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The Society of Jesus (SJ, Official Catholic Directory #0690) is a religious order of priests and brothers, popularly known as Jesuits, a name that was originally derisory. The order grew out of the activity of its founder, St. ignatius of loyola, and six companions who at Montmartre in Paris on Aug. 15, 1534, bound themselves by vows to poverty, chastity, and apostolic labors in the Holy Land or, if this latter plan did not prove feasible, as it did not, to any apostolic endeavor enjoined by the pope. Canonical establishment of the order came on Sept. 27, 1540, when Pope Paul III, in Regimini militantis Ecclesiae, approved the first outline of the order's makeup (Prima formula instituti ), authorized the framing of detailed constitutions, and limited to 60 the number of members. This last restriction was withdrawn four years later.

Purpose. The purpose of the society is the salvation and perfection of individual Jesuits and of the human race. Jesuit organization, manner of life, and ministries are all directed to fulfill this twofold aim. Official directives in these matters are contained in a body of writings known collectively as the Institute (Institutum ). They comprise chiefly pertinent papal documents; the Jesuit constitutions and Spiritual Exercises, both composed by Ignatius; the rules and statutes of general congregations; instructions of superiors general; the Epitome instituti; and the Ratio Studiorum, or plan of studies. There are no secret regulations. The so-called monita secreta is a 17th-century forgery.

Government. Supreme authority, subject always to the pope, is vested in a general congregation. It alone possesses full legislative power, the capacity to enact permanent statutes on matters of greater moment, to alter or abrogate parts of the constitutions, or to make new decrees equal in force with the constitutions. Membership in this body is limited to the superior general, vicar-general, all assistants and provincials, two electors chosen from each province by a provincial congregation, and procurators from independent vice provinces and missions. Meetings are not held at regular intervals. A congregation must be convened for the election of a superior general. This accounts for 25 of the 31 meetings that took place between 1558 and 1965. It is otherwise permissible to convene sessions to handle questions of grave importance.

A superior general is at the head of the highly centralized, day-by-day government of the entire order. The

sole elected superior, he is selected for life by a general congregation, which also has power, never exercised to date, to remove him for serious causes. His authority, defined in the constitutions, is very extensive. It includes the right to admit or dismiss members, to make final decisions on all concerns of the entire order, and to appoint and remove all superiors. Terms of office for superiors are not fixed, but normally they last about six years. Frequent official correspondence keeps the superior general fully informed of Jesuit activities everywhere. His residence, together with that of his curia, is in Rome. The first superior general was Ignatius.

For administrative purposes, the order is divided into provinces, with a provincial at the head of each province. Groups of provinces in turn are formed into assistancies. Each assistancy is represented by an assistant, an official chosen normally by a general congregation, who dwells with the superior general and serves him in an advisory capacity.

Membership. Members are either priests, candidates preparing for the priesthood, or brothers whose assignments comprise a very wide variety of ministries. Upon entrance into the order, all spend two full years of spiritual training in a novitiate as novices, preceded in the case of brothers by a six-month postulancy. At the end

of the novitiate, all take simple, perpetual, public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Those continuing for ordination, called approved scholastics, devote several more years to intellectual and spiritual formation in Jesuit houses of study. The duration varies according to individual academic backgrounds. Normally the course of studies involves two years of liberal disciplines; then ten years are devoted mainly to philosophy. This is followed by a few years of practical experience as teachers or prefects, a period that is called regency. Four years of theological studies ensue, with ordination to the priesthood at the close of the third year. Many also dedicate further years at universities to gain higher academic degrees in specialized branches of ecclesiastical or secular learning. Another year of spiritual formation, tertianship, completes the training.

Subsequently, priests receive their final grade, either as formed spiritual coadjutors, or as professed of solemn vows. At this time, the former take final simple vows of religion. The latter take these three vows of religion as solemn vows. To them they add a fourth solemn vow of special obedience to the pope in regard to accepting missions, as well as five simple vows obligating them never to seek or allow any mitigation in the vow of poverty; never to solicit or receive any ecclesiastical dignity outside the order unless directed under obedience to do so; and never to try, even indirectly, to win any dignity within the society. Solemn religious profession with only three vows occurs occasionally for special reasons. Only the solemnly professed may hold certain higher posts, such as superior general or provincial. But no special privileges attach to the profession. Duties of religious observance and external manner of living are similar to those of spiritual coadjutors. Brothers are assigned their final grade as formed temporal coadjutors after at least ten years in religion; and, since 1958, a tertianship of at least three months is required.

Distinctive features. In its structure, the society borrowed much from older orders, while introducing several original features, some of which have found their way into more recent congregations. These include high centralization of authority; life tenure of the head of the order; probation lasting several years preceding final vows; gradation of members; prohibition against preferments in the Church; private instead of choral recitation of the Divine Office; absence of regular penances or fasts obligatory on all; wearing of a religious habit that is not distinctive, but modeled on that of the secular clergy in each region; lack of a second, female branch; absence of a Third Order. Owing to the nature of his foundation, Ignatius particularly stressed the virtue of obedience. Expressions of his, characterizing obedience as blind, like that of a cadaver, or an old man's staff, were not coined by him; they are figurative phrases handed down from ancient monastic traditions, and they should be interpreted in that light. Jesuit obedience is not military but religious.

Jesuits were not the first religious to distinguish themselves as teachers, but theirs were the first constitutions to enjoin general educational work as a regular task. Another innovation of Ignatius was the extension of ministries, excluding secular businesses and political involvements, to embrace all types of apostolic endeavors in all parts of the world, as long as they tend to the greater glory of God. The order's motto is A.M.D.G. (ad majorem dei gloriam).

Objections to one or another of these innovations were early voiced by other religious orders and by a few 16th-century popes: Paul IV, Pius V, Sixtus V, and Clement VIII. But they proved temporary. The constitutions also survived intact, concerted attempts by certain Jesuits to alter them substantially, especially during the administration of Claudius acquaviva (15811615), whose handling of this severe internal crisis ranks him as one of the order's greatest superiors general.

ignatian sprirituality, rooted in the spiritual exercises, has ever been that of the society, and it has had a profound effect on the development of modern spirituality (see spirituality, christian, history of).

History from Foundation to Suppression (15401773)

The growth of the Society of Jesus was continuous. During the first century, the increase was particularly rapid, totaling about 938 members in 1556 when Ignatius died; 3,500 in 1565; and 15,544 in 1626. A complete enumeration still available for 1710 shows a moderate increment over nearly a century to 19,998. In 1749, the last year previous to 1773 for which full information is extant, the total was 22,589 (11,293 being priests).

The society quickly won renown and maintained until 1773 a unique position. Its first century was far more abundant in men eminent for sanctity and learning, and more striking in its accomplishments in spreading the faith. Above all, this counter reformation era is memorable for the society's extremely prominent role in revivifying Catholicism spiritually and intellectually, stemming the advances of a hitherto victorious Protestantism, and even regaining vast regions lost to heresy or seriously threatened by it in the Low Countries, France, and Central and Eastern Europe. Ignatius did not, however, found the order specifically to counteract Protestantism. With the close of the Reformation period around mid-17th century, the same opportunities for accomplishment were not available. Yet the maintaining, and gradual extending, of previous gains in Europe and in the missions provided a formidable, if less spectacular, record during the society's second century. These were the decades, too, when Jesuits took the lead in combating jansenism. From about the mid-18th century, the order was under heavy attack, battling for its existence. So diversified was the Jesuit apostolate, so widely spread over the globe, so intricately interwoven into the fabric of ecclesiastical and secular history that it defies brief summation.

Education. Almost from the start, education turned out to be the society's principal work. Originally Ignatius did not envision such concentration in this area, but the needs of the time, the urging of popes, bishops, and laymen, reoriented his views. While he was superior general, the society became decisively committed to education, which by 1556 engaged three-fourths of available personnel (excluding brothers and those in training) in 46 colleges. In 1579 there were 144 colleges; in 1626, 444 colleges, 56 seminaries, and 44 houses of training for Jesuits; in 1749, 669 colleges, 176 seminaries, and 61 houses of study for Jesuits. Colleges provided education mostly on the secondary level. But in 1749, 24 universities were wholly or partly under Jesuit control.

Uniform norms for organization, methods, and subjects in all Jesuit schools were set forth in the ratio studiorum (1599). Stress was on the humanities. Students were drawn from all classes, from royalty to the sons of the poor. Tuition was not charged. Few were exclusively boarding schools. Only one school in four in 1749 accepted any boarders. Complete enrollment statistics are no longer extant; but the highest figures per year may well have attained 200,000. Clerical training also became largely a Jesuit responsibility. The best-known of these seminaries, and the most outstanding of all Jesuit educational institutions, was the Roman College. Begun in 1551 and since the time of Gregory XIII known also as the Gregorian University, it was the first modern seminary, and it served as a model for succeeding ones. Largely by means of these schools for laity and clergy, the order accomplished what it did during the Counter Reformation. Their academic repute caused Jesuits to be known as "the schoolmasters of Europe."

Scholarship. The promotion of sciences and letters by scholarly investigation and writings was diligently cultivated. Urgently needed, it was an efficacious apostolate. As a result, many branches of ecclesiastical and profane learning were advanced. The number of both writers and writings was very large. Quantity was greater in the latter 17th century and thenceforth, but superior talent was more evident in the earlier period.

Theological Disciplines. Theology and philosophy were the subjects most assiduously pursued. In the remarkable 16th-century revival of theology, subsequent to the pre-Reformation decline, Jesuits supplied much of the impetus. As a rule, they adhered to thomism, while showing a certain eclecticism. Unlike students of medieval scholasticism, more intent on speculation, they attended also to positive theology and to a historical approach appropriate in refuting the new heresies. Controversies perforce engaged much of their energy, especially with the Protestants during the 16th century, and with the Jansenists thereafter. They crossed swords with Dominican and other Catholic theologians on erudite questions concerning divine grace, free will, and predestination in the celebrated dispute over Molinism. (see the ology, history of.)

Leading theologians, whose fame often extended to other pursuits, included two 16th-century doctors of the Church: St. Peter canisius, noted for his catechisms; and St. Robert bellarmine, a celebrated controversialist. Francisco suÁrez remains the order's outstanding theologian and philosopher. Luis de Molina developed the system known as molinism. Denis pÉtau (petavius) founded the study of the history of dogmas and produced important works on patristics and chronology, as well as positive and polemical theology. Others of special merit were Francisco de toledo, gregory of valencia, Gabriel vÁzquez, Leonard lessius, Adam tanner, Juan de ripalda, and Jakob gretser.

Jesuits were preeminent in the development of moral theology into a separate discipline in the 16th century. They provided many, if not most, of the leading moralists up to 1773. Most conspicuous were the contributions of Paulus layman, Cardinal Juan de lugo, and Hermann busenbaum. During the 17th and 18th centuries long, bitter conflicts raged among rival systems of moral theology, ranging from rigorism to laxism. Almost all Jesuits upheld probabilism, which is still taught in the Church. For this they were vilified as laxists by Jansenist rigorists, most notoriously by Blaise pascal in his Provincial Letters. When Tirso González, superior general (16871705), championed probabiliorism he precipitated a crisis within the order. In the allied field of canon law, the writings of Franz schmalzgrueber were of enduring value. (see moral theology, history of; mo rality, systems of). In scriptural scholarship, the most illustrious figures were Johannes maldonatus, Francisco de Ribera, and Cornelius a lapide.

Among authors in ascetical theology, the following composed works still honored as classics: Alfonso rod rÍguez, Diego Álvarez de paz, Luis de la puente, Jeremias drexel, Nicholas lancicius, Jean saint jurÉ, Jacques Nouet (160580), Nikolaus Avancini (161186), Giovanni scaramelli, and Jean grou.

Other Disciplines. Historical studies, especially ecclesiastical ones, list important Jesuit contributions. Several publications of patristic, conciliar, and hagiographic sources were permanent in value. Both Petavius and Jacques sirmond edited writings of the ancient Fathers. During the 17th and 18th centuries Philippe labbe, Jean hardouin, and Joseph Hartzheim printed collections of the councils. Pietro pallavicino is noted as a historian of the Council of Trent. Most famous of all is the Acta Sanctorum, a vast collection of hagiographical source materials in 67 folio volumes, edited critically with commentaries by a small group called bollandists. The work, conceived by Heribert Rosweyde (15691629) and developed by Jean van Bolland (15961665), first editor, has been carried out by succeeding generations of Belgian Jesuits and is still in the process of being published.

Although philosophy did not enjoy the resurgence that favored theology, Jesuit theologians were also masters of philosophy. The principal theologians, above all Suárez, were eminent in philosophy. The publications consisted largely of manuals, as well as commentaries on Aristotle, whom the Jesuits admired most among philosophers.

Other sciences vitally interested the Jesuits, who contributed much to them. Among the exact sciences, mathematics, physics, and astronomy were cultivated. Athanasius kircher and Ruggiero Boscovich were the best-known mathematicians. Christopher clavius was celebrated as an astronomer. Missionaries were responsible for many original contributions in natural history; in geography, as explorers and cartographers; and in linguistics, as compilers of the first grammars and dictionaries in numerous primitive languages. Knowledge of distant lands, along with enthusiasm for the missions, were widely disseminated in Europe by accounts of the missionaries. Best remembered of this type of writing are the jesuit relations, composed by French Jesuits in North America, which is still esteemed as a historical source and widely read in the original French or in English translation.

Art. In the development of art, Jesuits have been significant not so much for creating new forms as for advancing those currently in vogue. The so-called Jesuit style in church architecture is not distinct from baroque art. In Rome the Gesù, a church of the society, was artistically influential as the model for numerous other edifices built by the order.

Pastoral ministries. These exhibited wide diversity. Preaching, much neglected before the Council of Trent, occupied a foremost place. Among the famous pulpit orators in Italy were Diego laÍnez, superior general succeeding St. Ignatius and eminent theologian, Francisco de Toledo, and Paolo segneri; in Portugal and Brazil, Antônio vieira, celebrated also as a missionary and diplomat; in Poland, Piotr skarga, whose writings are classics in his native tongue; and in France, Louis bourdaloue, a preacher at the court of Louis XIV for 34 years. Domestic missions were zealously promoted. In this labor excelled St. John Francis regis, francis of geronimo and Bl. Antonio Baldinucci in Italy, and the martyr St. Andrew bobola in Poland. Presenting retreats to clergy and laity, following the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, have ever been a favored apostolate.

Sodalities of the Blessed Mother (Marian Congregations) with spiritual and practical aims progressed under Jesuit impetus. Originating in the Roman College (1563), they sprang up wherever Jesuits were located, enrolling hundreds of thousands of men as sodalists. Devotion to the Sacred Heart has been prominent in the society, which has since the 17th century taken the lead in popularizing it. Restoration of discipline in religious houses was frequently entrusted to the order, especially during the 16th century. Jesuits displayed commendable zeal and courage in caring for the sick and plague-stricken, and in aiding and instructing the poor. Chaplaincies in the military services, galleys, and prisons have been accepted from the beginning.

Royal confessors. As ministers of the Sacraments, Jesuits undertook no task more memorable or controverted than that of confessors at courts and in noble houses. They became royal confessors reluctantly; yet, they came largely to monopolize these positions. Thus, they acted as royal confessors to all French kings for two centuries, from Henry III to Louis XV; to all German emperors after the early 17th century; to all dukes of Bavaria after 1579; to most rulers of Poland and Portugal; to the Spanish kings during the 18th century; to James II of England; and to many ruling or princely families throughout Europe. The post was both confidential and influential, since the director of the royal conscience might frequently be consulted and heeded above all others in ecclesiastical, political, and economic affairs. Almost without exception, these confessors were above reproach. Multifarious charges against them, springing from jealousy, were unsubstantiated or wild exaggerations. Among the most famed were the French royal confessors Pierre coton, Nicholas Caussin, and especially François de la chaize, guide to Louis XIV's conscience for 34 years. Another noted confessor was Wilhelm lamormaini.

