italian coast, whence, however, they were repelled by the orders of the pope and Ricci himself, finding a refuge at Corte in Corsica, after some months' suffering in overcrowded vessels at sea. The general's object may probably have been to accentuate the harshness with which the fathers had been treated, and so to increase public sympathy, 1 but the actual result of his policy was blame for the cruelty with which he enhanced their misfortunes, for the poverty of Corsica made even a bare subsistence scarcely procurable for them there. The Bourbon courts of Naples and Parma followed the example of France and Spain; Clement XIII. retorted with a bull launched at the weakest adversary, and declaring the rank and title of the duke of Parma forfeit. The Bourbon sovereigns threatened to make war on the pope in return (France, indeed, seizing on the county of Avignon), and a joint note demanding a retractation, and the abolition of the Jesuits, was presented by the French ambassador at Rome on the 10th of December 1768 in the name of France, Spain and the two Sicilies. The pope, a man of eighty-two, died of apoplexy, brought on by the shock, early in 1769. Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli, a conventual Franciscan, was chosen to succeed him, and took the name of Clement XIV. He endeavoured to avert the decision forced upon him, but, as Portugal joined the Bourbon league, and Maria Theresa with her son the emperor Joseph II. ceased to protect the Jesuits, there remained only the petty kingdom of Sardinia in their favour, though the fall of Choiseul in France raised the hopes of the Society for a time. The pope began with some preliminary measures, permitting first the renewal of lawsuits against the Society, which had been suspended by papal authority, and which, indeed, had in no case been ever successful at Rome. He then closed the Collegio Romano, on the plea of its insolvency, seized the houses at Frascati and Tivoli, and broke up the establishments in Bologna and the Legations. Finally on the 21st of July 1773 the famous breve Dominus ac Redemptor appeared, suppressing the Society of Jesus. This remarkable document opens by citing a long series of precedents for the suppression of religious orders by the Holy See, amongst which occurs the ill-omened instance of the Templars. It then briefly sketches the objects and history of the Jesuits themselves. It speaks of their defiance of their own constitution, expressly revived by Paul V., forbidding them to meddle in politics; of the great ruin to souls caused by their quarrels with local ordinaries and the other religious orders, their condescension to heathen usages in the East, and the disturbances, resulting in persecutions of the Church, which they had stirred up even in Catholic countries, so that several popes had been obliged to punish them. Seeing then that the Catholic sovereigns had been forced to expel them, that many bishops and other eminent persons demanded their extinction, and that the Society had ceased to fulfil the intention of its institute, the pope declares it necessary for the peace of the Church that it should be suppressed, extinguished, abolished and abrogated for ever, with all its houses, colleges, schools and hospitals; transfers all the authority of its general or officers to the local ordinaries; forbids the reception of any more novices, directing that such as were actually in probation should be dismissed, and declaring that profession in the Society should not serve as a title to holy orders. Priests of the Society are given the option of either joining other orders or remaining as secular clergy, under obedience to the ordinaries, who are empowered to grant or withhold from them licences to hear confessions. Such of the fathers as are engaged in the work of education are permitted to continue, on condition of abstaining from lax and questionable doctrines apt to cause strife and trouble. The question of missions is reserved, and the relaxations granted to the Society in such matters as fasting, reciting the hours and reading heretical books, are withdrawn; while the breve ends with clauses carefully drawn to bar any legal exceptions that might be taken against its full validity and obligation. It has been necessary to cite these heads of the breve because the apologists of the Society allege that no motive influenced the pope save the desire of peace at any price, and that he did not believe in the culpability of the fathers. The categorical charges made in the document rebut this plea. The pope followed up this breve by appointing a congregation of cardinals to take possession of the temporalities of the Society, and armed it with summary powers against all who should attempt to retain or conceal any of the property. He also threw Lorenzo Ricci, the general, into prison, first in the English college and then in the castle of St Angelo, where he died in 1775, under the pontificate of Pius VI., who, though not unfavourable to the Society, and owing his own advancement to it, dared not release him, probably because his continued imprisonment was made a condition by the powers who enjoyed a right of veto in papal elections. In September 1774 Clement XIV. died after much suffering, and the question has been hotly debated ever since whether poison was the cause of his death. But the latest researches have shown that there is no evidence to support the theory of poison. Salicetti, the pope's physician, denied that the body showed signs of poisoning, and Tanucci, Neapolitan ambassador at Rome, who had a large share in procuring the breve of suppression, entirely acquits the Jesuits, while F. Theiner, no friend to the Society, does the like.

