The Jesuits - Arsonists Who "Set The World On Fire"!
And one Pope!
Íñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola - From Sword To Cross
It all began with a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family - Iñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola (Ignatius of Loyola). Ignatius was an unlikely candidate for sainthood.
He had a reputation for being a womaniser and a compulsive gambler whose contentiousness had him engaged in duelling to add to his vices.
The battle of Pamplona where Ignatius was sent to defend Pamplona from the invading French proved to be the turning point in his life. It was here that his leg was shattered by a cannon ball and so was taken to the family castle in Loyola to recover. In order to divert the weary hours of convalescence, Ignatius asked for books on the romances of chivalry, his favourite reading, but there were none in the castle, and instead his beloved sister-in-law, Magdalena de Araoz brought him the lives of Christ and of the saints. The version of the lives of the saints he was reading contained prologues to the various lives by a Cistercian monk who conceived the service of God as a holy chivalry. This view of life profoundly moved and attracted Ignatius. After much reflection, he resolved to imitate the holy austerities of the saints in order to do penance for his sins.
As he read these books, Ignatius transformed from a man who craved worldly fame and pleasure to a man who desired to distinguish himself in the service of the Eternal King - Jesus. He began to see the saints as courageous knights serving the most regal of monarchs: Christ the King. The religious work which most particularly struck him was the De Vita Christi of Ludolph of Saxony. This book would influence his whole life, inspiring him to devote himself to God and follow the example of Francis of Assisi and other great monks.
In February 1522 Ignatius bade farewell to his family and journeyed to Montserrat, a place of pilgrimage in northeastern Spain. He spent three days in confessing the sins of his whole life, hung his sword and dagger near the statue of the Virgin Mary as symbols of his abandoned ambitions and clothed in sackcloth, spent the night of March 24 in prayer. The next day he went to Manresa, a town 48 km (30 miles) from Barcelona, to pass the decisive months of his career, from March 25, 1522, to mid-February 1523. He lived as a beggar, ate and drank sparingly, scourged himself, and for a time neither combed nor trimmed his hair and did not cut his nails. Daily he attended mass and spent seven hours in prayer, often in a cave outside Manresa. The sojourn at Manresa was marked by spiritual trials as well as by joy and interior light. While sitting one day on the banks of the Cardoner River, “the eyes of his understanding began to open and, without seeing any vision, he understood and knew many things, as well spiritual things as things of the faith” At Manresa he sketched the fundamentals of his little book The Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius compiled his spiritual insights into a prayer manual called the “Spiritual Exercises.” This book was intended to help people “seek and find the will of God” and guide them through a monthlong silent retreat.
Societas Jesu (The Company Of Jesus)
After a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he decided he could serve God best by studying for the priesthood.
While at the University of Paris, his manner of life, his religious views, and gift for leadership attracted followers. And so he gathered a group of six :
Saint Francisco Xavier (Spain),
Blessed Peter Faber(France)
Diego Laynez (Spain)
Alfonso Salmeron (Spain)
Nicolás Bobadilla (Spain)
Simão Rodrigues de Azevedo (Portugal)
Friends who vowed themselves to poverty and chastity and placed themselves at the disposal of the Pope This band of energetic well-educated men who desired nothing more than to help others find God in their lives called themselves the Company of Jesus, and also Amigos en El Señor or "Friends in the Lord", because they felt "they were placed together by Christ"
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For The Greater Glory Of God)
In 1537, they traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests. These initial steps led to the founding of what would
be called the Society of Jesus. Besides the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they would also make a separate fourth vow: to go anywhere the Pope would send them.
On Sept. 27, 1540, Pope Paul III approved their petition to form a religious order and also approved their constitution without a single word altered.
Eventually, they decided that it was for God’s Greater Glory that they unite themselves into a formally constituted organization by the vow of religious obedience to a superior. They drew up a document outlining the characteristics of the religious order they had in mind. The Compañia de Jesus (Companions of Jesus) would be primarily apostolic, not hidden away in some monastery, but out in the world.
And so the Society of Jesus was born.
The Schoolmasters Of Europe
However the Jesuits are especially known for their educational institutions. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the Jesuits were called the schoolmasters of Europe not only because of their schools but also for
their pre-eminence as scholars scientists and the thousands of textbooks they composed.
Scholars, Explorers, Scientists
35 lunar craters have been named to honour Jesuit scientists.
The so-called "Gregorian" Calendar was the work of the Jesuit Christopher Clavius, the "most influential teacher of the Renaissance".
Five of the eight major rivers of the worldwere first charted by Jesuit explorers.
Men like Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius spearheaded the Counter Reformation in Europe, courageous men like Edmund Campion assisted the Catholics in England suffering under the terrible Elizabethan persecutions and missionaries like deNobili Claver, González, deBrito, Brebeuf, and Kino brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth. No other order has more martyrs for the Faith.
By 1750, 30 of the world's 130 astronomical observatories were run by Jesuit astronomers
Another Jesuit, Ferdinand Verbiest, determined the elusive Russo-Chinese borderand until recent times no foreign name was as well known in China as the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, "Li-ma-teu", whose story is told by Jonathan Spence in his 1984 best seller.
China has recently erected a monument to the Jesuit scientists of the 17th century - in spite of the fact that since 1948 120 Jesuits languished in Chinese prisons.
No other religious order has spent as many man-years in jail as the Jesuit order.
Two of the statues in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington are Jesuits: Eusebio Kino and Jacques Marquette.
A 1978 Brazilian stamp celebrates the Jesuit founding of São Paulo
Spanish Jesuits went to Paraguay in 1607, built settlements which lasted from 1607 to 1767 for the indigenous people and taught them how to govern and defend themselves against the Spanish slave traders. They also taught agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, farming, music, ranching and printing. The Guaraní natives of Paraguay were printing books on art, literature as well as school texts in these settlements before the American revolution.
This Utopia was suddenly crushed by the influential slave traders who were able to intimidate the Spanish crown into destroying the settlements.
King Charles III expelled the Jesuits in 1767 when Paraguay boasted of 57 settlements serving 113,716 indigenous natives. These Jesuit Settlements were called "a triumph of humanity which seems to expiate the cruelties of the first conquerors" by Voltaire - hardly a friend of the Jesuits.
The history of Latin America would have been quite different if this form of settlement had been allowed to develop according to its own momentum, offering democracy a century before North America.
Jesuit Institutions in Mumbai)
Saint Mary's School (ICSE)
Saint Mary's School (SSC)
Saint Xavier's High School (Fort)
Saint Xavier's Boys Academy
Saint Stanislaus School
Holy Family High School
Saint Xavier's College (Autonomous)
Saint Xavier's Technical Institute