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Jesuit Terms B  


Ball, Teresa (1794-1861)

Missioner and Educator

At a time when the Sisters of Loreto (formal title: Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) were forbidden by the church to acknowledge Mary Ward (1585-1645) as their founder, a remarkable religious woman, Dublin-born, very different in talents and temperament from Mary Ward, but imbued with her ideals--Teresa Ball--brought the Loreto spirit from York, northern England, to Dublin, Ireland (1821), from where it spread and brought its schools to India (1841), Canada (1847), Spain (1851) and elsewhere. "Today there are 150 Loreto schools and colleges around the world educating as many as 70,000 students in places like Sudan, Australia, Peru and Gibraltar as well as Ireland and the UK" (MacDonald, The Tablet).

These schools are all part of the "Loreto Education Trust," one of the world's best-known education networks (though not well known in the U.S.). The Trust works to maintain the schools' Catholic and Loreto "ethos" (the distinguishing character) even as the number of IBVM sisters is in decline. Enrolling students of diverse religions and none, their largely lay leaders insist that parents support the schools' ethos and they themselves try mightily to meet the students where they are and cater to their needs. "The charism continues because the staff in the schools carry it on" (Rionach Donlon, IBVM, chair of the Loreto Education Trust).

Sarah MacDonald, "On a mission to teach," The Tablet (21 May 2011).
"Portrait of Frances Ball before she entered the Bar Convent, York" from The Tablet (21 May 2011), 55.

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Barat, Madeleine Sophie (1779-1865)

Founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart

Madeleine-Sophie Barat was born in France in 1779 in the little Burgundian town of Joigny. She went to Paris in 1795, at the height of the French Revolution, and initially considered becoming a Carmelite. However, her experience of Revolutionary violence in Joigny and Paris led her on another path. In 1800 she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart whose purpose was to make known the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ, and take part in the restoration of Christian life in France through the education of young women of the rich and the poor classes.

The Society of the Sacred Heart quickly expanded within Europe and beyond. At the same time Sophie Barat also grew, transformed by her experience as leader and friend to so many women who joined her. She learnt to face the impact of Jansenism within herself, her family, (especially in her brother Louis Barat, who became a Jesuit), and within the Church. Over many years and inner struggles Sophie Barat came to understand that the true counter-balance to Jansenism was the experience of the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ.

Sophie Barat had a natural capacity for friendship and she enjoyed a broad network of relationships, with her family, with members of the Society, with the clergy, and with students and friends in all walks of life. On another level, Sophie Barat was awake to the social, political, economic and religious currents operating in Europe and in the wider world of her time. By her awareness of their impact on the world of education Sophie Barat ensured the Society's contribution to the education and the promotion of women in her time and into the future.

In exercising her role as founder and superior general Sophie Barat gradually created her own style of leadership. This tended towards moderation, seeking the middle ground, accepting the possible, more realistic option, rather than the impossible ideal; and she tended by instinct to consult rather than decree. This style of leadership was tested several times within and without the Society, especially from 1806-1815 and 1839-1851. In these periods of crisis the Fathers of the Faith, and after 1815 the Jesuits in France and Rome, were involved in the progress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and particularly in the tensions surrounding Sophie Barat's leadership. Nevertheless, Sophie Barat remained the superior general of the Society of the Sacred Heart from 1806 until her death in 1865.

Sophie Barat's spiritual leadership of the Society was centered on the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ. She was committed to a deep life of prayer and reflection, and she continually invited the members of the Society to see this as the basis for their inner lives and for whatever tasks they undertook. The importance of such qualities was stressed in the original Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart of 1815 and reaffirmed in the revised Constitutions of 1982. They are also found consistently in the collection of Sophie Barat's 14,000 original letters and remain a vital legacy to the Society and to the wider Christian community.

By the time of her death in 1865 Sophie Barat guided an international community of 3,359 women, inspired by a deeply held spiritual ideal and offering a service of education to women in Europe, North Africa, North and South America.

No authentic portrait of Sophie Barat exists from her lifetime. She specifically refused to sit for a portrait, or to have her photograph taken.

Madeleine Sophie Barat was canonised a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on 25 May 1925.


For a discussion of the relations between Madeleine Sophie Barat and the Jesuits, see Phil Kilroy, The Society of the Sacred Heart in 19th century France (Cork University Press, 2012) pp. 133-166. Also Phil Kilroy, Madeleine Sophie Barat. A Life (Cork University Press, 2000/Paulist Press, 2000) passim.

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Barry, William A. (1930-  )

American Jesuit; teacher and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality; writer

William A. Barry is well-known for his teaching and writing on Ignatian spirituality. After earning a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, he cofounded the Center for Religious Development (Cambridge, MA) and authored experience-based essays on the giving of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (see Barry and Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction [Seabury, 1971]). All told, he is author or coauthor of 20 books of practical Ignatian spirituality.

He has taught at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, the University of Michigan, and Boston College, and engaged in administrative work in the Society of Jesus. From 1988 to 1991 he was rector of the Jesuit Community at Boston College and on the board of Trustees. From 1991 to 1997 he was provincial superior of the Jesuits of New England.

At present he gives retreats and spiritual direction at Campion Renewal Center in Weston, MA. 

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Bea, Augustin (1881-1968)

German Jesuit; scripture scholar (Old Testament); ecumenist

Augustin Bea was one of several Jesuits Influential in the founding of Sophia University in Tokyo in 1910. He was head of the Jesuit-sponsored Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1930 to 1949. In the 1940s and '50s, he was a major player in the official Catholic church's turn away from biblical fundamentalism toward acceptance of critical historical biblical scholarship. A prominent theologian at Vatican II, he contributed significantly to the major document on Divine Revelation. After the Council, he was made a bishop and cardinal and became the creator and first head of the Vatican Secretariate for Promoting Christian Unity. 

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Bellarmine, Robert [in Italian Roberto Bellarmino] (1542-1621)

Italian Jesuit; eminent controversial theologian; preacher; cardinal

On his mother's side, Robert Bellarmine was the nephew of Pope Marcellus II. As a Jesuit, he was educated in theology at the University of Padua and, then, at Louvain in Belgium, where he joined the new Jesuit faculty. While there, he studied the writings of Luther and Calvin and taught theology by answering the reformers objections to the Roman church. Later, when he was called to teach at the premier Jesuit-sponsored Roman College, he composed and published his three volumes of Controversies (1579, 1588, 1593), which went through twenty editions and were read by Catholics and Protestants alike. In 1598 he published his famous Catechism; it was translated into 62 languages.

Already a theological advisor to the pope, he was next made a cardinal (1599) over his own and the Jesuit superior general's objections. Pope Clement VIII decided the matter: "We elect this man because he has not his equal for learning in the Church of God." Bellarmine turned around and presented the pope with a denunciation of the major abuses in the pope's own Roman headquarters. In his own personal life, he lived simply and cared for the poor. Yet, because of his cardinal role, he had to put up with wearing the red robes, being surrounded by servants, and having carriages to transport him. As a cardinal, he was also a voting member of the conclaves that elected Leo XI (1605), and six weeks later Paul V.

For years Bellarmine had asked to retire, but was told again and again that he was indispensable. Then in 1621, at the age of 79, he was finally allowed to have his wish; he moved to the Jesuit novitiate and died there a few weeks later.

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Bergoglio, Jorge Mario (1936- )

Argentinian Jesuit, provincial, cardinal, first pope from the Society of Jesus

Brother Jesuits EmbraceOn March 13, 2013, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion members. He took the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in poverty and simplicity and was a champion of the poor.

Although he was said to have had the second highest number of votes in each of the four ballots of the 2005 conclave that elected Josef Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Bergoglio was by no means considered the front runner going into the conclave of 115 cardinals from 48 countries that would elect him on the first full day of voting (5th ballot).

It was a historic act by the cardinals--the first non-European pope in 1200 years.   "[Now] the global outlook of the church is reflected at the highest level of the church," said Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator [accent on the second syllable], the Jesuit provincial superior in East Africa and a distinguished theologian. "I want to believe that considering the humble and down-to-earth background of Pope Francis . . . the church is in good hands--not just the pope's alone, but the hands of the entire people of God across the globe" (ncronline).

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 to Italian immigrant parents. His father was a bookkeeper with a local accounting firm (The Tablet [13 April 2013]). After earning two degrees in chemistry, he chose a different path and entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1958. Following initial Jesuit formation and study in the humanities, he taught literature and psychology for several years. He studied theology in Buenos Aires and was ordained a priest in 1969. He served as master of novices from 1971 to 1973, when, at the age of 36, he was appointed provincial.

To read more, click here.

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Berrigan, Daniel (1921-2016 )

American Jesuit; anti-war activist; poet

Daniel Berrigan grew up with his five brothers in a family where "violence [was] a norm of existence." His father, "an incendiary without a cause" (Berrigan's autobiography) was hard on the boys and harder still on his mother. Even though he blamed the church for enabling the mistreatment of his mother, he felt a call to priesthood and religious life and entered the Jesuits right out of high school. His younger brother Philip, a Josephite (multi-racial Catholic religious congregation devoted to serving African Americans), had perhaps the greatest influence on his life. They marched together at Selma in 1965 and they protested U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. With seven others they destroyed draft files at Catonsville, MD, in 1968--a symbolic act of non-violent resistance to the law for which they were all sentenced to prison (see his play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine). After hiding out when he was supposed to begin serving his term, he was finally caught and served two years. Subsequently, for other anti-war acts against other wars, he served a total of seven years.

After the Vietnam War ended, they turned their attention toward nuclear weapons. Together with six colleagues they entered the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, PA, and hammered on nuclear weapon nosecones, inspired by the prophet Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore."

"Dan loved his Church, his Jesuit community, he even loved America--but there is much in all three zones that is outrageous, and Dan was never able to be silent or passive about betrayals. This could have made him a ranter but the artistic side of Dan always found ways to channel his outrage into one or another form of creativity, whether via poetry or a wide variety of acts of witness" (Jim Forest).

Among his 50 books were 15 volumes of poetry as well as autobiography, commentaries on the Old Testament prophets and indictments of the established order, both secular and ecclesiastic (N.Y. Times). His writings reflect his deep commitment to social, political and economic change in American society (Britannica Online). By themselves, apart from his activism, they would merit attention and admiration.

Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings, Selected with an Introduction by John Dear (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2009).

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From the Greek word biblia, meaning books, the Christian Holy Bible is a collection of scripture, including the sacred writings of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible), containing 39 books, and the New Testament, containing 27 books. When the early Judeo-Christian writings were bound together, they were called bibles.

Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises reflects the relationship he had with the Bible. Through the scriptures and imagination, he guided himself and others to greater faith, love and understanding.

For more information see Ignatius and the Bible by John Padberg, SJ
For a number of Christian Bible translations in numerous languages, see here.
See the Qur'an, the Muslim Bible. The word qu'ran means "recitation" and indicates a strong preference for chanting rather than just reading it. It contains 114 suras ("chapters"), each with a varying number of verses. Of interest to Christians, sura 19 tells of Maryam (Mary) and her son Isa (Jesus), an important Muslim Prophet [w. 16-37].

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Billiart, Marie-Rose-Julie (1751-1816) and Marie-Louise-Fran çoise Blin de Bourdon (1756-1838)

Co-Founders of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

In October of 1794, in Amiens, France, Julie Billiart and Françoise Blin de Bourdon met for the first time and, because they recognized the inherent goodness in one another, began an unlikely friendship. By this time, both women had been tested by sufferings endured during the height of the French Revolution. Julie, a daughter of the merchant class from the small village of Cuvilly, had also suffered twenty-two years of physical infirmity and the psychological stresses brought on by family trials. Françoise had been tested by the deaths of her mother and beloved grandparents and by a period of terrifying imprisonment which she shared with her family and other members of the French aristocracy prior to the fall of Robespierre.

Although from widely varied social classes, both Julie and Françoise had an inclination for the spiritual and a deep inner life. Both had been attracted to the contemplative order of Carmelites and both had emerged from their sufferings more faith-filled and committed. A small group of devout women began to gather around Julie's sickbed in rented lodgings within the Blin family town home. Père Antoine Thomas (1753-1833), a Father of the Faith, an order founded in Rome with the intention of resurrecting the Society of Jesus (that had been suppressed by order of the pope in 1773), and, as of 1814 (when the Jesuits were reestablished), a Jesuit, was in hiding in Amiens because he had refused to take the constitutional oath. He was a teacher at the Sorbonne, known for his erudition as well as his virtue and became spiritual adviser to Julie, Françoise and the others.

Gradually, in Amiens and the surrounding area, the little group of women in the rue des Augustins received high commendations for their care of the poor, their kindness toward the sick and the suffering, their unique ability to instruct the catechism and to prepare young and old for the reception of the sacraments. In the fall of 1801, the Fathers of the Faith opened a secondary school for boys in Amiens and Father Varin (1769-1850), the superior and a friend of Father Thomas, began to persist in his effort to have Julie found a new congregation and enjoined upon her the duty of praying for subjects for this new institute. France was in dire need of educators in the aftermath of the Revolution. Though the voice of reason questioned the viability of this course of action given Julie's still paralyzed state, Julie and Françoise did as Father Varin bid and asked the Carmleites of Amiens to pray with them.

From the outset, and like so many women in the more than 250 years since the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540, Julie and Françoise saw the possibilities in a religious congregation free to move beyond the constraints of the cloister and to go wherever needed, one that would extend beyond diocesan boundaries and whose communities of religious women educators would be united by regular communication with a Mother General. Together they faced the hostility of an ecclesiastical hierarchy reluctant to permit these freedoms to women and, subsequent to persistent misunderstandings with the bishop and clergy in Amiens, they relocated the motherhouse to Namur, Belgium, which was at the time a part of Napoleon's French empire, in response to the invitation of the bishop there.

Since its official founding in 1804, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have established schools and engaged in a variety of ministries on five of the world's seven continents, always from an educational perspective and with a preference for poor women and children. Documents to further the process of canonization were prepared for both Julie and Françoise during the latter part of the nineteenth century and Julie's cause was submitted first since hers was founding spirit and charism, that of recognizing everywhere, at all times, and in all persons and things the infinite goodness of God. "Ah! Quil est bon, le bon Dieu!?" In 1969, Julie, who had taken as her religious name, Soeur Ignace, was canonized a saint of the Catholic Church.


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Bishop / Episcopacy

The word bishop comes from the Old English biscop and ultimately from the New Testament Greek episkopos meaning "overseer." (In the first Christian centuries, the role of episkopos was not clearly differentiated from that of presbyteros ("elder" or today "priest.")

Within many branches of Christianity, the bishop is a consecrated member of the clergy given authority and oversight--often for a geographical area called a diocese. In contemporary Catholicism, bishops are appointed by the pope, but for many centuries, they were locally chosen. The first Catholic bishop of the U.S., John Carroll, was elected by his fellow clergy.

In the line of succession from Jesus' apostles (the claim is disputed), bishops are said to possess the fullness of the "ministerial" priesthood that has three grades--deacon, priest, and bishop (in contrast to the "priesthood of the faithful")--and thus to have the power to ordain priests and other bishops.

According to the Second Vatican Council, the full body of bishops--the episcopacy--bears the responsibility for the governance of the entire church (in union with the bishop of Rome [the pope] in Roman Catholicism. Regional groups of bishops (as, for example, the U.S. episcopacy) were given relative autonomy and power by the Council, but over the past thirty years the Vatican has largely curtailed that.

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Black Madonna

See "Montserrat, Our Lady of."

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Body of Christ

See "Incarnation"

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Bolland, John Van (1596-1665)

Belgian Jesuit after whom the Society of Bollandists is named

John Van Bolland was a theologian-historian and early leader of the association of critical hagiographical scholars after whom it was named--The Bollandists. The work was started in 1603 by the Dutch Jesuit Heribert Rosweyde, who was engaged in producing critical editions of the enormous number of manuscript lives of the saints in the libraries of northern Europe. His proposed grand work, sent to the distinguished Jesuit theologian Robert Bellarmine, drew the following response: "This man, then, counts on living two hundred years longer!" Bolland brought new energy and direction to the work, modifying his predecessor's plan but still greatly underestimating what it would take to realize it.

The first two thousand-page volumes of the Acta Sanctorum (starting with January in the church calendar) appeared in 1643, the collaborative work of Bolland and his new assistant Godfrey Henschen (1601-1681), who surpassed his former teacher in the quality and method of his scholarship and set the standard for the volumes to come. In 1659 a third Jesuit joined the team, Daniel van Papebroch (1628-1714), also a gifted student of Bolland. Scholars from all over Europe, enthusiastically helping the great work, sent the team manuscripts. And the two younger Jesuit scholars went on a long and successful manuscript-gathering tour of Western Europe.

Not everybody was enthusiastic about the project, however. The volumes, as they came out, stirred angry responses from individuals and a whole religious order because of its critical separating of fact from legend. Papebroch bore the brunt of the outrage.

The Bollandist Society suffered various losses after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, but was re-established and moved from Antwerp to Brussels in the 1840s. Still at work today in their superb library--one of the best in Europe--the Bollandists, now including non-Jesuit scholars, have produced more than 120 volumes on the saints. Their great service to the church has been to present as honest and clear a picture of the lives of saints people considered worthy of veneration and imitation as critical historical scholarship can yield.

The Bollandist Society has a website:
See Hippolyte Delehaye, The Work of the Bollandists through Three Centuries, 1615-1915 (Princeton Univ. Press, 1922).

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Foundational Readings

Associated With Xavier University

  • Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity
    Gillian T. W. Ahlgren, Theology Department, 1998
  • Faith and Action: A History of the Catholic Diocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1996
    Roger Fortin, Provost and Academic Vice President, 2002
  • The Language of Battered Women: A Rhetorical Analysis of Personal Theologies
    Carol Winkelmann, English Department, 2003
  • Into the Abyss of Suffering
    Kenneth Overberg, SJ, Theolgy Department, 2003
  • Through the Year with Oscar Romero
    Irene Hodgson, Translations, Modern Languages Department, 2005
  • Spirituality in the Mother Zone: Staying Centered Finding God
    Trudelle Thomas, English Department, 2005
  • Conscience in Conflict, 3rd ed.
    Kenneth Overberg, SJ, Theology Department, 2003
  • To See Great Wonders: A History of Xavier University
    Roger Fortin, Provost and Academic Vice President, 2006
  • Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World
    Joseph Bracken, Theology Department, 2006
  • Alice in Academe and Other Stories
    Joseph Wessling; emeritus, English Department, Illustrated by Holly Shapker, Art Department, 2006
  • A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II
    Edward P. Hahnenberg, Theology Department, 2007
  • Xavier University: A Celebration of Art - A Tribute to the 175th Anniversary of Xavier
    Kittie Uetz & Jenny Shives, Art Department, 2007
  • Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line
    Christopher Pramuk, Theology Department, 2013

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Boscovich, Roger Joseph [in Croatian, Rudger Josip Boskovic] (1711-1787)

Croatian Jesuit; fearless, independent thinker; creative scientist; proponent of an early atomic theory of matter

A native of Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) in Dalmatia, the young Roger Joseph Boscovich was praised by one of his distinguished teachers: "He starts where I leave off."  He taught at the Jesuit Roman College for twenty years (1740-1760). He published some sixty books and pamphlets on scientific subjects. In 1758, after years of reflection, he published his masterwork, A Theory of Natural Philosophy, anticipating much later findings of atomic physics. "From an absolutely new point of departure in physics, he conceived the material world as made up of individual non-extended points which are centers of action, while the action, be it attractive or repulsive, between the points is a function of the distance which separates them" (Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus [1986]).

He could be acerbic and did not suffer fools lightly. He judged that the famous Jesuit College Louis-le-Grand in Paris did not have up-to-date scientific instruments and criticized the blindness of Jesuits who considered Newton a heretic. The naïve rector of the Jesuit college at Sens, who showed him among the school's precious holdings a piece of Aaron's rod and a rib of the prophet Isaiah, was told, in the interest of truth, to throw them away. Boscovich more than any other 18th-century Jesuit thinker was responsible for defeating the attitude that Jesuits were closed to new ideas.

In the last fifty years or so, appreciation of Boscovich's work has grown considerably. The University of California, Berkeley, purchased a large collection of manuscripts and letters that now constitute the Boscovich Archives in its Bancroft Rare Books Library. And historians of science have honored him with books and articles and international symposia.

See Hill, 'Biographical Essay' in Roger Joseph Boscovich: Studies of His life and Work on the 250th Anniversary of His Birth, ed. Lancelot Law Whyte (1961).

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Brackley, Dean (1946-2011)

American Jesuit; volunteer to El Salvador after the murder of six Jesuits (1989)

After earning a doctorate in religious social ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School, Dean Brackley worked in troubled neighborhoods in lower Manhattan and the South Bronx and taught at Fordham University for some nine years.  One of his best-known writings draws on these years of ministry: "Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius' Two Standards" (Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits [January 1988]).

In November 1989, six Jesuits at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador (along with the housekeeper/cook from a nearby Jesuit seminary and her daughter who had sought refuge in the UCA Jesuit residence) were murdered--shot in the back of the head at close range to blow their brains out--by government forces (most of them trained at the School of the Americas in Columbus, GA). Brackley volunteered to help replace them. He then spent most of the last 21 years of his life (until he died at 65 of pancreatic cancer) teaching and doing administration at the UCA, writing, and ministering with a community of the poor. He was a frequent guide for North American and European visitors to Salvador, whether they came as learners or as pilgrims. He also visited various (Jesuit) universities in the U.S., delivering his vision of what a Catholic (and therefore Jesuit) university should be.

An abbreviated version of the talk that Brackley gave on Catholic higher education at John Carroll University in October 2005 appeared in America ('Higher Standards,' February 6, 2006) and is reprinted in A Jesuit Education Reader, ed. George W. Traub (2008).
His contemporary presentation of Ignatian spirituality and the Exercises, equipping them for the "historical reality" of our time--The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times (Crossroad, 2004)--has  already become a modern classic.

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Brebeuf, John [in French, Jean de Brebeuf] (1593-1649)

French Jesuit; missioner to New France

Though early in his Jesuit life he was beset by illness, John Brebeuf became legendary for his strength and endurance and heroic in his gruesome torture and death. He was declared a saint in 1930.

