The Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus

Perhaps the best way to give a glimpse of the Society of Jesus is not by providing a timeline of its history nor by listing its achievements but by sharing how we do things. In our 34th General Congregation, we summarized the key characteristics that make Jesuits Jesuits. These make up “our way of proceeding.”

Our Way of Proceeding

  1. Deep Personal Love for Jesus Christ

A Jesuit freely gives what he has freely received: the gift of Christ’s redeeming love. We bring this counter-cultural gift of Christ to a world beguiled by self-centered human fulfillment, extravagance, and soft living, a world that prizes prestige, power, and self-sufficiency.

  1. Contemplatives in Action

The God of Ignatius is the God who is at work in all things. Thus, we can find God in all things. For a Jesuit, the initiative always come from the Lord who labors in events and people here and now and who invites us to join Him.

  1. An Apostolic Body in the Church

Even when dispersed, a bond of unity remained strong among the first Jesuits. Jesuits today are not merely fellow workers. We are friends in the Lord. We join together because each of us has heard the call of Christ the King.

  1. In Solidarity with Those Most in Need

Ignatius and his followers began their preaching in poverty. Jesuits today enter into solidarity with the poor, the marginalized, and the voiceless–whatever our ministry.

  1. Partnership with Others

Partnership and cooperation with others is an essential dimension of our way of proceeding rooted in the realization that to prepare our complex and divided world for the Kingdom requires a plurality of gifts, perspectives, and experiences. Jesuits therefore cooperate with lay women and men in the Church along with religious priests and bishops and all men and women of good will.

  1. Called to Learned Ministry

Ignatius saw the need for learning in the service of the faith and the ministry of the word. A Jesuit embodies in creative tension the Ignatian requirement to use all human means, science, art, learning, natural virtue, with a total reliance on divine grace. In our ministry today we respect and appreciate the good in contemporary culture and critically propose alternatives to the negative aspects of that same culture.

  1. Men Sent, Always Available for New Missions

Our charism is that we might go where needs are greatest and where needs are not being met. A Jesuit is a man on a mission received from the Holy Father and his superior but ultimately from Christ. We live with an operative freedom: open, adaptable, even eager for any mission that may be given us.

  1. Ever Searching for the Magis

The magis, the greater good, permeates all other Jesuit characteristics. Jesuits are never content with the status quo but are driven to discover, redefine and reach out for the magis.

-from a summary of Decree #26 of the 34th General Congregation posted on