Society of Jesus
|Motto||Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
For the Greater Glory of God
|Formation||27 September 1540|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Church of the Gesù (Mother Church), General Curia (administration)|
|Very Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.|
|Ignatius of Loyola— co-founder
Francis Xavier— co-founder
Peter Faber— co-founder
|Society of Jesus|
The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J., SJ or SI) is a male religious congregation of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.
Ignatius of Loyola founded the society after being wounded in battle and experiencing a religious conversion. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius’s plan of the order’s organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the “Formula of the Institute”.
Ignatius was a nobleman who had a military background, and the members of the society were supposed to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the Society was founded for “whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God (Spanish: “todo el que quiera militar para Dios”), to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine.” Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as “God’s Soldiers”, “God’s Marines”, or “the Company”, references to Ignatius’ history as a soldier and the society’s commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions. The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church.
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.
In 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Jesuit Pope, as Pope Francis.