Jesuit Terms A
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Acosta, Jose de (1540-1600)
Spanish Jesuit; missioner to Latin America; cultural anthropologist
Jose de Acosta went to the University of Salamanca and entered the Jesuits at an early age. At 17, he was writing poetry and plays and teaching grammar and humanities. As a student at the University of Alcala, then the intellectual hub of Spain, he came into contact with some of the most brilliant minds in Europe. He was nominated to succeed the famous Cardinal Toledo in the chair of theology at the Gregorian University, the intellectual headquarters of the Jesuits.
Instead, he volunteered to work in the New World and was sent to colonial Peru, a far more difficult front for his intellectual and pastoral activities. This new world of native peoples and (supposedly Christian) conquistadores challenged him with a host of intellectual and moral problems, shaking his ideas at their very foundations and forcing him to new understandings.
Gradually, Acosta undertook the most systematic, enlightened and compassionate study of Latin America made during colonial times. After 14 years in Peru and several more in Mexico, he returned to Europe and published two great volumes, one on the culture and customs of the American natives and the other on how to present the gospel to them. With the perspective of four centuries, we can say that Jose de Acosta deserves to be called a founder of the discipline of cultural anthropology and one of the most important interpreters of the new world to the old.
In his later life back in Spain, he was drawn into contact and action with the small but powerful group of dissident Spanish Jesuits that sought to remove superior general Claudio Acquaviva from office.
(Taken from Traub, Xavier magazine [Winter 1991]. There is a biography of Acosta: Claudio Burgaleta, Jose de Acosta [1540-1600]: His Life and Thought [Loyola, 1999].)
The 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States have educated over one million living graduates to be people of competence and compassion. See some of the famous, influential, and noteworthy alumni from Xavier University and elsewhere.
IMAGE LEFT: Julie Isphording, seen here, graduated from Xavier University in 1983 and went on to become a member of the first-ever women's U.S. Olympic Marathon team.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (Latin)
"For the greater glory of God." Motto of the Society of Jesus.
Amaladoss, Michael (1936- )
Indian Jesuit; theologian
Michael Amaladoss grew up in an Indian Christian family in South India and joined the Jesuits in 1953. In addition to the regular course of Jesuit formation and education, he studied South Indian classical music, art, and culture. He wrote a doctoral dissertation at the Institut Catholique in Paris on the variable and invariable elements in sacramental rites.
After returning to India, he founded an interreligious dialogue group with the creative British Benedictine Bede Griffiths, and he taught on the Jesuit theological faculty in Delhi with his former teacher, Jacques Dupuis. Next, he spent twelve years as a counselor to superior general Peter-Hans Kolvenbach with special responsibility for Jesuit missions. He dislikes being called a missiologist, however, and wants to be known as “an Indian theologian who is also interested in mission and dialogue, inculturation and liberation” (“My Pilgrimage in Mission,” International Bulletin of Mission Research, 31 ).
See Hinsdale, “Jesuit Theological Discourse since Vatican II," Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008).
Spanish Jesuit; missioner to Brazil; father of Brazilian literature, and one of the founders of two great cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; saint
A native of the Canary Islands [Spanish territory], though his father was born and raised in the Basque land of NE Spain, he studied at the Jesuit College of Coimbra in Portugal and from there entered the Jesuits at age 17. Right after he completed his two-year novitiate and in spite of a painful spinal condition, he asked to be sent to the missions in Brazil.
There he mastered the native Tupi language, wrote its first grammar as well as volumes on theology, theater, poetry and on the country’s wild life and geography.
His extensive, difficult and dangerous travels around the vast country led to his founding various missions including those that became Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. He recognized and exposed the injustices Portuguese conquerors inflicted on the people but he also risked his life to negotiate peace with a hostile tribe and its leader whom he won over.
Anchieta’s lucid and detailed reports back to his superiors in Rome are still considered important today for understanding the lives, knowledge and customs of the indigenous people and the colonizing Europeans during this time.
He was declared a saint by Pope Francis in April 2014.
Mary-Cabrini Durkin, Ours: Jesuit Portraits (2006)
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Apostle is the role given to the inner circle of 12 whom Jesus "sent out" (on mission) and to a few others like Saint Paul. Hence apostolate means a "mission endeavor or activity" and apostolic means "mission-like."
Aquaviva, Claudio (1543-1615)
Italian Jesuit; 5th superior general
Elected superior general at the age of 37, when he had been a Jesuit for only 14 years. Served in this office for 34 years, by far the longest term of any superior general. (A group of dissident Jesuits in Spain lobbied to remove him from office; some also favored secession of Spanish Jesuits from the order. Neither goal was realized.)
During his generalate, the Society grew from 5,000 to 13,000. He codified Jesuit educational practice with the definitive edition of the Ratio Studiorum [The Plan of Studies] (1599) and did the same for the collected practices and guidelines for giving the Exercises with the Official Directory of 1599.
He was concerned about questions of missiology and the adaptation of the gospel to non-European cultures (e.g., India, Japan, China). Within the order, he promoted the yearly making of some week-long version of the Spiritual Exercises (earlier it was assumed that making the full Exercises once was good for life).
ArchdioceseWithin the Roman Catholic Church, a district of importance due to size or historical significance.
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Arrupe, Pedro (1907-1991)
Basque Jesuit; 28th superior general of the Jesuits (1965-81)
Pedro Arrupe was the central figure in the renewal of the Society after Vatican Council II, paying attention both to the spirit of Ignatius the founder and to the signs of our times. From the Basque country of northern Spain, he left medical school to join the Jesuits, was expelled from Spain in 1932 with all the other Jesuits, studied theology in Holland, and received further training in spirituality and psychology in the U.S. Arrupe spent 27 years in Japan (where among many other things, suspected of being a spy, he was put in solitary confinement for 33 days early in WW II and near the end cared for victims of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima) until his election in 1965 as superior general. He is considered the founder of the modern, post-Vatican II Society of Jesus.
See Pedro Arrupe: One Jesuit's Spiritual Journey: Autobiographical Conversations with Jean-Claude Dietsch
See "Men and Women for Others"
Pedro Arrupe's Mysticism of Open Eyes Kevin Burke, SJ, Jesuit School of Theology
See Pedro Arrupe: His Life and Legacy (Georgetown University. DVD. Distributed by the Institute for Jesuit Sources in St. Louis)
Jesuit Higher Education
Catholic and Christian Higher Ed
- Cristo Rey Network
- Jesuit Secondary Education Association
- National Catholic Education Association (Elementary - University)
Authors of articles in this "Jesuit A to Z" collection
- GS = Grace Skalski, CSJ
- JAMR = Jo Ann M. Recker, SNDdeN
- JH= Jennifer Head, BVM
- JM = Judith Metz, SC
- MA = Marjorie Allen, RSM
- M-CD = Mary-Cabrini Durkin
- PK = Phil Kilroy, rscj
- RB and JM = Regina Bechtle, SC, and Judith Metz, SC
- SA = Susan Arcaro, rc
- SC = Sarah Cantor, SNJM
- SM = Sarah MacDonald
Most of the articles without author initials in this "Jesuit A to Z" section were written (with help from many sources) by George W. Traub, SJ.
JESUIT A TO Z: An expanded version of the publication "Do You Speak Ignatian?"