The Jesuits had a founder. The name of their founder was Ignatius of Loyola, who turned to religion after he was injured in Pamplona in 1521. This founder created the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits). Central to the Order's philosophy are the spiritual exercises set down by Loyola, which offer a means for the individuals to learn more about themselves and God through prayer and guidance from a director. Furthermore, the Jesuits also have a constitution of their own.....a constitution formed by their founder. Imagine that! The Society of Jesus had a founder, and their founder wrote a constitution for his Order.
The Jesuits were also missionaries who traveled to many different countries. They set up schools and educational centers. Although they take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Jesuits have historically been viewed with suspicion by fellow Catholics and elsewhere. There are seen as a group that is a little too independent and a little too powerful. Although they take vows of poverty and owned nothing, they were capable of building educational centers and doing missionary work. People wondered where and how did they get all this money to build schools, churches, and do missionary work worldwide.
These group of Catholics were brutally persecuted by fellow Catholics. In Elizabethan England, the Jesuits were reviled as the embodiment of the Catholic threat from-within. They were ruthlessly persecuted and even dragged into the gunpowder plot. In addition, the Jesuits were also accused of liturgical abuses.
Some Catholics accused the Jesuits of practicing illicit masses. For example, in the photo above, they wonder why the bread is already broken into pieces, and some are even speculating whether the bread is unleavened or not. The allegation for this liturgical abuse is found here.
By the mid to late 18th century, the Order had become so feared and despised that it was suppressed in many parts of the world.....and this suppression was coming from Catholic brothers. Every work of the Jesuits - their vast missions, their noble colleges, their churches - were all taken from them and destroyed. They were banished, and their Order was suppressed. Yet, they remained strong and devout Catholics despite that it was fellow Catholics who suppressed them. They did not turn against the Catholic Church or against the Pope. Jesus said that a prophet is never welcome in his home. Jesus was a Jew who was also not welcomed by fellow Jews. It was not until 1814, when the Society of Jesus was re-established by Pope Pius VII.
Does all this sound familiar? Today, God has placed a Jesuit as Pope. Someday, a Redemptoris Mater priest may also become Pope. :-)
So, brothers and sisters walking in the Way....take courage and be happy for the persecution we are receiving for God will reward us many times over.