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Jesuit Terms I


Adjective, from the noun Ignatius (Loyola). Sometimes used in distinction to Jesuit, indicating aspects of spirituality that derive from Ignatius the lay person rather than from the later Ignatius and his religious order, the Society of Jesus.

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Ignatian Colleagues Program

This leadership opportunity, an initiative of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, supports higher education administrators throughout the ACJU in understanding and advancing the Ignatian mission on their campus.

Click here to learn more about the ICP

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Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

Ignatian pedagogy (from the International Center for Jesuit Education [Rome, 1993]), is a model that seeks to develop men and women of competence, conscience, and compassion. Similar to the process of guiding others in the Spiritual Exercises, faculty accompany students in their intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development. They do this by following the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. Through consideration of the context of students' lives, faculty create an environment where students recollect their past experience and assimilate information from newly provided experiences. Faculty help students learn the skills and techniques of reflection, which shapes their consciousness, and they then challenge students to action in service to others. The evaluation process includes academic mastery as well as ongoing assessments of students' well-rounded growth as persons for others.

For more information see here

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Ignatian Solidarity Network

The Ignatian Solidarity Network's purpose is to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of existing social justice and advocacy efforts that are currently present in Jesuit-affiliated high schools, universities and colleges, parishes, retreat centers, independent organizations, and individuals across the nation. The network serves as a means to connect, strengthen, and broaden communication among these already existing groups in order to better understand what it means to live and act upon "a faith that does justice."

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Ignatian Vision

Characteristics of the Vision

Drawing on a variety of contemporary sources which tend to confirm one another, one can construct a list of rather commonly accepted characteristics of the Ignatian/Jesuit vision. It...

  • sees life and the whole universe as a gift calling forth wonder and gratefulness;
  • gives ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as intellect;
  • seeks to find the divine in all thingsin all peoples and cultures, in all areas of study and learning, in every human experience, and (for the Christian) especially in the person of Jesus;
  • cultivates critical awareness of personal and social evil, but points to God's love as more powerful than any evil;
  • stresses freedom, need for discernment, and responsible action;
  • empowers people to become leaders in service, "men and women for others," "whole persons of solidarity," building a more just and humane world.

The relative consensus about these should not be taken to indicate that the six characteristics exhaust the meaning of the living Ignatian tradition. Like the living tradition of Christian faith, of which it is a part, no number of thematic statements can adequately articulate it. At the heart of both traditions stands the living person of Jesus, who cannot be reduced to a series of ideas.

No one claims that any of these characteristics are uniquely Ignatian/Jesuit. It is rather the combination of them all and the way they fit together that make the vision distinctive and so appropriate for an age in transitionwhether from the medieval to the modern in Ignatius' time, or from the modern to the postmodern in ours.

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Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

or Ignatius of Loyola

Youngest child of a noble Basque family fiercely loyal to the Spanish crown (Ferdinand and Isabella), he was named Inigo after a local saint. Raised to be a courtier, he was trying valiantly to defend the fortress town of Pamplona in 1521 when a French cannonball shattered his leg. During a long convalescence, he found himself drawn away from the romances of chivalry that had filled his imagination from an early age to more spiritual readingan illustrated life of Jesus and a collection of saints' lives.

After his recovery, he set out for the Holy Land to realize a dream of "converting the infidel." On the way he stopped first at the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat, where he made a confession of his whole life and held an all-night vigil before the Black Madonna. Next he spent almost a year in the nearby town of Manresa and was led to a new direction for his life. Initially, self-hatred over his past life made him let his hair and nails grow and practice extreme forms of penance. He was in torment, tempted to suicide. Finally he greatly tempered his austerities, began to find peace, and came to a conviction that instead of withdrawing from the "world" he could use his human gifts to "help souls"an entirely new apostolic spirituality.

Ordered to leave Palestine after being there little more than a month, Ignatius decided that he needed an education in order to be able to "help souls." In Barcelona, he went to school with boys a quarter his age to learn the rudiments of Latin grammar, then moved on to several Spanish university cities. In each he was imprisoned and interrogated by the Inquisition, because he kept speaking to people about "spiritual things," having neither a theology degree nor priestly ordination.

