The Telegraph
Thursday , July 31 , 2014
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Feast of Jesuit founder today

St. Ignatius Loyola

The 20,000 Jesuits and their institutions all over the world celebrate the feast of their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, on July 31.

Ignatius was an unusual character of the 16th century, a brave knight and soldier under King Ferdinand of Spain. In 1521, he was wounded in the battle between France and Spain. His life was transformed during his long convalescence and he founded the Jesuit Order, the Society of Jesus, along with Francis Xavier at the University of Paris in 1537, which was approved by the Pope in 1540.

Perhaps Jesuits impart the best-known education in India and elsewhere. They have come to be known in the public mind for their educational work and have acquired the reputation of being among the world’s best educators and educationists.The Jesuit educational network is the largest in the world today.

The Jesuits conduct no less than 50 university colleges, 17 institutes of business administration and 210 high schools across the country; almost all of them are among the most reputable ones. More than 500,000 students belonging to every religious, linguistic and socio-economic group, receive their education at these institutions.

The situation is the same wherever the Society of Jesus has established itself for the greater glory of God. There are 28 Jesuit universities in the US.

As Malachi Martin has said in his book, The Jesuits, “Jesuits always aimed to be the best. And they were. They had a part to play in every major political alliance in Europe and America, in Asia and Africa. They became shapers not only of religious history, but also of world history. Even Nazi generals (incl. Hitler) dreamed of such a cadre of men; and even Lenin envied them.”

Historian Romila Thapar has stated that if India has a written history; the credit goes to the Jesuits.

St. Xavier’s college and school will remain closed on July 31 in honour of their founder. Here’s wishing all Xaverians, present and past, a very happy feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.