The "Ratio Studiorum," guidelines and instructions for Jesuitical child-rearing and education

Warriors for the Catholic ChurchThe Jesuits

The "Societas Jesu" or "Society of Jesus" was created in the 16th century. The order was part of the Catholic renewal movement and quickly proliferated. Its members took on leading positions in the Counter-Reformation and operated successful schools.

Portrait of Ignatius von Loyola

Loyola was one of the founders of the "Societas Jesu" order.

Global recognition through papal law

The former officer and later theological student, Ignatius von Loyola (1491–1556), founded the "Society of Jesus" with five of his fellow students on August 15, 1534 in Paris. In 1540, the society was recognized as an order by Pope Paul III in the "regimini militantis ecclesiae" bull, or in English, "to the Government of the Church Militant." The Catholic order quickly proliferated throughout Europe and had 1,000 members at the time of its founder's death.

Education and evangelism as primary tasks

Education and evangelism was a focal point of the Jesuit order. The brothers of the order received several years of a well-substantiated education, primarily in the subjects of theology and the natural sciences. Through their independent activity, there were not bound to a single monastery or location. They did not live in a conclave: there were no communal choral prayers and no uniform for the order. However, the brothers of the order were bound to vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Issue of the "Regimini militantis Ecclesiae" bull to the Jesuits, fresco in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Olomouc, The Czech Republic
Church of the Gesù in Rome, mother church of the order

The Jesuits were recognized by the Pope and owed him absolute obedience. They built their mother church in Rome.

The "Ratio Studiorum," guidelines and instructions for Jesuitical child-rearing and education

The Jesuits combined education and evangelism.


The foundation of many schools and universities throughout the world can be traced back to the Jesuits. Through their successful education and evangelical work, the Jesuits became coveted contacts, not least for the Catholic rulers on the Upper Rhine. The rulers of the Electoral Palatinate and the Margraviate of Baden brought the Jesuits into those lands that had remained Catholic or become Catholic once again. Here, they were advisors to the ruler, teachers, and ambassadors of the Catholic faith.

Mannheim Jesuit Church

Buildings in Mannheim still show traces of the Jesuits today.

Connected to the bloom of the court of Mannheim

The Jesuit Church and the Jesuit College of Mannheim are important buildings that were closely connected to the court of Mannheim and its bloom in the 18th century. After the prince-electors' residence was moved from Heidelberg to Mannheim in 1720, the Jesuits also came to Mannheim. Prince-Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz gave them a building site for the Jesuit Church and the college, which was then built to connect with the west wing. When the order was abolished in 1773, the brothers of the order left the prince-electors' residence.