Finally, turning his back on his homeland, he went to the foremost university of the time, the University of Paris, where he began his education all over again and with diligence, after five years, was finally awarded the degree "Master of Arts." It was here at Paris that he changed his Basque name to the Latin Ignatius and its Spanish equivalent Ignacio.

While at the university, he had roomed with and become good friends with a fellow Basque named Francis Xavier and a Savoyard named Peter Faber. After graduation, these three, together with several other Paris graduates, undertook a process of communal discernment and decided to bind themselves together in an apostolic community that became the Society of Jesus. Unanimously elected superior by his companions, Ignatius spent the last 16 years of his life in Rome directing the fledgling order, while the others went all over Europe, to the Far East, and eventually to the New World. And wherever they went they founded schools as a means of helping people to "find God in all things."

"A Biography of St. Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits" by George Traub, SJ, and Debra Mooney, Ph.D.
Review of Pierre Emonet, Ignatius of Loyola
"An Illustrated Timeline of the Life of St. Ignatius Loyola"
"Myths, Misquotes and Misconceptions about St. Ignatius Loyola" by Fr. Barton T. Geger, SJ

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Ignatius Loyola, feminine side

See "Montserrat, Our Lady of".

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Ignatius Loyola, Marian influence

See "Montserrat, Our Lady of".

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The first three letters, in Greek, of the name Jesus. These letters appear as a symbol on the official seal of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits.

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Incarnation, The (from the Latin meaning "enfleshment")

The central Christian doctrine: the enfleshment of God (pure spirit) in Jesus, God's becoming fully human in Jesus (and because of Jesus in other human beings).

In the theology of St. Paul's letters (part of the New Testament, the Christian bible), human beings are "the body of Christ." And, "as the body of Christ on earth, we can continue to do all the things that Jesus did and, as Jesus himself assures us, we can even do greater things" (John 14:12). Our Christian faith informs us that we are the body of Christ, flesh, blood, tangible, visible, physical, available to be touched, and all of this definitely and clearly residing in nameable persons on this earth. We are the ongoing incarnation of God, the anointed ones of God, Christ" (Ronald Rolheiser, Against an Infinite Horizon). This doctrine, it is said, is too good to be true. Actually, it is good enough to be true of the God that is God.

See "Jesus"
See "Docetism"
See "Judaeo-Christian Vision"

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Incarnation, Why the

Why did God choose to become human? In one traditional Christian theology, God chose to become human to repair the evil of human sin. In one strain of this tradition that started with the "satisfaction theory" of Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) but devolved over the centuries to the point Anselm probably would not have recognized it, God did this so that in Jesusboth human and divineGod could be paid backappeasedfor the insult of human sin. Increasingly today Christian theologians find the view of God implied here offensive. Further, they are saying that God would have become human whether human beings sinned or not. God freely chose to become human because God is Godabsolute self-giving love. God freely chose to become human because God wanted to give God's self to us human beings by becoming one of us in Jesus. And Jesus did overcome sin by the way he diedin the cross not returning evil for evil.

See "Trinity." 
See "Grace."

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A modern theological concept that expresses a principle of Christian mission implicit in Ignatian spirituality, namely that the gospel needs to be presented to any given culture in terms intelligible to that culture and allowed to grow up in the "soil" of that culture; God is already present and active there ("God's action is antecedent to ours"Jesuit General Congregation 34 [1995], "Our Mission and Culture").

Thus in the first century Saint Paul fought against the imposition of Jewish practices on non-Jewish Christians. And in the 16th and 17th centuries, Jesuits like Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Roberto de Nobili (1577-1656) fought to retain elements of Chinese and Indian culture in presenting a de-Europeanized Christianity to those peoples, only to have their approach condemned by the church in the 18th century.

Ideally, the gospel and a culture mutually interact, and in the process the gospel embraces some elements of the culture while offering a critique of others.

Continuing the Legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola: A Pioneer in International Education
Laura Hellebusch, International Student Advisor, Xavier University

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Index of Forbidden Books (1557-1966)

A list of forbidden authors and their books first issued by order of Pope Paul IV in 1557 and followed by 41 more editions until it was discontinued in 1966 (the year after the Second Vatican Council closed). The Index covered fields like literature, philosophy, and theology and eventually included some four thousand titles. Originally it prohibited publishers from publishing the works listed and, after that could no longer be enforced, it still by church law forbade Catholics to read them.

