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The Portal’s Essential Document collection offers free access to English translations of some of the most important primary sources in Jesuit history. The selected documents include letters and addresses from the Fathers General–dating back to Ignatius of Loyola–selected decrees and addresses from the General Congregations, and papal bulls, remarks, and other statements to or about the Society of Jesus.

You can search the full contents of the entire Essential Documents collection, or you can browse the collection through the table below.

The inaugural upload to the Essential Documents includes materials related to the founding of the Society of Jesus, statements the fathers general have made on the order’s anniversaries, letters by Ignatius of Loyola, and decrees, homilies, and addresses from the General Congregations. Additional documents will be added in installments.

Contributors to this ever-growing collection include Jesuit Sources, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. To learn how you can contribute to the Essential Documents collection, please contact the Portal’s editors (jesuitportal@bc.edu).

 

Title
Author
Date
Series
Contributor
The Deliberations of Our First Fathers
Maruca, Dominic (translator)
1539
Founding Documents
Maryland Province, Society of Jesus
Cum Ex Plurium (Prima Societatis Iesu instituti summa)
Conwell, Joseph F. (translator)
1539
Founding Documents
Oregon Province, Society of Jesus
The First Jesuits Vow of Obedience
Costellone, M. Joseph (translator)
1539
Founding Documents
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Five Chapters
Aldama, Antonio de (translator)
1539
Founding Documents
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Regimini militantis Ecclesiae
Paul III
1540
Founding Documents
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Dealing with Others
Ignatius of Loyola
1541
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Reconciliation
Ignatius of Loyola
1542
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Obedience
Ignatius of Loyola
1542
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Writing
Ignatius of Loyola
1542
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Fraternal Connection
Ignatius of Loyola
1543
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Charity
Ignatius of Loyola
1545
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Trent
Ignatius of Loyola
1546
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Perfection
Ignatius of Loyola
1547
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Poverty
Ignatius of Loyola
1547
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Prayer
Ignatius of Loyola
1548
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Mission
Ignatius of Loyola
1549
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Exposcit Debitum
Julius III
1550
Founding Documents
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Obedience
Ignatius of Loyola
1550
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on His Resignation
Ignatius of Loyola
1551
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Spiritual Life
Ignatius of Loyola
1551
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Health
Ignatius of Loyola
1551
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Apostolic Activity
Ignatius of Loyola
1551
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Theological Studies
Ignatius of Loyola
1551
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Temporal Duties
Ignatius of Loyola
1552
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Discernment
Ignatius of Loyola
1552
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Missions
Ignatius of Loyola
1552
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Disobedience
Ignatius of Loyola
1552
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Poverty
Ignatius of Loyola
1552
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Obedience
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Confessors
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Encouragement
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Prayers for Nations
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Reading
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Tears
Ignatius of Loyola
1553
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Health
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Heresy
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Moderation
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Obedience
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Universal Good
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on the Virtue of Sickness
Ignatius of Loyola
1554
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Interior Change
Ignatius of Loyola
1555
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Personal Reform
Ignatius of Loyola
1555
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Eloquence
Ignatius of Loyola
1555
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Confession
Ignatius of Loyola
1555
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Language
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Moderation
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Health
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Charity
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Chastity
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Studies
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Scruples
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Opposition
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on the Exercises
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Ignatius on Repression
Ignatius of Loyola
1556
Letters of Ignatius
Institute of Jesuit Sources
The Kind of Person the General Ought to Be
Constitutions of the Society of Jesus
1558
Constitutions
Institute of Jesuit Sources
On the Means of Preserving the Spirit of the Society and of Our Vocation
Borgia, Francis
1569
Addresses of the Fathers General
Woodstock College
On the Centenary of the Society
Vitelleschi, Mutio
1639
Addresses of the Fathers General
Woodstock College
Nosti Profecto
Pius XII
1940
Papal Documents
Maryland Province, Society of Jesus
Quadricentennial Celebration Address
Ledóchowski, Wlodimir
1941
Addresses of the Fathers General
Maryland Province, Society of Jesus
Quadricentennial Celebration Address
Pius XII
1941
Papal Documents
Maryland Province, Society of Jesus
Magna cum iucunditate
Pius XII
1955
Papal Documents
Maryland Province, Society of Jesus
First Papal Address to General Congregation 31
Paul VI
1965
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Second Papal Address to General Congregation 31
Paul VI
1966
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Decree 1: “The Mission of the Society of Jesus Today”
General Congregation 31
1966
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
General Congregation 31 to Pope Paul VI
General Congregation 31
1966
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Men for Others: Agents of Change for the Promotion of Justice
Arrupe, Pedro
1973
Addresses of the Fathers General
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Papal Address to General Congregation 32
Paul VI
1974
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
“Justice with Faith,” at General Congregation 32
Arrupe, Pedro
1974
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Decree 2: “Jesuits Today”
General Congregation 32
1975
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Decree 4: “Our Mission Today”
General Congregation 32
1975
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Papal Address to Pedro Arrupe
Paul VI
1975
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Papal Address to Pedro Arrupe and the General Assistants at General Congregation 32
Paul VI
1975
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Cardinal of State to Pedro Arrupe at General Congregation 32
Villot, Jean-Marie
1975
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
John Paul II’s Homily to General Congregation 33
John Paul II
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Homage to John Paul II by General Congregation 33
General Congregation 33
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Homage to Pedro Arrupe by General Congregation 33
General Congregation 33
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Arrupes Address to General Congregation 33
Arrupe, Pedro
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Arrupe’s Homily to General Congregation 33
Arrupe, Pedro
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Kolvenbach’s First Homily to General Congregation 33
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Kolvenbach’s Second Homily to General Congregation 33
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Kolvenbach’s Homily Closing General Congregation 33
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
1983
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
John Paul IIs Allocution to General Congregation 34
John Paul II
1995
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Introductory Discourses to General Congregation 34
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
1995
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Homily Closing General Congregation 34
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
1995
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Benedict XVIs Letter to Kolvenbach, for General Congregation 35
Benedict XVI
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Letter to Kolvenbach by General Congregation 35
General Congregation 35
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Kolvenbachs Letter to Benedict XVI, for General Congregation 35
Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Papal Address to General Congregation 35
Benedict XVI
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Nicolás’s First Homily to General Congregation 35
Nicolás, Adolfo
2008
 General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Homily Closing General Congregation 35
Nicolás, Adolfo
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources
Decree 2: “A Fire that Kindles Other Fires”
General Congregation 35
2008
General Congregations
Institute of Jesuit Sources