Jesuits in Protestant countries. Strenous efforts were expended to instruct and strengthen loyal Catholics and to win back those who had forsaken the traditional faith in regions such as the British Isles, Holland, Scandinavia, and parts of Germany, where governments supported Protestantism. Extreme hardships, discouragements, and dangers were the lot of those dedicated to this apostolate. Official opposition forced operations into secrecy. Detection meant torture, prison, exile, or death. Bitter hostility was almost unremitting in the British Isles. To prepare priests for this work, Jesuits directed seminaries on the Continent. In Rome they guided the English, Irish, and Scots Colleges; other colleges were located at Douai in France, and at Salamanca and Madrid in Spain.

In England the work of the society began in 1580 with the arrival of St. Edmund campion, Robert per sons, and ten others. By 1623 this mission numbered 213 Jesuits, and it was established as a province. Its highest total was 374 in 1636. In 1773 it comprised 274, about half of whom resided within England. During the 18th century, about 100 Jesuits held chaplaincies in families of the Catholic gentry. Difficulties multiplied because of unjustified attempts to implicate Jesuits in the Gunpowder Plot (1605) and the oates plot (1679), and because of differences with the secular clergy. Seventy or so sacrificed their lives during the 16th and 17th centuries. Of these, 26 have been beatified as martyrs, including Edmund Campion and Robert southwell, who is also famous for his poetry (see england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of). In Scotland, despite severe persecution, a restricted number of Jesuits toiled, notably, St. John ogilvie, who was martyred in 1615.

In Ireland, where the population remained over-whelmingly Catholic, English rulers persecuted the Church as they did in England. Jesuit efforts were confined largely to the Pale. There they preached, celebrated the Sacraments, and conducted schools in hiding, or occasionally in the open, when circumstances permitted. Irish Jesuits could also be found on the Continent, especially as teachers in the Irish colleges there. Their numbers attained a peak in the early 17th century, when there were 42 in Ireland and 40 on the Continent. In 1773 there were 24 in Ireland.

Missions. This apostolate has always been highly esteemed and has engaged more men than any other work, save education. In its constitutions, the order is designated as a missionary society. The Jesuit vocation requires a willingness to travel to various places and to dwell in any part of the world where there is hope for the salvation of souls. Ignatius was vitally interested in the conversion of the unbeliever. External circumstances alone prevented him and his first companions from devoting their lives completely after 1534 to evangelizing the Holy Land. Within months of the order's founding, Ignatius dispatched his ablest disciple, St. Francis xavier, with three companions to the East. When Ignatius died in 1556, his followers were already spreading the Gospel in Africa, Asia, and the New World.

Subsequent to the epochal discoveries of the 15th and early 16th centuries, and the resultant acquisition of vast overseas dominions by Catholic Spain, Portugal, and France, came an unequaled expenditure of efforts to convert the native populations. The Society of Jesus was born too late to share in the inauguration of this movement. In its early years, however, the society joined its predecessors in the field, principally the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians. In time, it surpassed them all in mission personnel and territory. Jesuit missionariess numbered 3,276, one-seventh of the whole order, in 1749. They could be found widely dispersed over five continents, although in 1749 more than nine out of were harvesting the claims of Spain and Portugal to natives in Asia and the New World.

The society's framework, with its centralization of authority and mobility of personnel, proved to be admirably adapted to these demands. As missionaries, Jesuits displayed marked organizational talent, zeal, daring, and persistence. They were not deterred by difficulties created by travel, climate, barbarous living conditions, loneliness, or opposition from both pagan natives and greedy, ruthless Europeans. Would-be missionaries received special training, for example, at the college of Coimbra, whence proceeded most of the over 1,700 Portuguese missionaries during two centuries. Abroad they were expected to master native dialects and to adapt their approach to local cultures and traditions, whether primitive or advanced, in order to allay prejudices and to inculturate the Christ Gospel in its new local setting. This practice of inculturation, so beneficial in many respects, involved the order in conflict over the chinese rites controversy and the indian rites controversy, the longest, most acrimonious, and injurious in mission history. By no means could all attention be devoted to indigenous populations. Pastoral ministries among European settlers demanded much of the missionaries' attention, as did the conducting of schools. Sons of colonists or of natives were attending in mid-18th century 115 colleges and 23 seminaries in Spanish and Portuguese possessions alone.

Africa. In Africa, where mission penetration before the 19th century was comparatively slight, Jesuits labored in the Portuguese settlements along the west and east coasts, in the Congo, and on the island of Madagascar. Francis Xavier, on his way to the Orient, was the first missionary. In Africa, as in the New World, Jesuits sought to protect the natives against the notorious slave traders. They also came early to the north coast of the continent, to Morocco and Egypt. Ignatius himself dispatched the first group to Ethiopia.

Asia. This part of the world was much more intensively and extensively evangelized. Jesuits penetrated Asia Minor, the Near East, Persia, Tibet, Ceylon, Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Siam, Indochina (notably Alexandre de rhodes), and the islands of the East Indies. Their main efforts, however, were directed to India, China, Japan, and the Philippines. The first to reach the Far East was Francis Xavier, whose 12 years of organizing, preaching, and baptizing perhaps 30,000 people from India to Japan, ended with his death in 1552. One of the greatest missionaries since St. Paul, he was designated by Pope Pius XI as Patron of All Missions.

In India, Jesuits worked not only along the coast, but soon penetrated the interior. Particularly memorable was the mission inaugurated by Bl. Rudolf acquaviva and three companions in 1579 in the dominions of Akbar the Great Mogul. During the next two centuries 100 more Jesuits toiled there. In Madura, Robert de nobili, "Apostle of the Brahmins," began in 1606 a famous and important mission, using new methods of inculturation.

In China, Jesuit mission efforts began three decades after the death of Francis Xavier (1552) on the island of Sancian, off the China coast. During the next two centuries, a total of 456 Jesuits composed the most numerous and prominent of all mission groups. They became famed for their methods, devised by Alessandro valignano and Matteo ricci. These were intended to inculturate the Catholic religion, insofar as possible, to Chinese traditions and manners and to attract educated, influential Chinese, who would in turn facilitate mass conversions among the populace. The huge population, the high culture regarded by Chinese as superior to European, the independence of the country, and the lack of political and commercial aids elsewhere available to missionaries combined to urge a novel approach. To impress the Chinese with Western culture and knowledge, especially of a scientific and technical kind, several leading Jesuit scientists gained a welcome at the imperial court, notably the astronomers Matteo Ricci, Johann Adam schall von bell, and Ferdinand Verbiest. The vernacular was utilized in the liturgy. Chinese terms for the divinity were retained. Temporary permission was granted to converts to continue ancient, beloved practices honoring their ancestors and the sage confucius. Western religion thereby became more palatable. But to some members of other missionary orders, and to powerful circles in the Roman Curia, it seemed rather to be undergoing a process of corruption. The resultant Chinese rites controversy, intensified by national and interorder rivalries, dragged out for more than a century to a final papal settlement (1742) that was unfavorable to the Jesuits. This dispute, along with government persecution, gravely injured the youthful Chinese Church.

Japan received its first Jesuit missionary in the person of Francis Xavier, who may have converted as many as 700 people. Until 1593 Jesuits alone staffed this mission. Development was rapid until 1614. At that time Catholics numbered about 300,000, and missionaries, 150, over three-fourths being Jesuits. Thereafter persecutions, particularly severe from 1614 to 1651, destroyed the Church almost entirely. Missionaries were banished or put to death. Jesuit martyrs totaled 111. For the coming two centuries Japan closed itself to the Gospel (see japan, martyrs of).

The Philippines, which fell to Spanish control, were the sole Asiatic region gained in large percentage to the faith. From 1581 Jesuits joined other orders in propagating Catholicism. Each order came to have its assigned sector. Spain's expulsion of the society from her colonies in 1767 affected 158 Jesuits in the Philippines and in the Mariana and Caroline Islands, and it deprived about 200,000 Catholics, a fifth of the total, of their ministries.

South America. The Western Hemisphere, more so than Asia, attracted Jesuit missionaries. Indeed, it engaged four out of five of them in 1749 (590 in Portuguese Brazil, 2,075 in Spanish possessions, 104 in French claims, less than a score in the English colonies). They were spread from Canada southward, on the mainland and in the adjoining islands of the West Indies. Preponderantly they dwelt south of the Rio Grande River, an area that was by far the most fruitful area of conversions anywhere (see mission in colonial america).

Brazil saw the first Jesuits in the New World when Manuel de nobrega arrived with five companions in 1549. By 1597 the total number of missionaries had risen to 120. The Society of Jesus continued to be the most numerous and prominent of the orders. Its labor of converting and educating the natives and the imported African slaves proved to be very rewarding. Many priests here, as elsewhere, also ministered to the Europeans. Many others staffed the schools which, begun in 1556, increased to nine colleges and a seminary two centuries later, thus constituting the Jesuits as the country's principal educators. In the evolution of a distinctive Brazilian culture and nation, the Jesuits played a major role, more prominent than in any other land. José de anchieta, "Apostle of Brazil," whose work lasted 44 years until his death in 1597, was the most outstanding missionary, along with Antônio Vieira (160897), who was also remarkable as a preacher, writer, and defender of the oppressed.

Spanish territories embraced almost all of South America outside of Brazil, Central America, Mexico, large areas in the present United States., and a large segment of the West Indies. The first permanent Jesuit missions were in Peru (1567) and Mexico (1572). From there missionaries gradually radiated throughout these vast regions, as their numbers grew to 908 in 1615 and 1,768 in 1710. Schools appeared in Lima and Mexico City soon after the Jesuits' arrival. Under Jesuit control in Spanish America in mid-18th century were two universities, 79 colleges, and 16 seminaries. Apostolic endeavors among the natives were very successful. None, however, are better known than the reductions. These were separate village communities of Catholic natives, under the spiritual, social, economic, and political direction of the missionaries, which were set up with the approval of the government. The aim was to convert and civilize the native tribes and to protect them from exploitation and vice. Jesuits did not originate or monopolize this system. Yet the chief reductions lay in Spanish America under control of the Jesuits, who conducted about 100 of them, beginning early in the 17th century. Best known were those in the Jesuit province of Paraguay, which extended into modern Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil. Here the 30 or so reductions among the Guaranis were the most notable. The Guarani population fluctuated widely, but it exceeded 140,000 in 1731. During a century and a half of operation, the Guarani reductions alone brought about the baptism of more than 700,000 people.

North America. North America occupied, during the course of two centuries, about 3,500 Jesuits (329 in French, 144 in British, and the rest in Spanish territories). The last mentioned were under the jurisdiction of the Mexican province, which included New Spain, reaching southward to Guatemala, and northward to encompass enormous, if imprecisely defined, sections of the presentday United States. The Mexican province, the largest and most important outside of Europe, listed 272 members in 1600, and 572 in 1749, most of whom were stationed mostly. In the latter year, there were 23 colleges and eight seminaries for Europeans, creoles, and natives. Under Jesuit charge was much of the public instruction in New Spain, which was culturally the most advanced of Spain's overseas dominions. Work among the native tribes began in 1591 and slowly moved into northwest Mexico, and Lower California (from 1683), regions where Jesuits were, until their suppression, almost the sole missionaries, as well as the first explorers and pioneers of civilization. They are credited with baptizing about two million people. They also organized the natives into communities similar to those in Paraguay. In 1767 there were 122 Jesuits supervising about 100 mission stations, with 122,000 natives.

Within the limits of the present United States, the first Jesuit mission (156672) was a short-lived one on the southeastern seaboard, between the states of Florida and Virginia, an area that the Spaniards called Florida. In all, 12 Jesuits came, together with seven or eight young catechists who were destined for the order. Their reception was extremely hostile. Pedro Martínez, leader of the first group of three, was tomahawked on the island of Cumberland, off of the Georgia coast, within a few weeks of landing. He became the first Jesuit martyr in the United States and in all of Spanish America. After his successor, Juan Segura, along with seven companions, met the same fate in 1571 in the neighborhood of Chesapeake Bay, the decimated mission withdrew to Mexico the following year.

In the southwest a permanent foothold was gained. The one responsible was Eusebio kino, whose extensive journeys in the Pimería Alta region between 1687 and 1711 brought him to southern Arizona, where he established San Xavier del Bac and other missions.

In the immense French possessions of New France and Louisiana (in Canada and the United States), French Jesuits began their apostolate in 1611, when Enemond Massé and Pierre Biard came to Acadia, and to the Abenaki natives in Maine. Their numbers were never large, totaling only 51 in mid-18th century; but their zeal was extraordinary. The Jesuit school, started in Quebec in 1635 and developed into a classical college, initiated the educational system of French Canada. A considerable portion of the missionaries always resided in the French settlements as educators and pastors. Greater fame has attached to the Canadian mission that extended westward beyond the Great Lakes, and eastward into New York and northern New England. Jesuits were almost the sole missionaries in this arduous task, whose visible fruits were in no way commensurate with the heroic efforts expended, owing to the primitive savagery of the tribes, and the sparsity and nomadic character of the population. From Canada the mission moved southward along the Mississippi Valley to the Gulf of Mexico. The missionaries won renown also as explorers, especially Jacques mar quette, who accompanied Joliet in the exploration of the Mississippi River in 1673. Martyrs numbered 22. Of these, eight, who were put to death by the Iroquois (164249), were canonized in 1930. Known as the north american martyrs, they include St. Isaac Jogues, slain with two companions near Auriesville, N.Y., and St. Jean de Brébeuf, slaughtered with four companions in Canada.

In the British possessions along the East Coast, during the entire Colonial period, pastoral care of the Catholics was consigned almost entirely to Jesuits of the English province. In 1634 Andrew white and John Gravener (or Altham) arrived in Maryland with the first settlers. In numbers the missionariess varied from one to 23 (in 1771). Catholics represented about one percent of the colonists, totaling perhaps 25,000 on the eve of the American Revolution. Jesuit ministries were nearly all confined perforce to their coreligionists in Maryland and Pennsylvania, with some evangelizing among the native peoples.

Suppression and Restoration (17731814)

Supreme tragedy struck the order while it was in full vigor and free from evidence of internal corporate decadence. It occurred because of the concerted efforts of disparate groups in Catholic countries in Europe, whose numbers, strength, and determination increased with the passing decades of the 18th century.

The size, prestige, and educational and scholarly status of the society had aroused widespread jealousy. Its central involvement in great controversies, notably the De auxiliis theological dispute, and the conflict over rites in the missions, had bequeathed a heritage of resentment (see congregatio de auxiliis). Its unwavering championship of Rome drew the ire of the partisans of galli canism and monarchical absolutism. As a result, influential circles of Catholic laity and clergy, including segments of religious orders, the hierarchy, and the Roman Curia, sought at least to humiliate or weaken the order. Consciously or unconsciously, however, these served the ends of the bitterest foes bent on the order's ruin.

Chief among its foes were proponents of jansenism, whose heresy had met its greatest opposition from the Jesuits. Even more important were the radical devotees of the rationalistic enlightenment, who attacked the Jesuits as a step toward their ultimate objective of abolishing all religious orders, the papacy, and finally the Church itself. Promoting these aims were richly talented and influential writers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and other "philosophers" among the encyclopedists, the followers of Freemasonry, and high-placed government officials. Along with direct action there was devised a long campaign of calumnies, false rumors, distorted manipulation of incidents, which were all intended to undermine the society's reputation by ascribing to it nefarious doctrines, purposes, and practices. The advisability of doing away with the order became a major issue in the Church and in European politics from about the middle of the 18th century.

Partial suppression. Preparing the way for complete suppression was a series of expulsions from Latin countries and their colonies between 1759 and 1768. Portugal seized the initiative, due mainly to the machinations of its powerful, ruthless minister of state, pombal, a disciple of the Enlightenment. By royal decree in 1759 the society's properties were ordered confiscated, and its members were expelled from the Portuguese homeland and overseas possessions, unless they abandoned their vocation. This the vast majority of the more than 1,700 affected religious refused to do. Brutality characterized the expulsion. Thus about 1,100 were unceremoniously dumped penniless on the shores of the States of the Church. Some 250 more were cast into dungeons, many to perish from mistreatment.

