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What is a Jesuit?

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuits.
Santa Clara University in California is one of the many Jesuit institutions offering a very high quality education.
Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
A Bible.
Priest giving the Holy Communion to a young girl.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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A Jesuit is a member of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order which was established in 1534. The Jesuits are among the most active Roman Catholics, with ministries on every continent except for Antarctica. They engage in a wide range of activities, from working on social justice issues to providing education and training to aspiring priests. Membership in the Society of Jesus is restricted to men, although women can serve alongside the in organizations like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC).

The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a knight before he founded the organization in 1534. He incorporated many of his experiences as a warrior into the founding precepts of the society, stressing the idea of creating an organization with a strong central base of power and a highly mobile, adaptable membership. The Jesuits have displayed a remarkable ability for adaptation and adjustment over the centuries since the establishment of the Society of Jesus. The endurance of this religious order seems to suggest that St. Ignatius may have had the right idea.

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In 1540, the Society of Jesus applied to the Pope for approval, and the organization was given the blessing of Paul III. St. Ignatius of Loyola and his fellow founders were ordained as priests, and the Jesuits began to expand and grow from this point forward. Today, in order to join this society, a candidate must undergo a long “formation” process in which he is consistently challenged and encouraged to explore to confirm that he really wants to join the order.

The Jesuits are famous for their involvement in early settlement of Asia and the Americas. Their priests were sometimes on the ground before other explorers, and they rapidly spread Christianity to many regions of the world. Their involvement in international affairs became controversial at times, leading to a brief suspension of the order in 1773, which was reversed in 1814.

Today, the Society of Jesus is probably most famous for its role in education. Jesuit educational institutions for people of all ages can be found all over the world, offering a very high quality of education to students. Jesuits are also involved in active missionary work, and many of them have become passionate advocates for social justice, with service to the poor being a critical aspect of the Society of Jesus. Many also work as researchers, historians, and of course, priests.

The Jesuit commitment to faith is often celebrated in the Roman Catholic community, as are the services which they perform not just for Roman Catholics, but for all people in need. One of the major initiatives of the Jesuits in the 21st century has been the revitalization of the Church and the Catholic faith, with priests working to address issues facing the Catholic Church while continuing to advocate for the poor and needy of the world.

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Discuss this Article

anon325123
Post 16

Of course there is a higher power, please feel free to call that power God. Science is great at answering many "How" questions, but not so great at answering the really important "Why" questions. Why are we here? Why is there a Universe? Even if the Universe started with a "Big Bang", why? Where did all of that mass in the universe come from. There was time (who created "time"?) even before the Big Bang. Try to consider the unfathomable number of factors (environmental, biological, universal, etc.) that have to be just perfect for you to exist. Feel comforted that it was all planned by an intelligence we can't even begin to imagine.

anon325051
Post 15

anon289083: you posted this: "I feel far from God, like he's not there."

If you have never done this, then simply get on your knees and ask Jesus (with all your heart) to show you that He is real. I know He will do that for you, but only once in your life.

After that, you need to read the Bible and believe, and understand we walk on FAITH, not FEELINGS. The world and many feel-good religions walk on feelings, so do not be swayed.

Study the Bible every day. If you don't have time, try calling the Daily Word every day at 706-855-WORD to hear 1-2 chapters of the Bible; this is an easy way to keep in your faith in this very busy world.

May God bless you.

anon325019
Post 14

John 6:37 Anon Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. - Jesus

Don't feel far from him cause he calling out to you. Return to him, get into the Bible for youself, and see if he won't meet you there. He loves you and forgives you. He also asks you to believe in him and as you receive the Lord so walk in him a.k.a. follow him/Christ. Hope you are encouraged.

anon325016
Post 13

@rbsteel... that is a question for a Catholic official.

@anon289083 - Maybe you can see about this too.

anon325012
Post 12

I agree with anon315711

anon325009
Post 11

God Bless the New Pope, Francis I---a Jesuit from The Americas.

anon315711
Post 9

I have no time for the Jesuits or the satanic, fascist, criminal cabal that runs the Roman Catholic Church. They are all deceivers, liars and manipulators, the true spawn of Satan / Cronus himself. St. Malachy was correct in his prophecy of the popes. The sooner these satanists lose their seat of power -- which will be very soon -- the better this world will be.

anon289083
Post 8

Do the Jesuits have the power to restore faith to one who has lost it? If one does not believe and has lost his faith, is an encounter with or wisdom learned from the Jesuits a possible way to once again find God?

I feel far from God, like he's not there.

anon81417
Post 3

Only by an indulgence from The Pope himself.

rbsteel
Post 1

can a man who was not married in the catholic church and has divorced this marriage become a Jesuit Priest?

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