The Society of Jesus - also known as the Jesuits - is a religious order of men within the Roman Catholic Church. Founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola and nine companions, the Society numbers close to 18,000 men and is present in more than 125 countries.

Ignatius of Loyola and six of his companions founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.  It was in that year that this group received formal approval from the pope, then Pope Paul III. At the age of 30, Inigo Lopez de Loyola, a Spanish nobleman, had his leg shattered by a cannon ball at the Battle of Pamplona 1521. During his convalescence in the castle of Loyola, Inigo was initially disappointed to find that there were only two books in the house: The Life of Christ and The Lives of the Saints. He read these books to pass the time, but gradually his mind was turned towards the things of God and away from his romantic fantasies.

Ignatius began to notice that he felt more at peace when he entertained ambitions of doing great things for God than when he thought about his romantic conquests. After he had recovered, he began to pray, fast and do penance. He also sought to find what God was asking of him. After many adventures, he decided to become a priest and took up studies in Paris where the new “company” was born. St. Ignatius and his small group of friends went to Rome to ask the Pope for a mission to Jerusalem. That not being possible, St. Ignatius remained in Rome to take up the governance of the new religious order. His friends were sent all over Europe as part of the Counter-reformation, and eventually throughout the world as missionaries.

Perhaps the most famous of St. Ignatius’ companions is St. Francis Xavier who was a missionary in India and Japan and died just before obtaining passage to China. One of the distinguishing aspects of the Jesuits throughout history, and all followers of Ignatian spirituality, is the unique spiritual preparation and discipline developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Out of his own conversion experience, Ignatius began to write a manual of “exercises” to deepen one’s relationship with the Lord. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola is a classic of Christian Spirituality and the hallmark of Jesuit preparation. Today people in all walks of life are discovering its rich treasures and making it their own resource to spiritual growth.

Jesuit Education is known in the world. The most important apostolate of the Jesuits was and is educational apostolate. In South Asia we have hundreds of primary and secondary educational institutions. All these are linked together under Jesuit Educational Association of South Asia (JEA SA, The JEA Secretariat is in New Delhi, in the POSAs official residence/office. The JEA consists of all the Province Co-ordinators. For the smooth and effective functioning the JEA is divided into 4 Zones: Southern, Central, Northern and Western Zones. Each Zone is having a Zonal Coordinator (see below), who in turn communicates with the JEA Secretary. JEA Secretary visits all the Zones and provinces to see the implementation of the Vision and Mission of the Society. The JEA Secretary is also a member of the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JESUIT EDUCATION. He is also the ex-officio coordinator of Jesuit Alumni Association of South Asia.


Jesuit education is spread out all over the world (click on for the global map of Jesuit schools and all the information about our schools). The history of Jesuit education begins in India in 1543, with the beginning of St. Paul’s College in Goa. This school was for the native Indians as well as for the Portugese. This was the first Jesuit College/school in the East.

After that Jesuit Edsucation spread to Bengal, Madurai, Bombay and Mangalore. These were before the suppression of the Society. After the restoration of the Society there was a wide spread of Jesuit Institutions in the Country. The English Jesuits started St. Xavier’s school in Bengal in 1836. The programme of studies was modelled on that followed in Europe.

The Belgian Jesuits arrived at the end of 1859 and took over St. John’s school, which was started by the ruling prelate. This school was renamed as St. Xavier’s school and brought to the place where the St. Xavier’s educational complex stands today. The Belgian Jesuits moved to Ranchi too from the Bengal Mission in 1885 under the leadership of famous Fr. Contant Lievens. He opened a dozen of schools in and around Ranchi belt.

The Madurai Mission was a significant Jesuit activity in India. It started in 1838 and manned by the French Missionaries. St. Joseph’s Nagapatanam was a prominent centre of education at that time. Here is a list of Jesuit schools and their founding years.




