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illuminated Back in 1521, on 20 May, a Spanish soldier named Íñigo López de Recalde got badly wounded in a war with the French. After initial treatment in Pamplona, he was transferred to Loyola where he was on the brink of death. After several further operations he was out of danger, but still bedridden. During the recuperation, which took many, weeks he started reading books about Christ and saints. This changed his life and in the following years he became more religious and he changed his name Ignacius de Loyola. He also took up studies in Barcelona and Paris. During his time in Paris he gathered some followers.
On the morning of 15 August 1534 they met in Paris and they bound themselves to vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
In 1537, the seven traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order, The Society of Jesus, or better known as the Jesuits. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests.
Three years later, on 27 September 1540, Pope Paul III confirmed the order through the bull ‘Regimini militantis ecclesiae ("To the Government of the Church Militant"). This is the founding document of the Society of Jesus as an official Catholic religious order.[1]

The Formula of the Institute addresses the document, first drafted in 1539, that became the basic “rule” of the Society of Jesus. It laid down the fundamental structure of what was to be a new religious order, prefacing the more robust statutes that became known as The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.

The opening statement of the formula:

"Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind.

"He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures and any other ministration whatsoever of the Word of God, and further by means of retreats, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments.

"Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged. compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals, and indeed, to perform any other works of charity. according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good" The bull had limited the number of its members to sixty. This limitation was removed through the bull Exposcit debitum of Julius III on 21 July 1550. The order would take instructions only from their own Superior General or the Pope.

According to Marquette University, a Jesuit institution:

"The first Jesuits made their mark as preachers, convent reformers, and missionaries, but in 1548 the Jesuits opened their first college intended for lay students at Messina in Sicily. It was an instant success, and petitions for more Jesuit colleges flowed into Rome from most of the cities of Catholic Europe. Quickly, education became the main Jesuit ministry. By 1579 the Jesuits were operating 144 colleges (most admitted students between twelve and twenty) in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. By 1749 the Jesuits were staffing 669 colleges and 235 seminaries world-wide." [3]

When Ignatius de Loyola died in 1566 the order had grown to over 1000 members. They spread out throughout the world. And would travel to the newly discovered Americas, Africa as well as to Asia to spread Catholicism. They also spread their word in Europe to convert heretics as Protestantism was on the rise. Besides that they also to set up schools, universities and acted even as confessor to the ruling lords. As such they did gain certain political power.

A confessor is a priest who hears confessions and gives absolution and spiritual counsel. Ferdinand II stated that he would undertake no important decision without having first taken the advice of his confessor.[2]

In 1556 Albert V granted the Jesuits permission to establish, what is now, Wilhelmsgymnasium in Munich, thus establishing the order's presence in the city. In 1583 the collegiate church was only established during the reign of his son William V, also known as "the Pious". who was a supporter of the Jesuits' Counter Reformation tenets. St. Michael’s church was finally consecrated in 1597, after fourteen years of construction. [4]

Ferdinand II was born as the eldest son of Archduke Charles II and the Bavarian Princess Maria Anna. Five years before, his father invited the Jesuits to start the Graz college, which could raise it status to University in 1586. Ferdinand would enroll in the University when he was only eight years old and was also the first student to be registered. Later he would continue his studies at the Jesuit University of Ingolstadt until 1596, together with his cousin Maximilian I of Bavaria.

From around his reign starting in 1598 after his father's death, to his own death in 1637, Ferdinand II had three Jesuit confessors:
1596-1619 Bartholomaeus Viller, Jesuit priest.
  1558 entered Jesuits at Cologne
  1562-1566 studied in Vienna
  1589-1596 provincial of the Austrian province of the Jesuit order.
1620-1624 Martin Becanus (Maarten Schellekens), Jesuit priest.
1624-1637 Wilhelm Lamormaini, Jesuit priest. Studied at Jesuit gymnasium of Trier, got doctor's degree in Prague.
  1590 entered the Jesuit Order in Brno.
  1606 became professor in theology.
  1614 appoint rector of Jesuit University of Graz.
  1621-1623 stayed in Rome.
  1643-1645 provincial of the Austrian province of the Jesuit order.

Ferdinand II seems thus to have quite a bit of faith in the Jesuits. Even so much that he added two related codicils to his testament. In October 1601, around the time he learns that his wife is pregnant he added a codicil in which he instructed the guardians to protect the fathers of the Society of Jesus and to allow them to keep all that he had given them.

In a codicil to his testament of 1621, Ferdinand II had written to his heir that

‘we earnestly commend to you the well-deserving Society of Jesus … Through their skill, their instruction of our dear youth, and their exemplary manner of life, they do much good in the Christian Catholic Churches and more than others loyally work and exert themselves to maintain and propagate the Catholic religion.’ [5]

in 1623 the Jesuits received control of most of Vienna's University. And also work started on the Universitätskirche, also known as the Jesuitenkirche.

With the rise of nationalism in the 18th century, most European countries suppressed the Jesuits, and in 1773 Pope Clement XIV dissolved the order under pressure from the Bourbon monarchs. However, in 1814, Pope Pius VII gave in to popular demand and reestablished the Jesuits as an order, and they continue their missionary work to this day. Ignatius de Loyola was canonized a Catholic saint in 1622.

Read Again: Reformation
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[1] http://www.thefullwiki.org/Ignatius_of_Loyola
[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/St-Ignatius-of-Loyola
[2] The Power and Secret of the Jesuits, p. 355. Rene Fulop-Miller ISBN 9781494939250)
[3] http://www.marquette.edu/faith/about-the-jesuits.php
[4] https://www.localprayers.com/DE/Munich/123582997686679/St.-Michael%27s-Church%2C-Munich
[5] Cited in Robert Bireley, The Jesuits and the Thirty Years War: Kings, Courts and Confessors (Cambridge, 2003)