WHO ARE THE JESUITS??
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE JESUITS IN 10 QUESTIONS
+ WHO ARE THE JESUITS?
The Society of Jesus, aka ‘Jesuits’ are the largest Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers. Because of their official designation as the Society of Jesus, Jesuits write ‘S.J.’ after their name.
+ HOW AND WHEN DID THE JESUITS ORIGINATE?
The founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), was a Basque nobleman and soldier who, after being wounded in battle in 1521, experienced a deep conversion. Years of wandering, study and ministering, led Ignatius to gather nine companions as ‘Companions in the Lord.’ Offering their service to the Pope, they were officially approved in 1540 by the Pope as the Society of Jesus.
+ WHAT ARE THE JESUITS KNOWN FOR?
The Jesuits are probably most well known for their educational work. Besides serving on the faculty of Catholic and secular schools, the Jesuits are the Catholic religious order with the second highest number of schools which are run under their name: 168 colleges and universities in 40 countries and 324 secondary schools in 55 countries.
+ WHERE DO THE JESUITS SERVE?
There are over 16,000 Jesuits in the world. They operate in more than 75 countries in 5 continents. In the United States there are nearly 2000 Jesuits. They serve in parishes, hospitals, schools and retreat houses. They also operate centers for reflection and dialogue on cultural issues such as immigration and ecology. Jesuits study in all fields and they work as doctors and lawyers, historians and mathematicians, police chaplains and retreat directors. Jesuit astronomers at the Vatican Observatory comb the cosmos, while Jesuit artists create canvases of modern religious art.
+ JESUITS ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH EDUCATION. WHY IS THIS?
When the order was founded in 1540 teaching was not part of the life of Jesuits. But as the number of Jesuits grew, the Society discovered they were good at educating their own. The word got out and lay patrons from cities throughout Europe began requesting the Jesuits to open schools for their sons. By 1560, a letter from Jesuit headquarters in Rome acknowledged that schools had become the primary ministry of the Society. In the United States the Society of Jesus operates 28 universities and over 60 secondary and pre-secondary schools, including such well-known schools as Boston College, Georgetown, and Marquette. Bronco Catholic is in the USA West Province, which contains 5 universities (Gonzaga. Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, Seattle University, and University of San Francisco) and 15 secondary and pre-secondary schools.
+ HOW CAN I BECOME MORE ‘JESUIT’ IN MY THINKING AND ACTING?
The gift of St. Ignatius was that you don’t have to be Jesuit to act and think like St. Ignatius. Ignatian spirituality offers us a vision. It is a vision of life, of work, and of love-a three-part vision that helps us see what is really true about God and about the world he created. Ignatian spirituality is often broken down into these 6 areas.
- It sees life and the whole universe as a gift calling forth wonder and gratefulness.
- It gives ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as intellect.
- It seeks to find the divine in all things in all peoples and cultures, in all areas of study and learning, in every human experience, and (for the Christian) especially in the person of Jesus.
- It cultivates critical awareness of personal and social evil, but points to God’s love as more powerful than any evil.
- It stresses freedom, need for discernment, and responsible action.
It empowers people to become leaders in service, men and women for others, whole persons of solidarity, building a more just and humane world.
+ I WANT TO BE ON JEOPARDY ONE DAY. IS THERE SOME TRIVIA I SHOULD KNOW?
- They invented the trap door. Without the Jesuits, the Wicked Witch of the West wouldn’t have been able to disappear so suddenly in The Wizard of Oz. With a long history of participation in theater and the arts, Jesuits also perfected the “scrim,” the sheer curtain still used in many theaters today.
- They discovered--or at least first reported and introduced to Europe-- quinine (called “Jesuit bark” in the 16th century), which is used today for anti-malarial drugs and also in tonic water. Without the Jesuits, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your gin and tonic --or at least with so little guilt.
Jesuits operate 38 seismological stations around the world. Their dictionaries and lexicons of the native languages in North America in the 17th century were the first resources Europeans used to understand these ancient tongues, and they still provide modern scholars with many of the earliest transcriptions of the languages.
