Saints of the Society of Jesus: A Sketch of the Society of Jesus

Origin Of The Society. Its Constitutions And Spirit. Labors Of The First Fathers.

The Society of Jesus took its origin on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15th, 1534, when Saint Ignatius Loyola and his companions, six in number, vowed themselves to the service of God, in the chapel of Our Lady at Montmartre (hill of martyrs) in Paris, on whose summit a grand basilica to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is now being completed. Three new members joined them before the whole body proceeded to Italy, and these original members are considered the founders of the Order, of course after Saint Ignatius. From the beginning, according to the saint’s wish, they called themselves, through a motive of humility, the “least” Society of Jesus. Six years later the Order was solemnly recognized by Pope Paul III. One of the things which one finds most striking from the first is the activity of these men. So few in number, they scatter themselves all over Europe, and produce the most wonderful results by their ministry. And this is to be a characteristic of the Society throughout its whole existence. The roll of its members never at any time reached 25,000, – a much smaller number than that of many other religious orders during the Catholic ages, – and a great many of these were kept inside the walls of colleges. Nevertheless, from the beginning the Jesuits seemed to be endowed with the gift of ubiquity: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England (then the land of persecution), Europe was too small for them ; they spread over Asia and America, and the travellers of to-day are investigating the mysterious wilds of Africa explored two hundred years ago by the sons of Saint Ignatius.

The spirit which Saint Ignatius breathed into his followers, both in his book of the Spiritual Exercises and in the Constitutions of his Order, was the spirit of detachment and devotedness. “All for God,” in a word, was his motto; “for the greater glory of God,” as he expressed it. Nothing should keep the true Jesuit back where there was question of God’s honor. Therefore he made obedience the distinguishing virtue of his children. Obedience was to be their spur, obedience their rein: so long as they were acting through obedience they were to go on; when obedience said “Stop,” they stopped. This is very different from the spirit of the world to-day, is it not? The world of to-day claims independence, the right of every man to think and do as he likes. Through legitimate obedience we know the will of God. To do the will of God with all the intensity we possess is to love Him with all our might. This is the ideal Jesuit. To do our own will, whatever it may be, is to love self, in opposition to God. The most perfect example of this independence is the devil.

The will of God is the salvation of souls. So Saint Ignatius’ heart burned with zeal for souls. If the obedience of the Society proved its devotion to God, its whole history, its infinitely-varied, never-ending labors, showed its love for those souls dear to Him. Detachment, devotedness. The Jesuit left his country, everything, to toil where obedience sent him for the good of souls. By vow he binds himself to go immediately, even without the means to pay his way, whithersoever it be.

Consequently the history of the Society is a story of labors all over the world, of every kind, to bring souls to God. Italy, Europe, was too limited a field for Ignatius’ handful of companions, and on April 7th, 1541, his thirty-fifth birthday, Saint Francis Xavier sailed for the East, to conquer new continents to God. Fathers Salmeron and Brouet were sent to Ireland to encourage and strengthen its faithful people, on whom the storm of Protestant persecution had just fallen. Blessed Peter Favre with Le Jay and Bobadilla go to Germany, where they make the precious acquisition of Blessed Peter Canisius. From Germany Favre flies to Portugal, and thence to Rome to die. It was fitting that Saint Ignatius’ first son in religion should be the Society’s first martyr of obedience. His place in the Spanish peninsula is supplied by Saint Francis Borgia, Duke of Gandia and viceroy of Catalonia, who has been received into the Society as soon as he could resign all his worldly dignities.

But Saint Ignatius was not satisfied with flying missionary excursions on the part of his religious. He wished, for he was one of the wisest of men, that his work and that their works should be permanent. How could he best effect this? At that day, as at this day, the way to secure permanency to any good work was to secure its foundations. He who lays a solid foundation may erect a safe building; without the foundation there can be no building. The question of the day, then as now, was the education of youth. Consequently Ignatius dedicated his Order in a special manner to the Catholic education of the young. The Jesuits pledge themselves to be always ready to teach the catechism. Saint Francis Xavier himself taught it to the little children in India. One of the great and one of the earliest works of the Society has been the direction of colleges. The Duke of Gandia assisted the Fathers in opening some of the first in Spain. The times needed this devotion to education and religion and catechetical instruction. For in many parts both the clergy and the laity, on their account, were woefully uninstructed. This was what gave the pseudo-reformers the power to spread their false doctrines. Therefore the early Jesuit Fathers set to work to help to remedy this evil, which the Council of Trent corrected finally and efficaciously by the establishment, so far as possible, of ecclesiastical seminaries in all the dioceses of the Church.

