The Suppression of the Jesuits

If you’re interested in Jesuit history, read the latest issue of the journal Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits. It examines the Suppression of the Jesuits, one of the most astonishing and mysterious episodes in the history of the Church. Pressured by the royal courts of Portugal, France, and Spain, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society in 1773. Jesuits throughout the world had to renounce their vows and were driven into exile. The suppression lasted until 1814, […]

Jesuit Cardinals and Bishops

Since Pope Francis’s election, we’ve heard a lot about the Jesuit aversion to assuming positions of honor and power in the church. Every Jesuit makes this promise when he makes final vows: “I also promise that I will never strive for or ambition any prelacy or dignity outside the Society; and I will to the best of my ability never consent to my election unless I am forced to do so by obedience to him […]

Jesuit Leadership Style

Pope Francis is the first Jesuit to be elected pope. Chris Lowney, author of Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World, says that the Society of Jesus pioneered a unique formula for molding leaders. That leadership formula is based on four core values: self-awareness, ingenuity, love, and heroism. Lowney is a former Jesuit and served as Managing Director at J.P. Morgan in New York, Tokyo, Singapore, and London for 17 […]

UCA Martyrs Anniversary

Last Friday was the 23rd anniversary of the deaths of the UCA martyrs–six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter who were murdered at the University of Central America in El Salvador on November 16, 1989.  To mark the occasion, a writer for the New York Times wrote about the way one Jesuit house remembers them. “There is something about the circumstances of their death I don’t want people to take for granted,” said Father Keck.  “It’s […]

Pilgrimage Opportunity

If you’ve ever thought of making an Ignatian pilgrimage, here’s your chance.  A few spaces are left on a pilgrimage sponsored by St. Beuno’s Spirituality Centre in the UK.  The two-week trip begins on November 1.  It begins at Ignatius’s birthplace in Loyola, continues to Xavier, Montserrat, Manresa, and Barcelona, and ends in Rome.  The trip is led by David Birchall, SJ.  Details here. This isn’t the Camino Ignaciano walking pilgrimage that we’ve talked up […]

The Creator Deals Directly with the Creature

A comment about the early Jesuits There was, however, one “doctrine” that was fundamental for them, one that gave orientation to all their ministries and to the way they wanted to lead their own lives. It was the basic premise of the Exercises, even though it was buried unobtrusively in the fifteenth “Preliminary Observation”: the Creator deals directly with the creature, and the creature deals directly with the Creator—heart to heart, one might say. Upon […]

Faith and the Cosmos

In a recent article in America, Adam Hincks, SJ, says that cosmologists don’t have definitive answers to the two questions most people have about the universe: when did it begin? and how big is it?  Scientists don’t even know what most of the universe is made of.  Hincks has a doctorate in cosmology from Princeton, and he’ll likely carry on the great tradition of Jesuit science. Astronomers all over the world, professional and amateur alike, […]

Traveling the Ignatian Way

Pilgrims are now walking and biking the new Ignatian Way pilgrimage route in northern Spain, which follows the route Ignatius walked in 1522 after his conversion. (Go here to read what I wrote about it last year.) After watching this video about it, I was ready to stuff my backpack, lace up my hiking boots, and book my flight.  

A Jesuit on the Titanic

Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and it turns out that there’s a Jesuit angle to the tragic story.  An Irish novice named Francis Browne was aboard the ship on the first leg of its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to Cobh, Ireland.  He wanted to continue on to New York, but his superior ordered him to leave the ship and come home.  He dutifully complied, and he had a […]

The Jesuit Style

There’s little doubt that there’s a Jesuit “style.”  The Jesuits themselves call it “our way of proceeding.”  A recent article on found five elements in the Jesuit style: Pay attention to history (of a person, a society) Experience things from the “inside” Test personal experience against “reality” Put love into action Evaluate (don’t repeat “old schemes”) Read the whole thing.

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