The Jesuit Order was founded by St. Ignatius Loyola to serve the Roman Catholic Church in her missions and ministries throughout the world. Integral to those missions and ministries is action for justice, because it is impossible to promote Christian faith without working for justice. The two go hand-in-hand.
As part of the worldwide Jesuit Order, members of the Society of Jesus of New England serve in a wide variety of ministries, both religious and secular, at home and abroad, for the betterment of the human family and the creation of just social structures. This section of our website is to give you an overview of the kinds of works we engage in.
The Jesuit ministries that are most central to the heritage and identity of the Jesuits who practice them are the spiritual ministries. Jesuits offer spiritual direction, direct retreats and staff retreat houses, and offer spiritual director training. For more information, please visit the Ignatian Spirituality section of our website.
From the earliest days of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits have visited parishes to preach series of sermons based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. These parish retreats, called “missions,” are usually given on a series of evenings by an individual Jesuit or a group of Jesuits. It is a popular way of making Ignatian spirituality widely available to the laity in the familiar environment of their own parish church.
Popular Jesuit Devotions
Over the centuries a number of popular devotions have been nurtured by the Jesuits or entrusted to the Order by Church authorities. The most well-known of these are three: the Novena of Grace in honor of St. Francis Xavier, S.J. (March 4-12); devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was widely promoted by St. Claude de Colombiere, S.J., the Jesuit spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which often accompanied Jesuit parish missions.
Other devotions associated with the Society of Jesus include inspirational writings and prayers, such as the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ), St. Ignatius Loyola’s Prayer for Generosity and his Principle and Foundation, and Father Pedro Arrupe’s “Falling in Love.” Many inspiring Jesuit prayers can be found in the little collection called Hearts on Fire.
For further information about Jesuits and popular devotions, visit the Apostleship of Prayer website. The book Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions, edited by James Martin, S.J. is available from Loyola Press.