He was in the second group of Jesuit missioners to go from their homeland to New France (1625), and he served there in two periods until he was put to death by the Mohawk in 1649.

Brebeuf was a leader of the illustrious but tragically short-lived mission to the Wendat (formerly called Huron) numbering some 30,000 in 20 villages. It was his determination to live among the people and to honor their culture and customs--not an easy thing to do. In one of his letters home to France, he wrote: "You may have been a famous professor or theologian in France, but here you will merely be a student and with what teachers! The Huron language will be your Aristotle and, clever man that you are, speaking glibly among the learned, you must make up your mind to be mute in the company of these natives."

In another letter home, Brebeuf described a native game in which players used a curved stick that he named "La crosse" because it reminded him of a bishop's crosier. To this day, the game bears that name.

The dream of the mission was to have the Wendat and the Europeans living together in harmony where the rites and tradition of both peoples could be strengthened and enriched by the values of the gospel. And gradually that dream came toward realization with the building of the settlement-compound Sainte-Marie that at its peak housed 23 Jesuits and 23 French lay volunteers along with the Wendat converts. But in 1648-49, repeated attacks by the Mohawk destroyed one village after another and killed most of the Jesuit and lay leadership, including Christian Wendat who had come to assume an important role in the blended community.

Brebeuf and his companions are memorialized in a long epic poem by Canadian poet E. J. Pratt  Brebeuf and His Brethren (1940). A less heroic but compelling portrait of a French Jesuit missioner to New France is painted by Irish-Canadian-American novelist Brian Moore in Black Robe (1985). The film version (1991), by Australian director Bruce Beresford with a screenplay by Moore, dramatizes the impossibility of the two cultures--French and aboriginal--ever coming together. Although the works make good fiction and good film, they are not historically accurate. In spite of great difficulty, the two cultures did come together and, indeed, lived together in a Wendat-French Christian community.

A reliable and clarifying essay on "The Jesuits in New France" by Jacques Monet appears in the Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits, ed. Thomas Worcester (2008).

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Buckley, Michael J. (1931-  )

American Jesuit; philosophical theologian; writer

Michael Buckley is currently a Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University. Prior to this appointment, he was for fourteen years a member of the theological faculty at Boston College, during which time he served as the director of the Jesuit Institute and as Canisius Professor of Theology. Previously, he was a member of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He held various university positions, including visiting fellow at Cambridge University's Clare Hall, of which he is also a life member.

Buckley is the author of numerous articles in systematic theology, philosophy, spirituality, science and theology, and the history of ideas. Among his books are: The Catholic University as Promise and Project: Reflections in a Jesuit Idiom (1998) and most recently Denying and Disclosing God: The Ambiguous Progress of Modern Atheism (2004).

He has served as the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, a trustee for a number of universities and for Theological Studies, and has participated on various boards and commissions. He presently serves on the Theological Consultants Board for Herder/Crossroad.

Buckley received his BA and MA from Gonzaga University, his STM from Santa Clara University, and his PhD from the University of Chicago. He has received two doctorates honoris causa and has also been honored with a Festschrift (Finding God in All Things: Essays in Honor of Michael J. Buckley, SJ, eds. Michael J. Himes and Stephen J. Pope [1996]).

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



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Jesuit Terms C

Campion, Edmund (1540-1581)

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 [1986]).

It was not Campion's idea to return to England and certain death, especially not at the time Nicholas Sander was attempting (with the approval of Allen) to overthrow English rule in Ireland with the help of Spain. (The attempt ended in disaster.) But he went as asked. He lasted thirteen months before he was betrayed, arrested, tortured and in the customary manner of execution "hanged, drawn and quatered" [that is, hanged, cut down while still alive, disemboweled, and his body cut into four parts].

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.

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."

The residence for Jesuit scholars at Oxford is named in his honor Campion Hall.

See Waugh, Edmund Campion (1946)
Thomas M. McCoog, The Reckoned Expense: Edmund Campion and the Early English Jesuits, rev. and enl. ed. (2007).
Review of Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life in The Tablet (21 November 2015).

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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.

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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.

Pope Francis has a kind of "cabinet" of nine representative cardinals from around the world who advise him in an ongoing way and meet with him periodically as a group.

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Cardinal, Fernando (1934-2016)

Nicaraguan Jesuit; advocate for the poor; architect of the Literacy Campaign and Minister of Education

Fr. Fernando Cardinal's lifelong commitment to the poor and the oppressed began as a young Jesuit living among the poor in Medellin, Colombia, and lasted throughout his Jesuit life.

Despite repeated requests from Rome that he refrain from political activity and advocacy, he remained engaged in the Nicaraguan revolution against the Somoza dictatorship. In 1979 that 46-year-long murderous regime came to an abrupt end. The U.S. Carter administration withdrew their funding, and the leftist Sandinista revolutionaries threatened to apprehend them. They simply got on a plane and left the country without further bloodshed.

In the years following the revolution, Cardinal was asked in various ways to help build the new representative government. He led the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign (50% of the populace was illiterate) and served as the country's Minister of Education (1984-1990).

As a consequence of his commitment to live in solidarity with the poor and his refusal to abandon his work, Fr. Cardinal was dismissed from the Jesuits in 1984, only to be reinstated in 1997. During this time he continued to live in the Jesuit community compound but was technically not a member of the Society of Jesus. He went on to serve as director of the Fe y Alegra network in Nicaragua, a Jesuit network of schools for the most economically poor throughout Latin America, as well as speaking regularly to groups in Nicaragua and internationally.

Orbis Books recently published Fr. Cardinal's memoirs Faith and Joy written with Kathy McBride and Mark Lester, long-time friends who work for Augsburg College's Center for Global Education in Nicaragua.

The following video recording was produced by John Carroll University, where Fr. Cardinal visited in 2014 and shared his story of working for justice with students and faculty; the talk is long, detailed and inspiring:

--The Ignatian Solidarity Network [edited and augmented by GWT]

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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.

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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 in 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.

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Catholic/Christian-Jewish Relations

See "Nostra Aetate"

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Catholic Identity

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 Idenity.", and see our Resource page

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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).

See Monika Hellwig, "The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Catholic University" in A Jesuit Education Reader.

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Christian doctrines, Central

The 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. 

See "Trinity"
See "Incarnation" and "Incarnation, Why the."
See "Grace"

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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. 

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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 [1986]).

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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 [1596].

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Colleges and Universities


See Jesuit Colleges and Universities

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Colloquy, The (from the Spiritual Exercises)

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.

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Common Good, The

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?").

See the related concept of "Solidarity."
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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).

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See "Council of Constance and Vatican Council I"

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Conferences & Retreats

To view a list of all conferences and retreats, click here.

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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 bringing 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."

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Consolation and Desolation

In the teaching of Ignatius,* Spiritual Consolation consists of any movement of heart and mind that leads to an increase in faith and hope and genuine love of self and others. Spiritual Desolation is just the opposite: any movement that leads to a decline in faith and hope and genuine love, to selfishness, to fear and discouragement that keep one from doing good.  When one is experiencing desolation, Ignatius teaches, one should not change any previous decision or come to a new decision.  In a second set of guidelines for discernment, Ignatius warns that the “bad spirit” can use apparent but false consolation to lead a person to evil under the guise of good.

See Discernment.

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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.

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Conversations on Catholic Identity at a Jesuit University: An E-Seminar

For information on the E-Seminar, please click here.

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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.

Watch a video introduction to the Institute here.
Find more information about the Institute here.

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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 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!

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Council of Constance (1414-1418) and Vatican Council I (1870)

These two ecumencial councils are treated here together because they seem to teach contradictory forms of Roman Catholic Church governance and authority--Constance being a prime instance of "conciliarism": and Vatican I of papal absolutism. The histories of these councils are especially relevant to our times when Pope Francis is tryring to reestablish more “collegial” forms of governance in keeping with the teaching of Vatican II after his two predecessors downgraded collegiality in favor of more absolute papal authority.

The Council of Constance (a southwestern German city) was called in a time of major crisis  with three different claimants to the papacy. In contrast to previous general councils and the subsequent Council of Trent, it had a very high level of participation—patriarchs, cardinals and hundreds of bishops, abbots and priors, doctors of theology and doctors of church and civil law—no doubt owing to the dire situation of the church.  In its decree Haec Sancta Synodus (“This Holy Synod”--1415) the council drew on the synodal or conciliar way of governance practiced in the early church and on elements of medieval canon (church) law. It taught that in certain critical cases a general (“ecumenical”) council has a jurisdictional authority superior to that of the pope and can even depose a pope. Acting on its decree, Constance deposed John XXIII (the one who had called this council, not the one who called Vatican II in the mid-20th century), invited the other two claimants to resign, which one did (Gregory XII), deposed the other (Benedict XIII), and then later elected a new pope, Martin V.

One school of interpretation of Constance claims that the early part of the council including the decree Haec Santa Synodus was invalid (some even said heretical) because it was never approved by the pope. But that position labors under a major difficulty. It would invalidate not only the decree but the actions following upon it. The deposition of John XXIII would be null and void and so the subsequently elected pope, Martin V and his successors all the way down to the present, would be illegitimate. Perhaps that is why the conciliarist position continued to have proponents in northern Europe, for instance, and especially at the University of Paris (the “Sorbonne”) down through the centuries in spite of official attempts to descredit it as invalid or heretical or simply to ignore it.

For the papacy of the past 600 years, starting with Martin V himself, has not doubted its absolute authority. And the decree Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I (1870), which enunciated a (limited) papal infallibility, simply confirmed a jurisdictional authority of the papacy it assumed to be absolute. The few dissenting voices were laughed at or shouted down.  It was a time when personal sympathy for the pope (Pius IX), who had recently lost his “temporal” power (the Papal States) in the political unification of Italy, was high.  Apparently none of the assembled bishops raised the objection that the absolutism of Pastor Aeternus might be incompatible with the conciliarism of Haec Sancta Synodus (though Henri Maret, dean of the theological faculty of the Sorbonne, had in a two-volume work (1869) presented the case for Constance and conciliarism as a memorandum to the forthcoming council).

Oakley, "Authoritative and Ignored: The Overlooked Council of Constance," Commonweal (October 24,2014)

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Creation (Genesis, chs. 1&2)

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).

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Cristo Rey Network  

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.

While the original Cristo Rey school in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood (Mexican American) was the initiative of the Chicago Province Jesuits (1996), the majority of CR Network schools are now sponsored by other religious communities or by Catholic dioceses (19 of 32 in 2017).

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Cura Apostolica

Latin for "apostolic care"

The term cura apostolica is the counterpart to cura personalis and, as that refers to the personal care of individuals, this one is concerned with the care of an individual's apostolate or ministry or with that of a given corporate apostolate.

Coining and use of the term probably originate with Jesuit leadership and date to post-Vatican II times, but the reality of apostolic care goes all the way back to the Jesuit Constitutions (their developmental organization has everything leading up to the conduct of Jesuit ministry) and to the exchange of letters between Jesuits spread out around the world and Ignatius in Rome offering care and guidance. In both the Constitutions and these letters one finds strong, clear principles combined with the freedom to carry them out--or even change them--according to local circumstances.

The exercise of cura apostolica in the world of Jesuit higher education today falls not just on the "sponsoring" Society of Jesus, but on all engaged in the work -- the trustees, the presidents and other administrators, the faculty and the staff -- an increasing number of whom are not Jesuits.

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Cura Personalis

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.

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

Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms D

Delp, Alfred (1907-1945)

German Jesuit; writer and preacher; martyr

In the early 1940's, people avidly read his regular contributions to the Jesuit review Stimmen der Zeit and came from all over Munich to hear him preach.

In 1943, at the invitation of Count von Moltke and with the encouragement of his provincial superior, he joined the secret Kreisau Circle, an anti-Nazi group that was planning a new social order to be built on Christian lines after the War.

The group was found out. Delp was arrested, imprisoned, interrogated and encouraged to repudiate his Jesuit and Catholic allegiance. But he refused, was "convicted," and executed on February 2, 1945.  The Nazis disposed of his body secretly so that his grave would not become a place of pilgrimage; and so people today visit the parish church where he served.

His Prison Writings (Orbis, 2004) make powerful reading.

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De Mello, Anthony (1931-1987)

Indian Jesuit; teacher of eastern spiritual practices to the West

Born in Mumbai (Bombay), India, Anthony De Mello studied psychology at Loyola University Chicago and then set up his spiritual center "Sadhana Institute" in Pune (Poona), India. In the 1970s, he started offering guided awareness exercises (e.g., attentiveness to one's breathing) to Christians in India and, during summers, in the U.S. He also offered them to his Jesuit brothers at General Congregation 32 (1974-1975). These exercises were finally published as Sadhana: A Way to God--Christian Exercises in Eastern Form (1978). Many more books followed until his sudden death in New York at age 56, and even then, friends and disciples published a number of manuscripts that he was working on. His bibliography totals 59 books. His book Awareness (1992), which transcribes one of his workshops, is said to be a good place to start becoming acquainted with his approach. Several of his workshops are also available in video form.

In 1998, eleven years after De Mello's death, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) issued a "Notification" that some of his writings were a danger to the Catholic faith. Even a cursory reading of a page-worth of his sayings, stories, and parables, readily available on the internet, makes clear that De Mello has a certain anti-institutional bias toward religion. His basic message is "spiritual," not "religious." It is a call to awareness, a call to "wake up" from the "sleep" that most people live in without realizing it. In this quest, he is just as apt to turn to non-Christian sources as to Christian ones.

See the De Mello website maintained by the deMello Spirituality Center at Fordham University (its founder, Jesuit Frank Stroud, died recently; the Center is now in the hands of two trustees, Jonathan Galente and Desmond Towey).
Anthony de Mello: Writings, ed. William V. Dych (Orbis, 1999; Modern Spiritual Masters Series). Dych's introduction to De Mello is outstanding. 

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De Smet, Peter (1801-1873)

Belgian Jesuit; promoter of missions to NW Native Americans

Peter De Smet came to the United States in 1821, entered the Jesuits, and was ordained in 1827. Twelve years later, he encountered two Flathead Indians seeking priests to instruct their nation. This event proved to be the turning point in his life, and he soon became the founder of missions to the Rocky Mountain Northwest Native Americans. He visited the Rocky Mountain area, founded St. Mary's near Missoula, MT, then went to the far Northwest and planned the growth of the church in Oregon country.

In 1843 he sailed to Europe and recruited five Jesuits and six Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for mission work in the Northwest. In the 1850's and 1860's he visited the Plains and the Rocky Mountains seven times as an emissary of the federal government. In 1864 he was the only white man trusted enough to be allowed into Sitting Bull's camp.

De Smet was not so much a missionary as he was a promoter and procurator of missions. In their interest he made repeated journeys to the Mountains and crossed the Atlantic sixteen times.

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Dialogue of Leadership in Jesuit Higher Education

Howard Gray presentation for the AJCU Seminar on Higher Education Leadership, Loyola University Chicago (2013)

Howard Gray’s The Dialogue of Leadership “focuses on dialogue as an essential component in clarifying the Ignatian-Jesuit mission of our schools and on fostering dialogue as one of the major responsbilities of administration in a Jesuit college or university.”

The concept of dialogue comes from the work of Austrian-born Jewish religious philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965), who spent much of his early life in Germany and later life in Israel. For Buber dialogue was always the establishing of a relationship in which people turn to one another truthfully not simply to learn something but to become someone through mutual acceptance.  Dialogue “was not a ploy, not a technique, but the surface expression of the core values of honesty, curiosity, and humility” (John O’Malley).

Pope Paul VI, with his first encyclical Ecclesiam Suam (1963), introduced the term dialogue into the language of the Catholic Church, applying it to relationships within the church (including with all Christians) and to relationships with believers outside the church and even to non-believers.  Shortly, it became a key term at Vatican II, appearing in its documents some seventy times.

From a Jesuit perspective, dialogue resonates with the Ignatian human and spiritual developmental paradigm of attentiveness and reverence (appreciation) leading to devotion (consolation).  At the same time it helps one to recognize the opposite pattern of the structures of evil that hide, distort, or disfigure the way of God, oppressing people and truncating their growth.  Hence the Jesuit determination to live a faith that does justice.  A leader of Jesuit education, then, needs to foster at every level encounters with reality, modeling and creating an atmosphere for attention, reverence and devotion to occur and thrive.  (And do this, of course, not through imposition but though evoking the free response of unique individuals.) For example, then, helping colleagues (or students) to engage with the poor and marginal of our culture in way that does not reinforce stereotypes about them, involves practicing the dialogic qualities of mutuality, truthfulness, the humility to listen and to learn, a growth in relationship.

The concluding testimony from a secular academic shows how dialogic leaders give voice to their feelings about what is important in their lives and connect that to the interests of others. (Recall the quality of the personal sharing at Joe Appleyard’s “Cohasset Weekends” [Boston College] and George Traub’s “Grailville Weekends” [Xavier U.] in the 1980s and 90s.) The Ignatian leader inspires others to be part of the community of ongoing dialogue. 

Buber, I and Thou (1923, English trans. 1937) and Between Man and Man (1948) 
“Finding God in All Things” in “Jesuit A to Z,” below 
Gray, “Soul Education” in A Jesuit Education Reader (2008)  
Jesuit Conference, “Communal Reflection on the Jesuit Mission in Higher Education: A Way of Proceeding” (2002)
in A Jesuit Education Reader
 “Some Characteristics of Jesuit Colleges and Universities: A Self-Evaluation Instrument” (2012)
 Appleyard, “The Languages We Use,” Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (March 1987)

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Dialogue Theologically Understood

From Jesuit General Congregation 34 (1995)

One way of serving God's mystery of salvation is through dialogue, a spiritual conversation of equal partners, that opens human beings to the core of their identity. In such a dialogue, we come into contact with the activity of God in the lives of other men and women, and deepen our sense of this divine action: "By dialogue, we let God be present in our midst; for as we open ourselves in dialogue to one another, we also open ourselves to God." We try to enable people to become aware of God's presence in their culture and to help them evangelize others in their turn. The ministry of dialogue is conducted with a sense that God's action is antecedent to ours. We do not plant the seed of his presence, for he has already done that in the culture; he is already bringing it to fruitfulness, embracing all the diversity of creation, and our role is to cooperate with this divine activity.

GC 34, #17

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– Ignatius of Loyola* called the process “discernment of spirits,” but in the language of today we might call it “sifting our moods and feelings” or “learning to read the body’s signals” (Gerard W. Hughes).  It can be a great help for making choices, in a context of (Christian) faith, when the option is between several courses of action all of which seem good.  It involves prayer, reflection and consultation—all with honest attention not only to the rational (reasons pro and con) but also to the realm of one’s feelings, emotions and desires.   

A basic question then becomes “Where is this impulse from—the good spirit (of God) or the evil spirit (leading one away from God).”  In the case of a person leading a fundamentally good life, Ignatius teaches, the good spirit gives “consolation”—acts quietly, gently and leads one to peace, joy and deeds of loving service--while the bad spirit brings “desolation”—agitates, disturbs the peace and injects fears and discouragement to keep one from doing good. 

Inspired Choices
Video Clips about Discernment

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Discernment, Ignatian Communal

A spiritual approach to group decision-making, simply summarized in 8-steps:

1.  Outline the pro’s and con’s of the decision with respect to the our mission, vision and values.  
2.  Approach deliberations with an impartial mindset (Ignatian indifference).
3.  Share my opinions.
4.  Encourage and support the contributions of others.
5.  Give close attention to the viewpoints of others’--more so if disagreements arise.
6.  Be mindful of feelings of unease or agitation (Ignatian desolation).
7.  Notice God’s presence and will.
8.  Deliberate until we have a shared sense of contentment with a decision (Ignatian consolation).

By Debra Mooney, PhD

See Leadership in the Ignatian Tradition: Personal and Communal Discernment and
An Ignatian Prayer for Decision-Making Meetings

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Jesuit universities and schools are respected for academic excellence, the promotion of social justice, and "finding God in all things." These mission-driven values, as well as the necessity to prepare students for a rapidly changing multicultural and global society, draws Jesuit educational institutions to lead in the call for diversity and the inclusion of all peoples. A respect for all human persons and differences is a significant aspect of the history of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Loyola befriended fellow students who were quite different from himself with regard to social class, age, and nationality, rather unique in the 1500's; they became the founding companions. In 1995, the Society addressed relationships with non-Catholics and women--see General Congregation 34.

A collection of resources from the Office of Diversity at Xavier University
Daily Examen for Diversity
Video Clips about Diversity

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Do You Speak Ignatian?
This "Glossary of Ignatian and Jesuit Terms" by George Traub, SJ, of Xavier's Center for Mission and Identity, was not his idea. Both the idea and the title came from Bill Daily (Communication Arts) and Jo Ann Recker, SNDdeN (Modern Languages). Chris Potter (Campus Ministry) designed the original cover and by giving away copies at Heartland II (1997 in St. Louis) made it known beyond Xavier. Since the 12th edition (2010), the cover is graced with a portrait of Ignatius by Cincinnati artist Holly Schapker (XU 1992) from her collection ADSUM: Contemporary Paintings on Ignatian Spirituality.

The booklet reached a milestone in 2017 with 100,000 copies in print, and the 20th Anniversary Edition (2017) had significant revisions and ten new entries.

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From the Greek dokeo meaning “to appear.”

The early Christian heresy (condemened by the Council of Nicaea in 325) that Jesus was not really fully human, but only appeared to be so. His body was not real and therefore he could not and did not suffer. He was God, as it were acting out a play with a pre-determined script and so with full foreknowledge of everything that was going to happen to him, unlike real human beings who have to act with limited knowledge of the future.

The 20th-century Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner (1904-1984) frequently called attention to the fact that many ordinary Christian believers were implicitly and unwittingly docetist in that they thought and talked about Jesus’ divinity in a way that cancelled out his humanity, whereas orthodox Christian doctrine does not “mix” his two natures.  How they can both be present (technically called the “hypostatic union”) is a mystery beyond human ability to understand.

