FAQs about the Jesuits

FAQs about the Society of Jesus

In Latin: Societas Jesu
In Filipino: Kapisanan ni Hesus
In English: Society of Jesus (Companions of Jesus)
In Spanish: Compañia de Jesus (Compañeros de Jesus)
Popular name: Jesuits or mga Heswita

The Society of Jesus today has around 18000 members, the largest single order of priests and brothers in the world. In the Philippines, we have more than 300 men in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

“It is to know that one is a sinner,
yet called to be a companion of Jesus,
as Ignatius was, who begged the Blessed
Virgin to place him with her Son,
and who then saw the Father Himself
ask Jesus, carrying His cross,
to take this pilgrim into his company…”

“It is to engage, under the standard of the cross,
in the crucial struggle of our time
the struggle for faith
and that struggle for justice
which it includes.”

– from the 32nd General Congregation Decree on “Jesuits Today”

The Jesuit takes religious vows which are apostolic. He commits himself until death to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. This is so that he may be totally united to Christ and share His own freedom to be at the service of all God’s people. And so, the Jesuit formalizes this commitment, by public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

In binding the Jesuits, the vows set them free:

  • free by their vow of poverty, to share the life of the poor, relying on God’s providence, and to use whatever resources they may have not for their own security and comfort, but for service;
  • free by their vow of chastity, to be men-for-others, in friendship and communion with all, but especially with those who share their mission of service;
  • free by their vow of obedience, to respond to the call of Christ as made known to them by him whom the Spirit has placed over the Church, and to follow the lead of their superiors, especially the Father General, who has all authority over them.

Moreover, following Ignatius they have asked Christ our Lord to let them render this service in a manner that gives them a personality of their own. They have chosen to give it in the form of a consecrated life, placing themselves at the service not only of the local churches but of the universal Church, by a special vow of obedience to his who presides over the universal Church, namely, the Pope.

The Jesuit Brother is a man called by God to the apostolic and missionary work of the Church. He is a man who consecrates the labor of his hands, all his talents, all his life, to the service of God and his neighbor. He does this as a full member of a brotherhood of men with one and the same vision, the SOCIETY OF JESUS. As a Jesuit, he commits himself totally to God by taking the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

When Ignatius and his companions discerned how they were to live their vocation, their experience was already linked to the exercise of priestly ministry. But the required mobility to live out the vocation led Ignatius to accept into the Society a diversity of priests and brothers to share the same vocation and contribute to the one mission. All members are graced with the call to follow Jesus poor and humble.

The Brother’s vocation is to be sent to labor strenuously in giving aid towards the salvation and perfection of the souls of others. Brothers share in and contribute to the one apostolic vocation through the personal call of the Spirit. They can function in any mission proper to the Society. Brothers are intimately involved in every apostolic task of the Society through which this mission is carried out.

Thus, the first and most important contribution of a Brother is the gift of his own self, offered freely in service to the Lord.

If accepted in the Candidacy House, the applicant is asked to contribute some amount to help defray expenses undertaken by the Society. He is also expected to provide for his own personal needs while in the Candidacy.

Anyone, however, who is not able to meet these financial requirements can explain his situation to the Vocation Director, or to the Director of the Candidacy who will judge what arrangements are feasible. No one is refused admittance for purely financial reasons.

As soon as the candidate is accepted into the Novitiate, he has no more financial obligations. The Society, with the help of generous benefactors, takes care of financing his whole formation and training in the Society.

Continue to pray, receive the sacraments. Get involved in your parish and your school’s religious activities specially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Write or visit us. We will be happy to accompany you in your search. We encourage you to attend our vocation seminar and other activities. Contact us at 0917-JESUITS (09175378487) or email us at vocations@phjesuits.org.