Jesuit Terms C
- Campion, Edmund
- Canisius, Peter
- Carroll, John
- Catholic Identity
- Catholic Intellectual Tradition, The
- Christian Doctrines, Central
- Clarke, Mary Frances
- Claver, Peter
- Clavius, Christopher
- Colleges and Universities
- Colloquy, The
- Common Good
- Communion of Saints
- Conferences & Retreats
- Congregation of St. Joseph,
Founding of the
- Conversations on Catholic Identity
- Conway Institute for Jesuit Education
- Couderc, Therese
- Cristo Rey Network
- Cura Personalis
British Jesuit; martyr; saint
William Allen’s seminary for training British diocesan priests in Douai, Belgium, was the principal hope of Catholics in the England of anti-Catholic penal laws. Two of these well-trained men, Thomas Woodhouse and John Nelson, smuggled into their homeland, were captured and, while awaiting execution in the Tower of London, asked to be admitted to the Society of Jesus. They were the first Jesuit martyrs to die in England. Allen kept urging the Jesuit superior general to establish an English Jesuit mission. After some hesitations, he did so. And therefore, in 1580, three Jesuits including Edmund Campion, disguised, landed on the coast of Kent. “All three were to know the efficiency of the English government’s spy system” (Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus ).
Before entering the Jesuits on the Continent, Campion had distinguished himself as a student at Oxford and come to the attention of Queen Elizabeth, who twice offered him prestigious offices in the Church of England, which twice he turned down. Shortly after his return to England, he issued a manifesto about his mission, now known as Campion’s Brag. In it he asserted that his purpose was religious, not political. Here is his famous conclusion:
And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits of the world—cheerfully to carry the cross you lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn [place of execution in London], or to be racked with your torments, or to be consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun. It is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted, so it must be restored.
Eventually Campion was betrayed by a spy, captured, and taken to the Tower of London, where he was stretched on the rack, and then, in the customary manner of execution, “hanged, drawn, and quartered” [that is, hanged, cut down while still alive, disemboweled, and his body cut into four parts].
From 1880 to 1975, the Jesuits had a boarding school (secondary) for boys in Prairie du Chien, WI, named Campion Jesuit High School. The school’s slogan was “Give Campion a boy and get back a man.
See Waugh, Edmund Campion (1946) and The Reckoned Expense: Edmund Campion and the Early English Jesuits, rev. and enl., ed. Thomas M. McCoog (2007).
Canisius, Peter (1521-1597)
Dutch Jesuit; “Second Apostle of Germany” [St. Boniface was the first—8th cent]
The 22 year old Peter Canisius (a Latinized form of his name), born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and educated at the University of Cologne, went to Mainz, Germany, to seek out Peter Faber (one of the early companions of Ignatius in Paris). Faber guided him through the Spiritual Exercises and, honoring the discernment he made during the retreat, admitted him to the Society of Jesus.
Ignatius as superior general sent him to be part of the team that founded the first Jesuit school for non-Jesuit students in Messina, Sicily. From there he was called by the pope and sent to Germany, where he spent the rest of his life writing, founding and running colleges (18), and preaching—perhaps his most important ministry. His preaching drew people back to the Catholic church who had gone away in response to the Protestant reformers. Among the cities where he worked were Ingolstadt (Bavaria), Vienna (Austria), Prague (Bohemia), Innsbruck (Austria), and Fribourg (Switzerland).
The most famous and popular of Canisius’ 37 books was the Catechism, which he composed in Latin, but which was soon translated into German. The original, intended for university students, was adapted for secondary schools and then for children just starting their religious education. All of these together had some 200 printings during his lifetime and continued to be used into the 19th century. Catechism and Canisius were synonymous.
A senior Catholic church official, a “prince of the church” and elector of the pope
Appointed by the pope, cardinals advise him when asked. Together (in number well over 100) they make up the College of Cardinals, whose major charge is to elect a new pope--bishop of Rome--when the previous one dies or resigns. Except for the patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic churches, cardinals--wherever they come from--are considered clergy of the diocese of Rome in order to be in continuity with the tradition that the clergy elect their bishop. (A cardinal who turns 80 years old ceases to be an elector.)
In addition to this crucial role, it often happens that cardinals, as bishops, head a diocese, or they may run a department of the Vatican.