Rahner offers some possible understanding of Jesus’ human self-knowledge as “separate” from his divine knowledge and not directly influenced by it.  So, to the question did the human Jesus know he was God, Rahner answers “No” and “Yes.” The human Jesus himself would have answered “No” in the sense that a Jew of his time knew there was only one God and, as the gospels testify, he had an intimate relationship with the One he called and prayed to as Abba (“Father,” “Dad”). But “Yes” in his “non-thematic” awareness—the kind we humans have of ourselves that can’t be put into words and concepts and images.

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Doctrinal Congregation

Doctrinal Congregation (short for Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)--
the Vatican office that deals with orthodoxy and dissent.

Other Christian bodies have less organized ways of dealing with the issue.

Because what the Church preaches and teaches matters, this is a perennial concern.
It appears in the early centuries once Jewish Christianity moved out into the Greek and Roman world..

The existence of some such agency as the Doctrinal Congregation is not the real issue. Rather it is the way in which the Congregation conducts its business. Is there respect for the human and Christian dignity of anyone accused or does the investigative body operate like a totalitarian power which has no limits because none are built into it?

For a fuller picture of the history involved, click here.
See "Index of Forbidden Books."

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Downward Mobility

A term coined by the late Dean Brackley as part of his contemporary reading of Ignatius' Meditation on Two Standards, Two Leaders.

Mainstream contemporary culture offers individualistic "upward mobility" as the goal of life. It plays on our human sense of insecurity and fear which with September 11, 2001, became globalized: "a sensation of physical insecurity has now spread to people who once felt safe." While "upward mobility" is not in itself bad, it often carries with it a host of satellite features that must be considered dangerous.

Thus Ignatius presents us with the way of Lucifer/Satan. According to Brackley's contemporary reading, it is characterized by covetousness, status symbols, the social ladder, arrogant pride, the outcast, and the paragon, competition, the pyramid, mistrust and coercion, cover-up.

In contrast to this way of Lucifer/Satan, the way of Christ is "downward mobility." It is characterized by faith, indifference to honors, recognizing others' humanity/sharing, humility as solidarity, a community of equals, and cooperation. In short ...

  • Communities of "new human beings" and human relations must exercise prophetic witness to unmask the great cover-up. They must be places from which to work for a more hospitable world--for a society where ... "it is easier for people to be good."

[The preceding is an abbreviated version; to read the whole essay, click here.]

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Dulles, Avery (1918-2008)

American Jesuit; theologian of "models"; cardinal

Avery Dulles' father, John Foster Dulles, was U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration (1952-1960). Avery, though brought up in his family's Presbyterian Christianity, considered himself an agnostic when he entered Harvard as an undergraduate in 1936. By the time of his graduation, however, he had become a Catholic, something not easy for his parents to accept in that pre-ecumenical era (A Testimonial to Grace [1946]).

 After service in the military during World War II, he entered the Jesuits in 1946 at the age of 28. He did doctoral studies in theology at the Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome and then taught for many years at Woodstock College, the Jesuit theological school in rural Maryland. Later, he joined the faculty at Catholic University in DC, and finally, he was McGinley Professor at Fordham in NYC.

Among his published works--25 books and more than 800 articles, many of them translated into other languages--perhaps the most significant are his "models," books where he lined up the various theological opinions on a given subject in relation to one another and assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each: Models of the Church (1974 and subsequent editions), Models of Revelation (1983, 1992), and The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith (1994). He had a deep knowledge of the long and diverse tradition, could write about it with clarity, and so help foster a unity of faith in a post-Vatican II Catholic culture that he saw as increasingly unmoored. It was his contention that the truth lies, not in any one position, but in the totality of them all.

Pope John Paul II made Dulles a cardinal in 2001. Many "liberal" Catholics saw this as a benediction on Dulles' supposed move to the right (for example, he was adamantly opposed to the ordination of women), but others read it more generally as a recognition that American Catholic theology had come of age (Dulles was the first American theologian to be given a red hat).

See Mark Massa in Commonwealth (August 13, 2010) and Patrick Carey in Theological Studies (December 2010).

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Dupuis, Jacques (1923-2004)

Belgian Jesuit; theologian of religious pluralism

Jacques Dupuis went to teach in India in 1949, and his more than 30 years there, where Christianity is such a tiny part of the predominantly Hindu culture, had a profound impact on his theology.

In 1984 he left India and started teaching systematic theology and "other religions" at the Jesuit-sponsored Gregorian University in Rome. In 1997 he published a book Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism (Orbis), articulating an "inclusive pluralism" that seeks to hold together, the constitutive and universal character of the Christ-event in the order of human salvation and the salvific significance of [other] religious traditions . . . within the one manifold plan of God for humankind. The book drew a Vatican investigation of its orthodoxy. First, without explanation, Dupuis was removed from his teaching post. Then, in 2001, the Doctrinal Congregation headed by Josef Ratzinger issued a "Notification" (or "warning") that the book contained, grave errors . . . and ambiguities (unspecified). Jesuit superior general Peter-Hans Kolvenbach responded with a public statement encouraging Dupuis to continue his pioneering work in interreligious dialogue. Sadly, however, his arbitrary treatment by the Congregation plunged him into severe depression and this along with other illness led to his death a few years later.

See Matthew Ashley's major review of Jacques Dupuis Faces the Inquisition in Commonweal (June 1, 2013).
See Hinsdale, "Jesuit Theological Discourse since Vatican II," Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits, ed. Thomas Worcester (2008).

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Durocher, Marie-Rose (1811-1849)

Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

Eulalie Durocher was born in a small town along the Richelieu River in Quebec on October 6, 1811. From 1831 to 1843 she served as the housekeeper at the rectory in Beloeil, Quebec, where her brother was the parish priest. During these years, Eulalie saw the great need for youth education in the small farming community where she lived. Girls in particular received little schooling, and although Eulalie had little formal education herself, she was determined to do something to change the situation for girls in rural Quebec.

Eulalie felt a calling to religious life and felt that she could best educate children as a religious, but poor health prevented her from entering several times. In 1843, at the request of Bishop Ignace Bourget, Eulalie went to Longueuil, outside of Montreal, to found a new teaching community with two other women. Patterned on a French community of the same name, this new community was known as the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Eulalie was given the religious name Marie-Rose and was selected by the bishop as the community's first superior. Mother Marie-Rose oversaw her fledgling community for only six years before dying at age 38 on October 6, 1849. By her faith, her judgment and her apostolic creativity, Mother Marie-Rose had a great influence on the society and the Church of Quebec. A born educator, she knew how to develop people's gifts and how to open her congregation to the future.

Mother Marie-Rose was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982. Her remains are at the Co-cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua in Longueuil.

Today, the Congregation consists of some 1,000 Sisters and 600 Associates living and ministering in Canada, the United States, Lesotho, Peru, and Brazil. Inspired by the zeal of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, in collaboration with multiple ministry partners, the Sisters respond to contemporary needs through formal education in K-12 and university, pastoral, and social service settings. Sisters and their associates remain dedicated to educational works which promote the full development of the human person, with special concern for those marginalized by society. The U.S.-Ontario Province of the Sisters of the Holy Names is responsible for six high schools on the east and west coasts; Holy Names University in Oakland, California; community learning centers; and a medical clinic in Tutwiler, Mississippi. In collaboration with Jesuit peers, several SNJM theologians have been instrumental in making the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius accessible to women in North America and in Africa.


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


Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms E

Ecology Resources

* See the work of the AJCU Ecology Educators

Jesuits urged to pray, think, act to promote ecological responsibility
Article by Cindy Wooden, 9/27/11

Note from Superior General Adolfo Nicolas, SJ
to the Society regarding the commitment to nature and the environment, 9/16/11

Healing a Broken World
Task Force on Ecology

The Place of Sustainability and the Environment within Roman Catholic Thought
Remarks by Michael J. Graham, S.J., President of Xavier University, Sustainability Day, November 7, 2011

See sustainability.
Resource page for Ecology and Sustainability.

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From the Greek word meaning "world-wide."

With the new emphasis on relations between Christian and non-Christian* religions and the emergence of its own term "interreligious dialogue," the word ecumenism is now used only for relations among different Christian bodies. Since the Second Vatican Council, groups of theologians--Lutheran-Catholic, Anglican-Roman Catholic, Orthodox-Catholic and others--have engaged in dialogue to identify doctrinal differences and, where possible, resolve them. Such, for instance, was the accord reached by the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue on "justification."

Ecumenial activity is not limited to dialogue among theologians, however. An important part of the ecumenism practiced in today's world is the shared experience of married couples from different Christian denominations.

Toward the end of his life, the distinguished 20th-century Catholic theologian Karl Rahner claimed that nothing significant stood in the way of main-stream Protestant and Catholic bodies coming together. They would simply have to make a start by recognizing the validity of one another's ministries and, while each would maintain its own rites and theologies and laws, gradually move toward further integration and collaboration. That recognition and move toward unification has not happened.

Among the main issues that still separate Protestants and Orthodox from Roman Catholics is the current form of papal governance. The question arises, Is Catholic church governance with the pope as an absolute ruler and almost all power concentrated at the top an essential part of the church's constitution? Perhaps Roman Catholic absolutism owes more to the Roman Empire than to the essence of the church, and the church could re-introduce governmental reforms that give a significant voice to the bishops' conferences, the presbyterate (the body of priests), and the laity. Thus the church could more surely embrace the "collegiality" and representative government endorsed by Vatican II.

This seems to be the intent of Pope Francis (2013-    ) with his appointment of a "cabinet" of nine representative cardinals from around the world to advise him. Similarly, the Synods on the Family (October 2014 and October 2015), while dealing with family-related issues, in effect became an exercise in free and genuine dialogue among the bishops.

See Reform of the Church

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Education, Jesuit

Ignatius of Loyola and his first companions, who founded the Society of Jesus in 1540, did not originally intend to establish schools. But before long they were led to start colleges for the education of the young men who flocked to join their religious order. And in 1547 Ignatius was asked to open a school for young lay men.

By the time of his death (1556), there were 35 such colleges (comprising today's secondary school and the first year or two of college). By the time the order was suppressed in 1773, the number had grown to more than 800, all part of a system of integrated humanistic education that was international and brought together in a common enterprise men from various languages and cultures. These Jesuits were distinguished mathematicians, astronomers and physicists; linguists and dramatists; painters and architects; philosophers and theologians; even what today would be called cultural anthropologists.

These developments are not surprising; the order's founders were all University of Paris graduates, and Ignatius' spirituality taught Jesuits to search for God "in all things." After the order was restored (1814), however, Jesuit schools and scholars in Europe never regained the prominence they previously had. Besides, they were largely involved in the resistance to modern thought and culture that characterized Catholic intellectual life through the 19th century and beyond.

In other parts of the world, especially in the United States, the 19th century saw a new birth of Jesuit education. Twenty-one of today's 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities were founded during that century. These schools served the needs of an immigrant people, enabling them to move up in the world while maintaining their Catholic belief and practice in a frequently hostile Protestant environment.

After World War II, U.S. Jesuit higher education (as American higher education generally) experienced enormous growth and democratization under the G.I. Bill. Significantly, this growth entailed a shift from a largely Jesuit faculty to one made up increasingly of lay men (and more recently women). Further, Vatican Council II (1962-1965) released a great burst of energy in the Catholic church and Jesuit order for engagement with the modern world, including its intellectual life. Finally, Jesuit schools in the 1970s and 1980s moved to professionalize through the hiring of new faculty with highly specialized training and terminal degrees from the best graduate schools.

These sweeping changes of the last 50 years have brought U.S. Jesuit schools to the present situation where they face crucial questions. Will so-called Jesuit institutions of higher education simply merge with mainstream American academe and thereby lose any distinctiveness and reason for existing, or will they have the creativity to become more distinctive? While taking the best from American education and culture, will they still offer an alternative in the spirit of their Jesuit heritage? Will they foster the integration of knowledge or will specialization reign alone and the fragmentation of knowledge continue? Will they relate learning to the Transcendent, to God, or will spiritual experience be allowed to disappear from consideration except in isolated departments of theology? While developing the mind, surely, will they also develop a global, cross-cultural imagination and a compassionate heart to recognize and work for the common good, especially for bettering the lot of the poor and voiceless [see "Men and Women for Others"/"Whole Persons of Solidarity" and "The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice"], or will the dominant values present in them be self-interest and the "bottom line"?

Characteristics of Jesuit Education

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Ellacuria, Ignacio (1930-1989)

Basque/Salvadoran Jesuit; writer, speaker, "Martyr of the University."

A native of the Basque territory of NE Spain, he went to teach and write in El Salvador from 1955-58 and returned there permanently in 1967 after studies in Europe--theology under Karl Rahner and philosophy with the Spanish philosopher Xavier Zubiri, but he moved beyond his mentors, precisely by grounding his philosophical and theological work in a specific historical reality, that of Latin America" (Robert Lassalle-Klein).

He soon became the guiding intellect for the reform of the Society of Jesus in Central America in the aftermath of the Latin American bishops' turn toward the poor (Medellin, 1968). Crucial here was a retreat that he and his former novice director Miguel Elizondo led their brothers through at Christmas time 1969. He was instrumental, too, together with and after his layman predecessor as president of the University of Central America, in re-directing the University into what a Christian university in the Third World ought to be, a clear and rational voice against the social and economic evils oppressing the vast majority of the people.

He argued for a negotiated settlement to the 10-year-long Civil War, but the military thought it could win the war and did not want it and its funding by the U.S. to end. The extremist wing of the ruling party called for Ellacuria's death on the radio; and on November 16, 1989, soldiers of an elite battalion, many of them trained at the School of the Americas in the U.S., broke into the Jesuit residence, took him and his companions out into the yard, and one by one shot them to death at close range, blowing out their brains. The cook/housekeeper from the nearby Jesuit seminary and her teenage daughter who had sought refuge with them, were murdered with them so as to leave no witnesses.

In a special academic convocation the following March, Xavier University conferred on him and his companions posthumous honorary doctorates.

See "Martyrs of the UCA"
See "Zubiri, Xavier"
Whitfield, Paying the Price: Ignacio Ellacuria and the Murdered Jesuits of El Salvador (1994).

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Eloquentia Perfecta

(Latin for "Perfect Eloquence")

A goal of Jesuit education enshrined in the Ratio Studiorum (Plan of Studies) of 1599. In popular discourse today, it is said to mean "writing and speaking effectively," but that is only part of its meaning.

The Ratio drew heavily on the work of the Roman rhetorician and philosopher Quintilian (c. 35-c. 100 CE) and his fuller view of eloquence. It included the art of persuasion, of course, but also insisted on stylus (facility in Latin) and eruditio (humanistic learning), the study of literature that included law, history and philosophy and had as a goal moral and not just intellectual and practical education. It aimed to produce good human beings, good citizens. In his treatise on education, Quintilian wrote what we can take as a measure of his humanism: "Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion."

In his classic study L'age de l'eloquence, Marc Fumaroli "made the crucial point about the Jesuits when he said that for them rhetoric was not 'a trite technique of manipulation' but 'the creative driving force of their ethics, spirituality, exegesis, anthropology, and theology'" (John O'Malley, Forword to Traditions of Eloquence).

Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies, eds. Cinthia Gannet and John C. Brereton (NY: Fordham University Press, 2016).
Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education (Spring 2013).

On a related Jesuit education topic, see Judith Rock, "Taproots:The Rhetoric of the Body," Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education (Fall 1998).

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See "Bishop"

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Espinal, Luis (1932-1980)

Spanish/Bolivian Jesuit; Teacher of journalism; pastor; martyr

Luis Espinal was born in Manresa, the town where Ignatius of Loyola had the signal experiences that led to his famous Spiritual Exercises.

His university education prepared him for a career in journalism. He entered the Jesuits and soon went to Bolivia, where he did further studies and was ordained. His teaching and pastoral ministry took up the call of the Medellin Conference of Latin American bishops for the church to side with the poor and oppressed.

He was beaten, tortured, and machine-gunned by para-military forces in LaPaz, on March 22,1980 (two days before the assassination in El Salvador of Archbishop Oscar Romero).

Sometime before his death, he composed a poem celebrating the triumph of resurrection over death, somewhat in the genre of Edmund Campion's "Brag."

Click to read "A Prayer of Hope" by Luis Espinal, S.J.

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Ethics Resources

A collection of discipline-specific business resources from the Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility at Xavier University

The Woodstock Theological Center
an independent nonprofit institute at Georgetown University

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also Consciousness Examen

A method of prayer that Ignatius of Loyola* taught in his Spiritual Exercises.* He considered it the most important thing a person could do each day.  It takes only a few minutes.  A contemporary adaptation of Ignatius broadens the traditional “Examination of Conscience” (preparation for confession) into the “Examination of Consciousness.”  As presented by Dennis Hamm, this prayer has five steps: (1) Pray for light to understand and appreciate the past day. (2) Review the day in thanksgiving. (3) Review the feelings in the replay of the day. (4) Choose one of those feelings (positive or negative) and pray from it. (5) Look toward tomorrow.

The Examen: A Daily Prayer

To view and order the Daily Examen, click here.

Adapted Examens for:

The Past Year


Work (Account-based Marketing Specialist)
Teaching and Learning
End of Work

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Exercitant, The

In the context of Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, the exercitant is "the one who exercises herself/himself" spiritually to keep spiritually fit, just as a person exercises physically to keep physically fit (SpExs ##1,9). The term exercitant  is not Ignatius' but it retains the root meaning of exercising while being succinct and less cumbersome when repeated often than "the one who exercises himself/herself."  The term retreatant is another equivalent, but loses the idea of exercising.

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Ex Corde Ecclesiae

(Latin meaning "From the Heart of the Church")

An Apostolic Constitution regarding Catholic colleges and universities. Issued by Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1990, its aim was to define and refine the catholicism of Catholic institutions of higher education. Ex Corde Ecclesiae describes the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities.

On November 17, 1999, the Catholic Bishops of the United States, meeting in Plenary Session of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, approved The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States implementing the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, according to the norm of law.

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Exodus, The

God's deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The story is told in the second book of the Hebrew scriptures titled "Exodus."

See "Passover."

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

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Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

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 50th anniversary will be celebrated in 2015.

For more information:

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General Congregation

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 36 such congregations in the 450+ years of the order.  The most recent one met in 2016 to accept Adolfo Niciolas’* resignation at age 80 and to elect his replacement, Arturo Sosa.*

GC 36 - Election of Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, 2016

GC 35 - 2008  Election of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas as the new Superior General of the Society

GC 34 - 1995

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"

GC 31 - 1965-1966  Election of Fr. Pedro Arrupe as the new Superior General of the Society

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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.

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Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable, The

See "Nostra Aetate"

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During his missionary travels, St. Francis Xavier reached the then Portuguese colony of Goa along the southwest coast of India in 1541. After baptizing thousands there, he left for East Asia in 1545 and returned to Goa in 1551. During his second trip to East Asia, he fell sick and died at age 46 on China's Sancian Island, Dec. 3, 1552.   Xavier’s remains are kept in a casket at the Basilica of Bom ‎Jesus in Goa.‎  Once every 10 years since 1782 they are put on public display at which time thousands of Catholic pilgrims converge on the city to venerate the mortal body and proclaim their faith.

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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.” (The terms are put in quotation marks to indicate that they are not to be taken literally; there is no gender in God.)  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.  All words for God and images of God are inadequate, so it is important to use a variety of them, making it clear that no one is definitive. 

See "Ultimate Reality, Human Knowledge of."

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God's Will

The phrase “doing God’s will” occurs often in speaking and writing about spirituality. It is important, therefore, not to misunderstand what the phrase means and implies. God does not have a detailed master plan that each human being has to discover and follow and not deviate from. Rather God hopes that a person will respect and love herself/himself and others (not always easy) and grow toward greater responsibility in carrying on a life of such respect and care. Thus, if a person, after mature—and probably difficult—discernment, decides to change some earlier major life choice (for example, divorce an abusive spouse or leave a religious community that thwarts his/her responsible living), that change is not necessarily “going against God’s will”; it may in fact be “doing God’s will.”

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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

The name Gonzaga is attached to many Jesuit secondary schools and to the university in Spokane, WA.

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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.

Emanuele Colombo, "Even among Turks": Tirso Gonzalez de Santalla (1624-1705) and Islam, Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (2012).

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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.

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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.

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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."

For a fuller treatment of this subject, click here

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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).

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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).

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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?

Mitchell, Mother Theodore Guerin,Saint of God (2006)

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

Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms H


The Heartland/Delta Conference is a consortium of the following eleven schools within the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities: Creighton University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Marquette University, Regis University, Rockhurst University, St. Louis University, Spring Hill College, University of Detroit Mercy and Xavier University. Sponsored conferences include the Magis National Faculty Retreat, Heartland/Delta Faculty Conversations, and the Heartland/Delta triennial.

About the Logo
Since the first Heartland-Delta gathering in Chicago in 1994, either a tree or leaf has been the symbol of these meetings. The Acanthus leaf was first used for the Heartland-Delta IV Conference; it captured well the spirit of the gathering and consortium. One leaf, with many irregular sides, shapes and directions, and yet it retains a central vein that nourishes its growth. The universities in the Heartland-Delta group are each unique. But at their core they are centered on, and grow from, the Jesuit vision of education that is more than 450 years old.

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High Schools, Jesuit


See Jesuit High Schools.

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Hiring & Mission

A Best Practices Approach

In order to assist University hiring committees and their chairs in addressing Jesuit, Catholic identity, departmental chairs, directors and senior administrators at Xavier University were invited to offer comments that they have found helpful in guiding meaningful discussions with candidates during the interview process.

Questions and Comments from Chairs, Directors, and Senior Administrators

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Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1844-1889)

British Jesuit; poet

One of the great lyric poets of the English language, he reached and expressed a unique, Catholic, overwhelming vision of God. Convert from the Anglican Church to Roman Catholicism under John Henry Newman while at Oxford, he burned all his poems when he entered the Jesuits. While studying theology, at his superior's invitation, wrote his greatest poem, "The Wreck of the Deutschland", a partly autobiographical ode commemorating the death of five exiled German nuns drowned at sea, exploring implications of the Incarnation, and celebrating the mystery of faith, of knowledge reaching "through love" far beyond the natural limits of intellect ("What none would have known of it, only the heart, being hard at bay, / Is out with it!") His poems were not published until 30 years after his death and then had a major impact on 20th-century English poetry.

Read his famous God's Grandeur poem.