To this Council of Trent, which was attended also by Father Le Jay, Fathers Laynez and Salmeron were sent by the Holy Father as his own theologians. The Fathers of the Council were dazzled by the learning and eloquence of these three young men, then little over thirty years of age; though all other speakers were limited to one hour, Father Laynez was allowed to speak for three hours continuously, and during his illness the deliberations of the Council were suspended. Two things God seems to have watched over in the Society: never has it as a body been accused of heterodoxy, never of immorality. Hated and maligned as it has been, it has been charged with pride, ambition, laxness in treating with sinners, but never with the crime of which Our Lord was not accused. Like Him it has been persecuted, but its enemies have not been allowed to arraign it of sins against the sixth commandment. And as for doctrine, the instinct by which the Jesuits have always detected false teaching is something really supernatural, a gift: good Catholics have always looked to the Society of Jesus, in the many controversies of the past three centuries, to know on which side in probability truth was to be found. Their vow of obedience to the successor of Saint Peter would not have been perfeet if the Jesuits had ever failed in the loyalty of their adhesion to the faith of Peter. The recompense of this vow would seem to be a light to direct them in guarding the outskirts of and approaches to that faith.

Saint Ignatius was a great revolutionist in his own way. In many respects he modified the customs common to religious orders to suit the special object of his institute. The Jesuits were to be the light artillery of the Church; they should therefore be as little embarrassed with accoutrements as possible, so as to be always ready for motion. The Fathers recited their office privately, like secular priests, and wore no particular habit. The new pope wished to oblige them to say the office in common; they complied, but after his death were permitted to return to their own practice. Another pope objected to the name of the Society, saying he did not wish to take off his cap every time he spoke of these religious, and ordered them to drop the name of Jesus; but he died before he signed his order.

Successors Of Saint Ignatius. Spread Of The Society. Distinguished Men.

Under Father Laynez, who succeeded Saint Ignatius as General, the Society made rapid progress, but at the same time began to meet with much opposition. Father Gonzalves, tutor to the ill-fated King Sebastian of Portugal, was the first of the many Jesuits who were forced to take the charge of royal consciences. Pius IV, who succeeded Paul IV, was very friendly to the Society; nor could his friendship be shaken by its enemies, who tried to persuade him that the Jesuits were endeavoring to induce his nephew, Saint Charles Borromeo, to become one of their number. A Father Venusti, in Sicily, had frequently befriended a fallen priest, who, in return for his charity, stabbed him to death. The Father refused to reveal the name of his murderer. The man was suspected; the Jesuits asked for his pardon. In vain. The exhausted fugitive from justice finally took refuge in a college of the Order. All persons had been forbidden to harbor him under severe penalties, but the Fathers kept him for two days, and then sent him to a place of safety. The last letter of Father Laynez was penned in approval of this conduct. About the same time with the General died Father de Nobrega, a great missionary in Brazil. The day before his death he visited all his friends, saying, “Good-by; I am going home.”

Saint Francis Borgia became General of the Society after Father Laynez, in 1565, at the age of fifty-five. The Society then possessed 3500 members and 130 houses, divided into 18 provinces. Saint Pius V was elected pope in January of the following year. He was always a great friend of the Order, though at first inclined to introduce some modifications in the rules. The Fathers having devoted themselves to the care of the victims of pestilence in the holy city, Saint Pius, in reward, promised them that, in the case of a similar calamity, they should always have the privilege of attending the afflicted! They showed the same devotion to the plague-stricken Moors in Spain: here the number of sufferers was so great in the hospitals, and they were so packed, that the priests had to lie down by their side to hear their confessions. In Portugal fourteen Fathers were carried off by the fell disease. To the personal efforts of Father Borgia, in a tour of the different courts of Europe for that purpose, was due, in great measure, the alliance of Christian princes which defeated and destroyed the Turkish navy in the battle of Lepanto. From this journey, undertaken in obedience to the Holy Father, Saint Francis returned only to die. It was he who laid the foundation of the Church of the Gesu. Under him the foreign missions took a large development, generally without the shedding of blood; though, besides the forty martyrs of the Society who have been beatified, thirty others were also butchered at sea by heretical pirates on another occasion.