St. Joseph’s college, Tiruchirappalli



St. Joseph’s College HS, Tiruchirappalli



St. Paul’s HS School, Belgaum



St. Xavier’s Collegiate school, Calcutta



St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta



St. Stanislaus HS, Bombay



St. Mary’s ISC School, Bombay



St. Mary’s SSC School, Bombay



St. Vincent HS, Pune



St. Xavier’s College, Bombay



St. Xavier’s HS, Bombay



St. Aloysius College HS, Mangalore



St. Aloysius College, Mangalore



St. Xavier’s HS, Palayamkottai



St. Joseph’s HS, Calicut

1883 (1793) Oldest


St. Xavier’s HS, Tutucorin



St. Michael’s Anglo Indian HS, Kannur

1887 (1864)


St. Joseph’s HS, North Point, Darjeeling



St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling



St. Alphonsus HS, Kurseong



St. John’s HS, Ranchi


Objectives of Jesuit Education in India


One of the main objectives for starting Jesuit Schools and colleges in India is the educational upliftment of the people. Our education has empowered both Catholics and others. Our option for the poor has empowered innumerable people, especially those who are economically and socially weak, because, the Jesuit believe in faith that does Justice. Our faith in God is manifested in our doing justice to humanity. 


Today our involvement in formal education is quite large in South Asia. We have almost 400 schools,86 Colleges, 32 technical institutes and a host of non formal educational centres in all parts of India and other countries. Almost all our institutions performs well in academic and non academic areas. We have distinguished alumni too in large number. Jesuit Alumni Association of India (JAAI) is the umbrella organisation of all the Alumni units in India.


Jesuit educational institutions insist on staff formation. We try to give them all modern trends in education and also Jesuit legacy, IPP, Multiple Intelligences, and a host of other modern educational information to make them excellent and competent educators.


Problems and Concerns today


We have a lot of challenges too to look into. Our education is inclusive and integral. How to give this to the rural and economically and socially deprived section is a great concern for us today. How much of our endeavours fulfil the ‘faith-justice mandate’ is to be evaluated. JEA has undertaken certain programmes to ascertain this aspect through external evaluations and remedial training and classes are given wherever needed. Some provinces has already set up Research centres on education.

There is also too much of Governmental interferences and restrictions which is not allowing the integral formation of students as we visualise. There are certain fringe groups targeting our schools too is a serious concern for the effective running of the schools. Our schools and colleges must be educating the entire society for making a better world.

We must ask ourselves always this question, ‘how to make our education better and relevant to the needs and aspirations of the people and the country.


Goals of JEA


JEA has set a few goals for all the schools. They are; faith formation of the Catholic children. For others faith formation is done ‘in consonance with their religious and cultural roots”. We have identified a few thrust areas like Ecology, Reconciliation and Peace, Communal Harmony, and quality Jesuit Education. Our Triennial 2017 in Bhubaneswar came out with the “Bhubaneswar Statement’ based on it all the provinces are expected to prepare action plan and implement them seriously.


We, the Jesuit School educators and our partners in mission, numbering 240 from 399 schools in the South Asian Assistancy came together for the JEA Triennial meet at Xavier University, Bhubaneswar from 6-9, October,2017, discussed and deliberated on our mission/schools in the context of GC 36.

In the light of....

  1. GC36, calling us for a genuine reconciliation with God, human beings and Mother Earth,
  2. The global scenario where market oriented economy and the resultant consumerist culture being actively promoted and the narrow individualism being asserted
  3. The Indian context of the assertion and promotion of a toxic mix of a fundamentalist and neo-liberal corporate agenda that undermines India’s secular, democratic traditions and constitutional values and similar manifestations in other parts of South Asia
  4. Education being commercialized, communalized and corporatized
  5. The present educational system and scenario reinforcing divisions, prejudices, exclusions and the existing inequalities undermining the harmony in our interconnectedness and interdependence.

We are convinced of and committed to

  1. Make discernment our way of life at the individual, community and institutional levels to bring in the needed innovations to make our institutions/ministry relevant;
  2. Promote and nurture active lay and religious collaboration in and through our ministry.
  3. Collaborate and network with people of goodwill, civil society and other organizations that share our vision/mission and values and take up unitedly affirmative actions to ensure India’s secular, democratic traditions, constitutional values and pluralism through non-violent, compassionate and inclusive approach and thus promote reconciliation, peace, justice and harmony.
  4. Actively promote academic and human excellence leading to critical thinking, spiritual depth and a change of mindset that embraces the entire cosmos as our one common heritage and home and the humanity transcending all the narrow barriers and biases.

Thus, Jesuit education in India and in South Asia is dynamically moving forward. I am sure, all our stake holders will march with us on our onward journey to make our nations strong and our people empowered.  


Sunny Jacob SJ


Secretary, JEASA

National Adviser, JAAI