Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola and commonly called the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus is the largest religious order of men in the Catholic Church. Serving in 112 nations on 6 continents, we number nearly 20,000 priests, brothers, and seminarians worldwide, all of whom observe vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.Men who are called to the Society of Jesus desire to be “contemplatives in action” – combining faith and the promotion of justice. After two years as a novice, a Jesuit pronounces his solemn vows and engages in six years of philosophy and theology studies. He also engages in teaching ministry for three years. Most Jesuits receive priestly ordination after the 11 year training, but others also serve as brothers in a variety of ministries.
Jesuits are best known in the fields of education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. They also engage in missionary work and direct evangelization to the poor, social justice and human rights activities, interreligious dialogue, and other ‘frontier’