At the date of this suppression, the Society had 41 provinces and 22,589 members, of whom 11,295 were priests. Far from submitting to the papal breve, the ex-Jesuits, after some ineffectual attempts at direct resistance, withdrew into the territories of the free-thinking sovereigns of Russia and Prussia, Frederick II. and Catherine II., who became their active friends and protectors; and the fathers alleged as a principle, in so far as their theology is concerned, that no papal bull is binding in state whose sovereign has not approved and authorized its publication and execution. Russia formed the headquarters of the Society, and two forged breves were speedily circulated, being dated June 9 and June 29, 1774, approving their establishment in Russia, and implying the repeal of the breve of suppression. But these are contradicted by the tenor of five genuine breves issued in September '774 to the archbishop of Gnesen, and making certain assurances to the ex-Jesuits, on condition of their complete obedience to the injunctions already laid on them. The Jesuits also pleaded a verbal approbation by Pius VI., technically known as an Oraculum vivae vocis, but this is invalid for purposes of law unless reduced to writing and duly authenticated.

They elected three Poles successively as generals, taking, however, only the title of vicars, till on the 7th of March 1801 Pius VII. granted them liberty to reconstitute themselves in north Russia, and permitted Kareu, then vicar, to exercise full authority as general. On the 30th of July 1804 a similar breve restored the Jesuits in the Two Sicilies, at the express desire of Ferdinand IV., the pope thus anticipating the further action of 1814, when, by the constitution Sollicitudo omniurn Ecclesiarum, he revoked the action of Clement XIV., and formally restored the Society to corporate legal existence, yet not only omitted any censure of his predecessor's conduct, but all vindication of the Jesuits from the heavy charges in the breve Dominus ac Redemptor. In France, even after their expulsion in 1765, they had maintained a precarious footing in the country under the partial disguise and names of "Fathers of the Faith" or "Clerks of the Sacred Heart," but were obliged by Napoleon I. to retire in 1804. They reappeared under their true name in 1814, and obtained formal licence in 1822, but became the objects of so much hostility that Charles X. deprived them by ordinance of the right of instruction, and obliged all applicants for licences as teachers to make oath that they did not belong to any community unrecognized by the laws. They were dispersed again by the revolution of July 1830, but soon reappeared and, though put to much inconvenience during the latter years of Louis Philippe's reign, notably in 1845, maintained their footing, recovered the right to teach freely after the revolution of 1848, and gradually became the leading educational and ecclesiastical power in France, notably under the Second Empire, till they were once more expelled by the Ferry laws of 1880, though they quietly returned since the execution of those measures. They were again expelled by the Law of Associations of 1901. In Spain they came back with Ferdinand VII., but were expelled at the constitutional rising in 1820, returning in 1823, when the duke of Angouleme's army replaced Ferdinand on his throne; they were driven out once more by Espartero in 1835, and have had no legal position since, though their presence is openly tolerated. In Portugal, ranging themselves on the side of Dom Miguel, they fell with his cause, and were exiled in 1834. There are some to this day in Lisbon under the name of "Fathers of the Faith." Russia, which had been their warmest patron, drove them from St Petersburg and Moscow in 1813, and from the whole empire in 1820, mainly on the plea of attempted proselytizing in the imperial army. Holland drove them out in 1816, and, by giving them thus a valid excuse for aiding the Belgian revolution of 1830, secured them the strong position they have ever since held in Belgium; but they have succeeded in returning to Holland. They were expelled from Switzerland in1847-1848for the part they were charged with in exciting the war of the Sonderbund. In south Germany, inclusive of Austria and Bavaria, their annals since their restoration have been uneventful; but in north Germany, owing to the footing Frederick II. had given them in Prussia, they became very powerful, especially in the Rhine provinces, and, gradually moulding the younger generation of clergy after the close of the War of Liberation, succeeded in spreading Ultramontane views amongst them, and so leading up to the difficulties with the civil government which issued in the Falk laws, and their own expulsion by decree of the German parliament (June 19, 1872). Since then many attempts have been made to procure the recall of the Society to the German Empire, but without success, although as individuals they are now allowed in the country. In Great Britain, whither they began to straggle over during the revolutionary troubles at the close of the 18th century, and where, practically unaffected by the clause directed against them in the Emancipation Act of 1829, their chief settlement has been at Stonyhurst in Lancashire, an estate conferred on them by Thomas Weld in 1795, they have been unmolested; but there has been little affinity to the order in the British temperament, and the English province has consequently never risen to numerical or intellectual importance in the Society. In Rome itself, its progress after the restoration was at first slow, and it was not till the reign of Leo XII. (1823-1829) that it recovered its place as the chief educational body there. It advanced steadily under Gregory XVI., and, though it was at first shunned by Pius IX., it secured his entire confidence after his return from Gaeta in 1849, and obtained from him a special breve erecting the staff of its literary journal, the Civiltd Cattolica, into a perpetual college under the general of the Jesuits, for the purpose of teaching and propagating the faith in its pages. How, with this pope's support throughout his long reign, the gradual filling of nearly all the sees of Latin Christendom with bishops of their own selection, and their practical capture, directly or indirectly, of the education of the clergy in seminaries, they contrived to stamp out the last remains of independence everywhere, and to crown the Ultramontane triumph with the Vatican Decrees, is matter of familiar knowledge. Leo XIII., while favouring them somewhat, never gave them his full confidence; and by his adhesion to the Thomist philosophy and theology, and his active work for the regeneration and progress of the older orders, he made another suppression possible by destroying much of their prestige. But the usual sequence has been observed under Pius X., who appeared to be greatly in favour of the Society and to rely upon them for many of the measures of his pontificate.