France, headquarters of the Enlightenment, Gallicanism, and Jansenism, abounded with enemies of the order. They also included the Parlement; Mme. Pompadour, the royal mistress; and Étienne François de Choiseul, minister of state and patron of the "philosophers." In their schemings, they made capital of the unfortunate la va lette case in the Jesuit mission in Martinique. Finally they demolished the resistance of King Louis XV. In 1764 the society was declared an illegal body in France and its colonies, but the over 3,500 Jesuits involved were not exiled.

Spain and its territories, impelled by a few influential civil officials, in 1767 confiscated the order's properties and expelled more than 5,100 of its members with great cruelty. The same year another region ruled by the Spanish Bourbons, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, took a similar action against more than 1,400 Jesuits. In the next year, the Duchy of Parma, likewise under Spanish Bourbon representatives, summarily banished another 170 or so Jesuits.

Complete suppression. With half the order affected by these expulsions, the Bourbon courts turned to Rome to legislate the entire order out of existence. Clement XIII (175869) resisted and spoke out in defense of the persecuted body. In the conclave following this pontiff's death, the fate of the Jesuits was the dominating issue. Foes determined to secure a pope favorable to their views. Cardinal Giovanni Ganganelli, their choice, emerged as Clement XIV, although there is no proof of an explicit bargain struck to win the tiara. For four years the pope kept deferring a decision in the face of steadily mounting pressure and threats of schism. Then, in the brief Dominus ac Redemptor (July 21, 1773), in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he decreed complete dissolution. As reasons the document cited the need to restore peace within the Church, the inability of the society under the circumstances to provide the usefulness for which it came into being, and other unspecified considerations, which Clement XIV said were "suggested to Us by the principles of prudence and which We retain concealed in Our breast." No condemnation of the Ignatian constitutions appeared, nor were there charges against the orthodoxy or personal conduct of individual members.

To the Church as a whole this papal act came as a severe blow; to Catholic education and missions, it was a crippling one. To the order it came as a death sentence and was accepted with obedience. Lorenzo ricci, the superior general, was imprisoned in Rome until his death in 1775. Very many priests carried on their sacerdotal functions as part of the secular clergy. In good part German and Austrian Jesuits were not obliged to desert their educational or scholarly pursuits; they frequently continued to dwell together in communities. Some were raised to the hierarchy, such as John carroll, archbishop of Baltimore and first member of the hierarchy in the United States. Twenty-three, martyred during the French Revolution, were beatified in 1927. A few joined the Society of the sacred heart of jesus, which was founded in 1794; or the paccanarists, which began in 1797. Both were congregations modeled on the Society of Jesus and dedicated to strive for its revival.

History from 1814 to the Twenty-first Century

Restoration. The suppression was never put fully into effect. The order was not completely extinguished; a small remnant endured from 1773 to 1814. Unwittingly, the dismemberment of Poland proved to be the society's salvation, for the Partition of Poland in 1772 brought 201 Polish Jesuits under the scepter of the schismatic Russian Empress catherine ii. To take effect, Clement XIV's brief had to be officially promulgated locally. Catherine II never permitted this in Russian dominions, because of her esteem for Jesuits as teachers and her resolve to keep alive their schools. In White Russia Jesuits lawfully prolonged their corporate existence and even perpetuated themselves by accepting novices, with the approval of Pius VI and Pius VII. At the time of the restoration, this group had 337 members. In Prussia, Frederick II did not allow the brief of suppression to take full effect until 1780. Pius VII canonically restored the order in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1804. By 1814 membership there had attained 199. Pius VII also permitted those of the old society in Europe, England, and the United States to affiliate with their brethren in White Russia. The pope awaited a favorable political climate before proceeding further. This came about with the downfall of Napoleon and the release of Pius VII from captivity in France. Soon thereafter, on Aug. 7, 1814, appeared the apostolic constitution Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum, revoking the brief of suppression and completely restoring the order. Since its restoration, the Society of Jesus has fashioned a unique history, in the service of the Roman Catholic Church, which can be reviewed by way of the Jesuits who have been responsible for its leadership. By focusing upon their administrations over almost two centuries, it is possible to trace in broad outline the history of the Jesuits since their restoration.

Tadeusz Brzozowski. First among the leaders was Tadeusz Brzozowski (17491820), a Pole, who was elected general of the Society of Jesus on Aug. 7, 1814, and who governed the Jesuit Order until Feb. 5, 1820. Since 1812 there had been growing tensions between the Jesuits and the Russian Tsar over Brzozowski's desire to leave Russia for Rome. Shortly after Brzozowski's death, Tsar Alexander I expelled 350 Jesuits from his empire on March 13, 1820.

Elsewhere the restoration of the Jesuits met with various reactions as veterans of the old Society of Jesus assumed leadership roles. On the Italian peninsula, where St. Joseph pignatelli (17371811) had labored for its restoration while preserving the archives of the old Jesuit Order, its members faced severe challenges as its individual states began the march toward nationhood. In Spain, within a year of the restoration, at least 120 Jesuits, mostly priests, accepted King Ferdinand VII's invitation to return to take over the Imperial College. In France, Pierre-Joseph Picot de Clorivière (17351820), who had witnessed the horrors of the French Revolution that took the lives of 25 former Jesuits, assumed leadership; in Belgium, Henri Fonteye (17461816) opened a novitiate; and, in Ireland, Peter Kenney (17791841) founded a school, Clongowes Wood College. In Mexico, which was emerging as a new nation, 20 Jesuits directed two seminaries and four colleges before they were forced into exile in 1821.

In the United States, Brzozowski's tenure was marked by the return of the Jesuits to Maryland with Robert Molyneaux (17381808) as the superior and with Giovanni A. Grassi (17751849) becoming, on March 1, 1815, the first president of a Catholic university in that nation, when President James Madison signed a bill recognizing Georgetown as a university. The Jesuits in Maryland had become diocesan priests during the suppression and recited their vows as members of the Society of Jesus upon its restoration. On May 6, 1816, in an exchange of letters between two former American Presidents, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: "I do not like the resurrection of the Jesuits." Fortunately, the Jesuits in the United States had the staunch support of former Jesuit John Carroll (17361815), founder of Georgetown and archbishop of Baltimore. In 1825, the Jesuits took over St. Louis University, a diocesan institution that was established in 1818.

Luigi Fortis. To succeed Brzozowski, the society elected Luigi Fortis (17481829), a native of Verona, as superior general on Oct. 18, 1820. He continued in office until Jan. 27, 1829 and focused on the growth of the order. The Twentieth General Congregation, which had elected him, approved of all the laws and rules of the old Society of Jesus in its determination to preserve the true Jesuit character in the formation of its members. While the same congregation had mandated the updating of the Ratio Studiorum, other problems prevented Fortis from implementing the recommendations that a special commission had made with respect to teaching subjects more relevant to the times. Nevertheless, in pursuit of education, the Jesuits had the consolation of returning to operate the old Roman College in 1824.

During the tenure of Fortis, the English Jesuits encountered opposition in 1819 from the civil authority until the pope made it clear in 1829 that they had been validly restored. The Polish Jesuits, who had been forced out of White Russia in 1820, founded colleges in Krakow, Lemberg, and Tarnopol, and they established Przeglad Powszcheny, their special review. In Spain, where revolution broke out, 25 Jesuits lost their lives in the early 1820s, forcing the other Jesuits to leave the country until they could return in 1823. By 1826, the Spanish Jesuits, operating schools and residences, saw their number grow to 350 members over the next 12 years. In 1826, when the Jesuits were involved in ten educational institutions, hostility against the Society of Jesus in France rose to such an extent as to prohibit the Jesuits from teaching by 1829. In this year, after 70 years of absence, the Society of Jesus returned to Portugal under a handful of French Jesuits.

Jan Roothan. Jan roothan (17851853), a native of Amsterdam, became the third Jesuit general of the restored Society of Jesus with his election on July 9, 1829. In office until May 8, 1853, he was a strong advocate of the value of Jesuit spirituality and of the expansion of the Society of Jesus overseas. His vision brought Belgian Jesuits to Africa, French Jesuits to China, German Jesuits to India, and Italian Jesuits to Bangalore, India.

In Europe, moreover, where Roothan had split the Jesuits into a Belgian and a Dutch province, he had to cope with the continuing expulsions of Jesuits. Having visited his men in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sicily, he witnessed the challenges facing the Society of Jesus, encouraging the members not to lose hope. In Madrid, after 15 of the fathers were slaughtered on June 17, 1834, the Jesuits were driven out of Spain in 1835. In France, in 1843, Jules Michelet published his diatribe, Les Jésuites, before François Guizot, a Protestant, dispersed the Jesuits. In 1847, during the Sonderbund war, the Jesuits were expelled from Switzerland while anti-clericals forced about 275 Jesuits out of Germany. And, in 1848, the year of Vincenzo Gioberti's attack on the Jesuits with his Il Gesuita Moderno, revolutionary disturbances forced the Jesuit general himself to flee Rome in disguise.

On the intellectual front, La civiltÀ cattolica, a journal dealing with religion in society approved by Pope Pius IX, published its first issue during April of 1850. The first of a number of journals of opinion that the Jesuits founded in various countries, it reflected their outlook as upholders of a stable social order in their support of conservative regimes. The latter had been the victors at the Congress of Vienna (1815) in restoring Europe after the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was no friend of the Jesuits on the international scene.

In the fast-developing United States, there was sizable growth in colleges and universities during Roothan's years. New Jesuit educational institutions were founded in such cities as Mobile, Ala., in 1830; Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1831; Bronx, N.Y., in 1841; Worcester, Mass., in 1843; Santa Clara, Calif., and Philadelphia, Pa., in 1851, and Baltimore, Md., in 1852. By updating the Ratio Studiorum in 1832, Roothan had brought the work of Father Fortis to completion.

Furthermore, in Latin America, Roothan saw his men return to such countries as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and New Granada (it became Colombia in 1886). But there were setbacks. Ecuador banished the Jesuits in 1830; Brazil, under Don Pedro, expelled them in 1834; and similar turmoil in Argentina resulted in Jesuits moving into Paraguay and Venezuela in 1842, and into Chile in 1843. Likewise, when troubles hit New Granada, the Jesuits moved into Ecuador again in 1850.

Pieter Beckx. Pieter Beckx (17951887), a Belgian, was Roothan's successor as superior general from July 2, 1853 to March 4, 1887. As the streak of expulsions of Jesuits in various countries continued, Beckx sought to keep the Jesuits together pastorally when their religious lives were being affected by frequent banishments. In 1861, the Society of Jesus helped to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart by initiating the Apostleship of Prayer. In Spain, where the Jesuits had returned and grown into a province of 860 members, Beckx divided the country into two provinces in 1863, before another revolution expelled the Jesuits for almost a decade in 1868.

In France, where Gustave Xavier Lacroix de Ravignan (17951858) was a renowned orator and author, the Jesuits founded in 1856 Études, a journal of history, philosophy, and theology. Tragically, during the violence of the Commune of Paris, in May of 1871, a number of Jesuits were executed by the Communists. However, once calm had returned them to their country, the French Jesuits were operating about 30 colleges and six seminaries by 1880. Then the anticlerical government sent the Jesuits into exile once more after the passage of the decree by Minister of Public Instruction Jules Ferry. In both Spain and France, the Jesuits would return but not for very long after these troubles, thereby underscoring the frequency with which European nations were banishing the members of the Society of Jesus during the 19th century. Despite such turmoil, there was a hopeful sign when ten Spanish Jesuits arrived in the Philippine Islands on April 14, 1859, thereby paving the way for a university at the Ateneo de Manila, from which would come the renowned Jesuit historian Horacio De La Costa (19161977).

In Europe there were further troubles. In Italy, the proclamation of a united country in 1860 led to the banishment of the Jesuits. Ten years later, during the invasion of Rome in 1870, the forces of King Victor Emmanuel plundered the Jesuit properties. Eventually, in 1873, Father Beckx was forced to move his headquarters to Fiesole, taking with him those segments of the Jesuit archives that the Italian government did not confiscate. In Germany, starting in 1872, the Kulturkampf was being implemented, when Dr. Adalbert Falk, not unlike Ferry in France, pursued a course that forbade the Jesuits, opponents of the Bismarckian supremacy of the State over the Church, to teach, thus forcing 550 of them into exile.

In the face of these difficulties, the embattled papacy signaled its appreciation for the loyalty of the society. Pope Pius IX elevated the Jesuit Johann B. Franzelin (18161886), a papal theologian in 1876, in the wake of vatican council i. The latter had come to depend on the Jesuits as his allies in fighting the revolutionary ideas of the age, especially by defending his Syllabus of Errors (1864). The Jesuit Superior General came to be popularly known as the "black pope" because of the power of the Jesuits during the papacy of Pius IX. While the Jesuits were gaining enemies in Europe as they followed a line of thinking which even John Henry newman considered to be too conservative, they were gaining friends in America. However, there were problems for the Jesuits even in the United States, as the tarring and feathering by Know-Nothings of the Jesuit John Bapst (18151887), a Swiss refugee, in Ellsworth, Maine, on the night of Oct. 14, 1854, had earlier demonstrated.

Nevertheless, the distresses in Europe during the years of Father Beckx were counterbalanced by the successes in the new world. In the United States during his tenure, University of San Francisco (1855), Boston College (1863), Canisius College (1870), Loyola University of Chicago (1870), St. Peter's College (1872), Regis University (1877), University of Detroit Mercy (1877), Creighton University (1878), and Marquette University (1881) were founded. Some of these institutions were in regions where banished European Jesuits were working. In 1854, the Rocky Mountain Mission, which Father Pierre de smet (18011873), the first Jesuit among the Native Americans since the suppression, had established in 1840, and California were placed under the Jesuits of the Province of Turin. In 1869, the Sante Fe Mission became the work of the Neapolitan Province; the German Jesuits were given responsibility for the Buffalo Mission; and Woodstock College, the Jesuit house of studies in Maryland, opened with Italian Jesuits in charge. Meanwhile, in 1863, De Smet distinguished himself as a mediator between the Native Americans and Washington.

In Latin America, the fortunes of the Jesuits were not those of the Jesuits in Europe. In Mexico, where the Jesuits had been banned in 1821, they returned in 1853, only to be banned again in 1855, restored again in 1863, and banned again in 1873. The same rotating doors of banishment were true for Jesuits in Guatemala in 1871, in San Salvador in 1872, in Nicaragua in 1881, and in New Granada in 1859 and 1875.

Anton Anderledy. To succeed Beckx, the Jesuits chose Anton Anderledy (18191892), a Swiss Jesuit, who served first as his vicar (18831887) and then as general (18871892) of the Society of Jesus. Pope Leo XIII, having expressed his sorrow for the sufferings of the Jesuits in France, reaffirmed the documents of his predecessors supporting the Society of Jesus and, on Jan. 15, 1888, canonized Alfonso Rodriguez, John Berchmans, and Peter Claver as saints of the Society of Jesus. The pope supported the work of the Jesuits at La Civiltà Cattolica and brought them together at the Gregorian University to advance the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. In June of 1889 came the death of Gerard Manley hopkins (18441889), the English Jesuit who is honored as a poet in Westminster Abbey.

During Anderledy's tenure, troubles with the civil authorities continued. Even though Germany revoked the Falk Laws in 1886, the Jesuits did not return there until after World War I. In France, after their expulsion again in 1880, they were able to return for about a decade in 1890. With the Italian political situation still very unpredictable, Anderledy continued to maintain the Jesuit headquarters at Fiesole.

