A religious priestly order
Canonically, the Society of Jesus is a male Religious Institute of Pontifical Right. Each member, priest or brother, is called to honor the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Companions of Jesus, not “Ignatians”
On the outskirts of Rome, at the Chapel of La Storta, Ignatius had an extraordinary experience. While he was in prayer, he saw God the Father saying to him, “I want you to serve us,” and from that moment he experienced that he was being placed with the Son, in “company” with him.
This is why Ignatius did not want his followers to be called “Ignatians”, but rather Companions of Jesus.
An international body
There are currently about 16,000 of us in 122 countries around the world.
Since its origins, the Society of Jesus was an international group, due both to the geographic origin of the first ten companions and to their willingness to be sent anywhere in the world.
Still today, part of our formation is carried out abroad to acquire flexibility, open-mindedness and develop that spirit of adapting that allows us to live anywhere, with freedom.
A sun that shines from the origins
From the very beginning we have used the symbol of the sun with the inscription IHS, the Latin initials for Iesus Hominum Salvator.
The monogram of Jesus was already widely used at the end of the Middle Ages, especially due to Bernardine of Siena. It can also be found in the mid-1500s in Calvinist Geneva.
Ignatius and his first companions used it precisely to emphasize their special relationship with the person of Jesus and their mission to “save souls”.