Founded by St Ignatius Loyola more than 450 years ago, the Society of Jesus is a religious order of priests and brothers committed to the service of Christ.
Members of our Society, known as Jesuits, are contemplatives in action. The rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality gives us a way to examine our deeper desires and discern God’s plan for us in the world. Inspired by that discernment, we serve the Catholic Church wherever we see there is need.
An international mission
The Society of Jesus was founded in 1534 in Montmartre outside Paris, where Ignatius of Loyola and six companions made their first vows together to ‘enter upon hospital and missionary work in Jerusalem, or go without questioning wherever the Pope might direct’.
Since then, Jesuits have served the Church in a wide array of areas. Distinguished Jesuits throughout history include scientists and theologians, poets and philosophers, explorers and missionaries, pastors and preachers.
The Society of Jesus in Australia
The first Jesuits to set foot in Australia, Fr Aloysius Kranewitter SJ and Fr Maximilian Klinkowstroem SJ, came from Austria. They arrived in Adelaide in 1848. In 1853, a property was bought near Clare. Fr Kranewitter named it Sevenhill.
Two Irish Jesuits established a community in Melbourne in 1865, and three more Austrians and one of the first native-born Australians to become a Jesuit established a community in Darwin in 1882.
The Australian Province was formally established in 1950, with Fr Austin Kelly SJ its first Provincial.
Called to the frontiers
Today, our work takes us to the frontiers of our world – the places where cultures meet, where new enterprises are launched and where new ideas are debated. Jesuit ministries in Australia range from social service organisations to publishing houses, from schools to spirituality centres, with many other activities in between.
Jesuit priests and brothers are men on the move, ready to do anything, or go anywhere, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in our world.