Jesuit Jargon Buster

Key Jesuit terms word cloud




AMDGAd Maiorem Dei Gloriam – Latin meaning “for the greater glory of God” – the Jesuit motto.  Often put at the beginning of documents or correspondence.
BrotherJesuits who are not and do not expect to become priests.
CommunityGroup of Jesuits who form a unit with a superior, usually living together in one residence.
ConsolationA feeling described by St Ignatius as “Every increase in hope, faith and charity and every interior joy which calls and attracts one toward heavenly things and to the salvation of one's soul, by bringing it tranquility and peace”
Cura PersonalisLatin meaning “care of the individual”, an Ignatian approach to guiding people to a closer relationship with God through one to one spiritual accompaniment.  Also used to describe principles of Jesuit education.
CuriaJesuit headquarters for the whole Society, a region (e.g. Europe), or a province.
Deacon - permanentMinister ordained for ministry of the word and service i.e. they can preach and perform baptisms, weddings and funerals but they can’t say Mass or hear confession.
Deacon - transitoryAs above, but for those who are planning to become priests in due course.  Most Jesuit deacons exercise this ministry for about a year before being ordained as priests.
DesolationIn the words of St Ignatius 'everything which is contrary to consolation ... obtuseness of soul, turmoil within it, and impulsive motion towards low and earthly things or disquiet from various agitations and temptations. These move one toward lack of faith and leave one without hope and without love. One is completely listless, tepid and unhappy and feels separated from our Creator and Lord.' 
DiscernmentThe process of decision making where the choices are not clearly between good and evil but between several potentially good options.  It involves reflection and consultation paying attention to impulses of the spirit as well as rational analysis.
ExamenSpanish for examination. An ancient Christian prayer recommended by St Ignatius to review your day, recalling events and taking note of your feelings. The purpose is to become more aware of the ways in which God has been present to you.
FormationJesuit training, this includes academic training but is total development of the person, particularly in preparation to contribute to the mission of the Society.
General CongregationThe highest authority in the Society of Jesus.  It is an assembly of Jesuit representatives from all parts of the world. A general congregation is always summoned on the death or resignation of the Superior General to choose his successor, and it may be called at other times if circumstances warrant.  The last General Congregation (GC35) was held in 2008.
HouseA residence where a Jesuit community lives.
IgnatianRelating to Ignatius Loyola, the key figure in the founding of the Society of Jesus which includes many people and things that may not be directly related to the Jesuits, e.g. Ignatian women’s congregations or Ignatian Spirituality.
IHSThe first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek.  Used as a symbol in the Jesuits’ official seal
JesuitA member of the Society of Jesus or something belonging to the Society or attributed to the Society or its members. General Congregation 34 wrote: “What is it to be a Jesuit today? It is to know that one is a sinner yet called to be a companion of Jesus as Ignatius was.” (decree 26 #4).
Laity or Lay personPeople of Christian faith who are not ordained (see ordination).
LDSLaus Deo Semper – Latin meaning “Praise God always”, often put at the end of documents or work (scroll right down!)
Local SuperiorThe Jesuit responsible for a community of Jesuits who usually live together but may live in different houses.
MagisLatin meaning “more” – the process of continuous quality improvement employed by St Ignatius and the Jesuits suggesting the spirit of generous excellence in which ministry should be carried out.
MinisterAn administrative assistant to the Superior of a community.
NoviceMan who has begun his Jesuit training with the initial two-year formation programme in prayer and ministry.
Novitiate; NoviceshipProcess or state of being a novice; community where the novices are based for the programme.
Novice Master; Novice DirectorExperienced Jesuit who is responsible for the formation of Jesuit novices.
OrdinationSacrament of the Catholic Church by which a man is made a deacon or priest.
PriestMinister ordained . Most Jesuits are priests or scholastics, preparing for priesthood.
Provincial Superior; Provincial; Father ProvincialJesuit responsible for Jesuits within a province 
ProvinceAdministrative unit within the Society of Jesus that covers a geographical area that may be the same as the borders of a country or may be only a part of a country or span several countries.
RegencyStage of Jesuit formation (normally two years) when a scholastic works and gains pastoral experience.
RegentScholastic doing regency.
ResidenceBuilding in which a Jesuit community lives. Jesuits do not live in monasteries; we are not monks.
ScholasticJesuit in formation who is preparing for ordination.
SJStands for Society of Jesus.  All Jesuits can use this suffix after making first vows.  Novices use nSJ.
Society of JesusThe religious institute of the Roman Catholic Church approved in 1540 (with a wobble between 1773 and 1814) commonly known as the Jesuits.
SociusDeputy and assistant to Provincial or Novice Master.
Spiritual ExercisesA creative and flexible programme of prayer developed by St Ignatius and published as a little book.  Their purpose is to help you develop a deeper and more active relationship with God and the world.
Superior General; General Superior; General; Father GeneralSuperior General is the direct translation of the Latin Praepositus Generalis, although it is easier to understand its meaning if the word order is reversed as Praepistus Provinciales is translated Provincial Superior and Praepositus locales is translated as Local superior. Therefore General Superior means superior of the order in general rather than a specific location or community and not a supreme military commander. The General Superior is mandated by a General Congregation, the highest governance unit in the Society to govern the Society on a day-to-day basis together with his counsellors and other governing structures of the Society.
TertianshipLast stage of formation, lasting 6-12 months
Work (noun)

A project or institution.


Thanks to Do You Speak Ignatian? by George W. Traub SJ for the idea!

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