The Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
The Society of Jesus (widely known as the Jesuits) is a worldwide Roman Catholic religious order that is present in many countries in the world.
There are nearly 20,000 Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics (young men on their way to the priesthood) studying and implementing a vast range of ministries – pastoral, educational, social and others. The Jesuits are organized into some 100 Provinces and Regions and much of their work is realized in close collaboration with lay people.
As an international body, the Society unites their ministry in local communities in a global network. CJI is linked to this network and its mission is intimately connected with that of the Jesuits, who seek to proclaim a faith that does justice and respond to needs neglected by others.
The founder of the order, St Ignatius of Loyola, and early his companions set the example when they responded to the crisis of homelessness and poverty in Rome in 1538. They gathered the homeless and brought them to their home, giving their own beds to the sick. They wanted to live with and serve the poor. No task, however spiritual, was judged complete unless it included practical charitable work.
During their last General Congregation, held in 2008, the Jesuits emphasised their universality, saying: “Serving Christ’s mission today means paying special attention to its global context. This context requires us to act as a universal body with a universal mission, realising at the same time the radical diversity of our situations.”