Jesuits Essay Research Paper

Jesuits Essay, Research Paper

“The word “spirituality” can designate many objects. First, it can mean the personal interior life of a man, or the thoughts on which that life is more habitually nourished, or forms of prayer, or various practices, or special graces which sustain and develop that life. Second, the word can signify that manner of directing others which this or that person employs his ministry, the principles he teaches, the means of training he employs, and the particular goals he points out or suggests. Third and last, the word often means the spiritual doctrine formulated in the person s writings, or the doctrinal synthesis of matters pertaining to the spiritual life he expounded, insinuated, or took for granted in his writings, or at least we can draw from his pages.” This is a quote from Father Joseph de Guibert in his book, The Jesuits; Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice. It is a strong quote because it explains the three terms which the author feels determine spirituality. First he offers the definition of spirituality as being the practice and prayer. Next he states that spirituality is also defines the importance of an individual who carries a strong belief to spread the words of spirituality. Then finally he describes the word as a scripture of some sort that describes the spirituality and all the essentials that go along with it. The Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, has demonstrated their ability to demonstrate “spirituality” for many centuries.

The Jesuit religion is a form of the catholic religion. It was formed by a man by the name if Ignatius Loyola, who believed in spreading his knowledge that he gained from his own experiences. St. Ignatius was a free spirit until the age of thirty when he decided to convert to a life of sanctity. At this point he began to preach the beliefs by telling on the many experiences that he had incurred. “He had a vision of the Blessed Virgin which he judged by its effects and thought it to be “something of God” It gave to him as a convert a disgust for his past life, especially in the things of such things was wiped out of mind.” (De Guibert 22) Ignatius Loyola began DeGuibert s first step of spirituality, he began to speak and lead prayer on the behalf on the Society of Jesus.

“For free will and choice were essential for the Jesuit mode of working. The whole Exercise of Ignatius had assumed that man had a choice which he could use freely The Jesuit vision of world men is of a naughty, but sensible place that may be but right by hard work and persuasion. This was said by Michael Foss in his book, “The founding of the Jesuits.” This quote describes how when the Jesuit practice began, the people each saw their own active role in the process of spirituality. One role of the Jesuits was establishing high schools and colleges for the training of their religious followers. (Molloy 368) This was one of the many known successes of the religion and many still remain active today.

So, now that the religion had began to take over the first two steps of spirituality, the religion began to spread throughout Europe and even parts of Asia and Africa. Missionaries were even sent to China and Japan to preach, but the rulers were intimidated and felt that a new religion would weaken their own control of the region. However, countries such as Guam, Philippines, and even Tahiti began to practice the catholic reform of the Society of Jesus.

The third step that De Guibert suggest would be imperative to the practice of spirituality is to have a written testament of the faith. Many Critics agree with this quote made by Gabriel Mood on the literature of the Jesuits “The literature of devotion produced by the Jesuits is stamped with the insipidity (mediocrity) and the puerility (juvenile) which make it stand out among all others.” (De Guibert) Perhaps this lack of spice throughout the Jesuit s writings is due to the abundance of writings. There are many scriptures written throughout the 17th century about the Jesuit religion, so much so that perhaps the information was there but the prominence was not. A few of the more famous written works were, “Practice of Perfection” and “Christian Virtues” by Rodriguez, and “The Christian thoughts for all the days of the month,” by Dominique Bouhours. These books mentioned seem to us now very dry but were actually republished and translated many times throughout the 17th century.

The Society of Jesus did establish the three steps of spirituality. It began with the preaching of Ignatius Loyola. Inspired by his word people began to practice the religion and even began schools. Then in the 17th century the word of the Jesuits were written, perhaps so much that there was an over abundance of writings and the facts became dull. However the religion will be looked at it was successfully established with a great deal of spirituality.


1) Do you thin that the three steps described as steps of spirituality are important in all religions.

i.e.: written, practiced and preached.

2) Ignatius Loyola claims that he converted into a Christian because of visions and encounters with spiritual meaning. Do you think these encounters really legitimately took place, and if so was there a reason for them?

Works Cited

De Guibert, Joseph. The Jesuits Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice. 3rd ed. St. Louis:

The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1986.

Foss, Michael. The Founding of the Jesuits. New York: Weybright and Talley, Inc., 1969

Molloy, Michael. Experiencing the World s Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change.

Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999


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