St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, was born in 1491, as the last child of a large Basque family of Spain. The name Loyola came from the ancestral castle that was the family heritage of St. Ignatius. According to the traditions of his family, Ignatius was trained to arms and to the etiquette of court life. He enlisted himself in the border wars with France and was badly wounded in the battle. As he lay convalescing at Loyola, he read the Gospel narratives and the lives of saints and trappings of power and embracing a life of poverty, sacrifice and service after the example of his saintly mentors. He began this new life at the age of 31. He spent a year of sever penance and intense prayer in a solitary cave on the banks of the river Cardoner near the town Manresa.
He recorded his experiences in a book called “The spiritual Exercises”, which became the soul and centre, the rule and character of every Jesuit who came after. Reflecting on the crisis in the Church of his time, he felt that the need of the hour was for learned and holy priests, free of greed and ambition and ready to serve the poor and to give a witness to the love of Christ for men. To achieve this objective, he set himself in right earnest to study from grammar school to college and university in the various Spanish centres of learning and finally took his Master’s Degree from the Sorbonne University, Paris. At the same time, he won over a group of brilliant and like-minded university men (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier), moulded them by the Spiritual Exercises and welded them into a religious fratemity which became the society of Jesus, or Jesuits, as they popularly came to be known in the course of time.
JESUITS The Society of Jesus is a world wide organization of religious men, numbering about 24000 spread all over the world, of whom over 3000 are working in the 14 provinces of India. In Andhra Pradesh alone there are about 160 Jesuits working in Schools and Colleges, youth services, social work centres, in parishes, in mission out-reach programmes and in any and every from of ministry of the Church.
JESUIT EDUCATION Is world-affirming. It assists in the total formation of each individual within the human community. It includes a religious dimension that permeates the entire education; it is an apostolic instrument that promotes dialogue between faith and culture.
Insists on individual care and concern for each person. It emphasizes activity on the part of the student and encourages life long openness to growth.
Is value-oriented, It encourages a realistic knowledge, love and acceptance of the self.
Proposes Christ as the model of human life. It provides adequate personal care and concern for others. If celebrates faith in personal and community prayer, worship and service.
Is a preparation for active life-commitment. It serves the faith that does justice, seeks to form “Men and Women for others” and manifests a particular concern for the poor.
Is an apostolic instrument in the Church as it serves human society, It prepares students for active participation in the church and for the service of others.
Pursues excellence in its work of formation and witnesses to that excellence.
Stresses lay Jesuit collaboration and relies on a spirit of community among administrators, teachers, parents, alumni and benefactors in an atmosphere that promotes community.
Adopts means and methods in order to achieve its purposes most effectively with a common vision and common goals. It assists in providing the professional training and on-going formation that is needed especially for administrators and teachers.