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Humanities, The

Those branches of learning—and the methods of studying them—that derive in the West from the “classics” of ancient Greece and Rome, and more recently in the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy when Jesuit education and Jesuit schools were coming into existence. At that latter time, the umanisti and their schools were advocates for an education that fostered good, ethical living and good and engaged citizenship with a commitment to the “Common Good.” This was in contrast to the professional, objective or “scientific” education provided by the university.

Jesuit education over the centuries tried to achieve something of both traditions with its many “colleges” (equivalent to today’s secondary schools and the first year or two of today’s colleges or universities devoted to a broad liberal education) and the professional, specialized education of a much smaller number of universities—the original example being the Roman College, which later became the Gregorian University.

See "Eloquentia Perfecta"
See John W. O’Malley, “Jesuit Schools and the Humanities Yesterday and Today,” Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (Spring 2015).

See “Liberal Arts Tradition, Education in the” in this “Jesuit A to Z” collection.

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Hurtado, Alberto (1901-1952)

Chilean Jesuit; founder of El Hogar de Cristo; saint

Alberto Hurtado's father died when he was four, and his widowed mother was forced to sell their farm to pay off debts. From then on, Alberto, his mother and brother lived with various relatives; they had to move often. So he knew what it was like to be homeless and vulnerable.

He received a scholarship to attend the Jesuit secondary school in Santiago. Already as a teenager he gave his Sunday afternoons to visiting the poor in their slums, a practice that he continued for the rest of his life. He delayed his entry into the Society of Jesus in order to help his mother financially; he worked full time and still went to college. Then he interrupted his studies to go into military service. Finally, at the age of 22, he did enter the Jesuit novitiate. He finished his novitiate training in Argentina and continued to move around, to Spain until the Society was suppressed there, then briefly to Ireland, and finally to Louvain and to Drongen in Belgium, only returning to his homeland after twelve years away.

He taught, acted as director of Catholic Action, gave retreats, and continued to keep in touch with the poor. On one retreat for women, he spoke so movingly of the hard lives of homeless people that the retreatants asked "What can we do?" And what followed was the beginning of the movement El Hogar de Cristo, which spread all over Chile and eventually to other parts of South America. Hogar means "hearth" or "home," and so these homeless poor were welcomed into "Christ's Home."

In addition to his direct work with the poor, Alberto published three books--On Unions, Social Humanism, and The Christian Social Order--and started a monthly periodical Mensaje ("Message") that continues to this day. With his canonization, people saw a ratification of his life that combined teaching and writing with ministry with the poor.

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

Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms I


Adjective, from the noun Ignatius (of 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:

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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 things--in 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 transition--whether from the medieval to the modern in Ignatius' time, or from the modern to the postmodern in ours.

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Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

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 reading--an 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, S.J. 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, S.J. 

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Ignatius of Loyola, feminine side

See "Montserrat, Our Lady of".

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Ignatius of Loyola, Marian influence

See "Montserrat, Our Lady of".

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IHS seal

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.

IMAGE RIGHT: The seal of the Society of Jesus being lifted onto Bellarmine Chapel on the campus of Xavier University.

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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" (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 Jesus--both human and divine--God could be paid back--appeased--for 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 God--absolute 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 died--in 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 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 works—whether carried out by Jesuits or others, women or men, believers or not—is not just intellectual depth and integrity (though these are pre-supposed) 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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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?"


Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms J


Common Spanish spelling of the name "Xavier."



Noun. A member of the Society of Jesus. The term was originally coined as a put-down by people who felt there was something terribly arrogant about a group calling itself the Company or Society of Jesus, whereas previous religious orders had been content to name themselves after their founder (e.g., "Benedictines," "Franciscans," "Dominicans"). Later the title was adopted as a shorthand name by members of the Society themselves, as well as by others favorable to them.

Adjective. Pertaining to the Society of Jesus. The negative term, now that Jesuit has been rehabilitated, is Jesuitical meaning "sly" or "devious."

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Jesuit A to Z

On the Website

This mini-encyclopedia of 300-some terms is an expanded multi-authored version of the print publication Do You Speak Ignatian?  offering information about Jesuit Catholic education and related topics including Ignatian spirituality, Jesuit history, Christian theology and Catholicism.

Authors of individual entries are identified by their initials, and their names can be found in the entry "Authors".

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Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Jesuit Colleges and Universities Worldwide

Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States

Homepages (Year Founded)

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Jesuit Education

See Education, Jesuit

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Jesuit Education 21

Ten years after the historic "Assembly '89" at Georgetown, St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia hosted "Jesuit Education 21," a conference that brought several hundred people from Jesuit schools across the country, to consider the "future of Jesuit higher education." Unlike Assembly '89, here lay women and men outnumbered Jesuits, reflecting the actual situation in the schools. The quality of too many presentations was not high, but two outstanding plenary addresses made important statements about the current problematic, about the challenges facing Jesuit higher ed as we approached the second millennium.

In his keynote address, Peter Steinfels, long of the New York Times and author of the recent study of American Catholicism A People Adrift, spoke of the "feeling that these [mission] efforts remain like beachheads, still isolated conquests that threaten to remain just that and never coalesce into a break-out that would establish secure territory for the colleges and universities to flourish," both as academic institutions and as institutions that operate with a clear religious mission.

Brennan O'Donnell, then professor of English at Loyola Baltimore and editor of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, saw the most important challenge as "getting the faculty--or at least a critical mass of it--involved fully as faculty":

Conversations about Jesuit identity can go on a long time without anyone mentioning issues such as the Jesuit university's opportunity--or responsibility--to be a center for scholarly inquiry into (and in) the Catholic intellectual tradition, or its ability to offer intellectual guidance and scholarly support in the dialogue of faith and culture, or to function as a beacon in the American intellectual scene for powerful new thinking on issues of justice, or to be a place where some of the more relativistic, anti-religious, and even nihilistic recent trends in the humanities are challenged and the ideals of educating for human freedom unapologetically upheld. . . . The greatest shortcoming . . . [is the] relative failure thus far to challenge a majority of the faculty to think of their day-to-day teaching and scholarly life as shaped by their being at a Jesuit institution.

Both addresses are included in Jesuit Education 21: Conference Proceedings on the Future of Jesuit Higher Education, ed. Martin Tripole (Philadelphia: St. Joseph's University Press, 2000).

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Jesuit Elementary and Nativity Schools

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Jesuit High Schools

Jesuit High Schools Worldwide

Jesuit High Schools in the United States

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Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal 

Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal (JHE) is a scholarly, peer reviewed, open access, online journal focused on the development, advancement, and critique of higher education in the Jesuit tradition. We welcome submissions on the scholarship and practice of Ignatian pedagogy in any academic disciplinary or interdisciplinary context as well as how the Jesuit mission is infused in all aspects of higher education, including student life, experiential learning, and other cocurricular activities.

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Jesuit History

Jesuit history falls into two parts separated by the period of suppression (1773-1814): (1) the "Old Society," 1540-1773, and (2) the "New Society," 1814-present. To read "Jesuit History in Brief: A Personal View", click here;
to read a 4-page thumbnail sketch, click here.

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Jesuit History: A Timeline of Milestones

1491 - Ignatius Loyola is born in the Basque region of northeastern Spain

1521 - While Ignatius is defending Pamplona, cannon fire shatters his right knee

1522 - Ignatius stays in the town of Manresa while struggling with his relationship with himself and God; this experience forms the basis of his Spiritual Exercises.

1528 - Ignatius begins schooling at the University of Paris where he meets Francis Xavier, Pierre Favre and other early companions.

1537 - Ignatius and companions are ordained

1540 - Pope Paul III gives Ignatius and companions official approval to found the Society of Jesus

1541 - Ignatius is elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus

1548 - The first lay Jesuit college opens in Messina, Sicily

1556 - Ignatius dies in Rome; 34 Jesuit schools have been founded

1773 - The Society is suppressed by order of Pope Clement XIV

1789 - Georgetown University is founded, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States.

1814 - The suppression is ended by Pope Pius VII with the Papal bull "Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum."

1954 - Wheeling Jesuit University is founded, the youngest of the Jesuit universities in the United States

1965 - Pedro Arrupe is elected the 28th Superior General of the Society

1975 - General Congregation 32 declares that the hallmark of any work deserving the name Jesuit is its "service of faith" of which the "promotion of justice" is an absolute requirement.

1983 - Peter-Hans Kolvenbach is elected the 29th Superior General of the Society, which now returns to its own governance.

1996 - The Cristo Rey model of college-preparatory education for inner-city youth is inaugurated with the founding of Cristo Rey High School in Chicago

2006 - This Jesuit Jubilee year marks the 450th anniversary of the death of Ignatius and the 500th anniversary of the births of his companions Francis Xavier and Pierre Favre.

2008 - Adolfo Nicolás is elected the 30th Superior General of the Society

2013 - Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected the 266th pope, the first from the Society of Jesus, and takes the name "Francis."

"An Illustrated Timeline of the Life of St. Ignatius Loyola"

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Jesuit Ministries Resources

Alphabetical Listing by Ministry / Apostolate

One Mission, Many Ministries

Charis Ministries (to those in 20s and 30s)

Christian Life Community - USA

--In the U.S.

--In the U.S.

Headquarters in Rome ("The Curia")

Headquarters in Washington, DC ("The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S.")

Ignatian Spirituality Project (retreats for the homeless)

Ignatian Volunteer Corps (senior volunteers)


Inter-Religious Dialogue

Jesuit Advocates

Jesuit Refugee Service / USA

Jesuit Solidarity Network

Jesuit Volunteer Corps


--America (a national weekly journal of opinion)
--Loyola Press
National Jesuit News (reporting news and opinions of American Jesuits around the world)
--Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (a journal of Jesuit history and spirituality)
--The Jesuit Post (speaking with our peers, young-ish adults, a perspective on the contemporary world)



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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

The mission of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, sponsored by the Society of Jesus, is to accompany, serve and defend persons driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of other human rights.

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Jesuit Volunteer Corps

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps provides essential services to low-income people and those who live on the margins of our society. Over 275 JVs each year work for and with people who are homeless, unemployed, refugees, people with AIDS, the elderly, street youth, abused women and children, and people with mental illness or developmental disabilities. JVC has become the largest Catholic volunteer program in the country. 

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Jesuits, The

See Society of Jesus

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Jesuits and Jews

On more than one occasion, Ignatius of Loyola, as elected leader of the newly-founded Jesuit order, was heard to say that he would like to have been born of Jewish blood because he would then be closer to Christ our Lord. His attitude here is remarkable because there were strong negative feelings against New Christians--people descended from recent converts to Christianity from Judaism or Islam--in his native Basque territory and in all the Iberian Peninsula. New Christians were simply not trusted as genuine Christians and so were forbidden to hold office in church or state.

Diego Lainez, one of the original companions at the University of Paris, was elected to succeed Ignatius as superior general. He was of Jewish blood, and so was Juan de Polanco, Ignatius' secretary and collaborator in the writing of thousands of letters and of the Jesuit Constitutions. But powerful figures like the Archbishop of Toledo tried to force the Society to abide by their limpieza de sangre ("purity of blood") proscriptions.

The same strong front against limpieza continued during the generalates of Lainez and Borja (the third general). But then trouble came. Polanco was the obvious choice to succeed Borja, but a small minority of Jesuits mostly from Portugal lobbied Pope Gregory XIII to decree that the next Jesuit head could not come from Spain. Jesuits on both sides of the question knew what the real reason was for the prohibition. The next general congregation elected Everard Mercurian, a Belgian.

Antonio Possevino, an Italian Jesuit likely of Jewish lineage and Mercurian's secretary for several years, wrote a long and compelling "Memorial" to his leader, arguing the urgent need for action--a letter--from the general because he alone had the authority to address the growing dissention within the Society. It would be a call for unity and faithfulness to Ignatius' constitutional principles and practice of non-discrimination. The letter that Possevino called for was never written. The issue did not go away.

"Possevino foresaw, with a clarity that few men of his generation possessed, that the effort to exclude New Christians would inevitably lead to the exclusion of other groups." It would have important implications for the Jesuit mission to non-Europeans. 

See Thomas M Cohen, "Jesuits and New Christians: The Contested Legacy of St. Ignatius," Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (Autumn 2010).

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Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society

(Decree 14 of Jesuit General Congregation 34 [1995])

See "Women, The Situation of in Church and Civil Society"


Jesuits, Famous and Not-so-famous, Alphabetical List of

In his excellent book Ignatian Humanism, historical theologian Ron Modras devotes five chapters to the lives of five Jesuits who, he believes, exemplify the Ignatian humanism he has described in earlier chapters. No claim is made that the biographical mini-essays scattered through this A-Z section of our website are illustrative of Jesuit spirituality to the same degree. But taken as a group, these 70-some bios surely add up to more than just a bunch of individual pieces. See what you think. Look for the mini-biographies of the following men and woman under their individual names:

"Jesus [the] Christ," meaning Jesus "[God's] anointed one"

The historical person Jesus of Nazareth whom Christians acknowledge to be, by his life (what he taught and did) and his death and resurrection, the true revelation of God and at the same time the exemplar of what it means to be fully human. In other words, for Christians, Jesus shows what God is like and how they can live in response to this revelation: God is the compassionate giver of life who invites and empowers human beings, in freedom, together with one another, to work toward overcoming the forces of evil--meaninglessness, guilt, oppression, suffering and death--that diminish people and keep them from growing toward ever fuller life.

In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius has the retreatant devote most of the time to "contemplating" (i.e., imaginatively entering into) the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, so as to become more and more a companion of Jesus. And when Ignatius and his companions from the University of Paris decided to establish a religious order, he insisted that it be called the Company or Society of Jesus [see "Jesuit" -noun].

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Jesus, Full Humanity of

See "Docetism"

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Jesus' Knowledge and Self-Consciousness

See "Docetism"

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Jesus' Prophetic Ministry

A Response to the Oppressive Culture of His Time

Jesus was first and foremost a prophet, a human being with an intense experience of God and God's love for him and for all of God's creation.  His prophetic ministry can best be understood in the light of a first-century Palestine dominated by a system of oppression that kept the vast majority of people in hopeless need.  Collusion between the occupying forces of Rome and the Jewish religious leaders (Temple and Sanhedrin) maintained this oppressive culture.  Jesus challenged these powers and offered a picture of how peoples' lives could be radically different in an alternative world he called the "Reign of God," a world intended for them here and now by a good and compassionate God.

Jesus challenged the status quo and offered his alternative vision through stories ("parables") and sayings that were often not about religious realities but about daily political, economic, and social affairs such as farming and taxes, childbirth and parenting, baking and dinner parties, prostitution and  money lending. They were exposures of wicked kings and dishonest land owners and abusive patriarchs. When they did touch explicitly on religion they were not exhortations to more exact liturgical practice, to humble submission to the authorities who were God's representatives, or to financial support of the Temple.  They were characteristically directed against the hypocrisy of religious officials who talked a pious game but did not practice what they preached (see Matt 23:3, and against the ritualistic practices used to cover over hard-hearted moralism imposed on people whose grinding daily reality could not "measure up" to elitist demands (see Luke 13:9-14).  [Schneiders, Buying the Field, p. 475]    

He also challenged the dominant culture with provocative individual acts like cleansing the temple and by repeated practices like sharing the intimacy of table fellowship with people that contemporary conventional morality ostracized--"tax collectors (= extortionists) and sinners (= prostitutes)".  No wonder that the "powers" had to "eliminate" him or suffer the loss of their world.

Sandra Schneiders, Buying the Field (2013), pp. 474-481.

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Jesus Seminar, The

A group of New Testament scholars and other interested people led by Robert Funk (The Westar Institute).

 Especially active in the 1980's and 1990's, it sought and gained a certain notoriety because of its method, at meetings, of voting on the sayings of Jesus to determine whether and how far they go back to Jesus himself:

  • definitely what Jesus said (red bead)
  • Jesus probably said something like this (pink bead)
  • Jesus did not say any such thing, though it may contain an idea Jesus had (gray bead)
  • Jesus did not say any thing like it; it was added by a later community or the gospel writer (black bead).

More recently the Seminar voted on the acts (deeds) of Jesus in a similar way.

Among the best known members of the Seminar are John Dominic Crossan (Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography [1995]) on the left and Marcus Borg (Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Revelance of a Religious Revolutionary [2008]), closer to main stream NT scholarship. Borg invested time with one of the best of more conservative scholars, the British (Anglican) N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (2007). Luke Timothy Johnson of Emory University is a major critic of the Jesus Seminar.

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Jewish-Catholic Relations

See "Nostra Aetate"

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Juana, SJ (1535-1573)

The only woman known to have lived and died a Jesuit

Second daughter of Emperor Charles V, Juana was married in 1552 to Joao Manuel, the heir apparent to the Portuguese throne. They were married only two years when her husband died. Shortly thereafter her brother Philip (II), who had married Mary Tudor of England, appointed her Regent of Spain in his absence. And in that same year (1554), Juana approached superiors of the Society of Jesus about becoming a Jesuit. Careful debate and deliberation followed. As Lisa Fullam, a specialist on Juana, puts it: "Juana, widowed at nineteen, was an eminently marriageable young woman. To admit her to the Society would risk enraging her father the Emperor, himself no fan of the Jesuits. But at the same time, to refuse her request was to risk the displeasure of the Regent of Spain... a move that could have serious consequences for the work of the Society there" (Juana, SJ, Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits. [November 1999]).

In their hushed deliberations, Jesuit superiors used the name "Matteo Sanchez" for Juana. They considered many other factors in her case. In the end, they decided to admit her in secret as a "scholastic," a Jesuit with first vows in the process of formation. And all through her short life--she died a Jesuit at 38--they continued to care for her growth in the spirit. The life of Juana provides an opportunity to clarify, not just her own case, but the larger question of Ignatius and the Society in regard to women. As Fullam sums up:

[M]ost women in Ignatius's time could not embody the availability for mission that is essential to the Jesuit charism. Ignatius's group was a religious order. The question of the admission of women to the Society was, in most cases, a non-starter in Ignatius's time, because women were either cloistered if they were religious, or not religious if they were not cloistered. On grounds of mobility Ignatius consistently rejected the idea of women belonging to the Society. And Juana's admission underscores the idea that sex cannot be the deciding issue here, Juana was no less a woman after her admission than before. What she was after her admission was a woman living under the religious vows of the Society of Jesus while substantially assisting the Society's work in Spain. To an unusual extent, Juana was able to overcome the catch-22 that kept most women from being able to live as Jesuits: her political influence was an avenue to a kind of apostolic availability for the work of the Society, and at the same time it served as leverage that enabled her to force the question of her admission on the Jesuit leadership. And, as it turned out, they let her in. Beyond that, they admitted her in a strikingly ordinary way. The infanta Juana, Regent of Spain, became a scholastic. An extraordinary person in extraordinary circumstances was seen to fit into a very ordinary niche. It is her ordinary admission, freely undertaken, that is salient about Juana's case: when all was said and done, the Jesuits decided that Juana was a Jesuit, an unusual Jesuit, to be sure, but a Jesuit nonetheless.(ibid.)

A Woman Jesuit

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Judaeo-Christian Vision

Here is a version of the Judaeo-Christian vision or story, told with certain emphases from Ignatius of Loyola.

The great and mysterious Reality of personal love and self-giving that many call God is the origin and destiny of all creation, the whole universe. God is present and at work in everything, leading it to fulfillment. All things are originally good and potentially means for those creatures called human beings to find the God who made and works in them. Still, none of these things are God, and therefore they are all radically limited.

Indeed, in the case of human beings (who somehow image God in a special way), their relative freedom results in a new dimension of being whereby not just good but also evil exists in the world: selfishness, war, domination--racial, sexual, economic, environmental--of some over others. Human history, then, is marked by a struggle between the forces of good, or "life," and evil, or "death."

God has freely chosen to side with struggling, flawed humanity by participating more definitively in human life and living it "from the inside" in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. This irrevocable commitment of God to the human enterprise grounds and invites people's response of working with God toward building a community of justice, love and peace--the "kingdom" or "reign" of God that Jesus preached and lived.

As with Jesus, so for his followers, it takes discernment--a finely tuned reading of oneself and one's culture in the Spirit of God--to recognize in any given situation what helps the coming of God's reign and what hinders it. In the face of human selfishness and evil, the way ultimately entails self-giving, going through suffering and death in order to gain life--indeed, life everlasting. And along the way, because the followers of Jesus are wary of idolizing anyone or anything (that is, making a god of them), they are less likely to become disillusioned with themselves or others or human history for all its weight of personal and social evil. Rather do they continue to care about people and the human enterprise, for their hope is in God, the supreme Reality of personal love and self-giving.

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

Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms K

Kingdom, The (or Reign of God)

Jesus preached that God's Reign (or Kingdom or Dominion) was breaking into the world in his time. That reign was not a secular political rule, but a blessed condition of God's presence creating healing, justice, love, and peace.

As an introduction to the second week of the Spiritual Exercises (the period of contemplating Jesus' life), Ignatius presents the figure of an ideal human ruler and asks whether you would follow him (her) no matter how great the cost. Then, he reasons, how much more would you want to follow Christ the King in working to bring about God's Kingdom or Reign. Thus, in the context of the "faith that does justice," the Kingdom becomes a "future construct" against which to recognize, critique, and work to overturn the evils in this world, especially the unjust structures that dominate the poor.

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Kino, Eusebio (1644-1711) [in German, Eusebio Kühn]

Italian/German Jesuit; missioner; explorer

Born near Trent in the Italian Alps, Eusebio Kino entered the Jesuits in the Upper [that is, southern] German Province. In addition to the usual Jesuit studies in the humanities, philosophy, and theology, he also studied geography and cartography. In 1681, he went to the Mexican Province mission in Sonora-lower Arizona-California and served there for the rest of his life. He started with the already established Jesuit missions along the Sierra Madre and spread out from there both east and west, often mapping the territory as he went along; he seemed to live in the saddle. With the native people he started cattle ranches and introduced European cereals and fruits to their farms. Also a diarist, he chronicled the growth of the church on this frontier.

In 1965 the state of Arizona dedicated a statue of Kino in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

See Polzer, Kino a Legend: His Life, His Works, His Missions, His Monuments (1998).