Upon the direction of Pope Leo XIII, moreover, the Jesuits by means of both La Civiltà Cattolica and of the Gregorian University helped to bring about a renewal in theology and philosophy based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. This resurgence of neo-scholastic thought reached into the new Jesuit institutions like John Carroll University (1886), Gonzaga University (1887), University of Scranton (1888), and Seattle University (1890) that came into being in the United States. For his part in the revival of St. Thomas, Leo XIII raised the Jesuit Camillo Mazzella (18331900), who had been the first prefect of studies at Woodstock College in Maryland, to the rank of cardinal in 1886.

Luis Martin. To succeed Anderledy, Luis Martín (18461906) was elected the general of the Jesuits at Loyola in his native Spain on Oct. 2, 1892, and he continued in office until his death on April 18, 1906. During his years, the Jesuits returned to Egypt and Madagascar, and moved into the Belgian Congo. As French republicans prepared more legislation against the religious orders, the Jesuits came under attack for being on the side of those who had accused Alfred Dreyfus of spying in 1894. Expelled from France in 1902 and again in 1904, the Jesuits were forced to leave behind 28 educational institutions after the passage of civil laws aimed at the destruction of their work. In the face of such challenges, Jesuits like Henri Leroy (18471917) and Gustave Desbuquois (18691959) sought to compensate for the lack of the influence of religion in French society. They brought about Action Populaire, a center of social studies to make sure that Christian principles were available to help solve France's social problems.

As general, Martin's most significant contribution was his effort to preserve the history of the Jesuit Order. Having directed the provincials of the various provinces around the world to assign Jesuits to record the history of the Society of Jesus, the superior general devoted himself to gathering in Rome the important documents on its history, thereby bringing about the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, a vast collection of sources relating to the origins and history of the religious order that he governed. To write this history, Martin set up in 1894 the College of Writers for Jesuits.

Franz Xavier Wernz. Upon the death of Father Martin, Franz Xavier Wernz (18421914), a German, was elected general on Sept. 8, 1906, and he served until Aug. 19, 1914, as the Society of Jesus continued to face severe challenges on both the secular and religious fronts. With the overthrow of Manuel II, the Jesuits were again banished from Portugal in 1910. On the intellectual front, the turmoil raised by George tyrrell (18611909), who had been dismissed from the society in 1906, contributed to the controversy over Modernism with the publication of his work, Christianity at the Crossroads (1909). Wernz, a canon lawyer, had become involved in the debate when he attacked the roots of Modernism, of which he had himself been suspected. In the United States, America, a journal of opinion, in which American Jesuits would voice their views on religion and society, was founded in 1909.

One of those involved in the controversy over Modernism in 1912 was the French theologian Léonce de grandmaison (18681927). Among his pupils at Hastings was Pierre teilard de chardin (18811955), who took up the study of paleontology. This Jesuit later helped to shape the ideas that would influence the Catholic Church in a liberal direction with the advent of the Second Vatican Council, when the Jesuits would be distinguished once more for intellectual leadership.

Much was accomplished in the spread of the Jesuits under Wernz. New Jesuit houses of studies and colleges were established inside and outside of Europe. The dispersed German Jesuits had established their theologate at Valkenburg while the Austrian Jesuits were able to accommodate some 300 Jesuit students of theology in their center at Innsbruck. Similar developments were taking place in Krakow, Louvain, and Toledo, thereby indicating the deepening strength of the Jesuit Order. Then it had a handful of provinces in North America and missionaries stationed in such disparate areas as Albania, Armenia, Australia, Denmark, Egypt, the Greek Islands, Indonesia, Sweden, and Syria. Given the rising importance of overseas missions, where in Calcutta, 130,000 were converted to Catholicism and another 12,000 in China, Father Wernz realized the need to preserve the historical record of their missions and established the Monumenta Missionica for the Jesuits.

The foundation of the pontifical biblical insti tute in Rome in 1909, the opening of Sophia University in Tokyo under the leadership of the German Jesuit Hermann A. Hoffmann (18641937) in 1913, the establishment in the United States of new Jesuit institutions like Rockhurst College (1910), Loyola Marymount (1911), and Loyola University of New Orleans (1912), underscored the diversity in education of the Society of Jesus, which was also active in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. In these countries, as in Canada and the United States, and even Ireland, the rapid growth of the worldwide Society of Jesus forced the Jesuits to explore further expansion plans. In Mexico, where the revolution began in 1910, the Jesuits had to flee from a movement that would make martyrs of a small number of them before the third decade of the twentieth century ended.

Wladimir Ledochowski. Upon the death of Wernz, Wladimir ledochowski (18661942), a Polish noble, was elected Jesuit superior general and began a tenure that lasted from Feb. 11, 1915, to Dec. 13, 1942. Having served as a young page in the court of the Hapsburgs at Vienna, he had imbibed the Catholic monarchical ideas that were totally against the spirit of the age in which he lived. With the outbreak of World War I, Ledochowski faced a crisis that enveloped at least 2,000 of his own men. Of the 855 Jesuits involved in the French army and navy, including the 165 who perished, they won a total of 1,056 decorations. In 1915, Pierre rousselot (18781915) was killed in action; in 1916, Teilhard de Chardin was writing in the trenches and working as a stretcher-bearer while earning the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'Honneur ; Joseph de guibert (18771942), the expert on Jesuit spirituality, served as a chaplain; and, in 1917, Henri de lubac (18961991) was seriously wounded in the fighting. In addition to the French, other Jesuits were involved from Austria (82), Belgium (165), Canada (4), England (83), Germany (376), Ireland (30), and the United States (50).

Ledochowski, who had to leave Italy during the war because he was a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, governed the Jesuit Order from Schloss Zizers in Switzerland, where the Jesuits once operated three schools. Upon his return to Rome after the war, he had to bring about the reorganization of provinces in accord with the political realities of Europe and to bring the laws of the Society of Jesus in accord with 1917 Code of Canon Law. It was a time when statistics for 1920 showed that the Jesuits numbered 17,245 members, spread over 25 provinces throughout the world, compared to 600 at the time of the restoration. In the Twenty-Seventh General Congregation in 1923, everything was adapted to a rigid legal framework. Meanwhile, the thinking of German Jesuits on religion and society was reflected in a journal like Stimmen der Zeit, which dated from 1915.

The fact that the Russian Revolution had broken out in 1917 created more problems for the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuits. At Ledochowski's urging, the Holy See entrusted the apostolate for Russia to the Society of Jesus, including the operation of the Russicum in Rome. Edmund A. walsh (18851956), the Jesuit who headed the Papal Relief Mission during the Russian famine (192224) was later chosen by Ledochowski to lead the fight against communism. Michel d' herbingny (18801957), another Jesuit, was sent by the pope to Moscow to consecrate quietly three bishops after he had himself been secretly ordained for this mission in Berlin. These and other efforts did not bear much fruit, except to lead to the martyrdom of a large number of the faithful.

Likewise, in coping with the attacks on the church in Mexico and in Spain, the results were costly. Blessed Miguel Augustin pro juarez (18911927) had fled Mexico to continue his studies for the priesthood and was later was given permission to return to his native country in July of 1926, only to be captured and executed 16 months later. In Spain, the civil war there was responsible for some 6,800 killed due to hatred of the faith, among them at least 120 Jesuits, of which 11 have been beatified.

Moreover, Ledochowski, who had a sense of history, was very pleased with the canonizations of such Jesuit luminaries before the suppression as Peter Canisius (1925) and of Robert Bellarmine and the north ameri can martyrs (1930). That same year, with his dream of a new Jesuit headquarters in Rome realized, he founded on February 11 the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, which continues to publish its findings twice a year in the Archivum Historicum. Having done all that after the 1929 settlement of the Roman Question between Pope pius xi and Benito Mussolini, all the documents of the Society of Jesus were moved to the archives at the new headquarters. During these years, the Jesuits and the Holy See had Pietro Tacchi Venturi (18611956), the eminent Jesuit historian, act as the intermediary of the Catholic Church with the Italian government.

In coping with the challenges rising from the political, economic, and social crises of the depression years, the Society of Jesus under Ledochowski was very much at the service of the papacy. This was particularly true of Oswald von Nell-Breuning (18901991), a disciple of Heinrich Pesch (18541926), the Jesuit social philosopher. With the help of another Jesuit, Gustav gundlach (18921963), Nell-Breuning became the main architect of quadragesimo anno (1931), an encyclical designed to meet the problems of society, especially with its emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity. Its ideas influenced social legislation in the United States and Europe, with the rise of the Christian Democrats after World War II. At the same time, the Society of Jesus was stressing the importance of the social apostolate as the Twenty-Eighth General Congregation had decreed in 1938. American Jesuits like John lafarge (18801963), Leo C. Brown (19001978), and Louis J. twomey (19051969) were deeply involved in spreading the papal teachings on social justice in a nation in which the Jesuits founded still another educational institution with Fairfield University in 1942.

Meanwhile, the rise of Nazism, coming as it did in the wake of the problems with Russia, Mexico, and Spain, would capture much of Father Ledochowski's attention, especially after the invasion of Poland in 1939. Having taken precautions to continue the government of the Society of Jesus, he had the general congregation, on the eve of World War II, appoint Maurice Schurmans (19011970), a Belgian Jesuit, to be his vicar. With Italy in the war, Ledochowski, in a generous delegation of power for one who had issued directives to Jesuits on such minute details as the care of one's hair, gave some regional assistants the necessary authority to make decisions with respect to their areas of jurisdiction when it involved seeking approval from Rome. In the case of the American assistant Zachaeus Maher (18821963), Ledochowski had a Jesuit who unhesitatingly took up his responsibilities until 1946, when he was replaced by Vincent McCormick (18861963), a confidant of Pope Pius XII.

An astute observer of contemporary events, Ledochowski had sensed the problems facing the Jesuits in Germany as early as February of 1934. Remaining in Rome, he led the battle against Nazism through the Jesuits who operated Vatican Radio. Although the Jesuit general has been blamed by some scholars for sidetracking the encyclical that Pope Pius XI, before his death, was about to publish against anti-Semitism, Ledochowski cannot be regarded as in any way sympathetic to the Nazis. His strong and steady hand was firmly behind Vatican Radio's transmissions, which inspired hope for many peoples oppressed by the Nazis, including the Jews. With respect to the latter, Tacchi Venturi, whose name is as venerated in Rome as much as that of Felice M. Capello (18791962), the popular confessor, and Riccardo Lombardi (19081979), the founder of the Movement for the Better World and famed preacher, used his quiet diplomacy with Italy to help save many of them from the Holocaust.

That almost 150 Jesuits, among them the German Alfred Delp (19071945) and the Frenchmen Victor Dillard (18971945) and Yves de montcheuil (19001944), perished as victims of the Nazis as they defended the rights of others, some even risking their lives to save Jews, stands as a tribute of the resistance that Ledochowski led against the Nazis who went so far as to outlaw the Jesuits. Among the prisoners who survived was the famous English writer and preacher Cyril Charles martindale (18791963) and Blessed Rupert mayer (18761945), the Munich preacher who had earned the Iron Cross in World War I and boldly opposed the Nazis. Martindale, like Jesuits Martin C. d'arcy (18881976) and Frederick copleston (19071994) after him, had an impact on religion and culture outside of his native England.

Interim vicars general. Between Ledochowski's death and the election of John Baptist Janssens (18891964) in 1946, due to the situation of World War II, which prevented a meeting a general congregation, Alessio A. Magni (18721944), an Italian, and Norbert de Boynes (18701954), a Frenchman, served as vicars general of the society. While Magni's tenure was a relatively quiet one, de Boynes sought to tone down what Vatican Radio was doing in resisting the Nazis. In fact, before assuming office as vicar, he did not hesitate to tell the French, as Ledochowski's assistant in 1941, that they should fall in line behind the government of Vichy under Marshall Philippe Pétain, who had restored the Society of Jesus in France. This did not go over well with Jesuits like Henri de Lubac and others in the resistance movement, who were openly opposed to such collaboration.

John Baptist Janssens. On Sept. 6, 1946, the Jesuits elected John Baptist Janssens, a Belgian, who served as their superior general until Oct. 5, 1964. Recognized as a "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem, he had helped to save Jews in Brussels during the war. However, with the end of World War II, the world had changed and the Catholic Church faced a new threat from Russia's dominance over Eastern Europe where, since 1944, the Society of Jesus saw its work severely restricted, if not entirely banished.

Perceptive and realistic, Janssens encouraged the Jesuits to keep pace with the changes that industry, science, technology, and war had brought about in human society. All this came from a man who appeared quite isolated from the developments of the modern world and whose failing health required him to appoint the Jesuit John L. Swain (19071987) as his vicar in 1960. During Janssens' tenure, the American Jesuits established two more colleges: LeMoyne (1946) and Wheeling (1954).

At the same time, Janssens left his mark by his own concern for the social apostolate and the missions. In itself, the latter was a reflection of Father Janssens' zeal, which was confirmed at the meeting of the Second Vatican Council by at least some 40 Jesuit bishops, who were pictured in Rome with Augustin Cardinal Bea (18811968). As for the goals of the social apostolate, the activities of Bl. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (19011952) in Santiago, Chile, in caring for the homeless, and the work of Jerome D'Souza (18971977), a Jesuit from India, in establishing a social institute in his native land at Janssens's suggestion, stand as good examples.

The society suffered a setback among its scholars during Janssens' time. Biblical experts like Stanislas lyonnet (19021986), Luis Alonso Schökel (19201998), and Maximilian Zerwick (19011975), and such theologians as Henri de Lubac (18961991) and John Courtney murray (19041967) were silenced. They would be vindicated later by Pope John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council, when many of their ideas became the foundation for the Second Vatican Council. In particular, those biblical scholars had put into practice the words of Pius XII's Divino afflante Spiritu (1943) about Catholic scholars approaching the biblical texts critically and historically. That restoration, it should be noted, came about due to the intervention of Cardinal Augustin bea, who was influential in the composition of Divino afflante Spiritu.

Janssens' years were also marked by much suffering because of the communist regimes that established themselves in Eastern Europe and in China. In Eastern Europe, Walter J. Ciszek (19041984) had gone through the gulag after one of his Jesuit associates, Jerzy Moskwa (19101941), had perished. One of the more distinguished Jesuits among many behind the Iron Curtain, where at least 20 were killed, was Jan Korec (b. 1924), now cardinal, who kept the underground church alive in Czechoslovakia. Behind China's Bamboo Curtain, where at least 15 Jesuits have been killed, Dominic Tang Yee Ming (19081995), archbishop of Canton; Paul Li Zhenrong (19191992), bishop of Cangzhou; and priests like Francis Chu (19131983) and Xavier Cai (19071997) were some of members of the Society of Jesus who suffered for their loyalty to the Holy See in the land where the name of the Jesuit Matteo Ricci (15521610) is still revered 300 years after his arrival in Bejing.

Pedro Arrupe. Pedro arrupe (19071991) succeeded Janssens on May 22, 1965. The first Basque since St. Ignatius to head the Jesuit Order, his life was affected by two decisive world events before his election as superior general. One was the expulsion on June 23, 1932 of the Society of Jesus from Spain on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, sending him as a Jesuit scholastic into exile in Belgium. The other was the explosion of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, when he was the master of novices on the outskirts of that city, where he turned the Jesuit novitiate into a hospital.

At the time of the Second Vatican Council, the Society of Jesus numbered some 36,000 members, with more than 8,000 of them in the United States, including 6,000 of them who were laboring as missionaries around the world and operating an educational complex of some 4,000 schools (more than half in elementary education, with at least 800 in secondary education and 750 in higher education). Among the outstanding Jesuits who served in various capacities at the council were Karl rah ner (19041984), John Courtney murray (19041967), and Bernard lonergan (19041984). With such capable minds, including Jean danielou (19071974) and Josef A. jungmann (18891975), in 1963 Pope Paul VI assigned the Jesuits the task of putting together the documents relating to the actions of Pope Pius XII during Holocaust and, in 1965, the mission of confronting atheism in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.

