Jesuits are the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded half a millennium ago by the soldier-turned-mystic Ignatius Loyola. But most people call them”the Jesuits.”
In the vision of their founder, they seek to “find God in all things.” they dedicate themselves to the “greater glory of God” and the good of all humanity. And they do so gratefully in collaboration with others who share their values, including laypersons. Jesuits have become part of the “we,” the extended Jesuit family.
With 16,000-plus priests, brothers, scholastics and novices worldwide, they are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. Jesuits are made up of pastors, teachers, and chaplains. Jesuits are also doctors, lawyers, and astronomers, among many other roles in Church and society. In the Jesuits varied ministries, they care for the whole person: body, mind, and soul. And especially in the Jesuits education ministries, we seek to nurture “men and women for others.”
Jesuits draw on the rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality and reflection. In their retreat centers, parishes, campus ministries, and other settings, they offer these resources to all who want to discern God’s presence in their lives. At the same time, they also aim to be “contemplatives in action,” people who bring this spirituality into the wide world. That includes their work on behalf of global justice, peace, and dialogue.
As members of a religious order, Jesuits take three vows — of poverty, chastity and obedience — and a fourth vow of obedience specifically in regard to worldwide mission. In other words,the Jesuits must be ready to accept whatever mission the Pope requires, a vow that is reflective of their broader dedication to the universal Church, and to the greater good of all people from all faiths and cultures.
Jesuits collaboration with the laity flows from our personal relationships with Christ. They see themselves as companions of Jesus.