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James Martin, S.J.March 14, 2013

From The Jesuit Guide to Almost Anything:

  1. They invented the trap door. Without the Jesuits, who wrote and directed plays in their 16th and 17th-century schools, modern theater—and film—would be vastly different. To take one example, the Wicked Witch of the West wouldn't have been able to disappear so easily in "The Wizard of Oz."  Jesuits also invented or perfected the "scrim," the sheer curtain used in theaters today.
  2. They discovered quinine (called "Jesuit bark" in the 16th century) used today for anti-malarial drugs and, not incidentally, for tonic water. Without Jesuits you wouldn't be enjoying your gin and tonic. Nor would the West have known as early about ginseng or the camelia flower.
  3. Their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), the Spanish-soldier-turned-mystic may be the only saint with a notarized police record: for nighttime brawling with an intent to cause bodily harm. (Needless to say, this came before his conversion.)
  4. Their dictionaries and lexicons of the native languages in North America in the 17th century were the first resources Europeans used to understand these ancient tongues, and still provide modern scholars with the earliest transcriptions of the languages. Of the long and detailed letters they sent back to Europe, the legendary American historian Francis Parkman said, “In respect to the value of their content, they are exceedingly unequal.”
  5. They located the source of the Blue Nile, and charted large stretches of the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers. 
  6. They educated Descartes, Voltaire, Moliere, James Joyce, Peter Paul Rubens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fidel Castro, Alfred Hitchcock and Bill Clinton; not to mention Bing Crosby, Vince Lombardi, Robert Altman, Chris Farley, Salma Hayek and Denzel Washington.
  7. They founded the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil. 
  8. There are 35 craters on the moon named for Jesuit scientists.  And Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century Jesuit scientist, called “master of a hundred arts” and “the last man to know everything,” was a geologist, biologist, linguist, decipherer of hieroglyphics and inventor of the megaphone. 
  9. They inspired the film "On the Waterfront," based on the groundbreaking labor-relations work of the Jesuit John Corridan, who worked in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. (His part was played by Karl Malden, who, last year, died 50 years to the day after Father Corridan.)
  10. They count 40 saints and dozens of blesseds (near-saints) among their members, including the globe-trotting missionary St. Francis Xavier, and count among their famous "former" members Garry Wills, John McLaughlin and Jerry Brown. And now, a pope!
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Vince Killoran
11 years 4 months ago
My apologies for this question since it has probably been answered elsewhere but what is the formal relationship of Pope Francis--as a Jesuit--to his Jesuit superiors?
11 years 4 months ago
When a member of a religious order becomes a bishop, he is dispensed from his religious vows, including obedience to the superiors of his order. He becomes then an honorary member of the order. So, when Pope Francis first became a bishop, he was no longer subject in obedience to his Jesuit superiors. He is still cherished, I'm sure, by his Jesuit confreres as a brother Jesuit!
mahatma anto
11 years 4 months ago
thanks ken. it helps.
Vince Killoran
11 years 4 months ago
Thanks Ken. That makes sense.
Bob Baker
11 years 4 months ago
Should be interesting...the Black Pope vs. THE Pope....
11 years 4 months ago
They also taught Joe Paterno the all time leader in wins in NCAA college football. A man of compassion and integrity despite how the liberal media treated him. He loved the Jesuits
Dean Mcnamara
11 years 4 months ago
Thanks for the grateful and graceful post. I have done to know everything on 10 things of Jesuits. I've been his child follower since I was at the age of six years old. Reading to this blog grateful of mine very much, hope you will post again like this once again thank you so much..social media on website

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