The first three Generals of the Jesuits were Spaniards; the fourth, Father Everard Mercurian, was a Belgian. Belgium, however, at that time was subject to the crown of Spain. Father Mercurian sent the first Jesuit missionaries, Fathers Parsons and Campion, to England. Many distinguished men flourished in the Society at this time: Father, afterwards Cardinal, Bellarmine, the greatest of controversialists, whose process of beatification has been commenced; Toletus, also made Cardinal, and Maldonatus, the one an eminent theologian, the other a great commentator on the Scriptures; Father Balthazar Alvarez, confessor of Saint Teresa; Father Possevinus, who, having been ambassador to the courts of Spain, France, Sweden, Poland, and Russia, ended his days by giving poor country missions; and many others. At the death of Father Mercurian the Society numbered 5000 members.

On the death of Father Mercurian, Our Lady appeared to Father Darbyshire, an Englishman, and revealed to him that she had chosen a young Father Claudius for the next General. Father Claudius Aquaviva governed the Society for the space of thirty-four years, from 1581 to 1615, a longer period than any other General. At this time Sixtus V, a great pope and a man of very strong will, ascended the pontifical chair. In opposition to nearly everybody else, he determined to introduce radical changes in the Constitutions formed by Saint Ignatius, and obliged the General to petition him to do so. As, however, no changes were effected before the death of the pope, nothing came of this determination. Under Pope Clement VIII, the Fathers, while their brethren were spreading the faith in the north and east of Europe, were banished for fifty years from the republic of Venice for their fidelity to the Holy See. This pope decided the famous controversy between the Jesuits and the Dominicans on the nature of the action of divine grace in the soul, by declaring that each party was free to hold its own opinion. The Jesuits, under Father Molina, maintained the view which is now generally considered as more compatible with the existence of free will in man.

The reconciliation of King Henry IV of France to the Church was due in a great measure to the Jesuits. Indeed the circumstances of the times in this kingdom drew the Fathers too much into politics, but the efforts of the General to withdraw them from courts and camps met with hearty co-operation on their part. Father Auger was confessor to Henry III, and Father Cotonto Henry IV, as other Fathers continued to be afterwards to the kings of France; but this was an honor which the Society submitted to reluctantly, and permitted to be conferred only on her most solidly virtuous men. Father Bobadilla, the last companion of Saint Ignatius, and Father Ribadeneira, his favored child, died, both at a very advanced age, under Father Aquaviva. So did Blessed Peter Canisius and Saint Aloysius. To this period belong the great theologians of the Society, Fathers Suarez, Vasquez, de Lugo, Lessius, Cornelius a Lapide, Emmanuel Sa, Sanchez. These men, and others, rendered great service to the Church by their learning and writings. To Father Aquaviva is due the honor of completing the Ratio Studiorum, or system of teaching in use in the Order, according to Lord Bacon the most perfect method ever invented. The importance of this service will be estimated when we consider that perhaps the principal work of the Jesuits is the teaching of youth in colleges, and that the majority of distinguished Catholic priests and laymen of the past three hundred years have been their pupils. The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin was established at this time by a young professor in the Roman college. Under Father Aquaviva the Annual Letters of the Society were started,which furnished material for its history, as well as the famous missionary documents called Les Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses.

Missions: Japan, South America, England, China, India, Canada, And The United States. Scientists, Learned And Holy Men.

The most famous mission of the Society in olden times was that of Japan. Much, for our brief space, has been said about it in “The Saints of the Society of Jesus.” This mission owed much to Father Valignani, who founded the province of Japan, opened thirty of the houses there, and, so long as he lived, restrained the fury of the pagan persecutors. As to the persecution in Japan, it is one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Church. It lasted fifty years, after which such stringent measures were adopted as rendered impossible the landing of a missionary in these islands. In order to continue to trade there the Protestant merchants, to their shame, submitted to the indignity of trampling on the cross. One sad episode occurred: a provincial of the Society renounced the faith. The wondrous Father Mastrilli devoted his life for his conversion; and, after all the missionaries had been expelled, the apostate atoned for his fault by shedding his blood for the faith. Until the Society was suppressed in 1773 there was always a nominal province of Japan, with missionaries ready to proceed to that country, the dearest perhaps on earth to the heart of a Jesuit.