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Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans (1928-2016)

Dutch-born superior general of the Society of Jesus from 1983, when the Jesuits were allowed to return to their own governance after a time of papal "intervention," until 2008, when he resigned at the age of 80.

He entered the Jesuits in 1948, went to Lebanon in the mid-1950s, earned a doctorate from the famous Saint Joseph's University in Beirut, and spent much of his life there, first as a professor of linguistics and then as superior of the Jesuit vice-province of the Middle East.

By his own admission, he was relatively "ignorant of matters pertaining to justice and injustice," when he went from Beirut to Rome for Jesuit General Congregation 32 and witnessed the faith-justice emphasis emerge from the Congregation under the leadership of Pedro Arrupe [see "The Service Faith and the Promotion of Justice"]. Still, as superior general, he worked tirelessly in collaboration with his advisors to implement and extend the direction in which his predecessor had been leading the Society [see "Men and Women for Others"/"Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World"].

He leaves a legacy to Jesuit higher education in a series of major addresses, most notably at Georgetown University (Assembly '89) and at Santa Clara University (2000)  [see a summary in "Men and Women for Others"/"Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World"].

Addresses of Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. delivered at American universities

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

Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms L


LaFarge, John (1880-1963)

American Jesuit; editor, journalist, founder of the Catholic interracial movement in the U.S.

Spent 15 years in pastoral ministry in the Jesuit rural missions of St. Mary's County, southern Maryland, largely among African Americans.

From 1926 until his death, associate editor of America, the national Jesuit weekly review.

For more than 35 years, carried on his long apostolate for interracial justice in the pages of America, on the lecture platform, and principally through the formation across the country of the Catholic Interracial Councils and their organ, the Interracial Review.

Besides numerous journal articles and reviews, his published works include Interracial Justice (1937), The Race Question and the Negro (1953), The Manner Is Ordinary, his autobiography (1954), and An American Amen (1958). Among his unpublished works was the encyclical condemning European (Italian and German) anti-Semitism which he had secretly drafted at the request of Pope Pius XI and which that pope's successor XII chose not to publish.

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Lainez, Diego (1512-1565)

Spanish Jesuit; one of first companions; second superior general

Of Jewish descent (his great-grandfather was a convert) Lainez was one of the great men of Catholic reform especially through his work as papal theologian at the Council of Trent (3 sessions between 1545 and 1563). Two years after Ignatius's death, he was elected second superior general of the Society.

There is a biography by Joseph Fichter titled James Lainez, Jesuit (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1944).
The last name is sometimes spelled Laynez.

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Lay person/lay people

The people of a religious faith as distinguished from its clergy; within Catholic circles, however, members of religious communities who are not ordained (i.e. "sisters" and "brothers") are often popularly associated with priests and bishops and not with lay people. (It would be more accurate to see them as neither, as having their own unique role and style of life; see "Religious Order/Religious Life.")

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) understood the church inclusively--not just as hierarchy (bishops and pope) and clergy (priests and deacons), but as the whole people of God. It declared that all the baptized, by the very fact of their baptism, are called to holiness and to ministry. (Earlier, lay people were said to participate in the ministry belonging exclusively to clergy and hierarchy.)

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Land O' Lakes Conference (1967)


Just a few years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, twenty-some leaders in American Catholic higher education [including Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame and Paul Reinert of St. Louis] met on two different occasions and produced what is now commonly referred to as the "Land O'Lakes Statement," after the Wisconsin location of their meeting. The statement was an important preparation for the worldwide conference "The Catholic University in the Modern World" held in Kinshasa, Congo, the following year. That conference issued a brief declaration, many of whose points were taken from the Land O'Lakes statement. The two statements together informed the dialogue that ensued between American Catholic universities on the one hand and American bishops and the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education on the other. This dialogue led gradually into the composition of various drafts of Pope John Paul II's apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, which was published in final form in August 1990: Ex Corde Ecclesiae ("From the Heart of the Church")
--A Jesuit Education Reader, ed. George W. Traub [2008]).


See Ex Corde Ecclesiae

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LeMoyne, Simon (1604-1697)

French Jesuit; missioner to New France; peace negotiator

Simon LeMoyne arrived in Quebec city in 1638 and soon went to Wendake (earlier called the Huron territory), where John Brebeuf and other Jesuits and lay volunteers labored. He became proficient in the Wendat, Iroquois, and Algonquin languages. Indeed, among the 300 French Jesuits who would serve on the New France mission in the 17th and 18th centuries, he knew the native languages and the nuances of their oratory and diplomacy best (MacDonnell, Jesuit Family Album (1997).

LeMoyne survived the Mohawk destruction of the Wendat-French community (see "Brebeuf, John") and went on to negotiate peace (1654) with another branch of the Five Nations (Iroquois), the Onondagas, near the site of present-day Syracuse, NY. When the New York Jesuits established a school in Syracuse in 1946, they named it LeMoyne College in honor of Simon LeMoyne.

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Liberal Arts Tradition, Education in the

Liberal arts education (from the Latin liber meaning "free") means education that develops a truly free person, a person capable of living a life of wise and responsible citizenship. The concept goes back to classical Greece and Rome, but the content has changed somewhat over the centuries. Today such education would include study, not just of humanities like philosophy, theology, literature and history, but also mathematics and the physical and social sciences. It is broad education that enables the learner to use different methods of knowing and integrate different fields of knowledge. It is opposed to specialized education when that education is narrow and isolated from the larger world of a variety of disciplines and from human experience itself.

Christianity--especially but not exclusively Catholic Christianity--has had an important role to play in liberal arts education because of its conviction that faith and reason are not opposed to each other but complementary. Although professional higher education had its birth in Europe in the Christian Middle Ages, it was Muslim learning ("the Arabs") that brought the medieval university its foundational materials--classical Greek philosophy. In the Renaissance (15th and 16th centuries), the humanists, reacting against the university's focus on objective knowledge (which does not touch the whole person), promoted (classical) literature as a holistic teacher of good morals and responsible citizenship. Jesuit education, which began in the mid-16th century and soon became the first worldwide system of schools, drew on the best of both traditions, medieval and humanist. Closer to our own time and place, the (mostly Protestant) liberal arts college played a significant part in 19th- and early 20th-century America, although too many liberal arts colleges lost their heart when they let go of their religious character, moving from seminary to lay education.

In the 21st century, liberal arts education has come under attack as never before for being irrelevant to securing well-paying employment--a claim asserted but not clearly substantiated. In this era of the Great Recession with high unemployment in general and a serious decline in the kind of jobs that enabled people in the second half of the 20th century to enter the middle class and thrive, it is hard to justify an expensive education that offers seemingly vague goals like living wisely and justly and being able to adapt and change more than it does earning a good living right now. Still, the two goals are not mutually exclusive.

While U.S. higher education may be going through a decline in interest in liberal arts programs, European universities (and some elsewhere) seem to be establishing them in increasing numbers. But here it must be remembered that England, France and Germany, for instance, with their traditional, highly selective, university-preparatory education programs (lycee, gymnasium) have long had liberal arts education (although only for the few) at the secondary level.

See "Eloquentia Perfecta"

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Liberation Theology

A movement within Latin American Catholic theology and spirituality since the 1950s and 60s that reads the Christian gospel from the standpoint of the poor. In Latin America there is hardly a middle class, and 5% of the population controls 80% of the wealth. Liberation theology has the gospel and the Hebrew prophets address the unjust social, economic and political structures that keep the poor powerless. It claims that salvation is not just something that happens in the next life, but that it must bring freedom and dignity and a fair share of the world's goods in this life to all, especially those who suffer oppression.

Some means of bringing about liberation are small Christian base communities where the gospel is applied to the life situation of the poor, programs that teach reading and in the process self-esteem, and labor organizing to secure more just wages. Such activities have stirred up the powerful to new levels of repression including the killing of religious leaders who empower the poor.

The Vatican and the majority of local (Latin American) church leadership have been wary about liberation theology, seeing it as more Marxist than Christian and determined to uphold traditional church order (where many bishops come from and are aligned with the wealthy and powerful).

For a fuller treatment, click here.

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Life and Work of Apostolic Women Religious in the U.S. after Vatican II

See "Women Religious"

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From the Greek meaning "the peoples' work"

The term liturgy expresses an essential of worship as understood by the pioneers who prepared the way for the Vatican II document on the renewal of Catholic worship, namely, that it is not just something the priest does, but rather is the work of the whole congregation, all the people. In this, it is consistent with the later council document on the Church as not just the hierarchy but the whole people of God.

The Catholic liturgy includes all the sacraments, but especially the Eucharist, commonly called the Mass, now seen actually to have two parts--the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the former, people listen to God's word (scripture), what God has done for them; and in the latter people respond to God by joining Jesus in a great prayer of thanksgiving and praise, the Eucharistic Prayer.

Another part of liturgical worship is the Liturgy of the Hours, composed of psalms (and other songs) as well as readings from scripture and other religious writings. It is celebrated daily by the members of monastic communities (both women and men) at specified times throughout the day and night (the "Hours"). Individual parts of it, for example, evensong are also celebrated, usually on an occasional basis, in some parish churches.

See "Sacrament."

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Liturgical Music

A New Kind for Catholics and Other Christians after Vatican II

In the time after the Second Vatican Council (“Vatican II”) with its call for renewal of liturgy and worship, the repeated texts of the Mass were revised in a language and theology closer to that of ordinary speech.  In keeping with these changes, a number of composers emerged with songs to accompany parts of this new liturgy.  Instead of the old hymns in Latin or English translations from the Latin accompanied usually by the organ, these composers used words from the Bible, often enhancing the poetic quality of the scripture translation and setting them to music that could be described as “folk,” played on piano and/or guitar (or flute and other instruments) rather than the organ.  Over time, the result for many of us was that the word of God (scripture) came alive and “sang” in us, nourishing—without any effort on our part—our faith and prayer and life.  Among the earliest and most famous of these composers were a group of Midwest Jesuits that called themselves the “St. Louis Jesuits”: John Foley, Bob Dufford, Dan Schutte, Roc O’Connor, Tim Manion.  Other composers followed—some of them equally gifted, some banal and without any sense of language.    


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Locatelli, Paul (1938-2010)

American Jesuit; president of Santa Clara University; leader for Jesuit higher ed

After graduating in business from Santa Clara in 1960 and serving two years in the U.S. Army, Paul Locatelli entered the Jesuits in 1962. In addition to the regular Jesuit course of formation and education, he earned a doctorate in business (accountancy) from the University of Southern California. He joined the faculty of Santa Clara in 1974, was soon recognized as an outstanding teacher, and rose from dean of the Business School to academic vice president. In 1988 he became Santa Clara's 27th president. His 20 years in the role were marked by a rise in academic standards, prodigious fund raising, a 200% expansion of campus facilities, and a nearly ten-fold increase in the university's endowment.

Perhaps his greatest contribution came in his later years with his writing and speaking about the Jesuit Catholic mission in higher education. He is thought to have drafted the landmark address noted not just for content but for power of expression that Jesuit superior general Peter-Hans Kolvenbach gave to a national audience at Santa Clara in October of 2000. He followed this up with his own talk on solidarity at John Carroll five years later. In 2007, Kolvenbach appointed him to coordinate Jesuit higher ed internationally and only his premature death from pancreatic cancer halted what he might have accomplished here (in his last months he may have been the principal drafter of the address that the new superior general Adolfo Nicolas delivered to an international audience in Mexico City in April 2010).

>Kolvenbach, The Service of Faith and the Promotions of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education [a précis of the address can be found in Jesuit A to Z under Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World]
Nicolas, Depth, Universality, and Learned Ministry: Challenges to Jesuit Higher Education Today

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Lonergan, Bernard (1904-1984)

Canadian Jesuit; philosopher, theologian, interdisciplinary scholar of "method."

Concerned with the crisis caused by Christianity's difficulty in making the transition to modern society and culture ("Theology has somehow to mediate God's meaning into the whole of human affairs").

Inspired by what Thomas Aquinas did for Christianity in somewhat similar circumstances in the 13th century.

Professor of theology at Jesuit theologates in Montreal and Toronto (Insight: A Study of Human Understanding [1959]), Rome, again Toronto (Method in Theology [1972]), and finally at Boston College (work on an economics neither capitalist nor Marxist).

Conducted a now-famous Institute in the Philosophy of Education at Xavier University in August of 1959.

The University of Toronto Press is gradually issuing the Collected Works in 20 volumes.

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Lopez Quintana, Amando (1936-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Lopez y Lopez, Joaquin (1918-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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The House of Loyola's coat of arms

Loyola is a town in the Basque Country of northeastern Spain, where Ignatius (of Loyola) was born and raised. The name Loyola may be derived from the Spanish Lobo-y-olla, meaning "wolf and kettle." This image is found carved in stone on the castle where Ignatius was raised. The image reflects a legend that the family prepared enough food to feed themselves and the wolves in the area.  It has become a symbol of hospitality and generosity.  The coat of arms of the House of Loyola is depicted in the crests of many universities and schools.

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

See Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms M


The Latin adverb for “more,” but now often used as a noun—“the Magis.” Although many different definitions of the term are in current usage, Barton Geger has shown that the best and most helpful is “the more universal good.”  

Barton T. Geger, "What Magis Really Means and Why It Matters," Jesuit Higher Education (2012)

Rethinking Magis
Trudelle Thomas, Xavier University

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The teaching office/authority in the Church.

In most contemporary usage, the term Magisterium refers to the teaching authority of the hierarchy—the pope and sometimes the bishops or a regional group of them.  But this usage is relatively recent.  This term as referring to Church teaching authority came into existence only in the last few centuries.  Further, the Church has over the millennia had a broader sense of the source of its teaching authority that includes the consensus of theologians and of the “faithful,” the non-hierarchical, non-clerical people.  With  the “papalisation” (John O’Malley) of governance and teaching in the Church of the second millennium and especially of recent times, it is therefore better, when using the term Magisterium in its partial sense, to qualify it with the adjective papal or hierarchical to make it clear that the source of the teaching does not include theologians or the “faithful.”

See "Infaliability"
See "Natural Law"

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Town in northeastern Spain where in 1522-1523 a middle-aged layman named Ignatius of Loyola had the powerful spiritual experiences that led to his famous "Spiritual Exercises" and later guided the founding and the pedagogy of Jesuit schools.

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Marquette, Jacques (1637-1675)

French Jesuit; missionary friend of native Americans; explorer

Jacques Marquette spoke six Amerindian languages and befriended many different native tribes. A report to Rome observed that the Indians have great veneration for the Black Robes . . . "[They] slept on the ground, exposed themselves to all privations, did not ask for money" (quoted by Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus, 1986).

Marquette established the Mission of St. Ignace (named for Ignatius) opposite Mackinac Island.

He concluded correctly that the Mississippi River did not run into the Atlantic (as many thought), but into the Gulf of Mexico.

He was only 38 when he died.  He is one of two Jesuits memorialized with a statue in the U.S. Capitol.

There is a full-length biography by Joseph P. Donnelly--Jacques Marquette: 1637-1675 (Loyola U P, 1968).

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Martin-Baro, Ignacio (1942-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Martini, Carlo Maria (1927-2012

Italian Jesuit; scripture scholar and cardinal archbishop

For many years, professor of New Testament at the Jesuit-run Pontifical biblical Institute in Rome and eventually its head.

Against the tradition and rule of the Jesuits who consider it acceptable and safe to become a bishop only in poor and difficult mission territories, made a bishop by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed Archbishop of Milan and soon thereafter named cardinal. He distinguished himself as a good pastor and preacher and able administrator of the huge Milan archdiocese.

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Martyrs of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)

On November 16, 1989, shortly after 1:00 a.m., six Jesuit priests at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (UCA) were assassinated-- along with the housekeeper from a nearby Jesuit seminary and her daughter who had sought refuge with them--by the U.S.-trained Atlacatl  commando unit of the Salvadoran military.

Those killed in the attack were:

  • Ignacio Ellacuria, 59, native of the Basque region of NE Spain, rector-president of the UCA and architect of the University’s “turn toward the poor.”
  • Ignacio Martin-Baro, 50, creative social psychologist who questioned the adequacy of existing models to address the effects of violence in the country.
  • Segundo Montes, 56, sociology professor and prolific scholar, founded the UCA’s Human Rights Institute and headed the research project on Salvadoran refugees in the U.S.
  • Amando Lopez, 53, professor of theology, earlier rector-president of the UCA in Managua, Nicaragua, was also the beloved pastor in a poor rural neighborhood.
  • Joaquin Lopez Y Lopez, 71, a native Salvadoran, co-founder of the UCA and director of the local Fe y Alegria (“Faith and Joy”) network of schools to empower the poor.
  • Juan Ramon Moreno, 56, Jesuit novice director, helped Ellacuria found the UCA’s Center for Theological Reflection and set up a superb library.
  • Julia Elba Ramos, 42, housekeeper and cook, and Celina Ramos, 16, her daughter, have come to represent the more than 70,000 innocent civilians murdered or “disappeared”, largely by Salvadoran military and unofficial “death squads,” in the civil war.

The UCA Jesuits had been vocal advocates of social change in El Salvador. For this reason, the Salvadoran military considered the priests to be "intellectual godfathers" of the FMLN guerilla movement and therefore a threat to the government.

In addition, the priests were accused by the Salvadoran military of being Communists, supporting the FMLN movement, and hiding weapons at the University. None of these accusations were ever substantiated.

In the spring of 1990, Xavier University held a formal academic convocation in its Bellarmine Chapel and conferred on these “Martyrs of the University” posthumous honorary doctoral degrees (see Dr. Gillian Ahlgren’s testimony below).

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 761, "Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of [the Jesuit Fathers, their housekeeper and her daughter] on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America José Simeón Cañas in San Salvador, El Salvador." The resolution was sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D) of Massachusetts.

Hear how Xavier University Theology Professor Dr. Gillian Ahlgren's approach to Jesuit education was influenced by this event
Universidad Centroamericana's webpage dedicated to the martyrs 

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Martyrs of the University:

A Virtual Pilgrim Walk

For an online "slide-show" version of this book, click here 

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Martyrs of the University,
Memorial at Xavier University

On Sunday evening, November 15, 2015, members of the Xavier University and Bellarmine Chapel communities dedicated a Memorial to the Salvadoran "Martyrs of the University." In 1989, in the midst of civil war, the Salvadoran military had brutally murdered six Jesuit professors and two women who had sought refuge with them. In response, the Xavier community had gathered in Bellarmine in solemn academic convocation and conferred on them posthumous honorary doctoral degrees. Now with this new Memorial, Xavier confirmed the bond that had been forged twenty-five years ago. The dedication service was marked by a procession to the Memorial with images of the Martyrs and lanterns, hand bells  and song, a reading from the Scriptures and reflections by the Pastor, Dan Hartnett, SJ, who knew several of the Martyrs personally. They lived and died as witnesses in an appropriate university way to the Gospel and its concern for Jesus' least brothers and sisters.

The Martyrs' Memorial is beautiful and effective, conducive to reflection and involvement of the pilgrim viewer. The placement is close enough to major pedestrian "traffic" patterns and yet slightly removed from them so as to foster quiet contemplation. The Martyrs' stone monuments (four "altar-tombs" with a name inscribed and a distinctive relief sculpture on both sides) are placed on ascending steps leading up to a plaque and a wooden cross on the wall. They invite the pilgrim to walk among them and approach the plaque that tells the Martyrs' story and the cross--the central Christian symbol--that gave meaning to their lives and deaths and can give meaning to ours. The modest-sized image of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero presides quietly over the scene.

Off to the left is the Peace Garden, perhaps a response of faith to the horrors of the Salvadoran civil war (75,000 innocent civilians murdered and "disappeared") and all wars. In the lawn, colorful wooden pillars arise expressing prayer for peace in different languages.

Congratulations and thanks to the artist Karen Heyl and thanks especially to the Beckman Family for making it all possible.

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Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mary (from the Hebrew Miriam), the Mother of Jesus, is also given the title "Mother of God" (Theotokos in Greek) because the child she conceived in her womb and to whom she gave birth, was not just a full human being but also fully divine. Christian belief, expressed clearly in the New Testament "Infancy Narratives" (Matthew, ch.1, and Luke, ch. 1), also testifies to her having conceived Jesus virginally, that is, without the agency of a human father, for only God could create such a child (the early Christian creeds say "conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary"). Mary is the greatest of all the Christian saints, the perfect hearer of God's word and the perfect respondent to that word. This is especially evident in the devotion of Orthodox, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Christians, usually less so of Protestant Christians (who are less devoted to saints in general).

An important source of appreciation for Mary comes from contemporary developmental psychology: the kind of human being Jesus became had to depend to a considerable extent on his growing up with Mary as his mother.

Mary, Mother of God resource page

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See "Liturgy"

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McAuley, Catherine

Founder of the Sisters of Mercy

On September 24, 1827, Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, first opened the doors of her home to the public on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland. By coincidence or act of providence, September 24th is also the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, who would lend both her identity and spirit to the building and its works, when it was named the "House of Mercy."

Prior to founding her religious order, Catherine's lifelong dream came true when she used her inheritance to build a home where women and children in dire need would be provided with housing, education, religious and social services enabling them to find a far brighter future than was generally available to the Irish, particularly Irish women, of the time. Catherine's innovative approach to housing and educating young women and children from the slums was considered shocking, especially since it brought the poor, the sick and the uneducated into an affluent neighborhood. Within three years over 200 girls were enrolled in the school at House of Mercy and volunteers, inspired by Catherine's spirit and compassion, were numerous.

In 1831, upon founding the Sisters of Mercy, the 'House of Mercy' also became the first convent of the Sisters of Mercy. As Catherine's passion for the poor took root in the hearts of her companions, the charism of Mercy spread rapidly across Ireland and England. By 1839, a mere eight years after being founded, the Sisters of Mercy numbered over 100 women religious and in the ten years between the founding of the order and her death, Catherine had founded nine Convents of Mercy.

In an 1841 letter to Sister Elizabeth Moore, she described the spirit which characterized the congregation and its members: All are good and happy. The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing, it should make all else pass into nothing. All laugh and play together, not one cold, stiff soul appears. From the day they enter, reserve of any ungracious kind leaves them. This is the spirit of the Order, indeed the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us...