As superior general, Arrupe endeavored to reshape the Society of Jesus in accordance with the documents of the Second Vatican Council. This was done by holding a second session of the Thirty-First General Congregation between Sept. 8 and Nov. 17, 1966, to take care of the issues that were not resolved in the first session. Subsequently, he convened the Thirty-Second General Congregation between Dec. 2, 1974, and March 7, 1975. Renewal and reform came at a cost. The number of Jesuits declined from 36,038 members when Arrupe was elected to 25,952 when he left office.

Father Arrupe brought the Society of Jesus to an agonizing reappraisal of itself and espoused the Church's teaching at Medellin, Columbia in 1968, with its emphasis on the preferential option for the poor. As the numbers of departure of Jesuits from the society increased and vocations declined, dissatisfaction with the superior general grew. A group of Spanish Jesuits petitioned Pope Paul VI that they be removed from Arrupe's authority. The very conservative views of those Jesuits and the Basque identity of the Jesuit superior general, who was perhaps even a nationalist spirit, in a country where Spanish far outnumber the Basques in the society, helped fuel their request.

Although Pope Paul VI was aware of the challenges confronting the superior general, as he indicated in the concerns that he had voiced in addressing the Jesuits at the closing of their general congregation on Nov. 17, 1966, he refused, especially since there was no reason to doubt the dedication and loyalty of Arrupe to the Holy See, as was evident when later the Jesuit General called for "unswerving and decisive loyalty" in the wake of Humanae Vitae (1968), the controversial encyclical on birth control. While staunch conservatives within the order were disgruntled with the changes wrought by the Second Vatican Council and were inclined to blame Arrupe for the crisis within the Society of Jesus, there was more to it than that.

During that time, although the Jesuits witnessed an increase in the number of local-born Jesuits in the Third World, especially in parts of Africa and Asia, this increase was dwarfed by a huge decline in numbers in Europe and North America. In the United States, the numbers declined from 8,400 to less than 5,000. This decline was due to a number of factors, including changes in traditional practices. No less a Jesuit than Carlo M. Martini (b. 1927), later cardinal archbishop of Milan, pointed out in preparation for the opening of the Thirty-Second General Congregation in 1974 that a number of Jesuits, at least in Europe, had already abandoned such practices as daily Mass, the examination of conscience, and the annual eight-day retreat. Then, in the work of the congregation, Arrupe ran into resistance from Paul VI when changes regarding the fourth vow of obedience to the pope were discussed.

In that same period, the colleges and the universities in the United States were becoming separately incorporated from the Jesuits communities. That development came under the leadership of Paul C. reinert (19102001), Jesuit president of St. Louis University. In adapting these educational institutions to the realities of American society, many Jesuits were defensive in believing that the Society of Jesus was abandoning its legacy in having the religious community recognized in civil law as separate from the educational institution. In view of the decline in vocations to the Society of Jesus, the move in that direction can be regarded as beneficial, especially in providing the financial means to support these Jesuit colleges and universities.

Furthermore, there was the confusion that arose from priests becoming involved in politics, usually regarded as reserved for the laity in the United States. While the Jesuit John J. McLaughlin (b. 1927), a speechwriter at the White House, was defending Richard M. Nixon and his Watergate crimes, Robert F. Drinan (b. 1920), another Jesuit, was bringing articles of impeachment against the President in the United States House of Representatives. At the same time, another Jesuit, Daniel J. Berrigan (b.1921), made headlines in protesting against Nixon's foreign policy. When Drinan's position in Congress became a subject of controversy with the Holy See, he showed true Jesuit obedience early in 1981 by stepping down from his elected office, in which he had served for ten years, once Pope John Paul II had urged this.

Undeterred, Arrupe moved to implement the decrees of the Second Vatican Council on religious life. To this end, he sought to recapture the original charism of St. Ignatius so as to enable the Society of Jesus to adjust to the contemporary world. This was evident when the Thirty-Second General Congregation stated that the basic challenge for Jesuits was engagement in "the struggle for faith and the struggle for justice that the same faith requires," and at least 40 Jesuits in the Third World have borne witness with their own lives to what this idea of a Jesuit means today. Among those who reflected this by their martyrdom were Rutilio Grande (19281977) in El Salvador, John Conway (19201977) and Christopher Shepherd-Smith (19431977) in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Joâo B. Penido Burnier (19171976) in Brazil, and Tarcisius Dewanto (19651999) and Karl Albrecht Karim Arbie (19291999) in East Timor in September of 1999.

As John Paul II succeeded to the papacy, the tensions between the Vatican and the Jesuits increased until Aug. 7, 1981, when Arrupe was afflicted with by a disabling stroke. Given Arrupe's frail health and the difficult situation in which the Jesuits found themselves with respect to the papacy, Pope John Paul II appointed Paolo Dezza (19011999) as the pontifical delegate to govern the Society of Jesus from Oct. 5, 1981 to Sept. 13, 1983. In this way, the pope sidetracked the possibility of Vincent T. O'Keefe, a highly respected American Jesuit, whom Arrupe had appointed as his temporary vicar, from becoming the next superior general. For two years, Dezza held the Society of Jesus together, despite the hostile reaction that the papal intervention had caused among some members within the society. For this, he was duly rewarded when Pope John Paul II named him as a cardinal in 1991.

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. Subsequently, when the pope found that the time was suitable, the Jesuits gathered in Rome to elect a superior general to succeed Arrupe, who resigned on Sept. 3, 1983. On the following September 13, the Jesuits elected Peter-Hans Kolvenbach (b. 1928), a native of Holland, to take over the leadership of the Jesuit Order. His tenure has been marked by improvement in relations with the pope, by the opening up of the dialogue with the religions of the non-Christian world, and by the strengthening of the Society of Jesus in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

At the same time, Father Kolvenbach's government of the society has been noteworthy in a number of other ways. While the tragic murder by the military in El Salvador of six Jesuits and their two helpers on Nov. 16, 1989 stands out, there was of importance as well the Thirty-Fourth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, from Jan. 5 to March 22, 1995. Although it dealt in part with the updating of the Jesuit Order in accord with the new code of Canon Law published in 1983, among its decisions was a positive stand on the rights of women, which made news.

Nevertheless, though the relationship between the Jesuits and the Vatican has improved, Kolvenbach's years have forced the Society of Jesus to face up to its traditional role in higher education as more Jesuits were becoming involved in other apostolates, including in the United States the increasing number of "Nativity Schools" that the Jesuits have started to educate innercity youth in their later elementary grades. While some alumni found that Jesuit institutions in higher education have been losing their Catholic character, others maintain that these institutions are more truly Catholic than they have been in the past, especially in teaching their students to have a deep concern for justice in society. Such a debate was not unrelated to the Vatican's attempt to exercise some control over Catholic colleges and universities. This was explicitly stated when Pope John Paul II issued on Aug. 15, 1990 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a document that has occasioned discussions about academic freedom within Jesuit institutions themselves.

The attitude of the papacy toward the Society of Jesus has been a significant development during Kolvenbach's tenure. An indication of this where John Paul II really stands can be derived from the way that the pope has increased the number of Jesuit saints and blessed and the number of Jesuit cardinals. Of the 28 Jesuits who have been raised to the rank of cardinal in the past, John Paul II has created 12 of them, a number that surpasses what any of his predecessors have done. The pope has shown similar affection for the Society of Jesus in having raised some 24 Jesuits to the ranks of the beatified and about half that number to the ranks of the canonized.

When the Jesuits celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of their founder in 1991, the Society of Jesus had endured many changes, many of which came during the period since the restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814. That the Jesuit Order has survived the many challenges that it faced from its enemies and from the changes within its company is due in part to the leadership of those who have been elected Jesuit superior general. There is reason for optimism. By the year 2000 the Jesuits numbered at least 21,000 members, with its largest segments in India (3,559), the United States (3,495), and Spain (1,774). Laboring in 112 nations throughout the world, the Society of Jesus, which has almost 50 canonized saints and about 150 blessed in its history, is still involved in many apostolates, especially in schools, colleges, and universities, where it continues to form men and women for others.

Bibliography: w. v. bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus (2d edition; St. Louis, Mo. 1986). m. barthel, The Jesuits, tr. Mark Howson (New York 1987). j. a. casciotti, Supplementum Catalogorum Societatis Iesu 2002 (Rome 2001). f. r. dumas, Grandeur et Misère des Jésuites (Paris 1963). j. a. fitzmyer, "A Recent Roman Scriptural Controversy," Theological Studies 22 (1961) 426444. c. hollis, The Jesuits (New York 1968). j. lacouture, Jesuits, tr. Jeremy Leggatt (Washington, D.C. 1995). v.a. lapomarda, The Jesuits and the Third Reich (Lewiston, N.Y.1989). w. ledochowski, Selected Writings of Father Ledochowski (Chicago, Ill. 1945). j. f. macdonnell, Companions of Jesuits (Fairfield, Conn., 1995). p. mcdonough, Men Astutely Trained (New York 1992). p. mcdonough and e. c. bianchi, Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits (Berkeley, Calif. 2002). r. mendizÁbal, n. r. verÁsteguui, and c. j. jackson, Catalogus Defunctorum, 3 v. (Rome 19722000). j. w. o'malley, g. a. bailey, s. j. harris, and t. f. kennedy, The Jesuits (Toronto, Canada 1999). w. j. o'malley, The Voice of Blood (Maryknoll, N.Y. 1980). j. w. padberg, ed., The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and Their Complementary Norms (St. Louis, Mo. 1996). m. r. tripole, ed., Jesuit Education 21 (Philadelphia, Pa. 2000). j. n. tylenda, Jesuit Saints & Martyrs (2d ed Chicago, Ill. 1998). j. m. de vera, ed., Jesuits, Yearbook of the Society of Jesus, 2000 (Rome 1999).

[j. f. broderick/

v. a. lapomarda]


views updated May 18 2018


JESUITS. The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is a religious order of men within the Roman Catholic Church formed under the inspiration of Ignatius of Loyola (14911556) and his companions and given approval by Pope Paul III (14681549) on 27 September 1540. A dramatic conversion from a less than pious life encouraged Ignatius's desire to further his education to "help souls," a desire that brought him to the University of Paris in 1528. In Paris, Ignatius gathered like-minded men who followed his Spiritual Exercises to attain interior peace and a clearer idea of their vocation. Together they decided on lives of poverty and chastity. On 15 August 1534 they promised to go to the Holy Land and there decide their futures with the stipulation that, if the Jerusalem trip proved impossible, they would make themselves available to the Roman pontiff. The war between Venice and its allies against the Turks prohibited the Jerusalem trip, and while waiting for any possible entry to the Holy Land, Ignatius and some from the group were ordained priests in Venice on 24 June 1537.

In January 1538 the companionsas they called themselvesgathered in Rome, where they were suspected of harboring Lutheran tendencies. Ignatius protected his orthodox reputation by seeking legal justice against his detractors. Declared innocent of all charges on 18 November 1538, the companions offered themselves to Pope Paul III for service in the church. They then faced another question. Should they remain as a group, that is, form a religious order, or should they be missioned for service as individuals? They conferred from March to June 1539, and from these deliberations the companions elected to form a religious order. Ignatius composed a "way of life," to which the pontiff gave oral approval on 3 September 1539, reputedly saying, "The finger of God is here." This rule was unique in the history of religious life in making no mention of lifelong residence in one community, the singing of the divine office in common, and the choosing of a superior by election of the local community. Ignatius incorporated these radical changes believing that this "company of Jesus" should be free to spend "a great part of the day and even of the night in comforting the sick both in body and spirit." Ignatius also composed rules that favored a more absolutist form of government with structures for its implementation. Although Cardinal Gasparo Contarini (14831542), Ignatius's personal friend, advocated the rule's quick approbation, the cardinal designated to formulate these rules into a papal bull, Giralomo Ghinucci (d. 1541), saw in these novelties the very criticisms Martin Luther (14831546) had lodged against the Roman church. Another cardinal, Bartolomeo Guidiccioni (14691549), also raised issue with the plan since previous church legislation outlawed new orders.

Ignatius surmounted these objections, and on 27 September 1541 Pope Paul III signed the new order into existence with the bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae. Pope Julius III (14871555) reconfirmed this "way of life" in Exposcit debitum, promulgated on 21 July 1550, and this is the version the Society of Jesus considers its founding document. This "way of life" or Formula of the Institute defined the company of men as those who desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, to serve the Lord alone and his church under the Roman pontiff, and to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine. The Formula specified how these goals were to be carried out: preaching, administration of the sacraments, reconciling the estranged, and providing for the poor in hospitals and prisons, works to be performed throughout the world, "even in the region called the Indies." From its inception the order's vision extended beyond the European peninsula.


Soon after the pope approved the Formula, Ignatius composed a more detailed constitution that included rules concerning the order's governance and the training of its men. Jesuit formation was rigorous for its time. Legislation required those preparing for priesthood to study courses in humanities, philosophy, and theology according to the "method of Paris," a system characterized by a well-ordered approach to education that held Thomistic philosophy as the best system in which reason could defend the truths of the faith. The Constitutions established a governing system that placed the superior general as the head, area provincials directly under the general, and local superiors under the provincials. To promote unity within its membership, which by 1773 numbered 22,589 members working from Tibetan mountains to South American jungles, Jesuits were to write frequently to report their successes and failures and to seek advice from their superiors and provincials. Provincials in turn were to write annual reports to their headquarters in Rome. Jesuits rewrote and published these letters to promote vocations and inspire financial donations for their overseas efforts. These annual reports provide a wealth of information for historians, natural scientists, and ethnographers. The annual letters from New France, compiled by Reuben Gold Thwaites as Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (18961901), provide one important example.


Although the Jesuits embraced a singular goal, the members employed means as varied as the countries and cities in which they labored. Though schools were not mentioned specifically in the Formula, Ignatius soon realized that they would be one of the best means "to aid our fellowmen to the knowledge and love of God and to the salvation of their souls." (Constitutions, part 4, chapter 12, paragraph 446) Since his own education benefited from the organized "method of Paris," he legislated these organizational principles in part 5 of the Constitutions. Although a few schools predated it, the Roman College, founded in 1551, received a great part of Ignatius's attention. This school and its method of studies, or ratio studiorum, served as a template for Jesuit schools throughout the world. Constantly modified, the initial ratio embedded in part 5 of theConstitutions received a definitive articulation in the Ratio Studiorum, published under superior general Claudio Aquaviva (15431615) in 1599. Under the inspiration of this Ratio, by 1773 the Jesuits ran 669 colleges, 179 seminaries, and 61 houses of study for their members in formation in addition to partial or full governance of 24 universities.

Within these academic walls the order's greatest minds taught and did their research. A few names speak for many. Christoph Clavius's (15371612) astronomical observations provided the basis for the Gregorian calendar. Athanasius Kircher (16011680), one of the seventeenth century's more eclectic minds, did pioneering work in linguistic theory, archaeology, and pharmacology. Pietro Pallavicino (16071667), in his History of the Council of Trent (16561657), set a higher standard for historical writing, as did Heribert Rosweyde (15691629) and Jean van Bolland (15961665), historians who developed hagiography into a modern discipline. Jesuit philosophers and theologians dominated the field in the late sixteenth century and the seventeenth century. Catholic apologists, such as Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (15421621) and Peter Canisius (15211597), wrote catechisms used throughout the Catholic world, old and new. Francisco Suárez (15481617) wrote leading works on international law and statecraft. Luis de Molina (15351600) attempted a Catholic response to the complex relationship between God's power and foreknowledge and human free will.

Jesuit artists frequently traveled to create works for Jesuit colleges and their chapels. Andrea Pozzo (16421709) excelled as the master of perspective, particularly in his portrayal of a light-filled dome painted on a flat canvas for the ceiling of Saint Ignatius Church in Rome. In China, Giuseppe Castiglione (16881766) combined Western techniques with Chinese brushwork for the pleasure of the Ch'ing court. Baroque spectacle filled the Jesuit school stages, where rhetoric, drama, choreography, set design, and lighting combined to produce a moral message that moved souls toward love of the good and fear of hellfirewhich the Jesuits frequently portrayed in great detail. Just as some Jesuits excelled in directing the drama on stage, others directed the drama within the individual soul. To this end they preached from the pulpit, persuaded others with books and pamphlets, and served as confessors and spiritual directors, all activities undertaken to help move souls toward their supernatural end. Louis Bourdaloue (16321704), Paolo Segnari (16241694), John Regis (15971640), and Edmund Campion (15401581) were a few of the order's great preachers.

