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The Society of Jesus is a religious scity founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola. Designated by him “The Company of Jesus” to indicate its true leader and its soldier spirit, the title was Latinized into “Societas Jesu” or Society of Jesus.
Ignatius was a soldier who was wounded in battle. It took a several years, and rebrakes to set it correctly, finally an amputation for his leg to heal, during this convalesant period the boredom of being bed-ridden for a long time led him to ask for books to read. The good lady in charge was pious and she refused to give him the chivalric romances he requested. Instead, she gave him two books that were destined to change his life. The first was the Gospels. Ignatius picked them up, sensed his unworthiness, and read no further. He then picked up the second book, The Golden Legend, by a bishop of the Middle Ages, Jacques de Voragine. In this book he read of the exploits of the saints of God. He read of the conversion of great sinners who became great champions of the Faith, and who with the sword of the spirit fought against heresy and all forms of spiritual evil.
While his intital intent was, the conversion of Mohammedans, an idea which, a few decades after the final triumph of the Christians over the Moors in Spain, must have strongly appealed to the chivalrous Spaniards. Protestantim had not yet spread far, when the Jeusits were founded, and while most are under the misnomer that the Jesuits were founded to stamp out Protestantism, such efforts came later. The early Jesuits were sent by Ignatius first to Muslim and Pagan lands or to Catholic countries; to Protestant countries only at the special request of the pope and to Germany, the cradle-land of the Reformation, at the urgent solicitation of the Imperial Ambassador.
Ignatius started life carring a sword, and learning the art of war. After his conversion, prayer, and a solid theological education became his armor and sword. The Jesuits focused on missionary efforts, and debating Protestants in protestant lands.
The first days of the Society were in 1540 with a small band of men. Over time Ignatius developed a 21 day retreat that is still used today, you can find it in print and used today. An Ignatian Retreat consists of a series of spiritual conferences, structured meditations and an opportunity to make a general confession. Silence is kept throughout the retreat, though the retreatants have the opportunity to speak with a priest for spiritual advice. It is styled like a spiritual “Boot Camp” as Ignatius in some ways developed it based on his military traning.
Since this comes from the Chick thread it is interesting to note that Ingatus was born in the 1490’s, Islam was founded in the 690’s but that does not stop Chick from telling his readers that Islam and half a dozen other movements were founded by the Jesuits to attack Protestants.