WHO ARE THE JESUITS?The members of the Society of Jesus are commonly known as Jesuits.
The Jesuits are a Religious Order in the Catholic Church that was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491- 1556) and his companions. Spread throughout the world today, the Jesuits number around 16,000 and work in 112 countries. They are the largest Religious Order in the Catholic Church and are engaged in a variety of ministries, including research, pastoral work, writing and communications, social and legal outreach. However, they are possibly best known for the contribution in the fields of secondary and tertiary education.
Very Rev. Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal SJ is the Superior General of the Jesuits — the head of the Order.
JESUITS IN UMOIDIn August 2016, Bishop Victor Lyngdoh D.D. of the Diocese of Nongstoin, Meghalaya, invited the Jesuits to start a college in the South West Khasi Hills (SWKH) District of his diocese.
In response, the Jesuits did an exploratory study that year, followed by a more detailed feasibility study in 2017.
In 2018, the Jesuits committed themselves to starting a college and decided to located it in the village of Umoid, about 15 km east of the the district headquarters at Mawkyrwat. They decided to name the college in honor of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit saint of the 16th Century who had worked in India.
After making a commitment to start a college in the SWKH district of Meghalaya, Fr. Paul Coelho SJ moved into a rented house in Jakrem, 6 kms from Umoid, in April 2018 to negotiate for land and start the preparatory college work. The following year Fr. David Nukhu SJ joined him. In 2021 Fr. Michael join the team to help with the construction works.
The Jesuit Community of St. Xavier’s Umoid, comprising of Frs. David Nukhu SJ, Michael Kerketta SJand Paul Coelho SJ, continue to live in the rented house at Jakrem. They are looking forward to shifting to the college campus when the new residential facilities are ready. The progress on the house, however, has been slow due to various obstacles, not least among which have been the pandemic-related restrictions and a shortage locally of skilled and unskilled workers.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIERBorn into a noble family, St. Francis Xavier was a roommate of St. Ignatius as students at the University of Paris. Entrapped by a strong desire for worldly success, wealth and glory, one day St. Ignatius asked him to deeply consider the Bible verse, “What would it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.” — Matthew 16:26. This was the beginning of Xavier’s change of heart. He would give up his earlier ambitions and join St. Ignatius and others in founding the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
As a Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier would come to India. He would also work in various other places in Asia before finally dying on a ship off the coast of China. His body is preserved and continues to be venerated at the Church of the Bom Jesu in Goa, India.
Numerous educational institutions in India and around the world, both, Jesuit and non-Jesuit, bear the name of this famous Jesuit saint.
AN IGNATIAN YEARThe Ignatian Family is celebrating an IGNATIAN YEAR from 20th May 2021 – 31st July 2022. It commemorates and celebrates the five-hundred year anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Badly injured in the battle of in Pamplona on 20th May 1521, with his knees shattered by a canon ball, Inigo’s convalescence was long and painful. But it was also a time of grace, which ultimately led to his spiritual conversion. He would, after that, in all things seek the “Greater Glory of God” (Ad Majórem Dei Glóriam, abbreviated as AMDG), which the Jesuits embrace as their motto and which continues to be the undergirding inspiration of the Order.
JESUITS IN EDUCATIONThe Jesuits are probably best known for its educational institutions. Jesuit educational institutions can be found in almost every country in the world. They are recognized for their academic excellence and all-round formation. But they also work in a variety of other fields including pastoral work, and research.
Jesuit education is characterized by the “Magis” — a word in Latin that means “the more.” They encourage their students to never be satisfied with mediocrity, but a desire to strive for excellence and toward realizing their full potential, and growing in competence, compassion, commitment and conscience. They also motivate their students to become “Women and Men for Others,” who are willing to work for a more just and humane society.
In India, the Jesuits run 4 universities, 52 colleges, 17 schools of Business Administration, and 220 high schools. Several Jesuit educational institutions are ranked among the best in the country. This year, for instance, Jesuit institutions took the top three positions in a ranking done by a national magazine. They are St. Xavier’s Mumbai, St. Joseph’s Bengaluru, and St. Xavier’s Kolkata. Read about this in the May 2021 issue of Education World.
Jesuit Universities-colleges in India include:
St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata
Xavier University, Bhubaneshwar
St. Joseph’s University, Bangalore
St. Xavier’s University, Shillong
St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad
St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College, Vijayawada
St. Aloysius College, Mangalore
St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore
St. Joseph’s College, Trichy
The members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) are engaged in a variety of other fields as well, including research, media and communications, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, social ministry, parish ministry, preaching retreats, the formation of the clergy, etc.
In Meghalaya, the Jesuits run Loyola College at Williamnagar in the Garo Hills. St. Xavier’s Umoid is their second college in the state.
Jesuit schools in Meghalaya are at Dawagre, Jalaphet, Maweit and Umbir.
In December 2020, the Governor of Meghalaya signed the St. Xavier’s University Shillong Act, thus laying the foundation for a Jesuit University in Meghalaya.
TO KNOW THE JESUITSIf you desire to learn more about the Jesuits, consider visiting the global Jesuit website.
If you want to become a Jesuit, or are seeking more information about how one may become a Jesuit, click here and also contact the Jesuit Vocation Promoter at firstname.lastname@example.org.