The Society has been ruled by twenty-five generals and four vicars from its foundation to the present day (1910). Of all the various nationalities represented in the Society, neither France, its original cradle, nor England, has ever given it a head, while Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Poland, were all represented. The numbers of the Society are not accurately known, but are estimated at about 20,000, in all parts of the world; and of these the English, Irish and American Jesuits are under 3000.

The generals of the Jesuits have been as follow: I. Ignatius de Loyola (Spaniard)1541-15562. Diego Laynez (Spaniard)1558-15653. Francisco Borgia (Spaniard)1565-15724. Everard Mercurian (Belgian)1573-15805. Claudio Acquaviva (Neapolitan)1581-16156. Mutio Vitelleschi (Roman).1615-16457. Vincenzio Caraffa (Neapolitan)1646-16498. Francesco Piccolomini (Florentine)1649-16519. Alessandro Gottofredi (Roman) 1652 10. Goswin Nickel (German). .. ...1652-1664II. Giovanni Paolo Oliva (Genoese) vicar-general and coadjutor, 1661; general.1664-168112. Charles de Noyelle (Belgian)1682-168613. Tirso Gonzalez (Spaniard)1687-170514. Michele Angelo Tamburini (Modenese)1706-173015. Franz Retz (Bohemian)1730-175016. Ignazio Visconti (Milanese). ..1751-175517. Alessandro Centurioni (Genoese).1755-175718. Lorenzo Ricci (Florentine). ...1758-1775a. Stanislaus Czerniewicz (Pole), vicar-general1782-1785b. Gabriel Lienkiewicz (Pole), „1785-1798c. Franciscus Xavier Kareu (Pole), (general in Russia, 7th March 1801)1799-1802d. Gabriel Gruber (German)1802-180519. Thaddaeus Brzozowski (Pole)1805-182020. Aloysio Fortis (Veronese)1820-182921. Johannes Roothaan (Dutchman)1829-185322. Peter Johannes Beckx (Belgian)1853-188423. Antoine Anderledy (Swiss)..1884-189224. Luis Martin (Spanish). ..1892-190625. Francis Xavier Wernz (German). 1906 The bibliography of Jesuitism is of enormous extent, and it is impracticable to cite more than a few of the most important works. They are as follows: Institutum Societatis Jesu (7 vols., Avignon, 1830-1838); Orlandini, Historia Societatis Jesu (Antwerp, 1620); Imago primi saeculi Societatis Jesu (Antwerp, 1640); Nieremberg, Vida de San Ignacio de Loyola (9 vols., fol., Madrid, 1645-1736); Genelli, Life of St Ignatius of Loyola (London, 1872); Backer, Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jesus (7 vols., Paris, 1853-1861); Cretineau Joly, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jesus (6 vols., Paris, 1844); Guettee, Histoire des Jesuites (3 vols., Paris, 1858-1859); Wolff, Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten (4 vols., Zurich, 1789-1792); Gioberti, Il Gesuita moderno (Lausanne, 1846); F. Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World and The Jesuits in North America (Boston, 1868); Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, ecrites des missions etrangeres, avec les Annales de la propagation de la foi (40 vols., Lyons, 1819-1854); Saint-Priest, Histoire de la chute des Jesuites au X VIII € Siecle (Paris, 1844); Ranke, Romische Pcipste (3 vols., Berlin, 1838); E. Taunton, History of the Jesuits in England (London, 1901); Thomas Hughes, S.J., History of the Society of Jesus in North America (London and New York, 1907); R. G. Thwaites, Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (73 vols. Cleveland, 1896-1901).