They located the source of the Blue Nile and charted large stretches of the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers. They educated, among others, Descartes, Voltaire, Moliere, James Joyce, Peter Paul Rubens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fidel Castro, Alfred Hitchcock, and Bill Clinton -not to mention Bing Crosby, Vince Lombardi, Robert Altman, Chris Farley, Salma Hayek, and Denzel Washington.
- The camellia plant is named after a Jesuit botanist, Joseph Kamel. There are 35 craters on the moon named for Jesuit scientists. And Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century Jesuit scientist, called “master of a hundred arts” and “the last man to know everything,” was a geologist, biologist, linguist, decipherer of hieroglyphics, and inventor of the megaphone.
- If you hate calculus, blame it on the Jesuits. Although the Jesuit Andre Tacquet was born a century before Newton published his calculus, he helped articulate some of the preliminary concepts.
- The movie The Exorcist was based on the actual 1949 exorcism conducted in St. Louis by two Jesuits.
+ AT BRONCO CATHOLIC I MET JESUITS WHO WERE NOT PRIESTS. WHO ARE THEY?
You probably met a novice or a scholastic. Although those studying for the priesthood in the Catholic Church are universally called seminarians, the technical name for a Jesuit seminarian is scholastic. A novice is a Jesuit in the first 2 years of religious life. Both scholastics and novices often spend time in Jesuits works as part of their process to becoming priests. These Jesuits undergo the same rigorous and long formation as all other Jesuits around the world. The stages of Jesuit formation include:
-Novitiate- 2 years. A novice learns to create a community of brothers who grow in prayer, knowledge of the Society, apostolic work, and personal enrichment. He meets the Lord through the 30-day Spiritual Exercises retreat. At the end of these two years, he pronounces vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
-First studies- 3 years. The newly-vowed Jesuit moves into academic work as a brother or a scholastic. He studies philosophy and theology, and he deepens his Jesuit identity through other ministerial work which strengthens or challenges his gifts.
-Regency- 3 years. The Jesuit brother or scholastic moves into active Jesuit ministry, usually teaching at a high school or university.
-Theology- 3 years. Jesuit scholastics usually move on to formal theology studies which prepare them for priestly ordination, but the Jesuit brother might study theology for a shorter time as a way to enhance his effectiveness for ministry.
-Ordination- Usually in June. A scholastic receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders and is available for his first assignment as a Jesuit priest.
-Tertianship- About 5 years later. Jesuit brothers and priests take a year to review their formation, to experience again the 30-day retreat, and to pronounce final vows in the Society. Now initial formation is complete
+ HAS THERE EVER BEEN A JESUIT POPE?
Funny you should ask. On March 13, 2013, Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope. He took the name, Francis. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit to become Pope of the Holy Roman Catholic Church
+ I’M INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE JESUITS. WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
We encourage you to talk to one of the Jesuits at Bronco Catholic. You might also consider checking out the Jesuit vocations web page: http://jesuitvocations.org
+ I HEAR THERE IS A SECRET JESUIT HANDSHAKE. CAN YOU TELL ME MORE?
Sorry, but you’re out of questions. But here’s some links to great resources about the Jesuits.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSvOPtq30Xw (The Olive. A brief history of St. Ignatius and theJesuits as told by a talking olive.)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8cboOd17lE (Ten things you may not know about the Jesuits)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LleNn0dXQ1E (What is a Jesuit vocation)
- http://www.jesuitvocations.org/Assets/Publications/File/Do%20You%20Speak%20Ignatian.pdf (Do YouSpeak Ignatian? A glossary of terms used in Ignatian and Jesuit Circles)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZLuk_X8u0 (Fr. James Martin introduces us to St. Ignatius,founder of the Society of Jesus–the Jesuits)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDQgjzJINdk (The Ignatian Examen)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6slVTINJE0 (The Ignatian Examen)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVItxNMrNnw (The Ignatian Examen)