The Jesuits

Photo by Mikel Agirregabiria at flickr.com
(Photo shared via Creative Commons)Monsignor Peter Magee was serving in the Vatican Embassy in El Salvador in November 1989, when six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were killed. Thirty years on, he recalls the social and political climate in El Salvador at the time, and his own vivid memories of visiting the site of the murders. ‘That moment had a profound impact on me and on my understanding of being a priest.’ Pope Francis declared October 2019 to be an Extraordinary Mission...
A 17th century painting in a church in Colva depicting the attack on Cuncolim in 1583 (via Wikimedia Commons)
October 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the death of Thomas Stephens SJ, a translator and writer who authored several works including the Kristapurana for which he is best known. This powerful text is much more than an imaginative retelling of the biblical narrative, says Michael Barnes SJ, who celebrates Stephens’ pastoral and literary gifts. Fr Thomas Stephens SJ, the 400th anniversary of whose death is celebrated this year, was a remarkable linguist and translator, pastoral priest and...
If the Society of Jesus was founded to help souls, the souls of those outside the Society, why have Jesuits always been so determined to tell their own story? As Thomas Flowers SJ celebrates the work of Jesuit historian James Brodrick, he discovers that ‘Jesuit history is not about glorying in the past triumphs of the Society. Rather, Jesuit history is about teaching Jesuits to be better Jesuits, and all Christians to be better followers of Christ.’ In 1960, looking back over fifty years...
Peter Canisius by Moriz Bermann
The Society of Jesus has recently announced four Universal Apostolic Preferences, which are intended to guide Jesuit works in their mission of reconciliation and justice over the next ten years. The preferences, says Thomas Flowers SJ, ‘are a call to a renewed personal, communal and apostolic discernment of how to serve the Church and the world today’. What can the modern Society learn from the example of a sixteenth century Jesuit who had to listen carefully to the way in which God was calling...
Stephen Noon SJ
Earlier this year, Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ announced four new Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus for the next ten years: Promoting Discernment and the Spiritual Exercises; Walking with the Excluded; Caring for Our Common Home; and Journeying with Youth. Jesuit scholastic Stephen Noon is confident that the Spirit has been at work in the discernment of these priorities for the Jesuits. It was not quite at the same level as my childhood eagerness for the coming of Santa...
Pope Francis
13 March 2013 was the date of the historic election of the first Jesuit pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ took the name of Francis and in the five years since, he has captured headlines, imaginations and hearts worldwide. Nicholas Austin SJ looks at one of the foundation stones of Francis’ papacy and, indeed, his life as a Jesuit: discernment. What, according to Pope Francis, does it mean to be a discerning Christian? When Pope Francis was asked, in the famous interview published by Thinking...
Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash
A new audio resource, Women of God, Women of the Cross, from the Jesuits in Britain introduces you to the women who encountered Jesus during his passion. Using our senses to enter into their stories as we listen to them is not an end in itself, says Gemma Simmonds CJ. The application of the senses, as Ignatius calls it, is an instrument of prayer and discernment, and one that extols faculties that have been – and, too often, still are – associated with women and disparaged. Of all the ways...
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
The writings of Ignatius of Loyola are not the only texts to which we can turn as we seek to understand and practise discernment. The authors of the New Testament, as they sought to explore what it meant for God to have revealed himself in Christ, had plenty to say about how we can discover where God is, and is not, at work in our lives. Nicholas King SJ identifies certain passages that can aid our Lenten study of discernment. The pope is currently asking the Church to do something at...
Edmund Campion and Evelyn Waugh
How did the patron saint of the Jesuits in Britain, who was martyred on 1 December 1581, transform the life of one England’s most celebrated authors nearly 400 years later? Gerard Kilroy, the co-editor of a new edition of Evelyn Waugh's Edmund Campion, describes the motivations behind and evolution of Waugh’s ‘work of imaginative literature’.  Thomas More and John Fisher were canonised by Pope Pius XI on 19 May 1935; in the same month, Evelyn Waugh finished writing his gripping...
Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet SJ in Gunpowder
The opening half of episode 3 of Gunpowder was a vast improvement on the episode that preceded it.Thankfully it kept fairly close to the broadly known facts, and was a simple but presentable visualisation of the events. It covered the final loading of the parliamentary undercroft with barrels of explosives; the breakdown of the Gunpowder Plot (either via an anonymous letter to Lord Monteagle or a creative twist hinting at betrayal by the Spanish); the fleeing of the plotters to the Midlands;...

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