The Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present

THE JESUITS                                            JOHN W. O'MALLEY. S.J.

As Pope Francis continues to make his mark on the church, there is increased interest in his Jesuit background—what is the Society of Jesus, how is it different from other religious orders, and how has it shaped the world? In The Jesuits, acclaimed historian John W. O’Malley, SJ, provides essential historical background from the founder Ignatius of Loyola through the present. 

The book tells the story of the Jesuits’ great successes as missionaries, educators, scientists, cartographers, polemicists, theologians, poets, patrons of the arts, and confessors to kings. It tells the story of their failures and of the calamity that struck them in 1773 when Pope Clement XIV suppressed them worldwide. It tells how a subsequent pope restored them to life and how they have fared to this day in virtually every country in the world. Along the way it introduces readers to key figures in Jesuit history, such as Matteo Ricci and Pedro Arrupe, and important Jesuit writings, such as the Spiritual Exercises.

Concise and compelling, The Jesuits is an accessible introduction for anyone interested in world or church history. 


This book was written in 2014 after the election of Pope Francis, who also became the first Jesuit to be elected Pope. The History of the Jesuits is a very long and some would at times controversial one. At one time Pope Sixtus V signed a brief to do away with the order but nothing came of it and by 1540 Pope Paul III gave them commendation and permitted them to ordain priests. What is not in this book and what people you a Catholic or not is to read or find a book about the history of the church and you will see that at some parts of the history kings were wanting to control the church through the Pope and therefore if they did not like the preaching of an order they wanted to do away with that order. Also as you get farther along in the history of the Jesuits that is not always talked about. They also fought against the Spanish in especially South America were the Spaniards wanted to make the local Indians slaves the Jesuits fought against that and created schools and wrote down the language that they were using. There is much more and a lot what I am writing about was not in the book but the author also has more books on the Jesuits. Plus there are other books. Being Catholic and going to Catholic schools I also found it important to learn the history of the church good and bad. This is a good book to start with. I received this book from I gave this book 4 stars. Follow us at

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