Accommodating religious beliefs

In 2013 Francis I became the first Jesuit to be elected pope. The island of Mauritius was apparently uninhabited until 1638.The early Jesuits, however, also produced preachers and catechists who devoted themselves to the care of the young, the sick, prisoners, prostitutes, and soldiers; they also were often called upon to undertake the controversial task of confessor to many of the royal and ruling families of Europe.The society entered the foreign mission field within months of its founding as Ignatius sent Saint Francis Xavier, his most gifted companion, and three others to the East.By the middle of the 18th century a variety of adversaries, both lay and clerical, were seeking to destroy the order.

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By the time of Ignatius’s death in 1556, about 1,000 Jesuits were already working throughout Europe and in Asia, Africa, and the New World.

Particular emphasis was laid upon the virtue of obedience, including special obedience to the pope.

Emphasis was also placed upon flexibility, a condition that allowed Jesuits to become involved in a great variety of ministries in all parts of the world.

Work in education on all levels continued to involve more Jesuits than any other activity; however, the number of Jesuits working in the mission fields, especially in Asia and Africa, exceeded that of any other religious order.

They were also involved in a broad and complex list of activities, including work in the field of communications, in social work, in ecumenism, and even in politics.

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