In an article for America magazine, Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J., professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross, discusses the turbulent history of the Jesuits, in light of the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the order in 1814. Fr. Worcester says “a debt of gratitude” is owed to Pope Pius VII, who restored the order after four decades of suppression, following the defeat of Napoleon. He also notes figures like Catherine the Great, who refused to allow the suppression of the order in her territories, as well as the adversity the Jesuits felt all over the world as they “did not fit into the model of church in which heads of state controlled the church in their territories.”
“In this complex anniversary year, perhaps Pope Francis, by his example, words and actions, can help Jesuits, their colleagues, collaborators, friends and indeed all persons to move forward in reimagining and rethinking who they are and who they wish to be in the 21st century and beyond,” says Fr. Worcester. “In turning to St. Francis of Assisi for his name as bishop of Rome, Jorge Bergoglio, S.J., already has shown us how we may draw on a figure from the past in order to recreate and reinvigorate who we are and has offered many examples of how we may make central to our lives the service of the poor and the promotion of peace.”
This is a “Holy Cross in the News” item by Evangelia Stefanakos.
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