Today, the special charism and spirit of Venerable Catherine McAuley remains alive and well within the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates. She continues to draw women to minister to the poor, the sick, the uneducated and the underserved. Almost 5,000 Sisters of Mercy of the Americas currently serve in 11 countries and one territory, while other Mercy foundations and institutes can be found in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland and Newfoundland.

And what remains of the original House of Mercy  In 1994, it was fully restored and opened to the public as Mercy International Centre, an important historical link for Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates from all over the globe. Although she died November 11, 1841, at her Baggot Street convent, her spirit of hospitality and her legacy continues today embodied within each Sister of Mercy. Mercy International Center allows all to reflect on Catherine's passion for helping the poor, which continues to inspire women as they carry forth the contemporary ministry of Mercy worldwide.

MA; watercolor portrait by Marie Henderson, RSM

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Medaille, Jean-Pierre

See "Congregation of St. Jospeh" and "Fontbonne, Mother St. John"

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Men and Women for Others

Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World

In a now famous address to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe (July 31, 1973), Pedro Arrupe painted a profile of what a graduate should be. Admitting that Jesuit schools had not always been on target here, Arrupe called for a re-education to justice:

Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others... people who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; people convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for human beings is a farce.... All of us would like to be good to others, and most of us would be relatively good in a good world. What is difficult is to be good in an evil world, where the egoism of others and the egoism built into the institutions of society attack us.... Evil is overcome only by good, egoism by generosity. It is thus that we must sow justice in our world, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.

Following up on what Arrupe had said, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, challenged the 900 Jesuit and lay delegates from the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities gathered for "Assembly '89" to teach our students to make "no significant decision without first thinking of how it would impact the least in society" (i.e., the poor, the marginal who have no voice). And 11 years later, speaking on "the faith that does justice" to a similar national gathering at Santa Clara University (October 6, 2000), Kolvenbach was even more pointed and eloquent in laying out the goals for the 21st-century American Jesuit university:

Here in Silicon Valley, some of the world's premier research universities flourish alongside struggling public schools where Afro-American and immigrant students drop out in droves. Nationwide, one child in every six is condemned to ignorance and poverty.... Thanks to science and technology, human society is able to solve problems such as feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, or developing more just conditions of life, but stubbornly fails to accomplish this.

- - - - -

The real measure of our Jesuit universities, [then,] lies in who our students become. Tomorrow's "whole person" cannot be whole without a well-educated solidarity. We must therefore raise our Jesuit educational standard to "educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world."

Solidarity is learned through "contact" rather than through "concepts." When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Our universities boast a splendid variety of in-service programs, outreach programs, insertion programs, off-campus contacts, and hands-on courses. These should not be too optional or peripheral, but at the core of every Jesuit university's program of studies.

- - - - -

Faculty are at the heart of our universities. Professors, in spite of the cliché of the ivory tower, are in contact with the world. But no point of view is ever neutral or value-free. A legitimate question, even if it does not sound academic, is for each professor to ask, "When researching and teaching, where and with whom is my heart?" To make sure that the real concerns of the poor find their place, faculty members need an organic collaboration with those in the Church and in society who work among and for the poor and actively seek justice.

What is at stake is a sustained interdisciplinary dialogue of research and reflection, a continuous pooling of expertise. The purpose is to assimilate experiences and insights in "a vision of knowledge which, well aware of its limitations, is not satisfied with fragments but tries to integrate them into a true and wise synthesis" about the real world. Unfortunately, many faculty still feel academically, humanly, and, I would say, spiritually unprepared for such an exchange.

- - - - -

If the measure of our universities is who the students become, and if the faculty are the heart of it all, then what is there left to say? It is perhaps the third topic, the character of our universities-- how they proceed internally and how they impact on society -- that is the most difficult.

In the words of [Jesuit] General Congregation 34, a Jesuit university must be faithful to both the noun "university" and to the adjective "Jesuit." To be a university requires dedication "to research, teaching, and the various forms of service that correspond to its cultural mission." To be Jesuit "requires that the university act in harmony with the demands of the service of faith and the promotion of justice."

[A] telling expression of the Jesuit university's nature is found in policies concerning hiring and tenure. As a university it must respect the established academic, professional, and labor norms, but as Jesuit it is essential to go beyond them and find ways of attracting, hiring, and promoting those who actively share the mission.

- - - - -

Every Jesuit academy of higher learning is called to live in a social reality and to live for that social reality, to shed university intelligence upon it and to use university influence to transform it. Thus Jesuit universities have stronger and different reasons than do many other academic institutions for addressing the actual world as it unjustly exists and for helping to reshape it in the light of the Gospel.

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Merici, Angela (1474-1540)

Trailblazer; saint

Finding God in daily life, serving God in people around her, Angela Merici created a surprising new way of life. Her spiritual family now includes the Company of St. Ursula, a spiritual companionship for single lay women, and the Order of St. Ursula for women religious.

An older contemporary of Ignatius Loyola, she too fostered the spirit of renewal in the Church of the early 16th Century.

Angela grew up on her family's farm in northern Italy, where she was born around 1474. She and her siblings worked together and got in trouble together. As their father read the lives of the saints, Angela longed to imitate these friends of God.

Death ruptured this happy circle, first taking her older sister. Angela was devastated - and worried. Was her mischievous sister saved One day, she had a consoling experience: Angela saw her sister, happy in heaven.

Still a teenager, Angela lost both parents. While her older brothers farmed, she and a younger brother went to live with relatives who were eager to arrange a marriage. Their plans and Angela's vocation were on a collision course. Angela sensed God's call to a deep intimacy with him. The more her guardians tried to find her a husband, the more she resisted.

She sought guidance from Franciscan friars and joined the Third Order (now called the Secular Franciscan Order) for lay persons. Its spiritual practices deepened her prayer life. Finally, her family accepted Angela's desire to devote herself to God alone.

Woman of compassion and wisdom

Soon she was back on the farm. One day during the olive harvest, Angela had another visionary experience: women and angels on a ladder between heaven and earth. She understood that someday she would establish a group of women consecrated to God.

Angela's days began with Mass and were punctuated by prayer. She worked with neighbors and helped out where needed. People turned to her for wisdom and comfort. Her own bereavement had taught her deep compassion. When the friars asked her to console a widow whose three children had died, Angela visited her in the war-torn city of Brescia. This became the place for her life's work.

Soon Brescians discovered Angela's goodness and wisdom. Husband and wife quarrelling ,Talk with Angela! Should I propose marriage. Consult Angela! Doubts about faith. Turn to Angela! She persuaded two sworn enemies to call off a duel.

A pilgrim like Ignatius, she visited Jerusalem in 1524 as he had done a year earlier. Also like Ignatius in this same period, she responded to the Church's need for reform by fostering lay involvement that was Spirit-driven and outside hierarchical structures. She encountered lay men and women who undertook a variety of initiatives to address spiritual and social ills, to heal their war-ravaged city. For them she was a spiritual Madre.

A new path for women

Angela encountered single women who knew that God was calling them, but not to marriage or religious life - the only paths then open to women. They wanted to learn from her experience of intimacy with God. On November 25, 1535, Angela and 28 other women consecrated themselves to Christ under the patronage of St. Ursula, an early martyr and leader of women. When Angela died in 1540, the Company of St. Ursula had 150 members.

Ursulines still live as Angela did, dedicated to Christ and serving others in ordinary circumstances, as single laywomen. The Company of St. Ursula exists in 20 countries. The Company spread from Italy into France. There, in the early 1600s, French Ursulines took another step, becoming a religious order. These women pioneered education for young women; their life and mission have spread around the globe. Often their educational mission has been paired with that of Jesuits.

Angela Merici was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is celebrated on January 27.

Statue of Angela Merici, Desenzano [on Lake Garda], northern Italy. Designed by Benedetto Pietrogrande, sculpted by Peter Kostner. Photo Madeline Kelly, OSU, courtesy of Dianne Baumunk, OSU.

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Mission and Identity Conference of AJCU: A Brief History

The "Conferences on Collaboration" [between Jesuits and others in the work of U.S. Jesuit Higher Education] were founded by Jack Zuercher and Joan Lanahan, Creighton, and Jim Blumeyer and Bill Finucane, Rockhurst, assisted by David Thomas of Regis as facilitator, with a meeting at Creighton in May of 1988. People interested in the work of Jesuit mission and identity came from about 20 of the U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities--30 lay people and 30 Jesuits. This was the first major national initiative on mission and identity work, and it was taken not from the top down, the national office in Washington (the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities [AJCU]), but by local people from the bottom up. During Assembly '89, the huge gathering at Georgetown, several of those already charged with mission responsibilities in their schools began to realize the need for a much smaller, focused gathering. Three more Conferences on Collaboration were held at different Jesuit universities in the Midwest, South, and West, with declining numbers participating in the second and third conferences, but the largest of them all (90) in what turned out to be the final conference.

By that time an initial group of nine, eight Jesuits and a woman,* all with official positions and released time (half or full) for mission and identity work in their schools, had formed themselves into "Mission and Identity Officers" and had held two annual meetings, the first hosted by John Topel at Seattle U. in the fall of 1990 and the second by Jim Flynn at USF in the fall of '91. The purpose of the new, smaller group was to gather the people actually charged with mission and identity work in their schools, to share strategies and programs, successes and failures. The group also considered itself a lobbying force with AJCU, that is, with the presidents of the Jesuit schools, especially the 20 that had not yet designated an officer. When the group sought affiliation as an official conference of the AJCU, the presidents wanted the title changed to "Coordinators for Mission & Identity", coordinators being a broader term than officers and therefore able to include the head of a school's mission committee without released time.

Gradually over the coming years, more and more schools sent representatives to the annual CMI meetings; and when no one had yet been appointed at a given school, the rector of the Jesuit community might come. For a while, the number of non-Jesuits started to grow, then declined, but by 2008 had reached a point where the majority were not Jesuits. The vast majority of chief mission officers, however, are still Jesuits. Sometime in the mid-nineties, the group became more organized and started operating with a three-person planning and facilitating committee, one from each region West, Midwest/South, and East. In recent years, all but a few of the schools send representatives. The number of affiliated participants--those not representing any of the 28 U.S. Jesuit schools--has grown markedly. Over the course of the group's 22 years of existence, some schools have maintained a good continuity of representation; others have experienced a lot of turnover. The size of local staffs varies considerably. (2012) 

* Founding members of Mission & Identity Officers/AJCU Coordinators for Mission & Identity/AJCU Mission & Identity Conference: Jim Blumeyer, Rockhurst; Jack Callahan, Regis; Dick Dunphy, St. Louis; Jim Flynn, USF; Dave Haschka, Marquette; Joan Lanahan, Creighton; John Topel, Seattle; George Traub, Xavier; Jack Zuercher, Creighton

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Mission and Identity Offices at U.S. Jesuit Colleges and Universities

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Montes Segundo (1933-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Montserrat, Our Lady of (the Black Madonna)

Situated in the awesome serrated mountains some 4,000 feet above the Catalonian plain and 30 miles west of Barcelona, the Benedictine monastery was already a popular place of pilgrimage when the 30-year-old Iñigo (Ignatius) of Loyola came there probably on March 20 or 21, 1522. He spent three days writing out a confession of the sins of his life and presented it to a French Benedictine priest who ministered to pilgrims visiting the monastery. He then gave away his fine clothes to a stunned tramp, put on penitential sackcloth and held an all-night vigil before the Black Madonna and Child (an ancient wood sculpture), hanging up his sword and dagger there. Effectively,  writes Ron Hansen,  his former life was over ("The Pilgrim: Saint Ignatius of Loyola" in An Ignatian Spirituality Reader) and his new life had begun.

Some months earlier, at Loyola, while still recovering from his battle wounds and struggling to deal with his shattered psyche and the dawning sense of a new religious identity, he had been graced with a clear and deeply consoling vision of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus.

Marian shrines and imagery abounded in the Spain of Ignatius time. And the church given to the early Jesuits in Rome was that of Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Road). The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner once observed that Ignatius was among the very few male Christian mystics who were also visionaries (Visions and Prophecies [1963]). In this context, one might say that the post-conversion Ignatius was a man untypically well developed in his feminine side. Indeed, Xavier professors Margo Heydt and Sarah Melcher, Protestant women who went on an Ignatian pilgrimage to Spain and Rome, see Jesus mother Mary as the hidden catalyst of Ignatius conversion and life.

See Gemma Simmonds, "Women Jesuits" in The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008).

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Moreno, Pardo, Juan Ramon (1933-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Murray, John Courtney (1904-1967)

American Jesuit; Systematic theologian, advocate of religious liberty

Professor of theology at Woodstock College, MD, Jesuit theological seminary.

For years in the Jesuit journal Theological Studies argued the superiority of the pluralist system of church-state relations (as in the U.S.) and then was silenced by Rome for some nine years.

Prominent theologian at Vatican II and a principal architect of the Council's document on religious liberty.

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Music, Liturgical, after Vatican II

See "Liturgical Music, A New Kind"

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Mveng, Engelbert (1930-1995)

Cameroonian Jesuit; "a father of the church" in Africa

Engelbert Mveng, a prophetic voice in Africa, was one of the first promoters of African liberation theology. He used the term anthropological impoverishment to describe the consequences of European enslavement and colonization and anthropological annihilation to describe the absolute abyss into which a people fall when their poverty becomes structural and produces a political and economic vacuum in the state.

This multi-talented Jesuit historian, poet, artist, philosopher, and theologian was violently assassinated in his home near Yaounde on April 23, 1995.

For the most part, Mveng's writings (in French) have not been translated into English, but see his essay African Liberation Theology in Concilium (1988) and the brief account of his work in Hinsdale, "Jesuit Theological Discourse since Vatican II", Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008).

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


Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms N

Nadal, Jerome [Jeronimo in Spanish] (1507-1580)

Spanish Jesuit; promulgator of Constitutions

Ignatius sent Nadal as his trusted ambassador to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Austria to promulgate and explain the newly-composed Constitutions of the order.

Nadal made use of the new medium of perspective illustrations to enhance the realism of Pictures of the Gospel Stories. Matteo Ricci took this work with him to China and thus introduced the art and science of perspective to that forbidden country.

Nadal is considered by historian John O'Malley to be one of the three absolutely central figures (along with Polanco and Ignatius himself) in the founding and early development of the Society of Jesus (The First Jesuits [Harvard, 1993]).

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Natural Law

Over the centuries Catholic scholars have understood natural law as something that can be reached by human reason alone and that is valid for all times and places.  But when one looks into particulars, the tradition has not produced an agreed on body of specific teachings.  Indeed it has had to reverse its teaching on a good number of important issues like usury, slavery, democracy, religious liberty, and the role of procreation in marriage.  The working paper in preparation for the fall 2014 Synod on the Family, based on a worldwide survey, concludes that “the concept of natural law today . . . is highly problematic, if not completely incomprehensible,” yet insists that a proper understanding of natural law can be convincing.

In the 20th and 21st centuries the papal Magisterium has increasingly supported its moral teachings—especially its teaching on sexual morality (though not its social justice teaching)—on its own authority and that of its predecessors.  Thus in his encyclical letter sustaining the intrinsic immorality of artificial contraception and rejecting the recommendation for change by the commission his predecessor had established, Pope Paul VI stated that the report had “departed from the moral teaching on marriage proposed with constant firmness by the teaching authority of the Church” (Humanae vitae, 1968).

See "Infaliability"
See "Magisterium"

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New Testament

See "Old / New Testament"

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Newman, John Henry (1801-1890)

Cardinal, Beatified, British educator and theologian, writer, orator

Born in London, Newman was the eldest of a family with three sons and three daughters. At the age of 15 he attended Trinity College, Oxford, where he received his bachelor's degree. He held and academic pastoral assignments having been ordained as an Anglican clergyman and serving as a teacher at Oxford University. Founder of the Oxford Movement (whose members are often associated with University and Oxford, wished to return the Church of England to many Catholic beliefs and forms of worship traditional in medieval times to restore ritual expression), he eventually became a Catholic in 1845 and was ordained in the Catholic Church in 1847.

In 1854, Newman went to Dublin as rector of the newly established Catholic University of Ireland which evolved into the University College, Dublin, the largest university in Ireland. It was here that he published a volume of lectures,
The Idea of a University, which explained his philosophy of education. For instance, he described knowledge as, "The indispensable condition of expansion of mind, and the instrument of attaining to it" and the importance of a wide range of academic possibilities. Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal in 1879. Pope Benedict XVI beatified him in Birmingham, England, on September 19, 2010.

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Nicolás, Adolfo (1936- )

30th superior general of the Society of Jesus* (the Jesuits*), elected in 2008, he served until his retirement at age 80 in 2016.                                                                                             

As superior general, Fr. Nicolas exuded joy with his staff in their serving the Society together. In his spiritual leadership, he asked Jesuits “to go more deeply, see prayer more imaginatively, and confront what distracted them from the more abiding good in their lives and labors” (Howard Gray).

In a major address (Mexico City, 2010), he challenged lay and Jesuit leaders in higher education from around the world: 

First, in response to the globalization of superficiality, I suggest that we need to study the emerging cultural world of our students more deeply and find  creative ways of promoting depth of thought and imagination. . . . Second, in order to maximize . . . new possibilities of communication and cooperation, I urge the Jesuit universities to work towards operational international networks that will address important issues touching faith, justice, and ecology. . . . Finally, to counter the inequality of knowledge distribution, I encourage a search for creative ways of sharing the fruits of research with the excluded;  and in response to the global spread of secularism and fundamentalism, I invite . . . a  renewed commitment to the Jesuit tradition of learned ministry which mediates between faith and culture. 

Challenges to Jesuit Higher Education Today
Superior General Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.
Mexico City, April 23, 2010

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Nineteenth Annotation Retreat

Also called "The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life"

Ignatius of Loyola foresaw that not everyone would be able to make his full Spiritual Exercises by withdrawing from home and work and devoting 30 days full time to them.   He thus asked people making the Exercises part-time to do two things: (1) to set aside an hour daily for prayer (but this like so much in the Exercises is adaptable to the individual person) and (2) to see a guide for processing what is happening in the prayer and the rest of life and get individualized guidance every week or two. This process would continue for seven months or more, a large commitment.   (In this version one week part time equals about one day full time.)  

Ignatius wrote about this possibility in "Annotation 19," one of the "Introductory Observations" at the beginning of the book of the Exercises.   Most lay people who make the full Exercises today do so in this extended way.  

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Nostra Aetate

Nostra Aetate (Latin for "In Our Time" or "In Our Age"), Vatican Council II's Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, is a statement on interreligious dialogue promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI; thus, the 5Oth anniversary is celebrated in 2015.
See the document which includes:
- a statement on the unity of the origin of all people.
- the will of the Catholic Church to respect other religions.
- a description of some commonalities of Islam, Christianity and Catholicism.
- an account of the bond that ties Christians to Jews and a denunciation of

Beyond Nostra Aetate
Important as Nostra Aetate has been for Jewish-Catholic relations over the past fifty years, the document left certain issues unresolved. Now a new document (2015) from the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews addresses some of these. Titled The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable, it asserts that Catholics should not try to convert Jews; Jews can be saved without believing in Christ (how this can be is a "mystery"). It is clear that both Judaism and Christianity must be understood on their own terms. 

According to Edward Kessler of the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, here are questions Jews need to address:

What was the divine purpose behind the creation of Christianity? What are the implications for Jews that, as a result of the Jew Jesus, 2 billion Christians now read the Jewish Bible?... My own view is that the covenant promised to Abraham and revealed to Moses demonstrations not only an irrevocable relationship between the Jewish people and God but also allows the theological space for Christians to possess their own special relationship with God and to see their reflection in a Jewish mirror.

A group of Otrhodox rabbis recently issued a declaration stating: "We acknowledge that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations. In separating Judaism and Christianity, God willed a separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies."

For more information see the Nostra Aetate Resource page

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The stages of Jesuit formation

The first two years of a Jesuit's formation. A Novice engages in the study of Jesuit history and Jesuit life (including the vows common to all forms of religious life), the making of the full Spiritual Exercises over 30 days and other "experiments" like insertion among the poor, work in hospitals, going on pilgrimage, work in a Jesuit-sponsored ministry while living in community with Jesuits who have completed their course of (early) formation.

See also Stages of Formation, First StudiesRegency, Theology, and Tertianship.

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


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Jesuit Terms O

O'Collins, Gerald (1931-)

Australian Jesuit; professor of theology at the Gregorian University (Rome) for 33 years; prolific author and defender of human rights in the church

Gerald O'Collins received a licentiate in theology from Heythrop College, Oxford, and a year later a doctorate from Cambridge University. He taught fundamental and systematic theology at the Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome for 33 years. He authored or co-authored 52 books, wrote many articles for popular journals, and spoke often on radio and TV. He has been given a number of doctorates honoris causa. Now retired from the Gregorian, he is research professor and writer-in-residence at the Jesuit Theological College, Parkville, Victoria.

While O'Collins has sometimes taken a traditional or conservative theological position rather than breaking new ground, he has always been open to new ideas. An avid ecumenist and respecter of other religions, he has consistently spoken and acted for human rights in the Catholic church and opposed the imposition of a narrow orthodoxy. In this capacity, he worked closely with his Gregorian colleague Jacques Dupuis when Dupuis was attacked by the Vatican Doctrinal Congregation (Josef Ratzinger).

See Jacques Dupuis
O'Collins is writing an autobiography; the first of two volumes is titled On the Left Bank of the Tiber (Connor Court, 2013)

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O'Keefe, Vincent (1920- 2012)

American Jesuit; confidant of Pedro Arrupe as superior general

O'Keefe was president of Fordham University when in 1965 he went to General Congregation 31. This was the Congregation that elected Pedro Arrupe superior general; it elected O'Keefe one of four general counselors, and he remained in that office through the entire Arrupe generalate (1965-1983). When Arrupe was refused permission by John Paul II to retire from office for reasons of age and infirmity and shortly thereafter suffered a debilitating stroke, he appointed O'Keefe vicar general in his place. But the pope removed them both from office and appointed his own delegate to run the Society. Then in less than two years after this papal "intervention," saying that he had been "misinformed," the Pope allowed the Jesuits to return to their own governance and elect a new superior general (Peter-Hans Kolvenbach).

