About the Jesuits

The Jesuit Order (also known as the Society of Jesus) is a Catholic missionary order of priests and brothers which was founded in 1534 by St Ignatius of Loyola. St Ignatius (1491 – 1556) developed a whole new spirituality in the Church known as Ignatian Spirituality which focuses on helping individuals to discover how God is active in their lives. This spirituality is often summed up with the phrase ‘finding God in all things’. At the time, this was considered a revolutionary thought, namely that nothing in life is outside of the spiritual. This spirituality is at the heart of Jesuit life.

Alongside their unique spirituality, they are also unique in their work. Jesuits are often described as ‘contemplatives in action’, meaning they are not contained within monasteries but are missionaries who are rooted in prayer. This has led to them living diverse lives and being involved in many different fields, as parish priests, teachers, doctors, spiritual directors, lawyers, writers, artists, and astronomers.

Because of their missionary nature, Jesuits have spread all over the world, and are the largest Catholic order of men in the world. Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope, understands this Jesuit missionary calling and has challenged all Christians to “go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”

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