Carroll, John (1735-1816)
American; first bishop of U.S.; founder of Georgetown University
Born in the Maryland colony and educated in Europe where he joined the Jesuits. With the pope’s Suppression of the Society in 1773, he returned to his family’s plantation in Maryland and ministered to people in what is now the District of Columbia. In 1786 he was appointed superior of the clergy in the U.S., and he moved to found Georgetown Academy (later University) in 1789 to provide intelligent, educated laity for the new country. Carroll was appointed Bishop of Baltimore and gathered around him fellow ex-Jesuits to form “The Catholic Gentlemen of Maryland.” His diocese was all of the United States.
As leader of the American Catholic church, Carroll was centuries ahead of his time. He advocated liturgy in the vernacular, participation of the laity in the running of the church, and in the selection of bishops interference neither by the state nor by church administration in Rome.
In 1814, two years before his death, the Jesuits were re-established; and Carroll anticipated an influx of new Jesuit teachers for his favored project Georgetown.
The word comes from the Greek meaning “through the whole,” that is “universal,” “world-wide,” “all inclusive.” This is the meaning when the word starts with a lower-case c as in “We need to become more catholic in our attitudes.” In talking about the “Catholic church” (Catholic with a capital C), members often mean “the pope and the bishops” or “the Vatican.” But Vatican Council II, in its Constitution on the Church, used several other terms with inclusive meanings like “the People of God.”
For us in Jesuit education, the question is often “Are we maintaining and enhancing our ‘Catholic Identity’?” Despite the fact that there are entire books devoted to the question, the answer is not easy to come by. A careful reading of the various essays on “The Issue of Catholic Identity” in A Jesuit Education Reader seems to indicate both that much is being done and that more needs to be done.
Some people, when they hear the word Catholic think "thought control" or "one-issue myopia." Even if there is some justification for their attitude, they are probably operating with little more than news-media knowledge of Catholicism, with no sense of the rich and diverse Catholic intellectual tradition, the artistic tradition accompanying it, the Catholic social justice tradition since 1891, or the witness of heroic lives lived in the past and especially our own time.
After the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and 16th-century Catholic reform, for centuries prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), there was a homogeneity to Catholic belief, theology, and practice in most of Europe and North America. That kind of unity now feels long-gone, for there is currently such a broad spectrum—one might almost say polarization—of Catholic theologies and spirituality that some Catholics feel “closer” to some Protestants than they do to other Catholics. It seems likely that the Catholic unity of the future will be far from uniformity, but rather will incorporate some of present-day pluralism within its unity.
Read more on the term "Catholic"
Click here for 3-minute video excerpt about the various forms of Catholicism.
See also Vatican Council II.
See also Hellwig, “The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Catholic University” and other essays in the same section of A Jesuit Education Reader.
The essential characteristics of a Catholic university were outlined in an apostolic constitution issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church) defines the catholicism of Catholic institutions of higher education through their shared values, identity, and mission; it states:
Since the objective of a Catholic university is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic university, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
- A Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
- A continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
- Fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
- An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life." (nn 13)
For more information read "Foundations of Xavier University’s Catholic Identity", "Xavier’s Catholic Identity.", and see our Resource page
Back to top
Catholic Intellectual Tradition, The
Theologian Monika Hellwig (1929-2005) defines the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in terms of its content and also its approach to knowledge, to reality. Content -- this includes not just great written works like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dante's Divine Comedy, Shakespeare's plays (especially great tragedies), Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, G.M. Hopkins' poetry (especially The Wreck of the Deutschland), Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Georges Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest and Teilhard de Chardin's The Human Phenomenon (the recent English re-translation), but also great works of art--music, painting, stained glass, sculpture and architecture. Approach to knowledge, to reality -- it recognizes the continuity of faith and reason, respects the cumulative wisdom of the past, has an anti-elitist bent, pays attention to how knowledge is used (for good or ill), works toward the integration of knowledge, and operates out of the "sacramental principle" (all of creation can lead us to the sacred, to God).