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O'Malley, John W. (1927- )

American Jesuit; historian of early modern and contemporary Catholicism

John O'Malley is currently a university professor in the theology department at Georgetown University. His specialty is the religious culture of early modern Europe, with concentration in Renaissance humanism and the Society of Jesus. He is also interested in Vatican Council II and contemporary Catholicism. His best known work is The First Jesuits (1995), winner of several best-book awards and now translated into ten languages. His latest books are What Happened at Vatican II (2010), Trent: What Happened at the Council (2013) and The Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present (2014). Fourteen U.S. Jesuit universities have given him honorary doctoral degrees. He has also been honored with a Festschrift (Early Modern Catholicism: Essays in Honour of John W. O'Malley, S.J., eds. Kathleen Comerford and Hilmar Pabel [2001]).

See his autobiography in the booklet series Lives of the Georgetown Jesuits.

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Old Testament / New Testament

The word testament derives ultimately from the Hebrew and means "covenant," a mutual commitment or treaty between two parties in ancient near eastern culture. It was taken over to refer to the commitment between the Hebrew people and their God, as established on Mt. Sinai.

From a Christian perspective, the Old Testament refers to the works of the Hebrew Bible--legends, histories, laws, prophecy, wisdom writings--that make up the first half of its Scripture, whereas the second half, containing the four gospel 'portraits' of Jesus and the instructional letters of St. Paul (among others), present a new covenant with God in Jesus.

Some Christian bibles--Catholic, Orthodox, etc.--contain late Jewish writings (that is, close to the time of Jesus) that are not part of the Hebrew Bible and not accepted by Protestants (as the inspired word of God).

See Bible.

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- See Religious Order/Religious Life.

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Organizations, Jesuit-Sponsored

  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps
    About 250 volunteers commit themselves to working with people in the United States and seven countries marginalized by society.
  • Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps
    The IVC, in partnership with hundreds of service sites, provides women and men, aged 50 and older, opportunities to serve others, to address social injustice, and to transform lives.
  • Jesuit Refugee Service
    JRS's mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. Serving in over 50 countries, with the support of an international office in Rome, JRS provides assistance to refugees in refugee camps, to people displaced within their own country, to asylum seekers in cities and those held in detention.

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Owen, Nicholas (1550-1606)

English Jesuit brother; builder of secret "priest holes"; martyr, saint

Nicholas Owen was a carpenter and stonemason and a Jesuit brother. He used his skills to build secret hiding places for Catholic priests who traveled around providing Mass and the sacraments to Catholics in the England of anti-Catholic penal laws, where numerous government agents (bounty-hunters) practiced their art. Since being a Catholic priest in Elizabethan and Jacobean England was punishable by death, Owen saved hundreds of lives with his "priest-holes." He himself was picked up several times and shortly released as "small fish," since he wasn't a priest and his real occupation was unknown. Early on, he traveled with Edmund Campion, later with Henry Garnet, and finally with John Gerard--all well-known Jesuit priests. He was simply known as "Little John."

Eventually, he and his work were discovered and he was taken to the Tower of London. There he was tortured to make him reveal the locations of his "holes," but he never said a word until he expired from the torture.

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


Terms: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

Jesuit Terms P

Pacem in terris (Latin for "Peace on earth")

Landmark encyclical letter on peace building by Pope John XXIII (1963).

It invited all people of good will (not only Catholics and Christians) to work together to build peace, and it said peace must be based on the protection and promotion of human rights and dignity, including religious freedom for all. Taking aim at apartheid, 'Jim Crow' racial segregation, communism, fascism, military dictatorships, corporatism, and the excesses of capitalism, the Pope said "working for the common good is the sole reason for the existence of civil authorities." The common good is so important that the term appears forty-six times in fifty-nine pages . . . . (Love, Pacem in terris at 50: Catholic Peacebuilding in 2013, Common Good Forum [4-17-13], Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good).

In spite of the horrors and violence of our time, it would be fair to say that Pope John's call to build peace founded on a recognition of human rights and human dignity has borne much fruit. It has provided a new and sound focus for various initiatives--great and small--undertaken by individuals, organizations, and even governments and government agencies--people of good will around the world.

See Common Good.

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Padberg, John W. (1930-)

American Jesuit; historian and publisher

John Padberg, a native of St. Louis, entered the Jesuits in 1944. In addition to the regular Jesuit course of studies, he did doctoral studies in the history of ideas at Harvard. His magisterial study Colleges in Conflict: The Jesuit Schools in France from Revival to Suppression, 1815-1890 (1969) remains the standard work on that subject (Lucas, Spirit, Style, Story  [2002]). Among the administrative positions he has filled with distinction, his ten years as president of Weston Jesuit School of Theology (Cambridge, MA) stand out. He has dealt in print with Jesuit general congregations and contributed a number of essays to the series Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits, 80 issues of which he published as editor. And as director of the Institute of Jesuit Sources, he has overseen the production of more than 40 books. Indeed, it is in this capacity of publisher and mentor of other Jesuit scholars that he may have made his finest contribution. Colleagues, Jesuit and lay, have honored him with a Festschrift (Spirit, Style, Story: Essays Honoring John W. Padberg, SJ, ed. Thomas M. Lucas [2002]).

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See Pope / Papacy.

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Papal Infallibility

See Infallibility, Papal.

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Papal Primacy/Supremacy

See "Council of Constance and Vatican Council I"

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Papal Schism

See "Council of Constance and Vatican Council I"

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Paschal Mystery, The

Mystery here means not a problem to be solved but a reality of human existence that can only be accepted and lived through because it is too big for our limited minds to grasp.  Such a reality is human incompleteness ("in this life all symphonies are incomplete"--Karl Rahner), suffering and diminishment, death.  Specifically, then, in Christian theology and spirituality, the Paschal Mystery is the mystery of dying (like Jesus) in order to receive new and resurrected life (like Jesus).  And this happens, not just once, but again and again through the course of life, even though there may well be one or more major instances of it over a lifetime.  (The term Paschal comes from the Hebrew word for Passover and in Christian theology signifies Jesus' passage from death to new life.)

If my marriage after 20 years is no longer a honeymoon (and it won't be), I have to grieve the loss and let it go or become angry and unhappy.  If as a young person I had dreams of accomplishing great things in my life and now I'm middle-aged and my accomplishments are at best middling, I need to let go of them and move on or become bitter and disillusioned.  If I am a 70-year old, I cannot live life as I did at 20 or 40 or 60.   I must grieve the loss of my earlier life and let it go.  Doing so opens the way to transformation, to receiving new and better life, resurrected life.

See Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality (1999).

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Passover (in Hebrew "Pesach") -

The story goes as follows:
The Israelites were subjected to slave labor for decades in Egypt until God sent Moses to confront the king (pharaoh) and demand release. But pharaoh was obstinate, and God visited ten plagues on him and his people. The tenth and last was a killing of all the Egyptian firstborn. The Israelite children were spared, however, because families had been instructed to slaughter a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts of their homes as a sign for the angel of death to "pass over" them. In haste, then, the Israelites left Egypt, passing through the Red Sea on dry land by the power of God and making their way to Sinai and the sealing of a covenant that made them God's chosen people.

Ever since then, their deliverance by God is commemorated and celebrated in the great festival of Passover (eight days long), especially with the seder meal and its unleavened bread, bitter herbs, four glasses of wine, and a liturgical recitation that tells the story and thus fulfills the obligation to share it with the children.

See Old Testament.

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Pastoral Ministry

Despite its heavy commitment to schools and education, the early Society of Jesus* (as John O’Malley has shown) had a fundamentally pastoral and apostolic* approach to all its works.  And in many a city the school was attached to and supported by a Jesuit parish where preaching and liturgy and the sacraments (especially penance and reconciliation) thrived. While schools now operate independently, many students and alumni continue to find a home in a Jesuit parish enabling them to remain connected to the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality. After Vatican II* Jesuit parish ministry, which had suffered neglect, often became exemplary.

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Pedagogy, Ignatian/Jesuit

Having to do with Ignatian/Jesuit teaching style or methods.

In one formulation (Robert Newton's Reflections on the Educational Principles of the Spiritual Exercises [1977]), Jesuit education is instrumental (not an end in itself, but a means to the service of God and others); student centered (adapted to the individual as much as possible so as to develop an independent and responsible learner); characterized by structure (with systematic organization of successive objectives and systematic procedures for evaluation and accountability) and flexibility (freedom encouraged and personal response and self-direction expected, with the teacher an experienced guide, not primarily a deliverer of ready-made knowledge); eclectic (drawing on a variety of the best methods and techniques available); and personal (whole person affected, with goal of personal appropriation, attitudinal and behavioral change).

See Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm for a second formulation.

Both these approaches were developed in the context of secondary education, but could be adapted for higher education.

"Jesuit Education and Ignatian Pedagogy: a desktop primer" compiled by Debra Mooney (Xavier Center for Mission and Identity)

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Pieris, Aloysius (1934-  )

Sri Lankan Jesuit; Asian liberation theologian

Although he was originally slated to teach theology in Rome, Aloysius Pieris, in dialogue and discernment with his provincial superior, decided to remain and work in his native land. Two themes remain central to his theology: the path of interior liberation from greed and the path of social liberation from poverty.

The British Jesuit theologian Philip Endean, in a Festschrift essay for Pieris, sees his re-reading of the Ignatian tradition in the light of Christian-Buddhist dialogue as advocating a "symbiosis" which enables Christians to grow within their own tradition, sharpening their awareness of inauthenticities in what they have previously taken for granted ("The Same Spirit Is in Everything," Encounters with the Word, ed. Robert Crusz et al. [2004]).

See Hinsdale, "Jesuit Theological Discourse since Vatican II," The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008). Among Pieris' best-known works is An Asian Theology of Liberation (1988).

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Polanco, Juan de (1517-15??)

Spanish Jesuit; secretary to Ignatius and successors

Collaborated with Ignatius in the writing of the Jesuit Constitutions and of many of the nearly 7,000 letters of Ignatius.

Considered by historian John O'Malley to be one of the three absolutely central figures (along with Nadal and Ignatius himself) in the foundation and early development of the Society of Jesus (The First Jesuits [Harvard, 1993]).

Polanco was a "new Christian" (having Jewish ancestry) and as such was not elected fourth superior general even though he was the logical choice; the bias of some Spanish Jesuits was reinforced by Pope Gregory XIII, who intervened in the election.

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The pope is the bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic church of some 1.2 billion members. The title comes from the Latin papa, which means "daddy." The pope is often referred to as "Holy Father."

He is considered the "Successor of Peter" the apostle whom many scholars, confirming church tradition, believe to have been martyred at Rome in the persecution of Nero (60s CE). Some would also call him the "Vicar of Christ," but the title in early centuries was given to any bishop and only with Innocent III (1198-1216) did it commonly assume exclusive reference to the pope.

According to Matthew's gospel, in a passage whose meaning is disputed, Jesus gives Simon a new identity: "You are Peter [the name means "Rock"] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (16:18). In the resurrection story of John, Jesus confirms Peter's role: "Feed my lambs; feed my sheep" (21:16-17).

The office of the papacy has developed and changed over the centuries. There were often no clear lines between what we would call secular or civil government and church leadership. The Emperor Constantine called the first great doctrinal ecumenical (worldwide) council, held at Nicaea in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) in 325; the pope did send delegates. But by a hundred years later, Pope Celestine I was heavily involved with personalities and events leading up to the Council of Ephesus (and of course he sent delegates to the council itself). From 1054, the year of the Great Schism, the church split into Roman, led by the pope (the western patriarch), and Eastern Orthodox, led by the patriarch of Constantinople. The eastern patriarch did not recognize the "primacy" of the pope. In the high Middle Ages the papacy amassed power and much wider control. But with that power waning in the 14th century and as a result of conflict between the French crown and the papacy, seven successive popes (all French) lived, not in Rome, but in southern France (Avignon). Late in this century and early in the next, there were several claimants to the papacy, and a dispute arose as to whether a council had authority over the pope and could depose him ("conciliarism"). Since the 16th century, the Protestant churches, having broken with Rome, obviously do not recognize the pope's "primacy."

That primacy and how it is exercised, as well as the 1870 declaration of papal "infallibility" (Vatican Council I), remain to this day major issues dividing the Roman Catholic church from other Christian denominations.

See Ecumenism.
See Infallibility, Papal.

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Pope Francis (1936- )

On March 13, 2013, Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, son of Italian immigrant parents, was elected the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion members.  He took the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226), who lived in poverty and simplicity and was a champion of  the poor.  His election was historic—the first non-European pope in 1200 years and the first from the Society of Jesus.*

The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises* invite people to know themselves as loved and forgiven sinners.  That is how Francis presents himself.  At the age of 36, he was thrust into the leadership of the Argentine Jesuit province.* He admits that he made many bad decisions at that time because of his authoritarian way of operating. In contrast today, he regularly convenes a group of nine cardinals from around the world to advise him.  As a result of his ability to stand in the truth about his own limitations, he is not haunted by his past.  He has an inner freedom, the goal of the Exercises.  He learns from his mistakes, from his experience.  He listens to people and is slow to judge them.  He sees the Church (and the world) as a field hospital after battle, calling for compassionate care and healing.     

 There is a boldness to the man.  Ignatian spirituality begins with prayer but ends in action.  Francis can act.  He chose not to live in the papal palace.  He told the bishops and cardinals that run the Vatican offices not to behave like princes in power, but as servants. He reformed the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank.  He appoints as bishops, not office climbers, but wise pastors.  Having walked the alleyways of the slums to be with the people, he habitually sees the  world with the eyes of the poor and suffering.  He challenged the U.S. Congress to come together  and act on their behalf.

 In “The Joy of the Gospel(Evangelii Gaudium - 2013), the pope lays out his program for a missionary Church that recovers the original freshness of the Gospel.* “This Economy Kills” (2015) censures unregulated capitalism. “On Care for the Earth as Our Common Home” (Laudato Si  - 2015) shows how we have abused the Earth for short-term profit and what must be done to restore and care for it.  In his follow-up to two experimental gatherings (“synods”)  for open dialogue on family life as actually lived—“The Joy of Love in the Family” (Amoris Laetitia - 2016)—he recommends responsible discernment,* not just  abstract rules,  as the deciding method for spouses to follow.

Francis maintains his opposition to contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage and adoption, and to the ordination of women.  Still, he would not want traditional doctrine or moral teaching to override the priority of pastoral care for people or be taken as so absolute that the message of God’s love and mercy revealed in Jesus is obscured:

The thing that the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.  I see the Church as a field hospital after battle.

 A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person. We must always consider the person.  

The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.

The view of the Church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.

Also, see our resource page on Pope Francis

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Pozzo, Andrea (1642-1709)

Italian Jesuit brother; painter, pioneer of perspective painting

Andrea Pozzo wrote a book on perspective geometry to aid artists and architects. Later, when the money ran out in the construction of St. Ignatius church in Rome and the planned dome had to be abandoned, he created his greatest work. He turned the flat ceiling of the church into a magnificent virtual world of cupola and columns depicting the missionary spirit of the Society of Jesus. In it, light passes from God the Father to the Son who transmits it to Ignatius and he sends it in four rays to the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In grand baroque style, the awesome ceiling celebrates nearly two centuries of venturesome Jesuit activity.

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Prayer is a dialogue with the Divine. It is an opportunity for a deeper experience with God and a connection with what is True and Real.

Daily online prayers and reflections:

see spiritual exercises and Ignatian examen

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Principle and Foundation, First

See First Principle and Foundation

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Prophets (The) / Prophecy 

The books of the Hebrew Bible that present the lives and messages of men and women
inspired to speak in the name of God. Among the best known are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Miriam and Deborah. Fundamental themes are that God, not human beings, brings salvation and God wants, not ritual sacrifices, but just behavior among people.

The popular notion that prophecy is primarily concerned with predicting the future is not entirely accurate; it has rather to do with interpreting God's will and desire/demand for justice. Some of the most powerful and enigmatic passages of prophecy, however--the servant songs of Isaiah--helped the early Christians to understand Jesus and what happened to him at the end of his life.

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Provinces are geographic regions created for the purpose of governance within the Society of Jesus.*  The major administrator of each province is the Provincial, appointed by the Superior General* for a period of six years.  In a  process of reconfiguration that will be completed by 2020, ten U.S. provinces are being  combined into four: Central & Southern, Eastern, Midwest, and Western.  

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Songs/prayers of praise or petition addressed to God running the gamut of human emotions, none of which need to be avoided in speaking to God, not even negative ones like anger, hate, fear, doubt.

Together the 100+ psalms make up a treasury that can be drawn on for communal prayer or prayer by an individual.

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Jesuit Terms Q

Terms Q



The real measure of our Jesuit universities, [then,] lies in who our students become. Tomorrow's "whole person" cannot be whole without a well-educated solidarity. We must therefore raise our Jesuit educational standard to "educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world." Solidarity is learned through "contact" rather than through "concepts." When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Our Universities boast a splendid variety of in-service programs, outreach programs, insertion programs, off-campus contacts, and hands-on courses. These should not be too optional or peripheral, but at the core of every Jesuit university's program of studies.

--Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus
October 6, 2000, to a national audience at Santa Clara University
For a precis of the entire address, see "Men and Women for Others / Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World"

Spirituality is not a "sometime" thing. It is not a technique or a methodology that is applied in certain circumstances. It is a way of ordering oneself and through the ordering of one's self, developing a standard that can serve as a benchmark for deciding and acting. It provides access to an affective feeling, which can, with care and patience, and much intentional effort and close supervision, become something you can trust.

--John J. Degioia, Ph.D., President, Georgetown University
May 25, 2004, Heartland-Delta IV Conference at Marquette University
For the complete presentation

Jesuit education seeks to open students' minds to the vast riches of human experience and thought, to promote a greater understanding of our world and to enable them to discern truth. Jesuit education accepts the inherent value and power of intelligent and dispassionate thought. Colleges and universities are, and must remain, hallowed places of intellectual discussion. But if we are to be true to our educational mission, we must ensure that academic freedom--the freedom to pursue truth in all areas of human understanding--remains vibrant.

--Eugene Cornacchia, Ph.D., President, St. Peter's College
October 20, 2007, Presidential Inaugural Address
For the complete address

...Scientific advances, perhaps more than theology, have inspired amazement. Photographic images from the Hubble Telescope, first available to the public in 1990, reveal that the universe is much vaster, more ancient, and more grand than we imagined. The majesty of the cosmos shows how limited the human perspective has been. Similarly, discoveries about DNA and quantum physics are inspiring awe in scientists and non-scientists alike. Such discoveries have caused some thinkers to see a profound connection between the human mind and the works of God... Viewing God as Mysterium Tremendum is conducive to dialogue among different religious traditions. In a time in history when many discussions deteriorate into stand-offs between the Left vs. Right, Saved vs. Unsaved, Enlightened vs. Benighted, appreciation for Mystery reminds us that all truth is limited. We can let uncertainty cause us to latch on to partial truths--or we can let it lead us into greater exploration...

--Trudelle Thomas, PhD.
English Department, Xavier University
Expanding Horizons: A Christian Female Talks at Length with a Muslim Male
For the complete presentation

I believe that what we must do is ensure a globalization without marginalization or confrontation, a globalization that recognizes our common humanity, community, and solidarity. How Jesuit universities can work toward this globalization of hope, this ideal, is not only a necessity, it is a moral imperative; and it will require that we do three things: Remember the past, engage the present, and influence the future.

--John DeGioia, Ph.D.
President, Georgetown University
Globalization of Hope, October 20, 2008
Celebrating the inauguration of Julio Giulietti, S.J. as 8th president of Wheeling Jesuit University

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





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Jesuit Terms R

Rahner, Karl (1904-1984)

German Jesuit; father of Catholic theology in the 20th century

Did doctoral studies in the history of philosophy at the University of Freiburg, but his dissertation on Thomas Aquinas' epistemology (later published as Spirit in the World) was rejected by a professor whose only claim to fame now is that he rejected Rahner's dissertation.

In his teaching (at Innsbruck, Munich, & Münster) and writing over nearly 50 years, he re-did the long tradition of Catholic theology in a way that required much of his listeners and readers intellectually, but still "spoke" to their hearts and touched their existential reality and need. He was a poet in his own unique style of prose.

He was a commanding theological presence at Vatican II (1962-65). And for many in this country reading his works as they were translated into English after the Council enabled them to recognize him as the source of many of the Council's ideas, one who had prepared the way for that great revolution in official Catholic theological thinking.

See the fine biographical-theological essay on Rahner in Ronald Modras' Ignatian Humanism
(Loyola Press, 2004).

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Ramos, Julia Elba and Cecilia Ramos

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Ratio Studiorum

Latin for "Plan of Studies"

A document, the definitive form of which was published in 1599 after several earlier drafts and extensive consultation among Jesuits working in schools. It was a handbook of practical directives for teachers and administrators, a collection of the most effective educational methods of the time, tested and adapted to fit the Jesuit mission of education. Since it was addressed to Jesuits, the principles behind its directives could be assumed. They came, of course, from the vision and spirit of Ignatius. The process that led to the Ratio and continued after its publication gave birth to the first real system of schools the world had ever known.

Much of what the 1599 Ratio contained would not be relevant to Jesuit schools today. Still, the process out of which it grew and thrived suggests that we have only just begun to tap the possibilities within the international Jesuit network for collaboration and interchange. [See also "Education, Jesuit" and "Pedagogy, Ignatian/Jesuit."]

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The head of a major Jesuit community within a province.

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Redemption in Christ

See "Salvation in Christ"

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Reform of the Church

At the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), a topic came into Catholic discourse that would have been unspeakable or even unthinkable for centuries before: Reform of the Church. That was a key Protestant idea, and therefore to be avoided at all costs. The church was a "perfect society" and didn't need reform and renewal. But the Council dissolved that inhibition. Even with the tendency of the immediately past papacies to return to pre-Vatican II ways, Pope Benedict spoke to Vatican officers in late 2005, telling them that the Council needed to be interpreted through a "hermeneutic [interpretative principle] of reform."

It's hard to find follow-up reform practices on the part of the Vatican. Still, the Australian Jesuit theologian Gerald O'Collins, who spent most of his life teaching and writing in Rome, has suggested reforms that the doctrinal congregation (CDF) could undertake if it wanted to:

  • Practice subsidiarity; don't deal with an issue that comes to Rome when it could be dealt with locally or regionally.