Since 1966, the Vatican issues "warnings" when it finds works dangerous to Catholic faith and morals, as with some posthumous works of Jesuit Anthony De Mello (1998) and books by Sisters Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, (Quest for the Living God) and Margaret Farley, RSM (Just Love).

See "Doctrinal Congregation."

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Ignatian indifference pertains to entering a decision-making process, discernment, with an unbiased mindset. Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises suggests that putting aside personal preferences opens the process to God's will and desire.

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Infallibility, Papal

In 1870 Vatican Council I declared that the pope, under very special and limited conditions, cannot err in teaching matters of Catholic faith and morals, that is, in teaching what belongs to divine revelation. Perhaps only once since then has there been a clear and unmistakable exercise of this power: Pius XII's definition in 1950 that the Blessed Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus) was at the end of her life bodily "assumed" into heaven (the "Assumption").

Pius IX, who lost his territories (the papal states) with the unification of Italy, was still pope at the time of Vatican I. Questions have been raised about whether the freedom of the council fathers was jeopardized by a climate of social pressure to vote with the defeated pope. John Henry Newman, convert from Anglo-Catholicism to Roman, thought adoption of infallibility a disaster. But, whatever reservations they may have, a good number of Catholic theologians accept the work of the council.

A more live issue in the time since Vatican II is the problem of "creeping infallibility." That term is used to describe the tendency of recent popes and heads of the doctrinal congregation to claim that teachings like Paul VI's encyclical (1968) condemning "artificial" contraception and John Paul II's apostolic letter (1994) on the non-ordainability of women, though not presented formally as infallibly defined, nevertheless have a force of infallibility behind them; and non-adherence can bring with it excommunication.

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Intellectual Apostolate, Jesuit

Its Characteristics

What marks Jesuit intellectual workswhether carried out by Jesuits or others, women or men, believers or notis not just intellectual depth and integrity (though these are presupposed) but that they are an apostolate.

Intellectual work is an apostolate

  1. when it is accomplished in the world, finding its meaning in people, themes, and the problems of humanity and consequently of the church;
  2. when it has an evangelical (that is "gospel-inspired") orientation, directed toward the construction of a world closer to the justice, peace, and love of the Reign of God;
  3. when it is carried out as a work of liberation in collaboration with others. It does not lock itself up in its own truth;
  4. when it is experienced as a received mission, as a sending into service for others.

Arturo Sosa, SJ, Jesuit Superior General, talk at the University of Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, Lima, Peru, 23 March 2017

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International Association of Jesuit Universities 

World map showing the locations of the International Association of Jesuit UniversitiesThe inaugural meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities took place July 8-12 at Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain.  IAJU is an association of Jesuit Catholic universities and institutions of higher education serving as an advisory and coordinating body to the Secretariat of Jesuit Higher Education  on matters related to the intellectual apostolate.  IAJU’s core values are: collaboration, depth, discernment, and a preferential option for the poor.


Six Global Associations of Jesuit Higher Education

Jesuit Higher Education Institutions in Europe and the Near East (KIRCHER NETWORK)

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities - Africa and Madagascar (AJCU - AM)

Asociación de Universidades Confiadas a la Compañia de Jesus en América Latina (AUSJAL)

Website: https://www.ausjal.org/

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in North America (AJCU)

Website: http://www.ajcunet.edu/

Association of Jesuit Colleges and UniversitiesAsia Pacific (AJCU - AP)

Website: http://ajcu-ap.org/

Jesuit Higher Education Association South Asia (JHEASA)

Website: http://www.jheasa.org/

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Interpretation of Scripture, The Place of Faith in

See, Faith in the Interpretation of Scripture, The Place of

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Inter-Religious Dialogue

See Religions, Non-Christian.

Documents on inter-religious dialogue at Creighton University

The Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life at Boston College

The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University

Reflections of a Muslim Faculty Member at a Jesuit University, Anas Malik, Ph.D.

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JESUIT A TO Z: An expanded version of the publication "Do You Speak Ignatian?"