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Jesuits in the Arts, Sciences and the Media

The Arts

Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble Performs A Dancers ChristmasFrom the start, Jesuits have been the subject of artistic depiction, the inspiration of artistic styles, and the authors of various forms of art. In the 16th century, Jesuit architecture was associated with lavish Baroque style. Jesuits were known in their pre-Suppression days for their humanistic and educative use of theatre and performance to instill virtuous habits in civil society. Their ventures even included dance and musical scores, which has been continued throughout the centuries. The St. Louis Jesuits were popular in the 1970s and 80s and in 2001, a new liturgical score was written for the Missa Arrupe.

Healing Ministries

Jesuits have become very involved with the professions of counseling and psychotherapy as a way of serving in a healing ministry. Many Jesuit doctors have ventured into areas of Pediatrics and Geriatrics as the needs of society demand. As part of certification for programs within professional ministry, Jesuits have become involved as students and supervisors of Clinical Pastoral Education programs, which are designed to help a person assess his own strengths and weaknesses and identify his own ministerial style.

The Sciences

James Skehan, SJJesuits have been engaged in various intellectual enterprises including teaching, research, and writing. The Jesuit charism to "find God in all things" meant that these efforts were not solely confined to ecclesiastical disciplines (like philosophy and theology), but also were extended to secular disciplines. In the areas of science and technology many Jesuits have made, and continue to make, significant contributions in areas like astronomy, agriculture, algebra, natural history, geology, geography, social sciences, and in the contemporary field of bioethics. Read more in The Jesuit Contribution to Seismology article on the Seismological Society of America website.

Media and Publications

Jesuits have always been engaged in education, preaching, teaching catechism and writing books and pamphlets -- the "media" of the day. That tradition has evolved today into efforts including radio, television and the Internet.

JESCOM is a world-wide network of Jesuits engaged in the communications media. JESCOM’s emphasis on media education helps people appreciate the values conveyed by particular media, programs and by the media institutions in general.

The following are some of the well-known books, magazines and Jesuit media:

  • America Magazine - America is a weekly magazine published by Jesuits of the United States for thinking Catholics and for those who want to know what Catholics are thinking.
  • Institute of Jesuit Sources - Founded in 1961, this Institute is a nonprofit scholarly research and publication whose chief interest is to make available works on the origins, history and spirituality of the Society of Jesus.
  • Loyola Press – Loyola Press publishes books that appreciate the wisdom, beauty and vitality of the Catholic tradition of story and sacrament, mystery and mercy, catholicity and compassion.
  • National Jesuit News - A newspaper produced seven times a year by the U.S. Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C. and distributed primarily to U.S. Jesuits living and working in the USA and abroad. 
  • Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits - An academic journal that deals with the many facets of Jesuit life.
  • Theological Studies - A Jesuit-sponsored, quarterly journal of theology.

An example of a Jesuit in the healing arts, Fr. Myles Sheehan, SJ, was a physician and gereontologist before becoming Provincial of New England. He was featured in several CatholicTV clips about aging gracefully in the Catholic tradition.

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