But whither did they not go, the missionaries of the Society of Jesus? They invaded Tartary; they traversed South America from east to west; they tried to convert the Ethiopians, and explored that Central Africa which has been rediscovered in our own days. The most extraordinary man and greatest miracle-worker in South America was perhaps Father Anchieta, the apostle of Brazil; the birds of the air and the very wild beasts obeyed him as reasonable things. A glorious outcome of the missions in that continent were the Reductions of Paraguay, founded in 1610. This was the most paternal government ever known in history. For a hundred and fifty years the ferocious tribes of that large country, subdued by the charity of the Fathers, lived under them in a kind of Christian socialistic federation, like the early Christians mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, or the religious communities of the present time. The evil day came when they were scattered by the enemies of religion, and the poor Indians relapsed into barbarism. In North America the French missionaries of the Society penetrated to the prairies; Father Marquette discovered the Mississippi; Jogues, de Breboeuf, and others watered the soil of Canada and the United States with their blood.

A bloody field for the missionary at this time was the land once called “Our Lady’s Dower,” or “The Isle of Saints.” The persecution in England rivalled even that of Japan. It was aggravated by the discovery of the famous Gunpowder Plot, and renewed by the lying accusations of Titus Oates. The Irish Fathers shared in the sufferings occasioned by the invasion of their country by Cromwell; and the Scotch heretics invented the ingenious torture for Father Ogilvy of keeping him from sleep for eight days and nine nights.

The mission of China, on the contrary, whose conversion was the dying aspiration of Saint Francis Xavier, was a peaceful one. Here the Fathers succeeded in ingratiating themselves with the emperors. Their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy obtained for them a great reputation among the learned men of the country. Father Ricci was buried with public honors. Father Schall acquired an influence equal to his with the emperors of the Tartar dynasty. Father de Rhodes, the apostle of Tonquin, founded the French Foreign Missions, which is today sending missionaries all over the world. This man evangelized all Central Asia. At the same time the Fathers commenced gathering in the abandoned children, the great work continued by the Holy Infancy. A trouble however, awaited the mission in China, similar to that which disturbed the Fathers in East India. Some ceremonies to which the Chinese neophytes were attached in honor of their ancestors were condemned as superstitions, contrary to the judgment of the missionaries. This occasioned many defections and the temporary alienation of the court, and the Chinese mission languished till the suppression of the Society. A great man appeared in India in the person of Father Robert de Nobili. In order to convert the Brahmins, the most influential caste in the country, he adapted himself to their austere mode of living. For this he was called to account, but the Holy See justified him, and other Fathers followed his example. Perhaps more descendants of native converts remain in India than in any other foreign country. Finally, the Catholic emigrants to Maryland brought with them Jesuit priests, who, with their brethren and successors, have always remained, and who founded the Church in the United States. Many of these missionaries dispersed all over the world were also great savants. Europe is indebted to them for a vast amount of useful information in the various branches of science.

One of the great Jesuit scientists in Father Aquaviva’s time was Father Clavius, who reformed the calendar. In Spain Father Mariana wrote the history of his country; in Portugal Father Alvarez composed his great grammar. Under Father Vitelleschi, the successor of Father Aquaviva, other great men appeared: Father de Spee, the first to attack and disturb the then general belief in witchcraft; Father Kircher, the inventor of the magic-lantern, a sort of universal genius; Father Petau, or Petavius, the great patristic theologian. Fathers de Spee, Balde the poet, and others rendered distinguished services in Germany during the Thirty Years’ War. Besides the remarkable men of the Society at this epoch might be mentioned others who were formed by them: Saint Francis de Sales, Cardinal de Berulle, Mr Olier, founder of the Sulpitians, the Blessed Peter Fourier, and the Venerable Father Eudes.

Doctrines Taught By Jansenius. Conflicts Between The Jesuits And The Jansenists. Consequences Of Jansenistic Teaching. Jesuit Writers.