Christian doctrines, CentralThe central Christian doctrines are Trinity, Incarnation, and Grace. In the doctrine of the Trinity, with its "threeness" in one God, many theologians see the foundation for the call to human beings (God’s creation) of community, equality and self-giving love (see the entry “God,” paragraph 2). Though many can recite the Christian creed, they can fail to understand the implications of the Incarnation, God’s becoming fully human in Jesus.* Thus God is committed to the human enterprise, and by becoming more and more human—our vocation in Jesus--we become more like God (see the entry “Judaeo-Christian Vision,” paragraph 3 [“God has freely chosen . . . .”] and “Jesus,” paragraph 1). Grace tells us about the gratuitous character of God’s love and salvation; we can’t earn God’s love, but we don’t have to. God gives it freely, unconditionally.
Clarke, Mary Frances (1803-1887)
Founder, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque, Iowa)
Mary Frances Clarke, Dublin-born founder of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was a young woman of 31 years when she and four companions immigrated to Philadelphia in 1833. In leaving Ireland they listed their occupation as “religious.” In Philadelphia they encountered Rev. Terence J. Donaghoe, a benefactor, colleague, mentor and friend and who was among the first to affirm their religious calling. On November 1, 1833, they became the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
While serving in Philadelphia, the sisters received a visit from Jesuit Pierre De Smet. His compelling accounts of life on the American frontier persuaded them to accept the invitation of Bishop Mathias Loras to minister in the remote Iowa Territory. In 1843 the first group of sisters journeyed with Bishop Loras to Dubuque, Iowa; the rest of the Community followed several months later. They were soon caught up in the hardships and hopes of the settlers, sharing the struggles of prairie families, farmers and lead miners. The fledgling Community began opening schools along the Mississippi River, east to Chicago (at the invitation of the Rev. Arnold Damen, SJ in 1867) and west to San Francisco and Phoenix. Each newly-established Mission carried reminders of Mary Frances Clarke’s urging: “Keep our schools progressive with the times in which we live in inventiveness and forethought.”
When Father Donaghoe died in 1869, Mary Frances Clarke assumed full leadership, renewing efforts to preserve the identity, integrity and purpose of her community. She was among the first women to seek incorporation in the state of Iowa (September 30, 1869). Thanks to her initiative and the counsel of Peter Koopmans, SJ, many of his brother Jesuits and other friends of the Community, the Rule of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary received final approbation from Pope Leo XIII on March 15, 1885.
Mary Frances Clarke died peacefully on December 4, 1887, having her request honored that no BVM history be written during her lifetime. At that time, the 499 living members of the Community administered forty parish schools and nine boarding academies for young women. Throughout her life she had urged the sisters to welcome all students, regardless of religious affiliation or ability to pay. She trusted Community members to become mature women, open to the changing face of ministry, able to adapt, to improvise, to develop lifestyles and educational methods uniquely suited to the needs of the times and the challenges in church and society. By encouraging the sisters to “incite” their students to think, generations of her followers both women and men continue to become leaders whose gifts and energies impact spiritual, intellectual, creative, technological and many other frontiers unforeseen by that long-ago circle of friends from Dublin.
Claver, Peter (1580-1654)
Spanish (Catalan) Jesuit; “slave of the slaves forever”; saint
As a young Jesuit scholastic, Peter Claver studied at the Jesuit college in Palma on the island of Majorca. There he became good friends with the wise and holy brother doorkeeper, Alphonsus Rodriguez. Alphonsus encouraged him to consider going on mission to the New World for his life’s work. And that is what Peter did.
In 1610, he sailed across the Atlantic to Cartagena, Colombia, infamous for being the chief slave market of South America. There he was trained for ministry with the enslaved people from West Africa by an older Jesuit, Alfonso Sandoval, a great spokesman for the dignity of the slaves. After ordination, then, Claver, binding himself by vow to be “slave of the slaves forever,” carried on a tireless ministry of compassion and care for nearly forty years. He “met the slave ships, descended into the stinking holds filled with poor, frenzied, distressed [human beings,] brought physical relief by his practical nursing in a spirit of tenderness” and spiritual support with the gift of faith (Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus ).
Clavius, Christopher (1538-1612)
German Jesuit; mathematician; creator of the present calendar
For 45 years Christopher Clavius [Christoph Klau in German] taught mathematics at the Roman College (in the 16th century, the premier seat of Jesuit higher education). He won the respect and friendship of virtually every significant mathematician and astronomer of his day. He was a life-long friend of Galileo. He exerted a wide influence on the schools of Europe as well as those in China through his Jesuit pupils laboring there.
