St. Ignatius Loyola, from the Ratio Studiorum (1606)

Books Illustrating the First Two Centuries
of Contemplation and Action of the Society of Jesus

Unus no sufficit orbis


The Society of Jesus entered the second half of the eighteenth century at the helm of a vast worldwide network of schools, missions, Paraguayan “reductions,” and residences, but in less than two dozen years the Jesuits would be suppressed by order of the Papacy. Banned for forty-one years, the Society would return in 1814, but with a different role and without the vast resources and prestige it had previously enjoyed. The resurrected Society, existing in a new and rapidly changing world, did not return to the symbols of baroque piety that had sustained it during its first two centuries. Instead, down to our own day, the spiritual journey of the Jesuits has continued in different directions; in place of explorations in regions unknown to the European world, Jesuits engage questions of theology, natural science, pedagogy, and social justice, among others. The future journeys of the Society have yet to be recorded, but it seems certain that their significance will be linked to the written word.