We may now speak of Jansenism, the most insidious heresy ever introduced into the Church, against which the Society of Jesus combated literally to the death. A part of the doctrine of Martin Luther, accentuated by Calvin, was that man had no free will, that he always remained bad, and that we were saved independently of any merit of our own. Jansenism was Calvinism disguised, and the art of the disguise consisted in this, that no number of declarations from Rome itself could induce its upholders to admit that they were not the best and saintliest of Catholics while teaching the veriest and rankest Protestantism. Jansen, or Jansenius, bishop of Ypres, who gave his name to the sect, taught, with Calvin, that some commandments of God were impossible of observance, that grace was irresistible (therefore that we could not help doing what we were inclined to), that Christ did not die for all men, etc., propositions which were all condemned of course, and several times. The Catholic doctrine, which is so reasonable, teaches that sanctifying grace is an interior thing, by which man who is justified is made holy, though still inclined to evil; that Our Lord died for all men; that actual grace is offered to all, and that we are perfectly free to correspond with it or not, and hence our merit and the variety of merit; hence also the justice of God, Who only punishes those who of their own free will refuse to obey His commandments, which it is in the power of all to observe. In morals the Jansenists were as rigid as they were severe in dogma. Their law was the law of fear. Above all things they opposed frequent communion; they wrote books against it, exaggerating the conditions which were required to receive worthily. Consequently their nuns at Port Royal worshipped Our Lord – at a distance; they exposed Him on the altar, but did not receive Him into their hearts. No wonder, then, that when Our Saviour Himself revealed to the Blessed Margaret of the Visitation the devotion to His Sacred Heart, of which the first apostle was her confessor, the venerable Father de la Colombiere, and which was to be propagated by the Society of Jesus, the Jansenists should have risen in arms against what was so contrary to their harsh and gloomy creed. No wonder, also, that in their warfare against the champions of the Church they should have had for allies the corrupt men and women of a dissolute court; for when was not hypocrisy allied with vice, pride with immorality? No wonder, too, that our English Protestant literature is full of the praises of the Jansenists – for example, of Pascal, the clever but untruthful satirist of the Society; that it should be so “goes without saying.” No wonder, finally, not that the enmity of these late Pharisees, with the help of their political abettors, should have compassed the destruction of the Society itself, but that they should have hastened that development of impiety and hatred of law which has caused the French revolution, and which troubles the agitated Europe of to-day.

It would be tedious to narrate all the wranglings with the Jansenists, and their tergiversations. These difficulties continued under all the successive Generals of the Society down to its suppression. The Jansenists disappeared as a body, though they have still two bishops in Holland, who are accused lately of having consecrated or ordained some of the pseudo-Catholic clergymen of the Ritualistic party in the Anglican Church. But their evil influence, which was wide-spread, has lasted until our own time among the clergy of Italy, Ireland, and other countries, as well as France. It required all the efforts of a saint, Saint Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorists, when the Jesuits were no more, to free the confessional from the withering influence of this most un-Catholic and most unlovable and most discouraging and disheartening school of doctrine.

As this is intended to be only a sketch of the history of the Order of Saint Ignatius, we shall pass over all further details of its several administrations, not to be too minute; nor shall we make any mention again of the illustrious men to whom it gave birth, since, on the one hand, our space will not allow us to dwell upon their merits, and, on the other, a mere catalogue of names would be very dry reading, conveying little intelligence to the mind. Nevertheless these distinguished men were many. Among writers only, a hundred names could be cited of authors of works on spirituality alone who occupy the very first rank in public esteem in this most important branch; for example, Rodriguez, Scaramelli, de Ponte, and so on. The Bollandists’ “Lives of the Saints” is without question the most stupendous literary task ever undertaken: begun in Belgium two hundred and fifty years ago, the sturdy Belgians are working at it still, and God knows when they will be done. In our own time we have had astronomers so world-renowned as Fathers de Vico, Secchi, and Perry. There is not a field, indeed, of learning or labor open to priestly zeal wherein the Society does not count its heroes by the score and by the hundred.

Election Of Father Ricci. The Society Expelled From Portugal, France, Spain, Naples, And Parma. Suppression Of The Society.