Clavius’ best-known contribution was his reform—at the request of Pope Gregory XIII—of the Julian calendar, which gave a year 11 minutes plus longer than the actual solar year. The new Gregorian calendar was not accepted everywhere. In various parts of Europe, people broke windows in Jesuit residences as a protest. The Orthodox church saw the new calendar as a Roman intrusion (which it was), and Protestant countries were reluctant to accept any decree from a pope. England did not change to the new calendar until 1751, while Orthodox Russia would require the Bolshevik revolution to change. (MacDonnell, Jesuit Family Album)
The Clavius Group of mathematicians, founded by a number of Jesuits in 1963 (but soon joined by other religious and lay colleagues), gather every summer (along with spouses and children) at a different university to work together in keeping with the behest of their namesake: “Let an academy be formed for the advancement of mathematics” (Christopher Clavius ).
Colleges and Universities
Often in the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius recommends concluding a time of prayer with a colloquy, a brief conversation with God or Jesus or a saint “as one friend speaks to another.” The suggestion implies that the prayer, though all through addressed, say, to God, can at the end become less formal, more natural and more familiar, friendly.
At key times in the Exercises Ignatius suggests a specific content for the colloquy—usually asking for some grace or favor.Back to top
A concept traceable back to Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and in modern times to the church’s social teaching from Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum (1891) to the Second Vatican Council’s Church in the Modern World and several encyclical letters of John Paul II (1978-2005). The concept is amenable to other religious traditions and to the ethics of “humanist” philosophy as well. It teaches that when we care for our neighbors as ourselves, all of us live better lives (and not just the few). Unfortunately, many of our American people including ones marginally well off do not believe this teaching. Hurting and angry, they allow themselves to be used against their own self-interest by the greedy and most powerful.
While charity for the least fortunate is good and important, “the common good is best served when all are able to make their own contributions to social and economic life”
(“What Is the Common Good?” <catholicsinalliance.org>).
See the related concept of “Solidarity.”
Back to top
Communion of Saints
In Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican Christianity, the belief that there is a real and powerful solidarity between those who have gone before to God (saints “canonized” [i.e. declared so by the church] and uncanonized) and those still on their pilgrim way (Paul refers to the latter as saints in his letters).
Conferences & Retreats
To view a list of all conferences and retreats, click here.
Congregation of St. Joseph, Founding of the --
The Congregation of St. Joseph began in the year 1650 in a small town in south central France called Le Puy-en-Velay. There a Jesuit priest, Jean Pierre Medaille (1610-1669), helped found a community of six women who shared his vision of the needs of the Church and society and who wanted to support each other in responding to those needs.
At that time, France was a country ripe for the Revolution that was to sweep over it in the next century. For many years, the country had been torn apart by wars that left women widowed and children orphaned and their villages and towns ruined by plundering armies. Economic conditions took the heaviest toll upon the most vulnerable in society. Prisons were filled with debtors. Aware of the deplorable conditions, the first Sisters of St. Joseph heard God’s call to be instruments to bring about unity in a broken world.
Up to that time religious life for women was limited to cloistered life. Bishop Henri de Maupas of Le Puy offered his patronage and ecclesiastical sponsorship of the small community of six and, on October 15, 1651, received their commitment to do apostolic work as religious for his diocese. By the time of the French Revolution almost 150 years later, there were some 30 communities of St. Joseph that had formed in France, generating new life in the Church with apostolic religious life for women.
See "Fontbonne, Mother St. John."
Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education
Conversations is published bi-annually by the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, which is jointly sponsored by the Jesuit Conference Board and the Board of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. View issues from the 1992 inaugural edition to the current edition.
Conversations on Catholic Identity at a Jesuit University: An E-Seminar
For information on the E-Seminar, please click here.
Conway Institute for Jesuit Education
The Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Institute for Jesuit Education at Xavier University is a center of distinction, assisting educators in transforming students intellectually, morally, and spiritually in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition, while appropriating Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality in today's world. The Institute reaches beyond the Xavier campus with pedagogical innovations communicated locally, nationally, and internationally.
