The Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, is a religious group of male members who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. The group was founded just before the start of the Catholic Reformation, in 1543. The Jesuits are known well for their founding of many schools and universities, intellectual research, and for their work as being missionaries. The Jesuits were not formed to put down the Protestantism, but simply to follow the church. Their main goal at the beginning of the society’s existence was to convert Mohammedans to Catholicism. The Jesuits have been around for many centuries, and they are still here to this day.
On August 15, 1534, seven students from the University of Paris formed the Society of Jesus. Those students were, Ignatius of Loyola, Francisco Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla, Peter Faber, and Simão Rodrigues. The men believed that they were brought together by Christ, so that is why they called them self the Company of Jesus. The society went to Pope Paul III to ask if they could train to be ordained priests in the Catholic Church. In 1540, after they were accepted to be priests, the group officially became the Society of Jesus, but the Pope had limited the number of allowed members to the group to sixty members. But three years later, in 1543, the limit of sixty members that was placed on the Jesuits was removed by the bull injunctum nobis.
The first time the Jesuits went around the world as missionaries and starting schools and colleges, was when Ignatius was chosen to be the first superior general. The Jesuits, while on missions, would spread the word of Christ to people all around the world. They would teach the people of the world about Jesus, and the Catholic Church. The Jesuits started many schools and universities around the world. The schools and universities that they started offered many courses like Latin, Greek, sciences, arts, literature, and poetry. Those schools also had a very good law school, which made many lawyers and public officials.
The Jesuits started to do their first work for the Pope and the Catholic Church during the beginning of the Catholic Reformation. At first, the Jesuits served the Catholic Church by encouraging people to continue following the Catholic scriptures, and to stay loyal to the Catholic Church. A little after the reformation had started, the Jesuits realized that the Catholic Church did need a reformation. In the Catholic Church, there was a great amount of religious exhaustion and corruption, which caused many struggles for the Jesuits and the church as a whole.
To convert people to Catholicism, the Jesuits used something that they called Spiritual Exercises. It was a way to get people to apply to be a Jesuit,which would convert them to Catholicism. The applicants and the Jesuits would go on a retreat, where they would meditate, to see deeper into their motives and to adapt to the rules of order for the society. If the superiors at the retreat liked what they saw from the new applicants, then those who were liked would be accepted into the Society.
Throughout the period of the Catholic reformation, the Jesuits were doing good things to benefit the Catholic Church. The Jesuits did many things to try to convert non-believers of the Catholic Church, or people who were leaving the church they tried to convince to stay. They opened up their society to the world, by letting anyone who wanted to apply to their society. The Jesuits were constantly loyal to the Catholic Church, and they dedicated their whole lives to the church basically. Everything they did was to benefit the church, by helping in masses, or by converting people to follow and believe in their scriptures. Not only did the Jesuits help the Catholic Church but also they helped the world. The also dedicated their lives to educating everyone around the world. They built many schools around the world, which were very big schools in making lawyers and public officials. The Jesuits were great people, who dedicated their lives to make the world a better place.
“Counter-Reformation.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.
Pollen, John Hungerford. “History of the Jesuits Before the 1773 Suppression.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 16 Nov. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14086a.htm>.