How the Society of Jesus came into existence

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How the Society of Jesus came into existence

On August 15th 1534, Ignatius of Loyola (Azpeitia – Spain), Francisco Xavier (Navarra – Spain), Alfonso Salmeron (Toledo – Spain), Diego Laynez (Almazan – Spain), Nicolas Bobadilla (Palencia – Spain), Peter Faber (Savoy (Saint Jean de Sixt) – France), and Simão Rodrigues (Vouzela – Portugal), met in Montmartre, outside Paris, in a crypt beneath the church of Saint Denis (now Saint Pierre de Montmartre) and professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

They called themselves the Company of Jesus, and also “Friends in the Lord”, because they felt “They were brought together by Christ”.

In 1537, they traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests.

On September 27th 1540 Pope Paul III confirmed Jesuits as an official Catholic religious order.

The opening lines of the Society founding document declared that the Society was founded for “whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God,” especially striving for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine.

This is the reason why Jesuits are sometimes referred to colloquially as “God’s Soldiers”, “God’s Marines”, or “the Company”, which evolved from references to Ignatius’ history as a soldier and the society’s commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions.

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