The Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, was founded in Rome, Italy, in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola and friends, including St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter Faber.
Just over 16,000 Jesuits serve on six continents and in 112 nations. It is difficult to find a country where Jesuits do not serve.
Approximately 400 Jesuits belong to the U.S. Central and Southern (UCS) Province and serve the states of:
The province also serves the Central American country of Belize and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Jesuit roots in this broad swath of America go back to the 16th century. As the country grew, two provinces developed: the New Orleans and Missouri provinces. On July 31, 2014, they combined to create the U.S. Central and Southern Province. On Dec. 3, 2014, the Jesuits in Puerto Rico became part of the province.
Father Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, is the first provincial superior of the UCS Province. His six-year term will end in 2020.
Pre-secondary education: Loyola Academy Middle School in St. Louis and Academia San Ignacio de Loyola in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as several parish schools.
The core spirituality that began with the personal experience of St. Ignatius's conversion continues at seven programs that offer Ignatian retreats and training in Ignatian Spirituality:
Jesuits begin their formation with two years of study and apostolic ministry based at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau.
The Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver offers Ignatian group retreats, individual spiritual direction, the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, and trains spiritual directors and guides of the Spiritual Exercises.