In 1758 Father Lorenzo Ricci was elected eighteenth General of the Society. The thrones of Spain, France, and Naples were then occupied by the house of Bourbon. The ministers who governed in these countries, as well as in Portugal, were what were then called “philosophers,” i.e., infidels, followers of Voltaire. Now Voltaire was the enemy of the Church of Jesus Christ, which he called “infamous;” his favorite expression being, “Let us crush the infamous.” A great rampart of the Church, with its missions, its colleges, its preachers, its writers, its spiritual directors, was the Society of Jesus. The sons of Voltaire decreed together, like the sanhedrim of old, “Let us crush the Jesuits.” And they did: God permitted it, as He permitted His own vicar upon earth to decree their suppression, that they might give the most sublime example possible of their favorite virtue of obedience, by dying. “No man can give a greater proof of his love for his friend than to die for him.” One day young Ribadeneira saw Saint Ignatius with a smiling face. Being cross-questioned by the boy, the saint told him why: “Because, Peter, the Lord has assured me that, in answer to my prayers, the Society will never cease to enjoy the precious heritage of contradictions and persecutions.” Was it revealed to him that this should be carried to the extent of death itself? Enmity, calumny, occasional persecution, the Society encountered from the beginning. It was reserved for the eighteenth century to witness a conspiracy of the governments of the Catholic countries of Europe to force the head of the Church to destroy the Order, under threat of a religious revolt similar to that of Germany and England. Why? Because these governments were in the hands of the enemies of God and His Church, who wished the removal of the Society only to be better able to strike at the breast of its mother, the Church.

This pitiful story we can only hint at; it is as harrowing as the narration of the sufferings of Ireland or the French Revolution, of which latter it was the precursor. The first blow was struck in Portugal, a country which had always been favorable to the Fathers. Joseph Carvalho Marquis of Pombal, obtained his position of minister through the influence of a Jesuit priest. He was not long in throwing off his mask of affection for the Society. The weak king allowed him to do as he pleased. The Fathers were expelled from the kingdom; their missions in India and America were broken up; they were subjected to every ill-treatment; the venerable Father Malagrida was first mocked, then strangled to death; two hundred Jesuits languished in prison for eighteen years.

France was the first country to imitate Portugal. One thing should be here acknowledged. By meddling in politics, one simple Father put the Society in the power of Pombal. By indulging in financial speculations, another, Father Lavalette, Superior of the house in the island of Martinique, gave a handle to the spite of its enemies in France. Both acted against the letter and the spirit of their institute. And at this time all sorts of accusations were repeated against the Society. A new edition of the Monita Secreta was published, an infamous book purporting to contain the secret and dishonest instructions given to its members, which had been refuted a hundred and fifty years before. Other equally absurd publications appeared. The parliament of Paris condemned the Society in 1762; the miserable Louis XV, urged by his minister Choiseul and his mistress the Marquise de Pompadour, signed the decree of its expulsion, and in 1767, to the number of four thousand, the Jesuits were driven from France.

In Spain the mind of the king was poisoned against the Fathers by his premier, D’Aranda, and others, through the insinuation that the General of the Society had declared him to be illegitimate. This is the explanation generally accepted by Protestant as well as Catholic historians. Without warning, with only their breviaries in their hands, six thousand sons of Saint Ignatius were expelled from the Spanish dominions. In Naples they were driven from all their houses in one night. Parma followed, then Malta. Finally the Bourbon ambassadors presented to the Holy Father a demand that the whole Society be suppressed. So long as Clement XIII lived that would never be done. On the 19th of May, 1769, Lorenzo Ganganelli, who owed his cardinal’s hat to the recommendation of the General of the Jesuits, ascended the pontifical throne under the name of Clement XIV. On the 21st of July, 1773, he signed the brief of the suppression of the Society. The following 15th of August was the two hundred and thirty-ninth anniversary of its birth at Montmartre. The next day its General was a prisoner and itself was no more. Saint Ignatius’ prayer had been heard indeed. On the harm done to religion and civilization all over the world by the destruction of the Jesuit colleges and missions it would be useless here to dilate.

Re-establishment Of The Society. Its Present Status.

Yet it still lived. Frederick, king of Prussia, and the Russian empress Catherine, both non-Catholics, but able princes, refused to accept the papal brief. Pius VI, successor of Clement XIV, verbally consented to the existence of the Society in Russia, and Pius VII gave it his written approval. Some houses were re-opened in Parma, and in 1804 Father Joseph Pignatelli, who had been among the Fathers expelled from Spain, was appointed provincial of the Society in Naples. Two organizations had been formed before the close of the eighteenth century by young men, one in France, under the name of “Society of the Sacred Heart,” the other in Italy, with the title of “Fathers of the Faith,” which coalesced into one under the latter title, with the design and hope of being absorbed into the re-established Society of Jesus. The most distinguished Superior of this body was Father Varin, to whom we owe the female communities of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart and the Sisters of Notre Dame, the foundresses of both which institutions have been declared Venerable. The hope of these young priests was not disappointed. On the 7th of August, 1814, octave of the Feast of Saint Ignatius, Pius VII re-established the Jesuit Order throughout the whole world. The obedience of the Society, which had died without a murmur, was rewarded. A great lesson; and we may hope that that obedience will continue to be rewarded in the future by God’s blessings upon its works. The Fathers of the old Society still living, and working as secular priests in different parts, hastened to be received into the new organization; younger novices offered themselves in plenty. Charles Emmanuel, king of Sardinia and grand-uncle of the late Victor Emmanuel, ended his days in it as an humble religious; and later, Cardinal Odescalchi laid down his purple to enter the Roman novitiate. Shortly after the re-establishment of the Society, the conversion of Prince Galitzin determined the expulsion of the Fathers from Russia, which proved to be an advantage, inasmuch as these Fathers were able to give a religious formation to the young men who were entering the Order in the different countries of Europe. The Fathers in America had been among the first to affiliate themselves with the tolerated Society in Russia.

