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Call Me Russel

  • Date Submitted: 11/08/2015 04:49 PM
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(adapted from www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/jesuits/)

The Society of Jesus was founded in Paris in 1534 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish soldier who underwent a profound religious experience while recovering from serious wounds. Loyola called the society "The Company of Jesus" to indicate its military spirit. The order was authorized in September 1540 to ordain* its members.

1 The Jesuit Mission

Inspired by the writings of their founder, the Jesuits quickly became known as the schoolmasters of Europe - teaching not only the basics of the Catholic faith but also subjects as varied as the Latin* and dancing.

The Jesuits' mission was to teach people "the way into heaven," and they declared themselves "ready to die for the honour of ... [their] good Lord and for the salvation* of these poor people." In the New World, their goal was to bring lost souls to Christianity, and they were willing to endure hardships and to shed their blood to succeed.

2 Jesuits in New France

The Jesuits first came to New France as missionaries in 1611. The Jesuits were linguists*, explorers, and ethnographers*. They learned Aboriginal languages and customs, developed dictionaries and grammars, and translated and preserved much of the history and traditions in their documents. The most famous of these documents is the Jesuit Relations, which includes details of their missions and activities and both the successes and failures of the Jesuits in their attempts to convert Native peoples.

The Jesuits, or, as Aboriginals called them, "Blackrobes" because of their long black cloaks, lived among the Montagnais, an Algonquian tribe, and among the Huron, who spoke an Iroquoian language. They held long conversations with the Aboriginals learning their language and customs. As the Blackrobes' goal was to convert the First Nations to Christianity, they tried to find common points between the Native religions and Christianity. Although Blackrobes made a significant...


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