Jesuit Terms G
Gaudium et Spes
Gaudium et Spes ("Joy and Hope"), a pastoral constitution issued at the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, that speaks about the Catholic Church in contemporary culture. Its 50 anniversary will be celebrated in 2015.
For more information:
- Association of Catholic Colleges Universities, Catholic Higher Education: Living the Vision of Gaudium et Spes
- Xavier University's Dr. Chris Pramuk, Associate Professor of Theology, highlighting the relevancy of Gaudium Et Spes for the world today
- Xavier University's Sean Rhiney, JD, Director of the Eigle Center, addresses Gaudium Et Spes and War.
Back to top
The supreme legislative body of the Society of Jesus consisting of major ("provincial") superiors and locally elected representatives. It is called to elect a new superior general when the previous one dies or resigns and/or to address major issues confronting Jesuit works and Jesuit life. There have been 35 such congregations in the 450+ years of the order. The most recent one met from January to March 2008 to accept Peter-Hans Kolvenbach's resignation at age 80 and to elect his replacement, Adolfo Nicolas.
GC 35 - 2008 Election of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas as the new Superior General of the Society
GC 34 - 1995
- Description (George Traub, S.J.)
GC 33 - 1983 Election of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach as the new Superior General of the Society
GC 32 - 1974-1975
- Decree 4
- See "Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice"
Back to top
George, Margaret Farrell, (1787-1868)
Founder of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati
Margaret Farrell George was a close associate of Elizabeth Seton in founding the American Sisters of Charity (not affiliated with the French Daughters of Charity in their Rule but only in overall spirit).
Margaret and several other Sisters of Charity on mission in Cincinnati in 1850 refused to accept the Emmitsburg, MD, SC leadership decision to join the American Sisters of Charity with the French Daughters of Charity. They knew that Elizabeth Seton wanted an American community serving the American church within American culture. In response to an invitation from Bishop John Baptist Purcell, they formed a new community, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
To read Margaret Farrell George's whole story, click here.
Back to top
Various titles or names are given to the Mystery underlying all that exists--e.g., the Divine, Supreme Being, the Absolute, the Transcendent, the All-Holy--but all of these are only "pointers" to a Reality beyond human naming and beyond our limited human comprehension. Still, some conceptions are taken to be less inadequate than others within a given tradition founded in revelation. Thus, Jews reverence "the Lord" (the name of God, YHWH, is holy and its vocalization unknown); and Muslims worship "Allah" (the [only] God).
Christians conceive of the one God as "Trinity," as having three "ways of being"--(1) Creator and covenant partner (from Hebrew tradition) or "Father" (the "Abba" of Jesus' experience), (2) incarnate (enfleshed) in Jesus--"the "Son," and (3) present everywhere in the world through the "Spirit." Ignatius of Loyola had a strong Trinitarian sense of God, but he was especially fond of the expression "the Divine Majesty" stressing the greatness or "godness" of God; and the 20th century Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner could talk of "the incomprehensible Mystery of self-giving Love."
The reluctance of some of our contemporaries to use the word God may be seen as a potential corrective to the tendency of some believers to speak of God all too easily, as if they fully understood God and God's ways. (On the danger of understanding God-language literally, see "Trinity.")
Back to top
Gonzaga, Aloysius (1568-1591)
Italian Jesuit; martyr of care for the plague-stricken
Aloysius [Luigi in Italian] Gonzaga's family heritage was appalling. His ancestors included despots who condoned assassination, debauchery and extortion. They bled their subjects by taxation. Aloysius had a remarkable toughness of character. . . . his innocence was founded on neither ignorance nor prudery. As a young Jesuit, he had hoped to be sent to work on the foreign missions, but while caring for victims of the plague in Rome, he contracted the illness himself and died at the age of 23 (MacDonnell, Jesuit Family Album).
This reconciler of people who hated each other, catechist of Roman ragamuffins, consoler of the imprisoned, and martyr of charity for the plague-stricken was chosen by American Jesuit Terry Charlton as the patron of the school for AIDS orphans that he co-founded in 2004 in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa). St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School for AIDS Orphans is the first school of its kind in the world. (Visit www.sagnairobi.org)
The name Gonzaga is attached to many Jesuit secondary schools and to the university in Spokane, WA.
Gonzalez, Tirso (1624-1705)
Spanish Jesuit; preacher of "missions"; superior general
As a young Jesuit, Tirso Gonzalez wrote to the superior general several times asking to be sent to the foreign missions. But he never was. Instead he became involved in the ministry of preaching "missions." A mission is a week-long series of talks given in a parish with the aim of teaching Christian faith in a way that ordinary people could receive it and also of stirring devotion for living a good Christian life.
In the process, he became an advocate for offering these missions to the Muslims who remained in Spain as servants and slaves after most of their co-religionists had been expelled from the country. In keeping with the convictions of the times, he believed that Catholic Christianity was the one true religion with no salvation apart from it. But in his practice and in the Handbook he wrote on how to approach Muslims, he made a crucial distinction between the teachings of Islam and the people who practice it, whom he grew to respect and love.
Later in life, Tirso Gonzalez was elected superior general of the Jesuits; he served for 18 stormy years.
Back to top
Literally "good news"
The good news or glad tidings about Jesus. Plural. The first four works of the Christian scriptures (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that tell the story of Jesus, each with its own particular theological emphasis, and thus invite a response of faith and hope in him.
Back to top
Gospels, Relations among the,
Although each of the gospels has its own particular theological emphasis, three of the gospels, Mark, Luke and Matthew, are quite similar in narrative structure and content. Thus they are called "synoptic" (see together). John is quite different.
