About Us

Quick Facts About the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province

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.

Where we Are

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:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • southern Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Oklahoma 

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. 

Leadership

Father Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, is the first provincial superior of the UCS Province. His six-year term will end in 2020. 

Apostolates - Our Ministries

Six institutions of higher education

Twelve secondary schools

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.

Retreats and Spirituality Centers

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: 

The Novitiate

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.

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Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House
Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, located in Grand Coteau, La., has provided a beautiful setting for retreats since 1938.