Who We Are


Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola and commonly called the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus is the largest male religious order of the Catholic Church. Serving in 112 nations on six continents, we number nearly 20,000 priests, brothers and seminarians worldwide, all of whom observe vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Men who are called to the Society of Jesus desire to be "contemplatives in action" – combining faith and the promotion of justice.

For easy administration, Jesuits worldwide are divided into geographic provinces. The Wisconsin Province consists of seven states in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains: Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Jesuits have been in what is now the Wisconsin Province since Father Claude Allouez founded a mission on the shores of Lake Superior near present-day Ashland, Wisconsin in 1660. The Jesuits who came after him were active in many pursuits, including work among the Native Americans of the region. Today, Wisconsin Province Jesuits serve in ministries throughout the world, as pastors and retreat directors, high school and college teachers, lawyers, doctors, psychologists and counselors, writers and journalists, theologians and philosophers, researchers and scientists, and more.

The Jesuits can only work for the greater honor and glory of God with the help and support of laypeople who share in their vision. Learn more about how you can join us in our mission.