Scholars agree that Mark was the first gospel written (c. 70 CE, 40 years after the events narrated). The author took some of the oral stories circulating about Jesus and put them together in one continuous narrative leading up to the account of Jesus' suffering and death. Luke and Matthew (perhaps c. 80-90) had Mark to draw on and also a collection of Jesus sayings referred to as Q (first letter of Quelle, the German word for "source").
It is not clear whether John had any of the synoptics when he was writing the fourth gospel (c. 100-120)., but its Jesus is quite different. Instead of preaching the coming "Kingdom" or "Reign" or "Dominion" of God, John's Jesus preaches himself (e.g., "I am the way the truth and the life"). Scholars are agreed that the long discourses in John are the author's construct. The community of John believed that Jesus was speaking to them through the inspiration of the Spirit. The literary quality of its "short stories"--the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Man Blind from Birth, the Samaritan Woman at the Well, etc.--is very high. They are much longer than the little pieces of narrative in the synoptics. There is also a wealth of drama and symbolic detail.
Some scholars rank a fifth gospel "Coptic Thomas" as worthy of study equally with Mark, Luke, and Matthew (see "The Jesus Seminar"). It is a collection of Jesus sayings without a story line. Several of the sayings, it is claimed, go back in time closer to Jesus himself than the "canonical" (church approved) gospels. Many of the sayings are "Gnostic" in form and content; they hint of special knowledge available only to insiders.
Back to top
There has been a tendency in post-Reformation Catholic spirituality and practice (in order to counter Lutheran "errors") to overemphasize the need for human effort ("Pelagianism") at the expense of grace. To regain a balance, Lutherans need to make a place for human effort and Catholics need to embrace grace.
For Catholics, then, living the Christian life is less a question of avoiding sin by avoiding the "near occasions of sin" (especially sexual sin) and more a question of being aware of and living from the myriad opportunities that might be called "near occasions of grace."
Back to top
Grande, Rutilio (1928-1977)
Salvadoran Jesuit; martyr
A tortured, self-doubting priest who in the last decade of his life became fearless and a martyr.
Of mixed Indian and Spanish heritage, he was bright and gifted and yet tortured with self-doubt at every stage of his Jesuit formation. He wound up being a seminary professor of theology.
Called forth to speak against the atrocities committed by military and para-military forces, he suddenly lost all his doubts and preached so powerfully that he became a severe embarrassment to the government. He resigned from the seminary and went to work among the landless peasants of his home territory, teaching them to read and to claim their own human dignity and rights.
On March 12, 1977, he was ambushed and machine-gunned to death. His murder was the turning point in the life of his friend, Archbishop Oscar Romero. Instead of trying to please all sides, Romero started to speak out loud and clear and often against the military's violent repression of the poor. Soon he too was killed (March 24, 1980).
Back to top
Gray, Howard (1930- )
American Jesuit; internationally recognized interpreter of Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education
Howard Gray presently serves as special assistant to the president of Georgetown University. Previously, he was founding director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and rector of the Jesuit community at John Carroll University, where he was also assistant to the president for mission and identity.
Within the Jesuit order, Gray has filled a number of leadership positions including that of provincial superior of the Detroit Province, rector of the Jesuit community at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (Cambridge, MA), and tertianship director.
Four of his best essays on Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education are re-printed in An Ignatian Spirituality Reader and A Jesuit Education Reader (both 2008).
Back to top
Guerin, Mother Theodore [born Anne Therese] (1798-1856)
Founder of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN
As a child, Anne Therese Guerin "climbed the lofty granite rocks near the shore [of the Atlantic] and walked along the beach . . . pondering the mysteries revealed in her mother's belief that the ocean was a symbol of eternity" (Mitchell). When first one and then the other of her brothers died at an early age, her family grieved their losses. But when her father was murdered by bandits, her mother simply could not carry on. Anne Therese was 15 at the time, and for the next ten years she cared for and supported her mother and her sister, postponing her desire to enter a religious community. Finally, in August of 1823, she was able to join the Sisters of Providence at Ruille in Brittany (northwestern France).
This Providence community was only a few years old. During a mission in 1816, Pere de la Chapelle of the "Fathers of the Faith" (a name used by former Jesuits after their order was suppressed) had directed a Mlle. du Roscoat to the small community of Pere Dujarie, a diocesan priest. This little group became the Sisters of Providence of Ruille with Mlle.
du Roscoat--now Sister Marie Madeleine--as its head and foundress.
As a Sister of Providence, Anne-Therese "Sister St. Theodore" spent 17 years educating children ("First love them, then teach them") and caring for the sick poor in her native Brittany. But in 1840, in response to a request from the bishop of Vincennes, IN, she led a group of five sisters to the U.S. to establish a motherhouse and novitiate, to educate children of pioneer families and to care for the sick poor. The place was the remote forest wilderness (now five miles NW of Terre Haute) that she grew to love and that nourished her.
In the remaining 16 years of her life, she and her sisters opened an Academy now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and schools throughout Indiana and eastern Illinois as well as orphanages and free pharmacies.
Today's Sisters of Providence and those who partner with them carry on ministries here and abroad in the spirit of St. Mother Theodore:
You will see many things in new light if you give the Holy Spirit free access to your minds and your hearts.
Try then, today, to deliver into the hands of our sweet Jesus all the care of the future, as well as all anxiety about the past.
Love all in God and for God, and all will be well.
What will heaven be if our poor Earth is at times so beautiful?
JESUIT A TO Z: An expanded version of the publication "Do You Speak Ignatian?"