The Jesuits

Who are the Jesuits?

The Society of Jesus, commonly referred to as “the Jesuits,” is a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded half a millennium ago by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. There are about 16,000 Jesuit priests, brothers, scholastics and novices worldwide, making them the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. Jesuits serve their Church and their communities as pastors, teachers, and chaplains, but also doctors, lawyers, artists, and more.

The Jesuits value the care of the whole person, or as they call it “cura personalis,” they seek to “find God in all things,” and they dedicate themselves to the “greater glory of God” and the good of all humanity. This vision is lovingly shared with other religious and lay women and men who are inspired by Ignatian values and spirituality. Together, we form an extended Jesuit family that reaches around the globe.

A Call to Promote Justice

Since the Jesuits’ General Congregation 32 in 1975, their mission has specifically included a call to “the promotion of justice”. This vision reflected the great works that the Jesuits were already carrying out in poor and marginalized communities. It was also an invitation for all Jesuit works to consider how they were promoting justice in their own communities.

Today, the service of faith and the promotion of justice is the animating characteristic of the work being done in Jesuit schools, colleges and universities, parishes, and retreat houses and in ministries around the world.

A Global Community

Jesuits are called on to go anywhere across the geographical and cultural frontiers. There are more than 16,000 Jesuits worldwide who come from 112 countries, but their mission transcends borders and is truly universal. This perspective has inspired Jesuits to travel around the world, establishing schools, parishes, and social works in some of the most impoverished and marginalized communities.

In recent decades, many of the Jesuit works have joined together to form international networks that collaborate to respond to the most pressing issues of our time. Justice in Mining, GIAN Migration, Edujesuit and ecojesuit are just four of the global networks of Jesuit works.  Additionally, the Xavier Network connects 14 Jesuit mission offices and development organizations who work to foster solidarity in support of many of these projects. American Jesuits International is the U.S. member of the Xavier Network.

Stories of Impact

Centros Loyola - Cuba

Leocadia – Cuba

Through the SIEMBRA and COMPARTE agricultural network, the Loyola Centers in Cuba are giving small farmers like Leocadia new opportunities for economic stability.

LJSS - Malawi

Samantha – Malawi

Counseling services at the Loyola Jesuit Secondary School in Malawi are giving students like Samantha a safe space to feel listened to and accompanied.

Centros Loyola - Cuba

Ernesto – Cuba

Entrepreneurial workshops help community members like Ernesto start new small businesses amidst economic challenges.

Johana - Paraguay
Fe y Alegría - Paraguay

Johana – Paraguay

In the Bañado Norte neighborhood, the Escuela Caacupemí de Fe y Alegría is a source of hope for students like Johana and Iván.


Stefany – Venezuela

From Puerto Ordaz to Rio Olympic Games, Stefany's story highlights the impact of quality and inclusive education.

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