“My little one, write from St. Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 8-14: ‘Near Bethlehem, there were some shepherds, who spent the night taking care of their sheep in the field. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were very afraid. But the angel said to them: “don’t be afraid, for I bring you good news, of great joy that shall be to all people. This day, in the city of David, is born a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. As a sign, you shall find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was with the angel, various other angels of heaven praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest!” Peace on Earth among men who enjoy his goodwill!” ’
“The Message that Jesus gave through the Holy Scriptures to Rosa is what the word ‘Jesuit’ means, which is to say, ‘Thank you, Lord, for giving us a Jesuit-Franciscan Pope.’
“‘Jesuit’ is a popular name for the religious order founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1538. The name stands for the ‘Society of Jesus’ (the companions of Jesus). The order was originally founded to perform missionary work, and the achievements of St. Francis Xavier in India and Japan and Father Mateo Ricci in China, testify to the success of the Jesuits in this field. However, in the same manner, they also prevail in the fields of education, culture, and apostolate works.
“Composed and revised by its founder, the order’s constitution requires a long period of preparation aimed at instilling in its members zeal, loyalty and efficiency, as well as a special vow of obedience to the Pope, in addition to religious vows. The order is still very new and yet, it is one of the most vigorous. The Jesuits had a role of great importance in the period of the Counter-Reformation and they rapidly increased in number and prestige.
“Although there was some delay in authorizing the Jesuits to develop their missionary activities in the Spanish colonies, they were so extensive in their work, that there is no country in America or the Philippines that does not have abundant traces of the order. They showed perseverance and outstanding courage in their missionary work because they did not hesitate to preach the Gospel even among the toughest tribes, as in the Araucanians (in Arauca, a region of Chile), the mojos of America (an area in NE Bolivia), or the Muslim Moors of the Philippines. They also had a great sense of unique organization, which made its methods worthy of being imitated by other orders (V. Jesuit versions). Their contribution to the advancement of culture is certainly one of their greatest glories. Generally, they took care of the higher degrees of teaching (V. University). They organized Athenaeums – worldwide institutions of Jesuit education, they were the first to introduce the printing press in Argentina and Paraguay, they stood out in the area of science, and even today they have excellent astronomical observatories in Havana (Cuba), Sucre and La Paz (Bolivia), Bogotá (Colombia), San Miguel (Argentina), and Manila (Philippines). They are also famous for their expeditions to the Orinoco River and the Amazon Jungle in South America. In the artistic field, they developed the so-called Jesuit style, a happy adaptation of the baroque to pleasure and environmental factors, which inspired hundreds of churches throughout the colonies.
“However, their loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff earned them the enmity of nationalist factions in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and they were attacked, slandered, maligned, and subsequently expelled from many European countries and colonies of Spain and Portugal. The great damage caused by such hostile measures, especially in the New World, was immense: the Jesuits, who organized the Indians under the protection of the Cross to evangelize them and civilize them, was some of their greatest works, which soon declined due to their expulsion. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV, in order to preserve unity, was persuaded with some reluctance to supervising the order. As a result, the Jesuits became dedicated to different kinds of activities. However, in Russia and Prussia their suppression did not materialize, thus, the Jesuits continued their educational work. In 1814, Pope Pio VII enacted the restoration of the order, and despite some obstacles brought about by several countries (mainly France), it has since become one of the largest orders of the Church, with more than 32,000 members.
“Many years of study are required for the formation of a Jesuit according to a plan that embraces the humanities, philosophy, theology, and the teaching of the practices of religious life. Today, the houses of the Jesuits are numerous in all countries; in Spain, you can say there is a true rebirth there, and it is the same in the lands of the Americas. Along with the most prestigious colleges and universities, the spiritual lives of youths are developed in Marian congregations, with a tendency to select the best elements of Christian society. They develop their missionary work intensely in all the continents where it is needed; in the Americas, from Canada to the Amazon, it is more vigorous than ever.
“The merits of the order in the fields of science, literature, philosophy and theology are great. From their ranks many saints evolved, several dozens of beatified and venerables, fourteen Popes, a great number of cardinals, bishops and legions of priests, all of whom form the large Crown of Glory of the Society of Jesus (V. Mission).”