(R. F. L.; E. TN.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  1. Plural form of Jesuit.

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Company of Jesus, Jesuits)

See also DISTINGUISHED JESUITS, JESUIT APOLOGETIC, EARLY JESUIT GENERALS, and four articles on the history of the Society: PRE-1750, 1750-1773, 1773-1814, and 1814-1912.

The Society of Jesus is a religious order founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola. Designated by him "The Company of Jesus" to indicate its true leader and its soldier spirit, the title was Latinized into "Societas Jesu" in the Bull of Paul III approving its formation and the first formula of its Institute ("Regimini militantis ecclesia", 27 Sept., 1540). The term "Jesuit" (of fifteenth-century origin, meaning one who used too frequently or appropriated the name of Jesus), was first applied to the society in reproach (1544-52), and was never employed by its founder, though members and friends of the society in time accepted the name in its good sense. The Society ranks among religious institutes as a mendicant order of clerks regular, that is, a body of priests organized for apostolic work, following a religious rule, and relying on alms for their support [Bulls of Pius V, "Dum indefessae", 7 July, 1571; Gregory XIII, "Ascendente Domino", 25 May, 1585].

As has been explained under the title "Ignatius Loyola", the founder began his self-reform, and the enlistment of followers, entirely prepossessed with the idea of the imitation of Christ, and without any plan for a religious order or purpose of attending to the needs of the days. Unexpectedly prevented from carrying out this idea, he offered his services and those of this followers to the pope, "Christ upon Earth", who at once employed him in such works as were most pressing at the moment. It was only after this and just before the first companions broke to go at the pope's command to various countries, that the resolution to found an order was taken, and that Ignatius was commissioned to draw up Constitutions. This he did slowly and methodically; first introducing rules and customs and seeing how they worked. He did not codify them for the first six years. Then three years were given to formulating laws, the wisdom of which had been proven by experiment. In the last six years of the Saint's life the Constitutions so composed were finally revised and put into practice everywhere. This sequence of events explains at once how the society, though devoted to the following of Christ, as though there were nothing else in the world to care for, is also excellently adapted to the needs of the day. It began to attend to them before it began to legislate; and its legislation was the codification of those measures which had been proved by experience to be apt to preserve its preliminary religious principle among men actually devoted to the requirements of the Church in days not unlike our own.

