August 15, 1534
Today marks an important date in the history of St. Ignatius and the Society of Jesus. On August 15, 1534, Ignatius and six other men took vows of poverty and chastity at a crypt in Montmartre, outside of Paris, laying the groundwork for the founding of the Society of Jesus. Only three years later Ignatius was ordained a priest, and the Jesuits were formally constituted as a religious order in 1540.
Special Collections & Archives has many items related to the life of St. Ignatius and the founding of the Jesuits. One of the oldest of these materials is the Constitutiones Societatis Iesu cum earum Declarationibus, published in 1583, only 43 years after the Society of Jesus was founded. This volume can be found in the Jesuit Archives which are housed at Loyola and contains the official Latin version of St. Ignatius’ own Spanish revision. The contents concern the laws of the Society of Jesus, including who may be admitted, grounds for dismissal, general health care, guidelines for founding and administration of schools, and the vows of poverty.
The Constitutiones Societatis Iesu has been digitized by many institutions. The 1583 publication is digitized in full and available in La Biblioteca Virtual de Patrimonio Bibliográfico. The University of Wisconsin – Madison has digitized the 1838 version which includes an English translation.
Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.