The Jesuits

Society of Jesus

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Society of Jesus
Ihs-logo.svg
Abbreviation S.J., Jesuits
Motto Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
For the Greater Glory of God
Formation 27 September 1540; 475 years ago
Type Catholic religious order
Headquarters Church of the Gesù (Mother Church), General Curia (administration)
Location
  • Rome, Italy
Coordinates 41°54′4.9″N 12°27′38.2″ECoordinates: 41°54′4.9″N 12°27′38.2″E
Very Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.
Key people
Ignatius of Loyola— co-founder
Francis Xavier— co-founder
Peter Faber— co-founder
Main organ
General Curia
Staff
16,740
Website www.sjweb.info
Society of Jesus

History of the Jesuits
Regimini militantis
Suppression

Jesuit Hierarchy
Superior General
Adolfo Nicolás

Ignatian Spirituality
Spiritual Exercises
Ad majorem Dei gloriam
Magis

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

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[1] (Spanish: “todo el que quiera militar para Dios”),[2] to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine.”[3] Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as “God’s Soldiers”,[4] “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.[5] The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic 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.[6][7]

The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome.[8] 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.