The Society was not founded with the avowed intention of opposing Protestantism. Neither the papal letters of approbation nor the Constitutions of the order mention this as the object of the new foundation. When Ignatius began to devote himself to the service of the Church, he had probably not even heard of the names of the Protestant Reformers. His early plan was rather the conversion of Mohammedans, an idea which, a few decades after the final triumph of the Christians over the Moors in Spain, must have strongly appealed to the chivalrous Spaniard. The name "Societas Jesu" had been born by a military order approved and recommended by Pius II in 1450, the purpose of which was to fight against the Turks and aid in spreading the Christian faith. The early Jesuits were sent by Ignatius first to pagan lands or to Catholic countries; to Protestant countries only at the special request of the pope and to Germany, the cradle-land of the Reformation, at the urgent solicitation of the imperial ambassador. From the very beginning the missionary labours of the Jesuits among the pagans of India, Japan, China, Canada, Central and South America were as important as their activity in Christian countries. As the object of the society was the propagation and strengthening of the Catholic faith everywhere, the Jesuits naturally endeavored to counteract the spread of Protestantism. They became the main instruments of the Counter-Reformation; the re-conquest of southern and western Germany and Austria for the Church, and the preservation of the Catholic faith in France and other countries were due chiefly to their exertions.


The official publication which constitutes all the regulations of the Society, its codex legum, is entitled "Institutum Societas Jesu" of which the latest edition was issued at Rome and Florence 1869-91 (for full biography see Sommervogel, V, 75-115; IX, 609-611; for commentators see X, 705-710). The Institute contains:

  • The special Bulls and other pontifical documents approving the Society and canonically determining or regulating its various works, and its ecclesiastical standing and relations. -- Besides those already mentioned, other important Bulls are those of: Paul III, "Injunctum nobis", 14 March, 1543; Julius III, "Exposcit debitum", 21 July, 1550; Pius V, "Æquum reputamus", 17 January, 1565; Pius VII, "Solicitudo omnium ecclesiarum", 7 August, 1814, Leo XIII, "Dolemus inter alia", 13 July, 1880.
  • The Examen Generale and Constitutions. The Examen contains subjects to be explained to postulants and points on which they are to be examined. The Constitutions are divided into ten parts:
  • admission;
  • dismissal;
  • novitiate;
  • scholastic training;
  • profession and other grades of membership;
  • religious vows and other obligations as observed by the Society;
  • missions and other ministries;
  • congregations, local and general assemblies as a means of union and uniformity;
  • the general and chief superiors;
  • the preservation of the spirit of the Society. Thus far in the Institute all is by Saint Ignatius, who has also added "Declarations" of various obscure parts. Then come:
  • Decrees of General Congregations, which have equal authority with the Constitutions;
  • Rules, general and particular, etc.;
  • Formulae or order of business for the congregations;
  • Ordinations of generals, which have the same authority as rules;
  • Instructions, some for superiors, others for those engaged in the missions or other works of the Society;
  • Industriae, or special counsels for superiors;
  • The Book of the Spiritual Exercises; and
  • the Ratio Studiorum, which have directive force only.

The Constitutions as drafted by Ignatius and adopted finally by the first congregation of the Society, 1558, have never been altered. Ill-informed writers have stated that Lainez, the second general, made considerable changes in the saint's conception of the order; but Ignatius' own later recension of the Constitutions, lately reproduced in facsimile (Rome, 1908), exactly agree with the text of the Constitutions now in force, and contains no word by Lainez, not even in the declarations, or glosses added to the text, which are all the work of Ignatius. The text in use in the Society is a Latin version prepared under the direction of the third congregation, and subjected to a minute comparison with the Spanish original preserved in the Society's archives, during the fourth congregation (1581).

