We are the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded in 1540 by the soldier-turned-priest St. Ignatius of Loyola. Most people call us “the Jesuits.”
In the vision of our founder, we seek to “find God in all things.” We dedicate ourselves to the “greater glory of God” and the good of all humanity. We do so gratefully, in collaboration with others who share our values, including laypersons, who have become part of the “we,” the extended Jesuit family.
With close to 17,000 priests and brothers worldwide, the Jesuits are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. We are pastors, teachers, and chaplains. We are also doctors, lawyers, and astronomers, among many other roles in Church and society. In our varied ministries, we care for the whole person: body, mind, and soul. And especially in our education ministries, we seek to nurture “men and women for others.”
Jesuits draw on the rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality and reflection. In our retreat centers, parishes, campus ministries, and other settings, we offer these resources to all who want to discern God’s presence in their lives. At the same time, we also aim to be “contemplatives in action,” people who bring this spirituality into the everyday world. This includes our work on behalf of social justice, peace, and dialogue.
As members of a religious order, Jesuits take three vows — of poverty, chastity, and obedience — and a fourth vow of obedience specifically in regard to worldwide mission. In other words, Jesuits must be ready to accept whatever mission the Pope requires, a vow that is reflective of our broader dedication to the universal Church, and to the greater good of all people from all faiths and cultures.
Our collaboration with the laity flows from our personal relationships with Christ. We see ourselves as companions of Jesus, and we invite others to join with us, as friends in the Lord. Together we build up the body of Christ.
With our friends and partners, we also reach out to a broadly diverse world because that is where we find God. From experience and reflection, we know that meaning, value, and divine purpose can be discovered “in all things.”
Throughout the west, Jesuits serve as teachers, campus ministers, and administrators at universities, high schools, and Nativity middle schools. We also serve as parish ministers, chaplains, and spiritual directors. In all our ministries and work, we strive to keep alive the tradition and prayerful discernment established by St. Ignatius and do all things for the greater glory of God.
We Are Diverse, Dynamic, Creative
We bring together people from many cultures to worship and work in partnership. The service area of Jesuits West encompasses Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. In addition, our priests and brothers and our partners serve in ministries throughout the United States and abroad, including Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Our ministries include:
- Pastoral ministries. Jesuit priests lead 15 parishes and provide service to many more.
- Spirituality and retreat centers. Jesuits and laypersons at the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Seattle, Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, Calif., and The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos seek to foster spiritual growth by offering retreats as well as training for spiritual directors.
- Educational ministries. Jesuits and their many lay partners are involved in primary, secondary, and higher education. Model school programs such as Cristo Rey and Nativity as well as other creative partnerships allow us to sponsor, co-sponsor, or endorse new Catholic schools in underserved areas.
- Social ministries. Our Jesuits provide guidance to various ministries — Homeboy Industries, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, PICO National Network, Proyecto Pastoral — are just a sampling of our ministries engaged in empowering people, pursuing social justice, and improving communities. Jesuit priests lead 12 parishes and provide service to many more.
We Encourage Collaboration
In pastoral, educational, and other ministries, our priests and brothers collaborate with laymen and women, civic organizations, local dioceses, and other religious orders. As catalysts for change, we invest personnel and funding in those “turning points” in society where we believe the greatest good can be achieved. Our ministries express the power of faith doing justice, by combining belief in fundamental human dignity with advocacy for the poor and marginalized.
We Strive to Achieve Our Goals
We have adopted four main apostolic goals which continue to guide us:
- Fostering partnership in our Ignatian mission
- Strengthening solidarity with the poor
- Responding to the diversity of our Province
- Evangelizing contemporary culture.