order founded by Ignatius of Loyola and several companions and approved
by Pope Paul III in 1540.
Seal of the Society of Jesus
The chief purposes
of this order were missionary and educational. Its members take the
three conventional monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience,
as well as an additional fourth vow of personal obedience to the pope.
A flexible order animated by the spirit of its founder, Ignatius
of Loyola, the Society of Jesus does not require its members to
wear distinctive dress or to recite the hours of prayer in common. This
allows the order a considerable freedom in adapting to time and place.
Its most conspicuous achievements have been in missionary
work and in the education of the young. Its success in these enterprises
has sometimes made it controversial within the Roman Catholic Church.
Critics succeeded in having the Society suppressed in 1773 by Pope Clement
XIV, and it was not formally permitted to operate again until 1814.