Obscure History of The Catholic Jesuit Order
Their Motto: “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam”
“For the greater glory of God” = 322 (Francis Bacon)
The Society of Jesus is a religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and six companions with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.
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. The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit mother church.
Members of the Society of Jesus were expected to accept orders to go anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. This was so because St. Ignatius, its leading founder, was a nobleman who had a military background. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for “whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God 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”, which evolved from 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.
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