These Constitutions were written after long deliberation between Ignatius and his companions in the founding of the Society, as at first it seemed to them that they might continue their work without the aid of a special Rule. They were the fruit of long experience and of serious meditation and prayer. Throughout they are inspired by an exalted spirit of charity and zeal for souls. They contain nothing unreasonable. To appreciate them, however, requires a knowledge of cannon law applied to monastic life and also of their history in the light of the times for which they were framed. Usually those who find fault with them either have never read them or else have misinterpreted them. Monod for instance, in his introduction to Böhmer's essay on the Jesuits ("Les jesuites", Paris, 1910, p. 13, 14) recalls how Michelet mistranslated the words of the Constitutions, p. VI, c. 5, obligationem ad peccatum, and made it appear that they require obedience even to the commission of sin, as if the text were obligatio ad peccandum, where the obvious meaning and purpose of the text is precisely to show that the transgression of the rules is not in itself sinful. Monod enumerates such men as Arnauld, Wolf, Lange, Ranke in the first edition of his "History", Hausser and Droysen, Philippson and Charbonnel, as having repeated the same error, although it has been refuted frequently since 1824, particularly by Gieseler, and corrected by Ranke in his second edition. Whenever the Constitutions enjoin what is already a serious moral obligation, or superiors, by virtue of their authority, impose a grave obligation, transgression is sinful; but this is true of such transgressions not only in the society but out of it. Moreover such commands are rarely given by the superiors and only when the good of the individual member or the common good imperatively demands it. The rule throughout is one of love inspired by wisdom, and must be interpreted in the spirit of charity which animates it. This is especially true of its provisions for the affectionate relations of members with superiors and with one another, by the manifestation of conscience, more or less practiced in every religious order, and by mutual correction when this may be necessary. It also applies to the methods employed to ascertain the qualification of members for various offices or ministries.

The chief authority is vested in the general congregation, which elects the general, and could, for certain grave causes, depose him. This body could also (although there has never yet been an occasion for so doing) add new Constitutions and abrogate old ones. Usually this congregation is convened on the occasion of the death of a general, in order to elect a successor, and to make provisions for the government and welfare of the Society. It may also be called at other times for grave reasons. It consists of the general, when alive, and his assistants, the provincials, and two deputies from each province or territorial division of the society elected by the superiors and older professed members. Thus authority in the Society eventually rests on a democratic basis. But as there is no definite time for calling the general congregation which in fact rarely occurs except to elect a new general, the exercise of authority is usually in the hands of the general, in whom is vested the fullness of administrative power, and of spiritual authority. He can do anything within the scope of the Constitutions, and can even dispense with them for good causes, though he cannot change them. He resides at Rome, and has a council of assistants, five in number at present, one each for Italy, France, Spain, and the countries of Spanish origin, one for Germany, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Hungary, Holland, and one for English-speaking countries--England, Ireland, United States, Canada, and British colonies (except India). These usually hold office until the death of the general. Should the general through age or infirmity become incapacitated for governing the Society, a vicar is chosen by a general congregation to act for him. At his death he names one so to act until the congregation can meet and elect his successor.

Next to him in order of authority comes the provincials, the heads of the Society, whether for an entire country, as England, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, or, where these units are too large or too small to make convenient provinces they may be subdivided or joined together. Thus there are now four provinces in the United States: California, Maryland-New York, Missouri, New Orleans. In all there are now twenty-seven provinces. The provincial is appointed by the general, with ample administrative faculties. He too has a council of "counselors" and an "admonitor" appointed by the general. Under the provincial come the local superiors. Of these, rectors of colleges, provosts of professed houses, and masters of novices are appointed by the general; the rest by the provincial. To enable the general to make and control so many appointments, a free and ample correspondence is kept up, and everyone has the right of private communication with him. No superior, except the general, is named for life. Usually provincials and rectors of colleges hold office for three years.

Members of the society fall into four classes:

  • Novices (whether received as lay brothers for the domestic and temporal services of the order, or as aspirants to the priesthood), who are trained in the spirit and discipline of the order, prior to making the religious vows.
  • At the end of two years the novices make simple vows, and, if aspirants to the priesthood, become formed scholastics; they remain in this grade as a rule from two to fifteen years, in which time they will have completed all their studies, pass (generally) a certain period in teaching, receive the priesthood, and go through a third year of novitiate or probation (the tertianship). According to the degree of discipline and virtue, and to the talents they display (the latter are normally tested by the examination for the Degree of Doctor of Theology) they may now become formed coadjutors or professed members of the order.
  • Formed coadjutors, whether formed lay brothers or priests, make vows which, though not solemn, are perpetual on their part; while the Society, on its side binds itself to them, unless they should commit some grave offense.
  • The professed are all priests, who make, besides the three usual solemn vows of religion, a fourth, of special obedience to the pope in the matter of missions, undertaking to go wherever they are sent, without even requiring money for the journey. They also make certain additional, but non-essential, simple vows, in the matter of poverty, and the refusal of external honours. The professed of the four vows constitute the kernel of the Society; the other grades are regarded as preparatory, or as subsidiary to this. The chief offices can be held by the professed alone; and though they may be dismissed, they must be received back, if willing to comply with the conditions that may be prescribed. Otherwise they enjoy no privileges, and many posts of importance, such as the government of colleges, may be held by members of other grades. For special reasons some are occasionally professed of three vows and they have certain but not all the privileges of the other professed. All live in community alike, as regards food, apparel, lodging, recreation, and all are alike bound by the rules of the Society.