Couderc, Therese (1805-1885)
Co-Founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle (Cenacle Sisters)
Marie-Victoire Couderc was born on February 1, 1805, in the mountain village of Le Mas in southern France. She was the second eldest of twelve children. Although she had no formal classroom education until she was seventeen years old she developed a deep love of God from her parents and learned to read and write from the tutor her parents engaged for their family. In 1825 Marie-Victoire participated in her parish’s first mission since before the beginning of the French Revolution. During the mission she expressed her desire to enter religious life to Fr. Stephen Terme, one of the priests leading the mission. This missionary encouraged her even in spite of her father’s immediate refusal to give her his blessing. Nearly one year later, in January 1826, Marie-Victoire left her family and joined the little community of sisters Fr. Terme had founded. Two months later she received the habit and the name Sister Therese.
When she was twenty-three years old, Terme appointed Therese superior of the little community he brought to the mountain village of LaLouvesc to offer accommodations for women pilgrims coming to the shrine of St. John Francis Regis. Therese served as superior of this community for ten years. During these years the three dimensions of the congregation’s Mission as we know it today took root: prayer, community and ministry lived in the spirit of the first Cenacle in Jerusalem.
When he made his retreat in 1829, Stephen discovered the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He was so enthusiastic about them that he immediately introduced them to Therese’s community and directed the sisters to use them in their ministry. Through the Spiritual Exercises Stephen and Therese introduced the community to the great current of Ignatian spirituality which continues to mark the essential aspects of the congregation’s life. Fr. Terme died unexpectedly on December 12, 1834. In his Will he confided the future of the community to the Society of Jesus, who had assisted him in the religious formation of the community. Mother Therese and her community responded with deep faith and unwavering trust in God’s providential love for her community.
During the later years of her life Mother Therese witnessed the expansion of her community in France and beyond its borders, When chronic illness prevented her from being actively involved in the ministry of the community, she continued to participate in its mission through her prayer, physical suffering, and wholehearted self-surrender to God.
Therese Couderc died in Lyon on September 26, 1885. When she was canonized on May 10, 1970, Pope Paul VI said of her, “Humble among the humble. She lived her life most humbly.” These few words summarize her spirituality, a spirituality rooted in the love of God, the goodness of God, and the will of God; a spirituality marked by a passionate love for Jesus Christ and a burning desire to make Him known and loved. The true testimony of Therese’s spirituality is the enthusiasm with which the Cenacle Sisters continue to live the Mission of the Congregation she and Stephen Terme founded. In addition to the sisters the congregation has other forms of association. Cenacle Auxiliaries are vowed women who live Cenacle spirituality in the secular world. Cenacle Affiliates/Companions are women and men, single or married, who also live Cenacle spirituality in their daily lives “All for the greater glory of God!”
Back to top
Creation is the Judaeo-Christian teaching that God is the origin (and the destiny) of the whole universe. Chapters one and two of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew and Christian bible, teach this truth of creation and creatures in story-form. Paying attention to the form is important for a correct understanding of what is meant. This is not “history” (a category unknown until long after the bible was written), not an account of a one-time event (“seven days”) but “story-truth” which says that the whole universe is God-made and fundamentally good. Rather than a one-time event, creation is an ongoing, constant process. God is the only “necessary” one; creatures are radically limited and dependent on God’s constant creation or we would fall into nothingness.
The understanding of creation as constant is important for avoiding a frequently held but wrong notion of “miracle” whereby God sometimes enters into the world and suspends its laws. God is always in the world as constant creator. This correct understanding of God’s relation to the world is called panentheism (“God in all”--not pantheism which would mean that everything is God).
An ever-growing nation-wide network of college-preparatory high schools for economically disadvantaged, inner-city students, modeled on the original Cristo Rey school founded by the Jesuits in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood in 1996. The Network describes itself as "Schools that Work"; the students all work one day a week for some cooperating company—earning a large part of the cost of their education—and go to school four days.
(Latin meaning "care for the [individual] person") - A hallmark of Ignatian spirituality (where in one-on-one spiritual guidance, the guide adapts the Spiritual Exercises to the unique individual making them) and therefore of Jesuit education (where the teacher establishes a personal relationship with students, listens to them in the process of teaching, and draws them toward personal initiative and responsibility for learning [see "Pedagogy, Ignatian/Jesuit"]).
This attitude of respect for the dignity of each individual derives from the Judaeo-Christian vision of human beings as unique creations of God, of God's embracing of humanity in the person of Jesus, and of human destiny as ultimate communion with God and all the saints in everlasting life.
JESUIT A TO Z: An expanded version of the publication "Do You Speak Ignatian?"