German Version

August 7th 1814 - Re-Establishment of the Society of Jesus

In the year 1814 the Jesuit Order was re-established in the whole world by the bull 'Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum', only forty one years after its abolition.

Pius VII, who before his election as Pope was Abbot of the Benedictines in St Paul Before the Walls, was kindly disposed to the Society of Jesus. During his French captivity under Napoleon in Fontainebleau the thought matured in him to re-establish the Order. After his return from the captivity on May 20th 1814 that idea was realized by him unexpectedly fast - hardly three months later.

On August 7th 1814 the Pope went to the church Il Gesù and celebrated Mass at the Ignatius altar. In the Sodality Chapel of the aristocrats he let then read out the papal bull which restored the Jesuit Order for the whole earth. Eighteen cardinals and many high dignitaries were present. Also distinguished women took part, like the Princess Mary-Louisa, a niece of King Charles III of Spain, who was there with her sons. From the Order one hundred fifty surviving Jesuits were there.

Cardinal Bartholomew Pacca, a friend of the Society of Jesus, described the moving procedure in his memoirs. He wrote: 'I saw both events personally in Rome, the abolition of the Order by Clemens XIV, and its re-establishment by Pius VII, and I remember quite well the impression which both caused. On August 17th 1773 one saw astonishment and pain on the faces of all inhabitants of Rome about the proclamation of the breve 'Dominus ac Redemptor noster'. It is however impossible to describe the outbreaks of rejoicing and the applause of the good Roman people which accompanied on August 7th 1814 Pius VII by his triumph from the Quirinal to the church Il Gesù, and after the announcement of the papal bull on his way back from there. I was allowed to number that day among the few which granted, in the midst of the continued bitterness of my painful ministry, some comfort to me.' (Lex. cf. Pacca)

The General of the Order, Brzozowski in Polocz, could not be present. The Tsarina refused his journey to Rome. He was represented by Father Panizzoni, a veteran of 85 years. Father Brzozowski was from Ermland. Born in 1749, he entered in 1765 the Polish Province, became in 1773 Provincial of White Russia and in 1805 General. He died in 1820.

The new Society needed a General with wisdom and firmness. That was Father Johannes Roothaan from 1829 to 1853. He directed the apostolate toward the mission countries, underlined the thoroughness of the studies, and recognized the Spiritual Exercises as the heart of all works of the Order.

In Rome the Society of Jesus got back the Professed House, likewise the church Il Gesù, and the noviciate St Andrea.
In the year 1814 the Order numbered about 600 members. Their number grew only slowly. In 1864 there were about 8.000, in 1914 about 17.000 and in the Jubilee Year 1964 about 36.000.

 

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