Who are the Jesuits

Founded almost 500 years ago by St Ignatius of Loyola, the Society of Jesus is a missionary order of priests and brothers (a.k.a. the Jesuits) who are present in every corner of the globe. They draw on the rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality and reflection, sharing this with others to help them discern God’s will for their lives. Jesuits are contemplatives in action who live in community as companions in a mission of reconciliation and justice.

Jesuits work in many different roles: parish priests, teachers, doctors, spiritual directors, lawyers, writers, artists and astronomers… In all spheres, the Jesuits are grateful for the partnership of countless others who share with them in the service of the mission, including Christians of other traditions and people of other faiths and of none.

The Jesuits are the largest Catholic order of men in the world and their headquarters are in Rome, close to the Vatican. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope.

Fully professed Jesuits take four vows: the three customary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, plus a fourth vow of obedience to the Pope specifically in regard to worldwide mission. The fourth vow reflects a dedication to the service of the universal Church and the greater good, and it means that Jesuits are ready to accept whatever mission the Pope gives them.

To visit the website of the General Curia in Rome click on the logo below. To find out more about the Discerning Leadership programme, click here


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religious order, Catholic, 1540, St Ignatius, brothers, priests