Companions of Jesuits</a>

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Companions of Jesuits

Excerps from the book by Joseph MacDonnell, S.J.



The title Companions of Jesuits sounds like the name Ignatius originally used for his own Society, "Companions of Jesus", and so some explanation is needed. Ignatius, unlike Dominic and Francis did not want his followers to be named Ignatian after him, but instead wanted his followers to be called Companions of Jesus.
Bernini's ELEPHANT mounted
by Jesuit Kircher's OBELISK
Anthony Van Dyck's IGNATIUS
The word Jesuit predated Ignatius and was used by non-Catholics to deride what they saw as their fanatical Catholic adversaries. For some reason the latter name stuck. Companion is derived from the Latin cum [with] and panis [bread]; thus, "Companions of Jesus "with whom they break bread". Companions work together for a common goal: they do more than collaborate, they are friends inspired by the same person, animated by the same principles and enthused about the same work. To identify those whose lives are intertwined with Jesuits working in our various ministries, especially colleges, the words lay colleague are inadequate whereas Companions of Jesuits seems very appropriate.
This project, then, describes the contributions to the arts and sciences of easily recognized people who have collaborated as Companions in Jesuit education, art and scholarship. It must be remembered that, unlike the cloistered monk, the Jesuit's vocation was never meant to keep him aloof from non-Jesuits, and so collaboration in Jesuit education is nothing new. Ignatius was a layman most of his life and died sixteen years after he started the Society. It seems to surprise some that Ignatius Loyola was a layman when he experienced, recorded and conducted the Spiritual Exercises, a document which constitute the foundation of Jesuit life as well as Jesuit apostolates. In fact, Jesuit colleges could more properly be called Ignatian colleges rather than Jesuit; the name Ignatian has wonderful poignancy since it reaches beyond these men who are Jesuits and refers to the countless women and men who have adopted an Ignatian view of God and our world as expressed in the Spiritual Exercises . Throughout this book The Society or Jesuit refers to the Order or its members while Companions refer to those who in some way collaborated with Jesuits. Also most of the Companions discussed in this book - the group that I am most familiar with - lived during the Society's first few centuries.
Histories are full of references to very talented people who have collaborated with Jesuits in education, scholarship, scientific investigation and service. They have been colleagues, teachers, students, friends, relatives, antagonists or cohorts of Jesuits. They include: Bernini the sculptor, Rubens and Van Dyck the painters, Carissimi the musician, Moliere the comedian, Corneille the tragedian, Descartes the philosopher, James Joyce the novelist, Boussuet the orator, d'Urfe the romantic novelist, Montesquieu the political philosopher and scientists such as Ampère, Boyle, Cassini, Cauchy, Dirichlet, Galileo, Ghetaldi, von Guericke, Kepler, Lagny, Lalande, Marcus Marci, Mersenne, Ohm, van Roomen, Torricelli and Volta.
Gaulli's ceiling painted for the Jesuits
One may ask: "Why this book?" For some years it has fallen to me to explain "in 25 words or less" the Jesuit tradition at Fairfield to new faculty. An important element of this presentation has been the number of laity engaged in collaboration with Jesuits. My readings in preparation for this talk have astonished me with the variety, the quality and the fame of some of these companions, some of whom have just been mentioned. These findings should be recorded someplace and made available not only to new faculty but to all, especially to our faculty who think that Bellarmine was a generous benefactor. That may be true but that does not explain the name of our building. This modest effort is far from the last word on Companions and hopefully will encourage scholars in the fields mentioned to read further.
My sources are not religious books. In my opinion propaganda pieces such as the Knights of Columbus past paid newspaper ads, "Marco Polo was a Catholic" do not prove anything more than the fact that some interesting people were Catholic. My sources are the standard reference books recognized by scholars for a given field, and these books are crucial in this study because I am skilled in only one of the fields mentioned; I can only point to the sources so that someone more familiar with the subject can read further.

My sources are as follows:
Bibliothèque de la compagnie de Jésus
The Encyclopedia of World Art
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
The Oxford Companion to the Theater by Hartnoll
The Dictionary of Scientific Biography
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society



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