  • Honor the right of an accused to a fair hearing: the accused should be given the accusations in writing well beforehand, be present from the outset, be faced with the accuser(s), and be represented and accompanied by a professional of his/her choice.

  • The staff of the congregation should be "theologians of diverse schools."

  • They should have limited terms.

  • The congregation could publish the works of the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Biblical Commission as its own. These commissions "have handled their sources more skillfully, argued their case more compellingly, and produced more convincing documents than those coming from the CDF itself."

  • In sum, the congregation could be "promoting theology that would be creatively faithful and pastorally effective in the multi-cultural and fast-changing world of today."

O'Collins, "Art of the possible," The Tablet [London] (14 July 2012).
See Vatican Council II (1962-1965)

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The stages of Jesuit formation

After the first five years of study and formation, the Regent devotes 2-3 years to full-time apostolic work (ministry) with supervision, often in a Jesuit high school, sometimes in a Jesuit university or other Jesuit ministry. In addition to the ministry provided, he thus also gains experience for reflection and integration in the next stage, Theology

See also Novitiate, First Studies, Theology and Tertianship

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Regis, John Francis (1597-1640)

French Jesuit; home missioner

After the devastation of religious war (Huguenots vs. Catholics), John Francis Regis ministered throughout southern France. "He consoled the disturbed of heart, visited prisons, collected food and clothing for the poor, established homes for [the rehabilitation of] prostitutes. . . . His influence reached all classes and brought about a lasting spiritual revival . . . . " (MacDonnell, Jesuit Family Album [Fairfield, CT: Clavius Group).

Miraculous cures of the sick, attributed to his intercession, took place during his life and after his death.

Many institutions are named after him (e.g., the Jesuit university, the high school in Denver, and the high school in New York City).

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Reinert, Paul (1910-2001)

American Jesuit; president of St. Louis University (1949-1974); leader in Catholic higher education and U.S. higher education in general

In addition to the usual Jesuit course of formation and education, Paul Reinert earned a doctorate in education from the University of Chicago (1944) and then came to St. Louis University as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, soon became academic vice president, and a year later president. He was 39.

His 25-year tenure was remarkable in many ways: the admission to SLU, located in a former slave state, of the first African-American student; the revitalization of mid-town St. Louis to which he was heavily committed and in which he was highly involved; the academic advancement and broadening and deepening of the University into a major research institution; and the expansion and improvement of the campus in spite of difficult financial times. Perhaps his most important achievement was the pioneering change he brought in the 1960s, carefully and gradually, to the governance of the University: from Jesuit "ownership and control" to Jesuit "influence," with a separately incorporated Jesuit community; from an all-Jesuit administrator board of trustees to a board whose majority were lay people; and from an administration largely of Jesuits to one with a significant number of lay leaders.

His leadership beyond St. Louis and the University came to be recognized nationally; he served on presidential and other federal committees, was involved in every important national education association, and was awarded a good number of honorary degrees. In 1967 he brought all this experience to the gathering of twenty key presidents (like Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame) known as the Land O' Lakes Conference that played an important part in the articulation of a Catholic identity for Catholic universities. 

Paul Reinert and Paul Shore, Seasons of Change: Reflections on a Half Century at St. Louis University (1996)
Anthony Dosen, Catholic Higher Education in the 1960s: Issues of Identity, Issues of Governance (Information Age Publishing, 2009), ch. 4: "St. Louis University: From Catholic Frontier College to Catholic Urban University"

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Religion and Science Debate

Over the years I have taught an undergraduate course in science many times, some- times on my own and other times with colleagues from the Xavier University Physics Department: Terry Toepker and Marco Fatuzzo.  Based on these teaching experiences, I am convinced that quite often there are sharp conflicts between theologians and scientists as a result of one side or the other cavalierly setting aside legitimate boundaries between the different academic disciplines. But there is no conflict between religion and science as such since they represent closely interrelated but still different dimensions of one and the same physical reality. For example, natural science in Western civilization has clearly benefited from antecedent religious belief in a rationally ordered world as a consequence of ongoing divine providence over the world. Most theologians, in turn, have relied on the best natural science of the day to explain the teachings of the Church.

The perennial problem, however, is that the scientific understanding of physical reality keeps changing as a result of further research and empirical observation whereas many times theologians and Church leaders tend to stay with a given scientific understanding of reality beyond the time that it is generally recognized as valid by the scientific community. One obvious example of this tendency was the condemnation of Galileo by the Vatican in 1633 largely because his empirically based observations were in conflict with the Aristotelian/Thomistic philosophy that Church officials had followed for centuries.  Likewise, in the late 1500s when Galileo first proposed heliocentrism (the sun is the center of our system) as opposed to geocentrism (the earth is the center), he should have proposed it as a scientific hypothesis awaiting confirmation from further  research and empirical verification.  For only with the publication of Johannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion in 1609 and 1619 did the mathematics on which heliocentrism is based precisely match up with the empirical observations of Tycho Brahe on which Kepler so heavily relied in formulating those same laws.


Joseph A. Bracken, SJ, The World in the Trinity: Open-Ended Systems in Science and Religion (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014)
Bracken, Subjectivity, Objectivity and Intersubjectivity: A New Paradigm for Religion and Science (Conshohocken, PA: Templeton 2009)

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Religions, Non-Christian

One of the major accomplishments of the Second Vatican Council* (1962-1965) was a reversal of a centuries-long negative attitude toward non-Christian religions--Judaism especially, as well as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and others. Even before the council, the Catholic church had prepared the way for this reversal by condemning the long-held belief that there is no salvation outside the church. Now Vatican II went on to affirm that non-Christian religions contain truth and goodness and to call for Christian dialogue with members of these faiths on an equal and mutually respectful footing. The way to be religious, in our pluralist world, is to be "interreligious."

See "Inter-Religious Dialogue"

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Religious Order/Religious Life

In Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity (less frequently in Anglican/Episcopal Christianity), a community of men or women bound together by the common profession, through "religious" vows, of "chastity" (better called voluntary "consecrated celibacy" [and thus not to be confused with the imposed celibacy of Roman Catholic clergy]), "poverty" and "obedience." As a way of trying to follow Jesus' example, the vows involve voluntary renunciation of things potentially good: marriage and sexual relations in the case of "consecrated celibacy," personal ownership and possessions in the case of "poverty," and one's own will and plans in the case of "obedience."

This renunciation is made, not for its own sake, but "for the sake of [God's] kingdom" (Matthew 19:12), as a prophetic witness against a culture's abuse of sex, wealth (greed), and power (domination) and toward a more available and universal love beyond family ties, personal possessions, and self-determination. As a concrete form of Christian faith and life, it emphasizes the relativity of all the goods of this earth in the face of the only absolute, God, and a life lived definitively with God beyond this world.

This way of life first appeared in the second half of the first century in the person of "virgins" (mostly women but also some men) who lived at home and, by refusing to marry and produce offspring (they claimed to be "spouses of Christ"), countered the absolutist claims of the state (Rome) and hence many of them became martyrs. After Constantine's conversion to Christianity (313) and Christianity's establishment as the state religion, "religious life" developed further as a major movement away from the "world" and the worldliness of the church. The monastic life of monks and nuns is a variation on this tradition. At the beginning of the modern Western world, various new religious orders sprang up (the largest being the Jesuits) that saw themselves not as fleeing from the world but as "apostles" sent out into the world in service. Some of these new communities were women's, but the church tried "sometimes even with persecutionto keep women within cloister. 

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Restoration of the Society of Jesus (1814)

Calendar year 2014 marks 200 years since the Restoration of the Society of Jesus following 41 years of Suppression. Pressured by the royal courts of Portugal, France and Spain, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society, causing Jesuits throughout the world to lose their communities, ministries and properties and often go into exile. Pope Pius VII, a Benedictine, restored the Society on August 7, 1814. The living spirit and tradition of the Society, however, could not readily be recovered. As historian John O'Malley has written "the result [of the attempts to restore] was an often wooden, moralistic and legalistic interpretation of the normative texts. But the discrepancy between such interpretations and the way life had to be lived made itself felt ever more keenly." 

Still, for the Society in the U.S, the hundred years after the Restoration was a time of new life, especially in the area of Jesuit education. Twenty-four of today's 28 American Jesuit colleges and universities were founded as were many of the high schools (U.S. Jesuit schools, after the European model, originally covered six years, comprising the equivalent of today's high school and the first years of college) 

See related information on the Suppression of the Society of Jesus

See brief videos on the Suppression and Restoration
Resource page for the Suppression and Restoration of the Society of Jesus

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Retreat Centers (Jesuit/Ignatian)

A directory of Jesuit Retreat Houses and Spirituality Programs throughout the world.

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Review for Religious

A Journal

Published by the Missouri Province Jesuits from 1942 through January 2012, the collection documents the dramatic changes that took place in religious life over a span of 70 years. The journal published articles of interest for women and men religious across the spectrum of religious life, from active apostolic communities to contemplative monastic communities. Articles covered a range of topics pertinent to religious life, including prayer and spirituality, current best practices and canonical guidelines.

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Rhodes, Alexander (1591-1660)

French Jesuit; missioner to Vietnam

Alexander Rhodes, of Jewish Spanish descent, was born in Avignon in southern France. In 1625, as a Jesuit missioner, he went to Cochin, China, and two years later to Tonkin in Indochina. There he did gigantic work in building a church which through three and a half centuries of turbulent history . . . numbers those who have died for the faith in the hundreds of thousands, a record for protracted martyrdom with few, if any, parallels in the annals of Christianity. (Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus (1968).

In his missiology, Rhodes favored an understanding and acceptance of Vietnamese customs, he wore Vietnamese clothing, and he was a master of their language, being the first person to transcribe it in western characters and write its grammar. He insisted on the development of a native clergy and arranged with Rome to have church officials unconnected to the Portuguese colonial system. He trained catechists who became the backbone of the young but fast-growing Vietnamese church.

See Phan, Mission and Catechesis: Alexandre de Rhodes and Inculturation in Seventeenth-Century Vietnam (1998).

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Ricci, Matteo (1552-1610)

Italian Jesuit; missioner to China, pioneer practitioner of inculturation

First Jesuit to enter the forbidden kingdom of China and reach the court of the emperor; adopted Chinese language, dress, and culture, and wrote two of the great masterpieces of Chinese (Mandarin) literature.

Born the year Francis Xavier died, Ricci was the living incarnation of the adaptive principles set out by the Jesuit visitor Alessandro Valignano (1538-1606) in his missiology for the Far East. Trained in mathematics and the sciences under Clavius (1538-1612) at the Roman College, Ricci appealed to the natural curiosity of the educated Mandarin class in China by his exhibition of clocks, prisms, mathematical instruments, oil paintings, and maps of the world.

He ran into difficulty with certain traditional Chinese ritual practices in honor of ancestors and of Confucius. His final judgment was that these practices were more cultural and civic than religious and so should be allowed to converts. The issue remained in dispute till the 18th-century condemnation of the "Chinese Rites" by the Vatican. See "Inculturation."

Matteo Ricci is one of the five Jesuits that Ronald Modras treats in his Ignatian Humanism (Loyola, 2004). Vincent Cronin was Ricci's first book-length biographer in English (The Wise Man from the West [Dutton, 1954]). A more recent biography is The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by Jonathan Spence (Viking, 1984).

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Rodriguez, Alphonsus (1533-1617)

Spanish Jesuit brother; doorkeeper

Alphonsus Rodriguez's father was a prosperous cloth merchant in Segovia. When Peter Faber, one of the closest companions of Ignatius of Loyola, came to town to preach and teach catechism, he stayed with the family and along with other ministries prepared Alphonsus for his first communion. Alphonsus went to a Jesuit school, but did not finish because his father died suddenly. He helped his mother carry on and eventually took over the family business. At 27, he married Maria Suarez and the couple had three children. But their happy family life was interrupted by the deaths in quick succession of one, then another child, then his wife and finally the only remaining child, leaving Alphonsus a lonely, grieving widower.

At approximately age 35, he sought entry into the Jesuit novitiate to become a priest. But he was refused, told that he was too old and lacked sufficient education and health. He went to Valencia to finish his studies and applied again, and again was turned down, until the provincial superior overruled the examiners' decision. Shortly after entering the novitiate as a Jesuit brother, he was sent to the Jesuit college in Palma on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. He wound up spending the rest of his life there. After holding a number of positions in his early years there, he was appointed doorkeeper; he welcomed visitors who came to see Jesuits or students, delivered messages, and offered counsel to many who sought his advice. Among them was the young Peter Claver, whom he encouraged to go to the South American missions, where he became a minister to the slaves brought from Africa to Cartagena (in present-day Colombia).

Although few knew the deep, intense mystical inner life with which he was graced, many sensed the holiness of the man. When Alphonsus was declared a saint in 1888, the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrated the event with a sonnet that concludes . . .

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.

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Romero, Oscar (1917-1980)

Archbishop of San Salvador; outspoken advocate for the oppressed Salvadoran people; martyr

When he was appointed archbishop in 1977, the reaction was mixed. He was thought to be "safe" by hierarchy aligned with the wealthy and powerful and by those in government and military oppressing the people and thought to be disappointing by those in favor of a church aligned with the poor, advocates of a Christian "liberation theology." He proceeded cautiously until his friend Rutillo Grande, SJ, was assassinated later that year. And then he did not cease to speak out against the violent repression of the poor majority. He wrote to U.S. President Carter asking him to stop funding the Salvadoran government and military because it was making the repression possible (the funding was continued) and he used his weekly Sunday radio broadcasts to make clear that the lower military had no right to obey orders to torture and kill. What he did pastorally for justice registered powerfully with Ignacio Ellacuria, leader of the Jesuits and lay people at the University of Central America (UCA), in their academic work to liberate the oppressed people of the country.

While celebrating Mass in a small hospital chapel on the evening of March 24, 1980, the archbishop was shot dead on orders from Roberto D'Aubuisson, founder of the right wing ARENA party, who was never brought to justice.

Though Romero was esteemed as a martyr and saint by the people, his cause for canonization was blocked for decades by elements in the Vatican that, without foundation, considered his inspiration Marxist rather than Christian. Pope Francis "unblocked" his cause, declaring him a martyr of justice for the poor.

Jon Sobrino, Archbishop Romero: Memories and Reflections (Orbis Books, 2016)
Kevin Clarke, Oscar Romero: Love Must Out (Liturgical Press, 2015)
James R. Brockman, Romero: A Life (Orbis Books, 1989), an updated version of the biography that originally appeared in 1982.
Jon Sobrino, No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (Orbis Books, 2015).

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Ruiz de Montoya, Antonio (1585-1652)

Peruvian Jesuit, Founder of “Reductions” for indigenous people; student and scholar of their culture

Tireless missionary among the indigenous peoples with whom he founded 13  “reductions” (protective communities), promoting their quality of life and defending this life from the increasing threats emanating from the Portuguese  bandeirantes and the Spanish or creole traders in search of slaves and material wealth.  An apostle, driven by an insatiable intellectual curiosity, which urged him to go beyond appearances to understand the territory in which he moved, its flora and fauna, recognizing cultural diversity and establishing intercultural ties.

Ruiz de Montoya went to the other, recognizing him as a brother, which explains why he learned the language and inserted himself in the Guarani culture, deepening his knowledge of nature, culture, people and the experience of God on whom his life was anchored.  His writings address various fields of knowledge: geography, biology, ethnology, grammar and mystical theology.

 The Jesuit university in Lima, Peru, is named after him.

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


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Jesuit Terms U


Ultimate Reality, Human Knowledge of

Here are three ways of coming to understand how limited human beings reach some kind of knowledge of Ultimate Reality "the Divine" God:

(1) Following the 20th-century German Catholic theologian Karl Rahner . . .
Ultimate Reality "God" is not like the ordinary contents that fill our consciousness. Rather God is the "Horizon" against which all our ordinary knowing takes place and tends.

(2) In Buddhism, there are the "10,000 things" and then beyond them there is Ultimate Reality, best called "No-thing."

(3) The 20th-century Indian Jesuit spiritual teacher Tony De Mello says: Do not mistake the "pointer" toward Ultimate Reality for that Reality itself.

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Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)

For more information concerning the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and the events surrounding them, see The Martyrs of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA).

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Universities and Colleges


See Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

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Jesuit Terms V


Valignano, Alessandro (1538-1606)

Italian Jesuit; architect of inculturation for Japan and China

For 33 years Alessandro Valignano served as "visitor" to the Jesuit missions in India, Japan, and China, consolidating the work begun by Francis Xavier.

Convinced that Jesuit missioners must dissociate themselves from the marauding ways of western adventurers, he drew up the following mission principles:

A deep sympathy and respect for the intellectual and spiritual values of the [peoples]; the most perfect command possible of the language; the use of science as a step in the introduction of the faith; the development of the apostolate of writing and conversation; special concern for the cultivated classes on whom the government . . . depended; and the primacy of supernatural virtue (Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus [1986]).

In 1582 a gifted 30-year-old Italian scholar, scientist, and linguist named Matteo Ricci arrived in China. He became the epitome of Valignano's principles.

Concerning Japan, Valignano convinced Pope Gregory XIII to grant the Jesuits exclusive rights to evangelize the country, on the grounds that Jesuit (largely Portuguese) and Franciscan (Spanish) mission principles and activities were so vastly different that the Japanese would take Christianity for nothing more than bickering sects. This wise caution was confirmed when 23 years later the Franciscans did come and were soon suspected of being a fifth column for a Spanish attack on Japan. The result was the great persecution of 1597.

Schutte, Valignano's Mission Principles for Japan (1980-85).
Ross, "Alessandro Valignano: The Jesuits and Culture in the East" in The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773, ed. John O'Malley (1999).

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Vatican Council I

See "Council of Constance and Vatican Council I"

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Vatican Council II

Convoked by Pope John XXIII to bring the Catholic Church "up to date," and continued by his successor Paul VI after John's death, this 21st Ecumenical (i.e.. worldwide) Council (1962-1965) signaled the Catholic Church's growth from a church of cultural confinement (largely European) to a genuine world church. The Council set its seal on the work of 20th century theologians that earlier had often been officially considered dangerous or erroneous. Thus, the biblical movement, the liturgical renewal and the lay movement were incorporated into official Catholic doctrine and practice.

Here are several significant new perspectives coming from the Council: celebration of liturgy (worship) in various vernacular languages rather than Latin, to facilitate understanding and lay participation; viewing the Church as "the whole people of God" rather than just as clergy and viewing other Christian bodies (Protestant, Orthodox) as belonging to it; recognizing non-Christian religions as containing truth; honoring freedom of conscience as a basic human right; and finally including in its mission a reaching out to people in all their human hopes, needs, sufferings as an essential part of preaching the gospel.

Of equal importance with these new perspectives is the style or genre in which they were delivered. The documents of earlier councils always had a negative tone; they listed errors to be corrected and condemned anyone who held them. The documents of Vatican II, in contrast, were written in a positive tone, in keeping with the "pastoral" approach that Pope John had called for in his initial remarks to the gathered bishops. These documents addressed not just Catholics, but all people; and they urged ideals that many could embrace.

There were at times heated interventions from the floor and a good deal of maneuvering behind the scene. Yet in the end a huge majority of the bishops voted to approve each of the documents in turn. The conviction and determination of those in the tiny minority, however, did not go away with the closing of the Council.  Even before it closed, Paul VI had indicated that there would be no reform of the Roman Curia (the Vatican offices). And afterwards, because that tiny minority controlled the Curia and the appointment of bishops worldwide, they were able (under John Paul II and Benedict XVI) to bring about a return to earlier, pre-Vatican II ways, in particular a centralization of church governance at the top and censorship of supposed "liberal" or "radical" theologians and organizations. But Pope Francis (2013- ), with his emphasis on shared church governance, respect for the person and conscience, and the primacy of the pastoral in the church's mission, has re-affirmed the spirit and direction of the Council.

See Reform of the Church
See our resource page on Vatican Council II.
O'Malley, "Misdirections: Ten sure-fire ways to mix up the teaching of Vatican II," America (February 4, 2013).
See O'Grady, ""The Spirit Is Still on the Job": a Conversation with Bishop Luigi Bettazzi," America (January Anchor25, 2013).

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Vatican II, A New Kind of Liturgical Music after 

See "Liturgical Music, A New Kind"

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Vatican Council II, Interpretation of

Theologians including Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI-- uncomfortable with the direction that Vatican II seemed to be leading the church--came up with the term "hermeneutic of continuity" to show that the Council fostered a development which corroborated and confirmed what had come before. This was in opposition to a "hermeneutic of discontinuity or rupture."

Yet to many contemporary Catholic theologians, a council that proclaimed Protestant Christianity as in some sense part of the church and other religions as containing truth and goodness contradicted the centuries-long Catholic teaching that there is no salvation outside the [Catholic] church. Another key teaching of the Council legitimated "religious liberty" as a basic human right, whereas the teaching and practice of the church for centuries was that error had no rights and could be punished even with death. It is hard to read these changes as favoring a "hermeneutic of continuity." Perhaps that is why the pope and like-minded theologians changed their term to the more ambiguous "hermeneutic of reform."

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

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Jesuit Terms Y

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Youth Comments

Comments on Jesuit Education

The community of Jesuit education provides opportunities for students to look after their mind, body and well-being through reflection, thought and involvement with others. We are pushed towards greatness.
Max Spread

Selflessly giving and placing others before ourselves in any possible way is our call of duty.
David Lorentz

Rather than having a part of my life devoted to serving others, I am working to make everything I do be service of others.
Betsy Hoover

As a biology major, my studies in the intricacies of our world have caused me to reflect upon a divine presence in our midst. I can see the fingerprints of God touching not only the macroscopic world, but also the world under the microscope.
Ashley McMaster

In order to function, you must have food, shelter and clothing. In order to fulfill your full potential, you require much more, most of which tend to be ideas that are forgotten by an active college student... It is important to set aside a regular time for personal reflection
Joseph Van Deman

Still, after each of these failures, not only have I grown as a leader and person, but I have avoided making the mistakes that caused these failures in future endeavors.
William Buckley

The quotes are taken from Go Forth and Set the World on Fire, Student Life in the Jesuit Tradition.

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


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