There are no secret Jesuits. Like other orders, the Society can, if it will, make its friends participators in its prayers, and in the merits of its good works; but it cannot make them members of the order, unless they live the life of the order. There is indeed the case of St. Francis Borgia, who made some of the probations in an unusual way, outside the houses of the order. But this was in order that he might be able to conclude certain business matters and other affairs of state, and thus appear the sooner in public as a Jesuit, not that he might remain permanently outside the common life.

Novitiate and Training

Candidates for admission come not only from the colleges conducted by the Society, but from other schools. Frequently post-graduate or professional students, and those who have already begun their career in business or professional life, or even in the priesthood, apply for admission. Usually the candidate applies in person to the provincial, and if he considers him a likely subject he refers him for examination to four of the more experienced fathers. They question him about the age, health, position, occupation of his parents, their religion and good character, their dependence on his services; about his own health, obligations such as debts, or other contractual relations; his studies, qualifications, moral character, personal motives as well as the external influences that may have lead him to seek admission. The results of their questioning and of their own observation they report severally to the provincial, who weighs their opinions carefully before deciding for or against the applicant. Any notable bodily or mental defect in the candidate, serious indebtedness or other obligation, previous membership in another religious order even for a day, indicating instability of vocation, unqualifies for admission. Undue influence, particularly if exercised by members of the order, would occasion stricter scrutiny that usual into the personal motives of the applicant.

Candidates may enter at any time, but usually there is a fixed day each years for their admission, toward the close of the summer holidays, in order that all may begin their training, or probation, together. They spend the first ten days considering the manner of life they are to adopt, and its difficulties, the rules of the order, the obedience required of its members. They then make a brief retreat, meditating on what they have learned about the Society and examining their own motives and hopes for perserverance in the new mode of life. If all be satisfactory to them and to the superior or director who has charge of them, they are admitted as novices, wear the clerical costume (as there is no special Jesuit habit) and begin in earnest the life of members in the Society. They rise early, make a brief visit to the chapel, a meditation on some subject selected the night before, assist at Mass, review their meditation, breakfast, and then prepare for the day's routine. This consists of manual labor in or out of doors, reading books on spiritual topics, ecclesiastical history, biography, particularly of men or women distinguished for zeal and enterprise in missionary or educational fields. There is a daily conference by the master of the novices on some detail of the Institute, notes of which all are required to make, so as to be ready, when asked, to repeat the salient points.

Wherever it is possible some are submitted to certain tests of their vocation or usefulness; to teaching catechism in the village churches; to attendance on the sick in hospitals; to going about on a pilgrimage or missionary journey without money or other provision. As soon as possible, all make the spiritual exercises for 30 days. This is really the chief test of a vocation, as it is also in epitome the main work of the two years of the novitiate, and for that matter of the entire life of a Jesuit. On these exercises the Constitutions, the life, and activity of the Society are based, so they are really the chief factor in forming the character of a Jesuit. In accordance with the ideals set forth in these exercises, of disinterested conformity with God's will, and of personal love of Jesus Christ, the novice is trained diligently in the meditative study of the truths of religion, in the habit of self-knowledge, in the constant scrutiny of his motives and of the actions inspired by them, in the correction of every form of self-deceit, illusion, plausible pretext, and in the education of his will, particularly in making choice of what seems best after careful deliberation and without self-seeking. Deeds, not words, are insisted upon as proof of genuine service, and a mechanical, emotional, or fanciful piety is not tolerated. As the novice gradually thus becomes master of his will, he grows more and more capable of offering to God the reasonable service enjoined by St. Paul, and seeks to follow the divine will, as manifested in Jesus Christ, by His vicar on earth, by the bishops appointed to rule His Church, by his more immediate or religious superiors, and by the civil powers rightfully exercising authority. This is what is meant by Jesuit obedience, the characteristic virtue of the order, such a sincere respect for authority as to accept its decisions and comply with them, not merely by outward performance but in all sincerity with the conviction that compliance is best, and that the command expresses for the time the will of God, as nearly as it can be ascertained.

