Jesuits, name given to members of the Society of Jesus, an order of Roman Catholic priests and brothers dedicated to foreign missions, education, and studies in the humanities and sciences. Jesuit life is regulated by the constitutions written by the founder of the Society, St. Ignatius of Loyala. Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the pope are taken, and training may last up to 15 years. After its founding in 1534, the order undertook missions in Asia under St. Francis Xavier and participated in the Counter-Reformation in Europe. Their influence and power led to their expulsion from many countries, and in 1773 Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Society. It was restored, however, in 1814.
See also: Roman Catholic Church.