www.Jesuits.org/pope Provides Background, Stats, FAQs, Infographic and Links for Media Interviews
(Washington, D.C., September 8, 2015) — In just two weeks, the first Jesuit pope makes his first visit to the United States. In anticipation of the historic U.S. visit of Pope Francis, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) has posted an online resource page with information about their religious order — the largest in the Catholic Church — and their unique spirituality.
The site provides background on the pope’s life as a Jesuit, the history of the Society of Jesus and famous alumni of the Jesuits’ 2,300 schools in 67 countries.
In interviews, Pope Francis has said that he was attracted to the Jesuits because of their missionary spirit and emphasis on social justice and care for those living at the margins; he entered the Jesuits as a novice in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1969. The pope’s spirituality has all the hallmarks of a Jesuit, and the way he prayerfully considers decisions — a Jesuit term called “discernment” — was outlined by the Society’s founder St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises, a prayer and meditation manual, nearly half a millennium ago.
Because Jesuits solemnly promise not to "strive or ambition" for any high office in the Society of Jesus or in the church, there are very few Jesuit cardinals, which is why Pope Francis’ election in March of 2013 was so surprising to the members of his religious order. Though now pope, he is always mindful of his Jesuit roots: the pope’s coat of arms bears the emblem of the Society of Jesus.
About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States
Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. In Canada and the U.S., the Jesuits are represented by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit www.jesuits.org.