Just as the Ratio provided a template for promoting education, the Marian Congregations, established in 1563 by Jean Leunis at the Roman College, served as a model for implementing spiritual reform among the laity throughout the world. Under Jesuit direction, these congregations provided spiritual counsel and structured guidance for frequent reception of the sacraments and participation in good works. Limited first to students, the groups quickly comprised all aspects of male society and became a successful means for Jesuits to implement Tridentine Catholicism's ideals and their own spirituality. Jesuits also promoted specific devotions, rituals, and practices intended to bring souls to a greater love of Christ. The Jesuits established the devotion to the merciful heart of Jesus in France during the late seventeenth century specifically to counter the rigors of Jansenism. Increased mortality in Europe during the mid-seventeenth century encouraged the Jesuits to develop the bona mors devotion: Friday lectures and prayers that focused on preparation for a "good death." During the late seventeenth century the Jesuits promoted devotion to the Holy Family and to Saint Joseph in an attempt to emphasize the family's dignity, especially the responsibilities of husbands and fathers. The Jesuits advanced these congregations and devotions because they best implemented the advice given by Ignatius in the Constitutions: the most practical and best use of personnel occurs when one Jesuit influences or has a great effect on many. Keeping this advice in mind, the Jesuits seized the opportunity to act as confessors to Europe's Catholic ruling houses.


Since the Jesuits identified saving souls as their purpose, they quickly responded to the challenge of converting "undiscovered" populations of the New World and the non-Christian populations of the Indies. Francis Xavier (15061552), one of Ignatius's first companions, inaugurated the order's missionary endeavors by accompanying Portuguese merchants into India, the Moluccas, and Japan. Alesandro Valignano (15391606) inaugurated tremendous success in the Asian missionary field with his Mission Principles (15741606), a set of recommendations that encouraged the adaptation of Christian thought to Indian, Japanese, and Chinese cultures. His former student and missionary companion Matteo Ricci (15521610) institutionalized these adaptations by formulating Christianity within a vocabulary understood by Chinese intellectuals. His T'ien-chu Shih-i [1603; The true meaning of the lord of heaven] explained basic metaphysical foundations of Christian truths using a Confucian vocabulary. The mission to Japan began with Xavier's arrival in 1549 and proceeded with some success. Because the Jesuits were not able to discern the shifts in political power while confronting fierce persecutions fueled by suspicion of Western traders, Christianity was all but eradicated in Japan by 1614.

Although Christianity existed in India prior to European expansion, Xavier initiated Jesuit contact in 1542. Again where Xavier left off others followed, in part because Akbar (15421605), ruler of the Mogul court, in 1579 requested Jesuits to explain the Christian faith. Like Ricci in China, Roberto de Nobili (15771656) in India studied the documents that shaped local culture. Nobili's understanding of Sanskrit and the Hindu Vedas provided an opportunity for a deeper insight into indigenous culture and means by which Catholicism could be expressed in a non-European vocabulary. The Jesuits arrived in the New World first in Brazil in 1549 and operated extensive missions in that Portuguese colony. In South America the most spectacular Jesuit missionary success was the transfer of thousands of Guaraní Indians away from the reach of costal slave traders and into small inland cities of approximately thirty-five hundred persons known as "reductions." Dominico Zipoli (16881726) composed music for voices, lutes, and viols for the reductions. Sung and played by natives, the music echoed from magnificent baroque structures and amazed European visitors, who had been told on some occasions that these natives had no souls. In North America the Jesuits labored for the most part in New France but also in what became the United States, particularly in the upper Midwest, on the East Coast, and in the Southwest.


Controversies followed the Jesuits along with success. From the foundation of the order, the Jesuits had always emphasized that human nature, despite its fallen state, still had as its deepest orientation the desire to be with God, an outlook grounded in Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises. This emphasis on the goodness of the will situated most Jesuits in opposition to some other Catholics, who accentuated the effects of original sin and disparaged a person's ability to choose to do good outside of God's direct action. This issue touched upon a difficult theological point that attempted to distinguish the extent of a person's free will in light of God's providence and power. Known as the controversies concerning nature and grace, these controversies raged into the early years of the seventeenth century. The Jesuits' frequent acceptance of non-European rituals as a means of expressing Catholic truths further emphasized their implicit belief in the goodness of human nature. Holding that nature, human and otherwise, was not intrinsically evil, the Jesuits granted greater latitude in the performance of certain indigenous practices by converts. Nobili in India and Ricci in China allowed those indigenous rituals not perceived as injurious to the faith. Reports of native Christians wearing Brahmin designations or Chinese converts bowing before ancestor tablets left some missionaries (including some Jesuits)andtheologians disturbed. Theyfeared such practices jeopardize the efficacious action of the sacraments or could lead to synchronistic and superstitious practices.

These debates were commonly referred to as the rites controversies since they involved the propriety of indigenous ritual among new converts. The Jesuit emphasis on the probity of the will also set the order against the Jansenists, a group of Catholics who embraced the more pessimistic writings of Augustine (354430) concerning the human condition. The Jansenists saw in the Jesuits' theology a laxity that would lead the faithful away from truly coming to grips with their sinful condition. The Jansenist Blaise Pascal (16231662), in his Provincial Letters (1656), ridiculed Jesuit theologians for what he believed was their attempt to soften moral rigor and their efforts to find causes for laxity. By the eighteenth century the Jesuits, with their strong propapal stance and resolute defense of the Catholic faith, came head to head with the Enlightenment's intellectual powers that saw organized religion as the true enemy of the rights of people.

Accusations of financial mismanagement and rumored hoarding of vast treasures fueled distrust among European leaders. Sebastião Joséde Carvalho e Mello, the marquês de Pombal (16991782), orchestrated the Jesuits' eviction from Portugal and its colonies in 1759. Other Catholic countries followed: France in 1764, Spain in 1767. The universal suppression of the Society of Jesus occurred on 21 July 1773 with the papal bull Dominus ac Redemptor, signed by Clement XIV (17051774). Because of Poland's partition in 1772, 201 Jesuits formally working there became subjects of Catherine the Great (17291796) of Russia, who never allowed the papal bull of suppression to be promulgated. A novitiate and headquarters for the society survived in Poland, and future popes allowed Jesuits from other areas to join this group. The papacy officially restored the Society of Jesus in 1814.

See also Ignatius of Loyola ; Jansenism ; Trent, Council of .


Primary Sources

Backer, Augustin de. Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. Edited by Carlos Sommervogel. Brussels, 18901932. Identifies books written by Jesuits from the order's beginning into the nineteenth century.

Burrus, Ernest J., ed. and trans. Jesuit Relations, Baja California, 17161762. Los Angeles, 1984.

Correis-Alfonso, John, ed. Letters from the Mughal Court: The First Jesuit Mission to Akbar (15801583). St. Louis, Mo., 1981.

Ignatius of Loyola. The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Translated with an introduction and a commentary by George E. Ganss. St. Louis, Mo., 1970.

Nobili, Roberto de. Preaching Wisdom to the Wise. Translated and introduced by Anand Amaladass and Francis X. Clooney. St. Louis, Mo., 2000.

Padberg, John W., Martin D. O'Keefe, and John L. Mc-Carthy, eds. For Matters of Greater Moment: The First Thirty Jesuit General Congregations: A Brief History and a Translation of the Decrees. St. Louis, Mo., 1994. General congregations provided legislative interpretations of the Constitutions. An important complement to the order's fundamental documents.

Polgár, László. Bibliographie sur l'histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus: 19011980. 3 vols. Rome, 19811990. Bibliography of Jesuit subject matter authored in the twentieth century.

Ricci, Matteo. The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven. Edited by Edward J. Malatesta, translated with introduction and notes by Douglas Lancashire and Peter Hu Kuo-chen. St. Louis, Mo., 1985.

Rienstra, M. Howard, ed. and trans. Jesuit Letters from China, 158384. Minneapolis, Minn., 1986.

Ruiz de Montoya, Antonio. The Spiritual Conquest. Edited and translated by C. J. McNaspy. St. Louis, Mo., 1993. A contemporary description of the reductions.

Simons, Joseph. Jesuit Theater Englished: Five Tragedies of Joseph Simons. Edited by Louis Oldani and Philip Fischer, translated by Richard Arnold. St. Louis, Mo., 1989.

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed. and trans. Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents. 66 vols. Cleveland, Ohio, 18961901. The compiled annual letters from New France.

Xavier, Francis. The Letters and Instructions of Francis Xavier. Translated and introduced by M. Joseph Costelloe. St. Louis, Mo., 1992.

Secondary Sources

Aldama, Antonio M. de. An Introductory Commentary on the Constitutions. Translated by Aloysius Owen. St. Louis, 1989.

Bangert, William V. A History of the Society of Jesus. St. Louis, Mo., 1972.

Chatellier, Louis. The Europe of the Devout: The Catholic Reformation and the Formation of a New Society. Translated by Jean Birrell. New York and Cambridge, U.K., 1989.

Codina Mir, Gabriel. Aux sources de la pédagogie des Jésuites: Le "modus parisiensis." Rome, 1968.

Elison, George. Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan. Cambridge, Mass., 1973.

Gernet, Jacques. China and the Christian Impact. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1985. Provides an alternative view of Jesuit "success" in the China mission.

Guibert, Joseph de. The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice. Translated by William J. Young. Chicago, 1964.

Maher, Michael. Devotion, the Society of Jesus, and the Idea of St. Joseph. Philadelphia, 2000.

O'Malley, John W. The First Jesuits. Cambridge, Mass., 1993.

Schurhammer, Georg. Francis Xavier: His Life, His Times. 4 vols. Translated by M. Joseph Coselloe. Rome, 19731982.

Schütte, Josef Franz. Valignano's Mission Principles for Japan. Translated by John J. Coyne. St. Louis, Mo., 19801985.

Smith, Gerald, ed. Jesuit Thinkers of the Renaissance. Milwaukee, Wis., 1939.

Michael W. Maher


views updated May 21 2018


The Society of Jesus, Compañía de Jesús in Spanish, popularly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order of men founded by the Spaniard Ignatius Loyola in the sixteenth century. In 1534 Ignatius and six companions studying in Paris vowed themselves to poverty, chastity, and work in the Holy Land. In 1540 the Roman Catholic Church approved the establishment of the group as a religious order.


The purpose of the group was the salvation of their own souls and that of their neighbors. Members include ordained priests, who take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, plus an additional vow of special obedience to the pope, or spiritual coadjutors, priests who take the three vows but not that of obedience to the pope, and lay brothers, who perform tasks for which the priesthood is not needed. Candidates for the priesthood, called scholastics, are also members of the Jesuits.


The Jesuits are highly centralized. A superior general in Rome is the head of the order. Geographic units headed by provincials report to the central office in Rome, and each house or residence, headed by a rector or superior, reports to the provincial. Required written correspondence between a local superior and provincial, and between provincial and the superior general assure a tighly knit bond and a continual flow of information and directives in both directions. Many of these documents dating from the sixteenth century are preserved in the central Jesuit archives in Rome.

The Society of Jesus grew rapidly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1556, at the death of Ignatius Loyola, there were 936 members. In 1626 there were 15,544. In Counter-Reformation Europe, Jesuits founded colleges, wrote theological and philosophical treatises, preached itinerant missions, and were influential at the Council of Trent (1545), thus gaining reputations for superior intellect, theological knowledge, and moral probity.

From the early days of the Jesuits, foreign missions were given high priority. The sixteenth century witnessed the expansion of Europe, and the church saw the opportunity to convert vast numbers of souls to Christianity. Jesuits were sent to the Portuguese colonies of West Africa, Francis Xavier began the evangelization of India (1541), and in 1549 Manuel da Nóbrega began mission work in Brazil. The first Jesuits arrived in French Canada in 1611.


Jesuit mission work in Latin America had a relatively late start. The Spanish king, Philip II (1527–1598), hesitated to send the Jesuits to his domains in the New World. The Dominicans (Hispaniola) and Franciscans (Mexico) had preceded the Jesuits, and the danger of rivalry and jurisdictional disputes made the king uneasy. In addition, the Jesuits, based in Rome, had a certain independence that did not sit well with the king. Nevertheless, because they were well trained and well organized, they were permitted to establish missions in America.

Florida was the first American mission field of the Jesuits. Between 1565 and 1571 the Jesuits worked with the Indians on the shores of eastern and western Florida. Few converts were made, but the Jesuits acquired valuable lessons about the importance of learning the Indian languages and customs, establishing a solid economic base apart from the promises of king and conquistadores, and formulating clear goals for a mission area. These were lessons they carried with them to future mission experiences in America.

The Jesuits left Florida in 1571 and joined a group of Jesuits sent to Mexico in 1572. In Mexico the Jesuits established residences in Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Guadalajara, and later founded colleges in other major towns. Indian and Spanish parishioners were served, and the northern and western frontiers witnessed major Jesuit mission activity. In 1582 Jesuits arrived in Guatemala. In 1568, three decades after Pizarro conquered the Incas, and when there were already 2,500 Spanish settlers in Peru, five Jesuits arrived in Lima. The pattern of establishing a college, residences, and missions for the Indians was followed. In 1585 the Jesuits entered Tucumán, in present-day Argentina, and the following year they traveled north from Lima to Quito. By 1593 a Jesuit house was established in Chile. In the Jesuit expansion north and south, the major focus of their labor was the urban college or university.


The models for the Jesuit colleges founded in Latin America were those of Europe. The college was the spearhead of Jesuit strategy during the Counter-Reformation in Germany, France, and Poland. Indoctrinating young Catholic minds to be wary of the pitfalls of Protestantism was a primary goal. Solid classical learning was another. In Latin America as well, the college was viewed as an instrument for Catholic and secular education. It was also seen as an ideal vehicle for proselytizing. The college always had a church attached to it, and the pulpit served as a powerful means of instruction and persuasion. Itinerant missions that swept through the countryside, exhorting the old faithful and encouraging the new, were initiated in the college. Social works of mercy that encompassed the surrounding neighborhood were also based in the college. So the college was not solely an educational institution; it was supposed to be a storehouse of energy that radiated outward, incorporating numerous ministries and housing Jesuits engaged in a variety of activities.

Large Latin American cities such as Lima, Mexico City, and Córdoba, in Argentina, had colleges with thirty or forty Jesuits. Smaller ones, such as those in Cuenca or Latacunga, in Ecuador, had only four or five. Colleges charged their students no tuition. Financial support came from a complex of farms and estates that each college had to possess as an endowment before being allowed to open. The larger the college, the greater the number of students and Jesuits to be provided for, and the more extensive the estates and farms necessary to provide for them. Large sugar plantations and vineyards on the coast of Peru supported the college in Lima. Sheep farms and associated textile mills were the financial mainstay of the college of Quito, and cattle ranches and farms supplied the Jesuit college in Mexico City with most of its income. Many documents dealing with Jesuit landholdings and agrarian operations are extant, and shed a great deal of light on colonial Latin American rural society and development.

The Jesuits ran eight universities in colonial Latin America. The most famous were Córdoba in Argentina, San Pablo in Lima, and that of Mexico City. A university was a prestigious institution that could confer doctoral degrees. The universities and colleges were a focus of cultural life as well. Philosophical disputations, theater, panegyrics, processions, and degree conferrals added colorful pageantry to colonial life. In 1767 the Jesuits staffed more than thirty-five colleges throughout Latin America.

Brazil had no Jesuit universities, but by 1578 the college in Bahia was conferring master's degrees, and mission work focused on trying to settle surrounding Indians in fixed towns called Aldeias. Financial support was provided by sugar plantations.