The noviceship lasts two years. On its completion the novice makes the usual vows of religion, the simple vow of chastity in the Society having the force of a diriment impediment to matrimony. During the noviceship but a brief time daily is devoted to reviewing previous studies. The noviceship over, the scholastic members, i.e., those who are to become priests in the Society, follow a special course in classics and mathematics lasting two years, usually in the same house with the novices. Then, in another house and neighbourhood, three years are given to the study of philosophy, about five years to teaching in one or other of the public colleges of the Society, four years to the study of theology, priestly orders being conferred after the third, and finally, one year more to another probation or noviceship, intended to help the young priest renew his spirit of piety and to learn how to utilize to the best of his ability all the learning and experience he has required. In exceptional cases, as in that of a priest who has finished his studies before entering the order, allowance is made and the training periods need not last over ten years, a good part of which is spent in active ministry.

The object of the order is not limited to practicing any one class of good works, however laudable (as preaching, chanting office, doing penance, etc.), but to study, in the manner of the Spiritual Exercises, what Christ would have done, if He were living in our circumstances, and to carry out that ideal. Hence elevation and largeness of aim. Hence the motto of the Society, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam". Hence the selection of the virtue of obedience as the characteristic of the order, to be ready for any call, and to keep unity in every variety of work. Hence, by easy sequence, the omission of office in choir, of a special distinctive habit, of unusual penances. Where the Protestant reformers aimed at reorganizing the church at large according to their particular conceptions, Ignatius began with interior self-reform; and after that had been thoroughly established, then the earnest preaching of self-reform to others. That done, the church would not, and did not, fail to reform herself. Many religious distinguished themselves as educators before the Jesuits; but the Society was the first order which enjoined by its very Constitutions devotion to the cause of education. It was, in this sense, the first "teaching order".

The ministry of the Society consists chiefly in preaching; teaching catechism, especially to children; administering the sacraments especially penance and the Eucharist; conducting missions in the parishes on the lines of the Spiritual Exercises; directing those who wish to follow those exercises in houses of retreat, seminaries or convents; taking care of parishes or collegiate churches; organizing pious confraternities, sodalities, unions of prayer, Bona Mors associations in their own and other parishes; teaching in schools of every grade--academic; seminary, university; writing books, pamphlets, periodical articles; going on foreign missions among uncivilized peoples. In liturgical functions the Roman Rite is followed. The proper exercise of all these functions is provided for by rules carefully framed by the general congregations or by the generals. All these regulations command the greatest respect on the part of every member. In practice the superior for the time being is the living rule--not that he can alter or abrogate any rule, but because he must interpret and determine its application. In this fact and in its consequences, the Society differs from every religious order antecedent to its foundation; to this principally, it owes its life, activity, and power to adapt its Institutes to modern conditions without need of change in that instrument or of reform in the body itself.

The story of the foundation of the Society is told in the article Ignatius Loyola. Briefly, after having inspired his companions Peter Faber, Francis Xavier, James Lainez, Alonso Samerón, Nicolas Bobadilla, Simon Rodriquez, Claude Le Jay, Jean Codure, and Paschase Brouet with a desire to dwell in the Holy Land imitating the life of Christ, they first made vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris, on 15 August, 1534, adding a vow to go to the Holy Land after two years. When this was found to be inpracticable, after waiting another year, they offered their services to the pope, Paul III. Fully another year was passed by some in university towns in Italy, by others at Rome, where, after encountering much opposition and slander, all met together to agree on a mode of life by which they might advance in evangelical perfection and help others in the same task. The first formula of the Institute was submitted to the pope and approved of viva voce, 3 September 1539, and formally, 27 September, 1540.

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Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.
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