In the year 1829 the Jesuits were recalled to Portugal. A year later they visited the church where the body of their excommunicated persecutor, Pombal, lay unburied since the 5th of May, 1782, and there, after an interval of nearly fifty years, in the presence of that uninterred body, they offered up a Mass of requiem for his soul.

Since its re-establishment the Society has progressed and established itself throughout the world. It has now about fifteen thousand members, divided into some two dozen provinces, with various missions. In the United States, besides two provinces, and several missions which may be formed into provinces, we have entire charge of the extreme southern peninsula of Florida, and of all Alaska. Saint Ignatius’ prayer for persecution still, however, continues to be heard; if our missions and colleges and works appear to flourish in some countries, in others we are liable to be expelled at a moment’s notice, in others only tolerated, and in others not allowed to exist at all. The first step in the path of persecution of religion by modern governments or societies seems always to be to suppress or expel the Jesuits. This has happened even repeatedly during the past three quarters of a century in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, and the South American States. During quite recent years, to give one example of the sort of stability we enjoy in socalled Catholic nations, the scholastics – i.e., the young men not yet ordained, who are still pursuing their studies – of the province of Venice, having been sent out of Italy, took refuge in Austria; being dismissed by the Austrians, they passed over to France; told to go by the French authorities, they retired to Spain; not finding the climate of Spain agreeable, they withdrew to Croatia, where they long awaited what development the future had in store for them. The Society does not exist in Russia. The Scandinavian governments have begun to tolerate the Jesuits as they have begun to be tolerant towards the Church; and as the Church, so our Order enjoys most peace and liberty in the English-speaking countries.

“The obedient man shall speak victories,” says the Scripture. One of the objections to the rule of the Society is that it hampers individuality. Perhaps it does so; but discipline is more necessary in an army than individuality, and the story we have outlined shows, if it shows anything, that vigorous and successful work for God has not failed to characterize that band of imitators of the humility of Christ to whom their first leader gave the name of Company of Jesus.

If any one wishes to know more about the Society of Jesus, let him procure and read the charming work in two volumes entitled “The Jesuits, by B. N.,” published within recent years.

For a period going back to remote antiquity, a picture of our Lady with the Holy Child, on the road to the Capitoline hill, was venerated by the Roman people under the title of our Lady of the Way, della strata. A pious family named Astalli, gave shelter, so to say, to this picture by building a chapel in its honor, which chapel was replaced by a structure sufficiently large to be erected into a parish church. Saint Ignatius was so devout to this representation of the heavenly mother that he asked the astonished parish priest to give it to him and his companions. Strange to say, the parish priest, whose name was Cordacio, gave him not only the statue, but, with permission of the Holy Father, the church and himself, becoming the first Italian member of the Society of Jesus.

When Cardinal Alexander Farnese carried out the intention of Saint Francis Borgia, the third general of the order, by erecting a still larger edifice, the church of the Gesu, he built a special chapel to serve as a shrine for this painting of the Madonna of the Way. From this time the devotion to our Lady as thus represented went on increasing, among both clergy and laity, a devotion which is believed to have been rewarded by many spiritual and temporal favors. Finally, to encourage the piety of the faithful by the weight of his august sanction, Pope Leo XIII established the feast of our Lady della strata, which is celebrated by the Jesuit Fathers on the second Sunday of June.

The prayer of this feast is: “Lord Jesus Christ, who art the Way, the Truth and the Life, grant, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, that we may run in the way of Thy commandments and reach eternal life. Amen.”