The frontier of the Latin American world beckoned the Jesuit missionary. In 1594 Jesuits began evangelizing Sinaloa, in northwestern Mexico. The mission to the Mainas Indians along the Marañón River in Peru was begun in 1639 by three Jesuits, and the Moxos Indians were evangelized in 1668. The Indians of Pimería Alta, in northwestern Mexico (Arizona), were evangelized by Eusebio Kino, who also showed that California was not an island (as hitherto had been believed). The Jesuit missions of Baja California operated from 1697 to 1767. During this time fifty-nine Jesuits established a chain of mission farms, villages, and ranches from Cabo San Lucas to the present international border. Jesuits stationed in the Andean regions of Cuzco and La Paz (Bolivia) evangelized the Altiplano.

Jesuits in Brazil traveled up the Amazon and thrust their way into the interior by the end of the sixteenth century. The order founded almost 400 missions in their 200-year history in Brazil. António Vieira became the Indians' most eloquent spokesman, charging Portuguese colonists with killing over two million Indians in their quest for workers and slaves. By the seventeenth century over 258 Jesuits had been sent to Portuguese Brazil. Labor in the mission village was organized for the benefit of the religious order, the crown, or the colonists. In 1757 a royal decree freed Indian villages from missionary control.


The most famous of the Jesuit missions in Latin America were the reductions in northern Argentina and Paraguay. The term "reduction" comes from the Spanish noun reducción, the closest English meaning of which is "reservation." The first reductions were begun by the Franciscans, but the prototype of the Jesuit reductions was probably the Jesuit mission of Juli, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The reductions were self-sufficient Guarani Indian settlements. No Spaniards other than missionaries were permitted to enter a reduction. The "corrupting influence" of merchants or settlers was to be kept far from the neophytes. Isolation and indoctrination were the hallmarks of the reductions. A major project of the reductions was Yerba Mate, a tea that when boiled provided a tasty and popular beverage. Indians who sold reduction tea in Buenos Aires received low prices from Buenos Aires middlemen, so the Jesuits took over the sale and eventually the distribution of the tea, which became known as Jesuit tea. As a result, the order was criticized for operating an extensive commercial enterprise.

The reductions protected the Indians from the slave-raiding Bandeirantes, who periodically attacked the missions from São Paulo, Brazil. These villages allowed the missionaries to indoctrinate the Indians on a regular basis. Reduction town planning included elaborately constructed chur-ches, the ruins of which still survive as tourist attractions.

In 1750 Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Limits that transferred some of the missions to Brazilian territory. The Jesuits and Indians protested with armed resistance, but to no avail.

When the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish domains in 1767, government officials immediately repossessed the reductions, expecting to find mines of precious metals and hoards of silver and gold. Nothing was found. Eventually the mission Indians drifted into the mainstream of colonial agrarian society. The charge that the Jesuits had made the Indians thoroughly docile and helplessly dependent was untrue; many Guaraní took up trades in urban centers.


Animosity and resentment had built up against the Jesuits during the two hundred years that they worked in Latin America. The network of colleges, estates, and slaves working on the estates created a political and economic force unrivaled by colonial economic groups. The Jesuits' economically integrated institutions were able to withstand the wild fluctuations of the colonial economic climate. Those of laypersons could not. Large estates and ostentatious construction fueled rumors of wealth and power. The European Bourbon monarchs, who resented the Jesuits for their own reasons, were confirmed in their wildest suspicions.

A propaganda campaign waged by the prime minister of Portugal, José de Carvalho, Marqués of Pombal, convinced the king that the Jesuits were subverting royal authority and using the missions as economic benefices. In 1759, six hundred Jesuits were expelled from their colleges and missions in Brazil and from the other Portuguese domains. Eventually this was followed by their expulsion from the Spanish domains in 1767, and the order was suppressed in 1773.


Over 2,000 college, mission, and parish personnel gathered in port cities (the sick and infirm remained) and were exiled to Italy. Jesuit estates, houses, movable property, and real estate were auctioned off by a committee of temporalidades (tangible possessions), and the income went to the crown. Schools and colleges were staffed by other religious orders. However, the academic quality of the universities and colleges suffered enormously, Indian missions collapsed, and the cultural and economic life of the region declined. Indian protests and revolts occurred in Mexico and Brazil.


In 1814 the Society of Jesus was restored by the papacy, but Jesuits did not return to Latin America until the middle of the nineteenth century. By then the independence movement and political upheavals had changed the educational and economic structures so the Jesuits never regained the influence that they had enjoyed in education, economics, and politics.

After the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the Jesuits in Latin America began to choose what was called the "option for the poor," associating themselves with many of the rural land-reform movements and the creation of Christian base communities (comunidades de base). These movements were often locally opposed, and Jesuits were accused of being Communist sympathizers. Liberation theology was another movement that individual Jesuits supported. Jesuit theologians and writers such as Juan Luis Segundo and Gustavo Gutiérrez proposed the Bible as a vehicle for political and individual liberation from oppression. Many Jesuits today in Latin America are in the forefront of economic and theological reforms.

See alsoCatholic Church: The Colonial Period; Catholic Church: The Modern Period; Universities: Colonial Spanish America.


Peter Masten Dunne, Pioneer Black Robes on the West Coast (1940).

Magnus Mörner, The Economic and Political Activities of the Jesuits in the La Plata Region: The Hapsburg Era (1953).

Guillermo Furlong Cardiff, Misiones y sus pueblos de Guaraníes (1962).

C. R. Boxer, The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695–1750 (1965).

Magnus Mörner, The Expulsion of the Jesuits from Latin America (1965).

Luis Martín, The Intellectual Conquest of Peru: The Jesuit College of San Pablo, 1568–1767 (1968).

Juan Luis Segundo, The Liberation of Theology, translated by John Drury (1976).

Herman Konrad, A Jesuit Hacienda in Colonial Mexico: Santa Lucía, 1576–1767 (1980).

Nicholas P. Cushner, Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600–1767 (1980); Farm and Factory: The Jesuits and the Development of Agrarian Capitalism in Colonial Quito, 1600–1767 (1982); Jesuit Ranches and the Agrarian Development of Colonial Argentina, 1650–1767 (1983).

Dauril Alden, "Sugar Planters by Necessity, Not Choice: The Role of the Jesuits in the Sugar Cane Industry of Colonial Brazil," in The Church and Society in Latin America, edited by Jeffrey A. Cole (1984), pp. 139-170.

Additional Bibliography

Castelnau-L'Estoile, Charlotte de. Les ouvriers d'une vigne stérile: Les jésuites et la conversion des Indiens au Brésil, 1580–1620. Lisbonne: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris: Centre culturel Calouste Gulbenkian; Lisbonne: Commission nationale pour les commémorations des découvertes portugaises, 2000.

Cohen, Thomas M. The Fire of Tongues: António Vieira and the Missionary Church in Brazil and Portugal. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.

Flores, Moacyr. Reduções jesuíticas dos guaranis. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, 1997.

Millones Figueroa, Luis, and Domingo Ledezma. El saber de los jesuitas, historias naturales y el Nuevo Mundo. Madrid: Iberoamericana; Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert, 2005.

Negro Tua, Sandra, and Manuel M. Marzal. Esclavitud, economía y evangelización: Las haciendas jesuitas en la América virreinal. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Cató lica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 2005.

Santos Hernández, Angel. Los Jesuitas en América. Madrid: Editorial MAPFRE, 1992.

                                    Nicholas P. Cushner


views updated May 23 2018


JESUITS is the popular name for members of the Society of Jesus (S.J.), a religious order of clerics regular, founded by Ignatius Loyola (14911556) and canonically established by Pope Paul III in 1540.

Purpose and Organization

The order's purpose is twofold: to promote the salvation and perfection both of individual Jesuits and of all humankind. Jesuit organization, manner of life, and apostolic ministries are all designed to further this very broad goal. For the same reason, all Jesuits are expected to be ready to go to any part of the world and to engage in any work assigned to them, laboring always for the greater glory of Godhence the order's motto, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" (A.M.D.G.). Much in the original structure was borrowed from existing orders, but several features were novel. These included the very extensive authority and lifelong tenure of the superior general; the lengthy training period and gradation of members; a distinct spirituality based on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola; and stress on the vow of religious obedience. Official directives can be found in a large body of writings, known collectively as the Institute, which includes pertinent papal documents; the Spiritual Exercises and the Jesuit Constitutions (also composed by Ignatius Loyola); decrees of the society's thirty-three general congregations; and instructions of superiors general.

Supreme authority, subject always to the pope, rests in an elective body, the general congregation, which selects the superior general (the sole elected superior) and which alone has full legislative power. Day-to-day government is highly centralized under the superior general, resident in Rome, who has complete authority over the entire order. In practice, however, much of this authority is delegated to superiors throughout the world and to others whom the superior general appoints. Members are priests, candidates for the priesthood (scholastics), or temporal coadjutors (brothers). After priestly ordination and a final period of spiritual training (tertianship), priests receive their final grade as spiritual coadjutors or they are professed of four solemn vows (poverty, chastity, obedience, and special obedience to the pope). No special privileges attach to this last group, although certain posts are open only to them.

Early History and Suppression

The combating of Protestantism was a major preoccupation of Jesuits up to the mid-seventeenth century, although the order was not founded with this goal in mind. Education, both of young laymen and clerics (whose seminary training was largely in Jesuit hands), was the principal area of activity in Europe and in mission lands. The society accomplished its most effective work in the Counter-Reformation by means of its schools, all of which were tuition-free and which concentrated on the humanities. Uniform pedagogical norms were supplied by the Ratio studiorum, first published in 1599. By 1749 the order, with 22,589 members, was operating 669 secondary schools (collegia ) and 176 seminaries; 24 universities were wholly or partly under its control. The academic renown of these institutions won Jesuits the reputation of being the "schoolmasters of Europe." Scholarship was also diligently pursued, especially in the ecclesiastical sciences. In theology those who gained lasting fame include Peter Canisius and Roberto Bellarmino (both doctors of the church), Francisco Suárez, Luis de Molina, Denis Petau (Petavius), Gregory of Valencia, Gabriel Vázquez, Leonard Lessius, and Juan de Ripal-da. The Bollandists, a group of Belgian Jesuits, are renowned for their contributions to Christian hagiography. Pastoral ministries were very diverse. The Jesuits placed special emphasis on preaching, popular missions, administration of the sacraments, retreat direction according to the method of the Spiritual Exercises, guidance of Marian Congregations (sodalities), and promotion of devotions, especially to the Sacred Heart. They had almost a monopoly on the post of royal confessor throughout Catholic Europe.

Next to education, missionary work was the chief preoccupation of the Jesuits. By the mid-eighteenth century the society was evangelizing more territory and sending out more missionaries than any other order. The overwhelming majority labored in the vast Spanish or Portuguese lands in the New World and Asia, with some also in Africa. Others toiled in the French possessions in North America. Jesuits first arrived in the present-day limits of the United States in 1566, along the southeastern coast. Up to the American Revolution almost all the Catholic clergy in the English colonies were Jesuits. In the Americas their missionary establishments, called Reductions, became famous. In Asia, however, the Jesuits' missiological method of accommodation to native cultures, beneficial as it proved in many ways, involved the order in long, bitter disputes over Chinese and Malabar rites of worship, the greatest of all mission controversies.

The Society of Jesus has never lacked opponents. During the third quarter of the eighteenth century disparate groups of enemies combined forces to engage the order in a losing battle for life. French Gallicans and supporters of monarchical absolutism resented Jesuit championship of the papacy. Jansenists were bent on the ruin of the group that had long supplied their chief theological critics. Most hostile of all were radical devotees of the rationalistic Enlightenment, whose ranks numbered highly placed government officials as well as such gifted authors as Voltaire. Between 1759 and 1768, governments expelled the society from Portugal and Spain and their overseas possessions, from the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and from the Duchy of Parma. France outlawed the order. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV bowed to the demands and threats of the Bourbon courts, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, dissolved the entire order. Complete suppression never actually occurred, for Russia refused the necessary official publication of the papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor. This permitted the society in Belorussia to continue its canonical existence. Pope Pius VII restored the order in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1804 and allowed Jesuits everywhere to affiliate with their brethren in Russia. In 1814, Pius VII revoked the brief of suppression and completely restored the Society of Jesus.

Activities since 1814

After its restoration, the Society of Jesus spread throughout the world and came to exceed by far the numbers it had counted before 1773. Its membership totaled 36,038 in 1965, with 8,393 members in the United States. Educational and missionary endeavors continued to be its main areas of ministry. Scholarly traditions were revived, with more attention devoted to the social and physical sciences. The turbulence that has characterized life in the Catholic Church since Vatican II has not escaped the order, as is evident by its decline in total membership (to 25,952 in 1983; and to 20,170 in 2004) and among young scholastics (from 9,865 in 1965 to 3,347 in 1983). Efforts to meet the challenges of the age were the major preoccupations of the thirty-first general congregation (19651966) and the thirty-second (19741975), which decreed changes in the order's government, in the training and life of members, and in the choice of ministries. These general congregations also called for more emphasis on the struggle against atheism, on ecumenism, on closer relations with the laity, on the social apostolate, on use of the mass media, on service of faith, and on promotion of justice.

See Also

Bellarmino, Roberto; Canisius, Peter; Christianity, articles on Christianity in Asia, Christianity in Latin America, Christianity in North America; Gallicanism; Ignatius Loyola; Missions, article on Christian Missions; Ricci, Matteo; Suárez, Francisco; Xavier, Francis.


The literature concerning the Jesuits is enormous and often controversial. For extensive bibliography, see Bibliography of the History of the Society of Jesus by László Polgár, S.J. (Saint Louis, Mo., 1967), with 963 entries, and the same author's Bibliographie sur l'histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus, 19011980, 3 of 7 projected vols. to date (Rome, 1981). Complete and well-ordered annual bibliographies appear in Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu, published since 1932. Important secondary works include A History of the Society of Jesus by William V. Bangert, S.J. (Saint Louis, Mo., 1972); The Jesuits in History by Martin P. Harney, S.J. (New York, 1941; reprint, Chicago, 1962); Jesuiten-Lexikon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt by Ludwig Koch, S.J. (Paderborn, 1934; reprint, with a few additions by M. Dykmans, S.J., Louvain, 1962); and The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice; A Historical Study by Joseph de Guibert, S.J. (Chicago, 1964), an authoritative study. The reader should also consult Ludwig von Pastor's The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages, 40 vols. Volumes 12 through 39 devote in all several hundred pages to the Jesuits, giving a very detailed and lengthy treatment of the suppression.

New Sources

See also Documents of the Thirty-Fourth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, ed. John L. McCarthy, S.J. (St. Louis, 1995); The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, ed. John W. O'Malley, et al. (Toronto, 1999); Jesuits: Missions, Myths, and Histories, by Jonathan Wright (London, 2004).

John F. Broderick (1987)

Revised Bibliography


views updated May 14 2018


JESUITS. The history of the Jesuits in America can be divided into three periods. The first, a period of Jesuit missionary enterprise, begins in 1566 with Pedro Martínez landing in Florida, and ends in 1773, when Pope Clement XIV suppresses the order. The second period stretches from the restoration of the Jesuits in 1814 to the early 1960s, and traces the broad shift toward educational and academic ministries and parish work. The third period begins in 1962 with the Second Vatican Council.

Pedro Martínez died in a clash with the indigenous people of Florida. Neither he nor any of the other Spanish Jesuits established enduring Catholic settlements in the region north of modern-day Mexico. However, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Jesuits had more success, especially in southern Arizona, where Eusebio Kino worked among the people of Pimería Alta, and in Maryland, where a handful of British Jesuits settled in the one colony enthusiastic about Catholic immigrants. By the late eighteenth century, 144 Jesuits had served in missions in British territories in Noh America. French Jesuits moved south from Canada into the colonies of New York and modern-day Maine; they also inhabited the southern portion of the Great Lakes region. Jesuit willingness to blend Christian and Native traditions facilitated conversions. Eventually the Jesuits established cadres of Catholic Indians throughout the region.

