Who are Jesuits?
The name “JESUIT” refers to the members of the SOCIETY OF JESUS, which is a men’s Religious Order within the Catholic Church. Established in 1540 by St Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuits have a long history of serving the Catholic Church and are currently engaged in ministries around the world, in 127 countries on six continents.
Pope Francis, the first “Jesuit pope,” joined the Jesuits in Argentina in 1958, and had served as the Provincial Superior, the Director of Novices, and Rector of the Jesuit Seminary in San Miguel, before being elevated to a bishop, archbishop, and then a cardinal. He was elected Pope on March 13th, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI,his predecessor, when addressing the Jesuit leaders in Rome said “The Church needs you, relies on you and continues to turn to you with trust, particularly to reach those physical and spiritual places which others do not reach or have difficulty in reaching.” (Address to the 35th General Congregation of Jesuits, February 21st, 2008)
Earlier, Pope Paul VI, in his exhortation to the Jesuits said, “Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme fields, at the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, there has been and there is confrontation between the burning exigencies of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, here also there have been, and there are, Jesuits.” (Address to the 32nd General Congregation of Jesuits, 3rd December 1974).
Over the years, numerous Jesuits have been declared Saints and Blesseds in the Catholic Church and are presented to us as role models of people of faith.
The Jesuits are well known as educators. They run a number of educational institutions. In Calcutta Province we run a University college (autonomous), six High Schools and 2 Primary schools. We have also various other activities, especially in the rural areas.