The primary difficulty faced by Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was anti-Catholicism and anti-Jesuitism brought to the New World by British colonists weaned on the fundamental texts of the Reformation. In 1620, William Brewster brought on board the Mayflower a just-published translation of the Venetian historian Paulo Sarpi's attack on the Council of Trent and the papacy. Fears of popery and Jesuits shaped the rhetoric of settlers in colonial New England just as in Britain. New England Protestant missionaries asked Abenaki Indians in 1699 to abandon "those foolish superstitions and plain idolatries with which the Roman Catholics and especially the Jesuits and missionaries have corrupted [religion]." In 1724, Sébastian Råle, a French Jesuit working among Maine Indians, was murdered and his scalp carried back to Boston.

The papal suppression of the Jesuits occurred in 1773, and though the new nation was growing rapidly, Catholic priests were few. Still, in 1789 John Carroll (1735–1815) became the first American bishop. In the same year Carroll founded the first Jesuit college, Georgetown College (now Georgetown University) in Washington, D.C. By the first decade of the nineteenth century, Pope Pius VI allowed ex-Jesuits to begin to affiliate with each other.

The restoration of the Jesuits by Pope Pius VII in 1814 allowed the order to begin again. The initial efforts in the United States were halting, as only a small number of Jesuits spread throughout the East, Midwest, and Louisiana. Their focus was often on setting up missions for Native Americans. Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801–1873) became the most famous Jesuit missionary; he traveled back and forth across the continent and consulted with Indian chiefs and governmental officials. During the nineteenth century, the primary task of the Jesuits switched from missionary work to education. Their students were the Catholic immigrants pouring into the United States in the latter half of the nineteenth century; the first were immigrants from Ireland and Germany, with slowly increasing numbers from Italy and Poland. Here the distinctive mentality of the nineteenth-century Jesuits—suspicion of modern philosophical trends, wariness toward any deviation from Roman orthodoxy—helped create a Catholic educational system that saw itself as countercultural, protecting the faith in a hostile environment. By 1916, the Jesuits, then numbering 2,626, had founded twenty-four Catholic colleges and a larger number of Catholic high schools. Virtually all of the students in these institutions were male, and the Jesuits understood themselves to be training a lay Catholic elite of teachers, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen to defend the church in the world.

Since they were busy establishing schools, few American Jesuits became intellectual leaders until the middle of the twentieth century. Pushed by coeducation and even more by the effect of the G.I. bill after World War II, Jesuits found themselves struggling to keep pace with the 130,000 students enrolled in their colleges by 1963. Still, from the middle of the nineteenth century forward, Jesuits provided much of the energy behind Catholic publishing, founding such magazines as America in 1909. By the 1930s, there were roughly twenty Jesuit labor schools, attesting to the growing interest in social reform and mobilization of the Catholic working classes.

Not until the 1940s did individual Jesuits begin to exert intellectual leadership. They primarily used a natural law template to argue that moral values were universal and that reason could lead to faith. The most important figure was John Courtney Murray (1904–1967). A brilliant stylist and deeply learned, Murray became a leading figure in the church-state debates of the 1940s and 1950s, arguing that America's founders did not intend as rigid a separation of church and state as contemporary American liberals assumed. Within the church, he became the foremost spokesman for the position that Catholics should embrace religious freedom along the American model, not grudgingly accept it while formally proclaiming "error has no rights." These heterodox views led Roman authorities to suppress Murray's writings on the topic during the latter 1950s. Yet, Murray's views triumphed at the Second Vatican Council, with the adoption by the assembled bishops in 1965 of a document he helped draft, Dignitatis Humanae, also called the "Declaration on Religious Freedom."

At the time of the Council almost one quarter of the 36,038 Jesuits in the world were American. Within thirty years, the number of American Jesuits had fallen almost by half, even as the worldwide Jesuit population fell by one-third. The dwindling order focused more on interior spiritual development than on fighting secularists. Yet, the primary Jesuit ministry remained education. Many Jesuits pushed their colleges and high schools toward what one worldwide gathering of the Jesuits called the "struggle for justice," meaning greater engagement with social evils such as poverty and the suppression of human rights. At the same time, fears that the declining number of Jesuits signaled an evisceration of Catholic institutional identity were widespread. Jesuit high schools (now primarily coeducational) seemed more stable in this regard than universities, which were overwhelmingly staffed by laypeople, many, if not most, of whom were non-Catholic.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Jesuits remain as leaders in every aspect—editorial, liturgical, pastoral, and intellectual—of Catholic life. In addition a small number of Jesuits have achieved prominence in the wider world of the American academy. One American Jesuit theologian, Avery Dulles (b. 1918), noted for his defense of the theological views of Pope John Paul II, was even named a cardinal in 2001, the first American theologian so honored.


Axtell, James. The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Garraghan, Gilbert J., S.J. The Jesuits of the Middle United States. 3 vols. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1983. The original edition was published in 1938.

McDonough, Peter. Men Astutely Trained: A History of the Jesuits in the American Century. New York: Free Press, 1992.

O'Malley, John. The First Jesuits. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993.

John T.McGreevy

See alsoAnti-Catholicism ; Education, Higher: Denominational Colleges ; Explorations and Expeditions: French ; Indian Missions .

Jesuit Relations

views updated May 09 2018


Relations des Jésuites was the name given to the annual report of the Mission of New France addressed by the superior of Quebec, Canada, to the provincial of Paris, who had it printed for public circulation.

Editions. The first Relation was that of 1632; the last, that of 1672. Thus the original collection is composed of 41 small volumes, duodecimo. Complete collections are rare today; there is one at Laval University, Quebec, and another at the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I.

In 1858 the Canadian government had the full text of all the Relations from 1632 to 1673 printed in three octavo volumes. Also included was the Relation of Rev. Pierre Biard of the Acadian mission (1616) as well as the letter (1626) sent by Rev. Charles Lalemant from Quebec to his brother Jérôme. The text of the Quebec edition was not annotated, but the third volume contained an alphabetical index, incomplete but quite useful.

In Cleveland, Ohio, in 1896 Reuben Gold Thwaites began the publication of the vast collection, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, in 73 volumes, which carry an English translation on the pages facing the original Latin or French. The Thwaites edition is superior to the Quebec edition because (1) it contains the Relations of 1673 to 1679, drafted in the 17th century by Rev. Claude dablon, but published after the Quebec edition under the title of Unpublished Relations (Relations inédites ); (2) its Allied Documents, the first of which is dated 1611 and the last dated 1791, provide a better understanding of the missionary work of the Jesuits in North America; and (3) its bibliographical notes, as well as its scholarly notes and detailed index, make it an important research tool.

Authors and contents. The Jesuit superior in Quebec was responsible for each Relation, and more often than not he drafted it himself. Among those who held this office were Paul Le Jeune, Barthélémy Vimont, Jérôme Lalemant, Paul Rageneau, François Le Mercier, and Claude Dablon, all of whom were eye-witnesses to the events that took place in the Quebec area. For the rest, they relied on the official reports addressed to them by their widely scattered missionaries.

The Relations are a source of information on the religion, the morals, the mechanics of government, and the tactics of warfare among the Native American nations of North America during the 17th century. Through these reports the forward movement of the Church through the vast forests of the country may be traced and an insight gained into the qualities of the colonists newly arrived from France. The Relations provide an account of the progress of the French colonies at Quebec, Trois-Rivières, and Montreal, as well as of the labors, sufferings, and successes of the missionaries throughout the region, especially in Huronia. They are an important source of information concerning the lives and deaths of the Jesuit martyrs.

Significance and value. As a means of arousing interest in France in the ministry of the Jesuits in America, the Relations were notably successful. They were, especially during their first years, an excellent medium of publicity, and they helped to populate New France by their descriptions of the beauty of the country, the fertility of the soil, the richness of its natural resources, and the peace and good fortune to be obtained by its inhabitants. They evoked fervent prayers, generous alms, and apostolic vocations. They were responsible for the origin of institutions that, 300 years later, were still serving the Church in Canada. It was in answer to an appeal of the Relations that the Ursulines and the Hospitalières disembarked at Quebec in 1639the first time in the history of the Church that women's institutions were consecrated to a missionary ministry in a distant country. The Relations also exercised considerable influence in the founding of Montreal; its founder, M. Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière; its first governor, M. de Maisonneuve; and its first lay hospital nurse, Jeanne Mance, were all readers of the Relations.

The Relations should not be evaluated as a continuous history of the French colony or of the missionary work among the natives. The Jesuits were not and did not pretend to be formal and scientific historiographers. But if the Relations do not tell the whole story, they are worthy of belief in what they do recount. A specialist in the historical beginnings of the United States, Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, wrote of them in 1847: "No historian can do a complete research job on the first settlements of this country without being acquainted with them, and those who pretend to be capable of doing this without having studied them in advance only give proof of their incapacity for this type of work."

Bibliography: e. b. o'callaghan, Jesuit Relations. Discoveries and Other Occurrences in Canada and the Northern and Western States of the Union (New York 1847), French tr. by f. martin (Montreal 1850). j. c. mccoy, Jesuit Relations, 16321673 (Paris 1937), a bibliog. Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, ed. r. g. thwaites, 73 v. (Cleveland, Ohio 18961901; New York 1959 ) 1:3744, gen. intro. l. pouliot, Étude sur les Relations des Jésuites de la Nouvelle-France (16321672) (Montreal 1940).

[l. pouliot]


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Jesuits. The Society of Jesus was founded by Ignatius Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. It offered total obedience to the papacy and was prominent in the effort to recover ground lost to the church by the Reformation. Mary Tudor, though a devoted catholic, mistrusted the order and did not invite it to England, though a number of Englishmen went abroad to join it. But the deterioration of relations between Elizabeth and the papacy, culminating in the bull of excommunication of 1570, changed the situation. William Allen had already founded a seminary at Douai and about 100 catholic priests had made their way back to England by 1580, living an undercover existence, hiding in priest holes, and protected by the old catholic gentry. In that year, two Jesuit priests landed—Campion and Parsons—accompanied by a lay brother. Their mission lasted only a few months but gave an important boost to the morale of English catholics. Campion was soon apprehended and executed in December 1581: Parsons left for the continent and never returned. Elizabeth's ministers were at pains to convict the Jesuits of duplicity and indeed their interpretation of the papal bull—that catholics were not bound by it ‘things being as they are’—was disingenuous. The events of the rest of the decade—powerful French and catholic influence in Scotland, plots against the queen's life, the threat of the Armada—combined to strengthen anti-catholic feeling in England, much of it concentrated on the Jesuits. But the culminating disaster for English catholics was the Gunpowder plot of 1605, which resulted in the capture of Henry Garnett, Jesuit superior in England for nearly twenty years. Though he claimed that he knew of the plot only through the confessional, others doubted, and he was executed as a traitor. For decades, ‘Jesuitical’ became a term of abuse, signifying mental reservation, prevarication, and casuistry. The prominence of Jesuits throughout Europe as teachers and confessors encouraged the belief that they practised relentless and insidious indoctrination. The fires of fear and hatred were stoked again by suspicions that Charles I (with a catholic wife) and Archbishop Laud were crypto-papists, and in 1679 by the lurid allegations of the Popish plot. Titus Oates purported to be a repentant Jesuit and his revelations of a Jesuit scheme to murder Charles II and place James, duke of York, on the throne brought nine Jesuits to the scaffold. But, in the long run, the Enlightenment proved more damaging to the order than downright persecution. The Jesuits were accused of accommodation and undue pliability in their zeal to proselytize and the order was wound up by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 after France, Spain, and Portugal had all moved against it. Surprisingly, it continued in Russia and Prussia, where there were many Jesuit teachers, and where Catherine the Great and Frederick the Great paid little attention to papal bulls. Though reconstituted in 1814 by Pope Pius VII, the circumstances which had made Jesuits so hated were no longer in existence. The French Revolution, in which the catholic church had been persecuted, first by de-Christianizers and then by Napoleon, had brought about a realignment, and French refugee clergy had been welcomed and given assistance in Britain. The English province of the order was re-established in 1829, with the Jesuits in Scotland, who had never been strong, tucked into that organization. Although fierce bursts of anti-catholic feeling were still possible, particularly at the time of ‘papal aggression’ in 1850, the role of the Society of Jesus was no longer a national bugbear.

J. A. Cannon


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JESUITS (or Society of Jesus ), Roman Catholic religious order established in 1534. Its founder, the Spaniard Ignatius of Loyola, in his youth had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was mainly responsible for the establishment of the House of *Catechumens, a home for converted Jews, in Rome in 1543. However, the object of the new order was not propaganda among the Jews but counter-propaganda in the Christian world to confront the growing danger from Protestantism. A problem with which the order had to deal from its earliest days was whether persons of Jewish origin should be admitted – in particular *Conversos or *New Christians in Spain, where the order was soon strongly entrenched. In the face of considerable opposition from his colleagues, Loyola himself insisted on disregarding the racial principle. Giovanni Battista *Eliano (Solomon Romano), the converted grandson of Elijah *Levita, became a member of the order as early as 1552. Loyola's secretary Juan Alfonso de Polanco and his principal coadjutor, Diego (Jaime) Lainez notoriously belonged to New Christian stock; the latter was elected in 1558 as Loyola's successor, serving as general of the order from 1558 to 1565. The more narrow view nevertheless gathered weight. In 1573, Polanco was not elected as general mainly because of his New Christian origin. In 1593, all descendants of Jews and Moors were debarred from membership of the order, and in 1608 this provision was confirmed in less explicit terms by the sixth general congregation. In its zeal for the propagation of the Catholic faith the Jesuits not infrequently spearheaded the onslaught on the Jews and Judaism, as was the case especially in *Poland in the 18th century. On the other hand, the attempt to curb the excesses of the Portuguese Inquisition in the second half of the 17th century was led by the Jesuit scholar Antonio Vieira, who was strenuously supported by his order. Jesuits, such as Augustine, Cardinal *Bea, have played an important role in the evolution of the post-World War ii Catholic attitude to the Jews.


Baron, Social2, 14 (1970), 9–17, 306–9, 306 n. 12, 308 n. 16.

Jesuit Relations

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JESUIT RELATIONS. Each Jesuit missionary in colonial and frontier America was required to report every year to his superior the events of his mission and the prospects for further exploration. Beginning in 1632 these reports were published annually in a volume entitled Relations and forwarded to the chief of the order in France or

Rome. The Jesuit missionaries wrote reports of the regions of Canada, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi Valley that could not be surpassed. In 1673 the publication was suspended; however, the missionaries continued to send in reports, which remained in manuscript for almost two centuries.

In all, forty-one separate Relations were published, and several American libraries have the full series. In 1896 Reuben G. Thwaites edited an expanded version entitled Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, covering the period 1610 to 1791. This edition included not only the published Relations but also other documents secured from many sources in America and Europe. It forms a source of unusual quality for the conditions of the North American continent at the time: accounts of the fauna and flora; descriptions of the lakes, rivers, and country; and mention of indications of minerals and other resources. It is especially useful to scholars for the information it provides about the customs and migrations of the native Americans, their relationship to the environment, the impact of European conquest and settlement on them, and European responses to indigeneous cultures.


Chapple, Christopher, ed. The Jesuit Tradition in Education and Missions: A 450-Year Perspective. Scranton, Pa.: University of Scranton Press, 1993.

Thwaites, Reuben G., ed. The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610–1791. New York: Pageant Book Co., 1959.

Louise PhelpsKellogg/a. r.

See alsoCatholicism ; French Frontier Forts ; Indian Missions ; Jesuits ; Religious Thought and Writings .


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Jesuits (officially Society of Jesus) Members of a Roman Catholic religious order for men, founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in 1534. They played a significant role in the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits were active missionaries. They antagonized many European rulers because they gave allegiance only to their general in Rome and to the pope. In 1773 Pope Clement XIV abolished the order, under pressure from the Kings of France, Spain, and Portugal, but it continued to exist in Russia. The order was re-established in 1814, and remains an influential international religious organization.