Are you smarter than a Jesuit?

By Rita Buettner  |  Image by Anne Kostecki

The new pope is a Jesuit! So…what does that mean?

With the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope of the Catholic Church, we have the perfect opportunity to stop, reflect, and consider our knowledge of the Society of Jesus. Yes, it’s the Order that founded the Loyola University Maryland through one of its nine U.S. provinces—as well as hundreds of other schools and universities through its 88 provinces around the world.

But who are the Jesuits? And what makes a Jesuit education different from any other education?

Liberal education offered at Jesuit institutions ensures students place the highest value on the intellectual life, and that they understand the connection between leadership and service to the world. Jesuits are known for their exemplary teaching methods and their commitment to intellectual discovery and to the cause of social justice. They strive to develop the whole person and guide students to lead lives of integrity and honesty. Throughout the history of the Society of Jesus, her members have traveled throughout the world to serve God and lead others to serve Him, as well.

As they teach and serve and fill a variety of roles in their communities around the world, the Jesuits also take the time for prayer, for discernment, and for reflection. And they also have a sense of humor and enjoy friendly competition with others.

So, shoot a quick prayer to ask the Jesuits’ founder, St. Ignatius—or your favorite of the other 50 Jesuit saints and dozens of beatified Jesuits—for a little help, and buckle down for this quiz.

Multiple Choice

1. What does Cura personalis mean?


Cure for an individual

Personalized care

Care for the whole person

Personal curator

2. Which of these quotes is not attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola?


“Teach us to give and not to count the cost.”

“Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

“Go forth and set the world on fire.”

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”

3. The word “magis” refers to:


Miraculous occurrences

The three wise men

A deep spiritual connection

The more

4. During his life St. Ignatius was:


An aristocrat

A priest

A soldier

The youngest of 13 children

All of the above

5. The Jesuit motto, AMDG, stands for:


All Mighty Deeds for God

A Mighty Dog is the Greyhound

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

Ave Maria Dei Gloriam

6. By the time the Society of Jesus was 100 years old, it had sent missionaries throughout the world. In which of these places had Jesuit missionaries not established themselves?








The Philippines

North America

South America

7. When St. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus in 1534, his intent was that the Order would accomplish all of these except:


Strive for the propagation and defense of the faith

Aid the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine

Found and run schools in which students would learn according to Jesuit ideals

Serve as missionaries throughout the world

8. When St. Ignatius traveled to the Holy Land before he started the Society of Jesus:


He was welcomed with open arms

He was struck by the Black Plague

The Franciscan protector of the Holy Sites there told him to return immediately to Europe

He established a church to the Blessed Mother

9. Messina is:


The third largest city in Sicily, Italy

The location of the Jesuits’ first college that welcomed lay students

The name of Loyola’s living learning initiative

All of the above

10. Which of these vows do the Professed members of the Society of Jesus take:





A special vow of obedience to the pope

All of the above

11 The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are meant to be used only by Jesuit priests.




12. In 1614 a ship bearing the right arm of which deceased Jesuit saint miraculously escaped capture by Dutch pirates on the high seas?


St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Francis Xavier

St. Isaac Jogues

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

13. St. Ignatius never wanted his Jesuits to aspire for posts within the Catholic Church. In fact, on March 6, 1603, the Jesuit Superior General Fr. Claudio Acquaviva wrote a letter saying that he had left nothing undone to prevent which Jesuit’s promotion to the post of cardinal by the pope?


Edmund Campion, S.J.

Andrew White, S.J.

Peter Claver, S.J.

Robert Bellarmine, S.J.

14. Before the famous Jesuit master of novices, Fr. John Pujol, died in Avignon, France, in 1633, he ordered one of his novices to water a dry stick. What happened to the stick?


It sprouted miraculously.

It turned into a snake.

It became a fountain of water.

It formed the shape of a cross.

15. The Jesuits are credited with which of these:


Inventing the trap door

Discovering quinine

Introducing what would become tempura to the Japanese

Locating the source of the Blue Nile and charting much of the Amazon and Mississippi rivers

All of the above

16. Thirty-five of these are named for Jesuits:


Churches in Italy

Colleges and universities in the United States

Craters on the Moon

Buildings on Loyola’s campus

17. Which of these quotes is not attributed to St. Francis Xavier?


“Give me the children until they are 7 and anyone may have them afterwards.”

“They would cry out with all their heart: ‘Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like—even to India!'”

“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards one’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”

“Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

18. When St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, and five other students at the University of Paris started the order in 1534, they chose as the founding date Aug. 15 because:


It is the feast of the Annunciation.

It is the feast of the Ascension.

It is the feast of the Assumption.

It is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

19. Which of these celebrities was not Jesuit-educated?



Bing Crosby

Fidel Castro

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Mary Higgins Clark

Al Roker

Denzel Washington


Several buildings on Loyola’s campus are named for Jesuits. Match the Jesuit with his quote.

20. “The school of Christ is the school of love. In the last day, when the general examination takes place…Love will be the whole syllabus.” a. St. Peter Claver, S.J.
21. “We must speak to them with our hands before we speak to them with our lips.” b. Rev. Harold Ridley, S.J.
22. “The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the Faith was planted: so it must be restored.” c. Rev. Joseph Sellinger, S.J.
23. “Far too many just let things happen, stay well within their comfort zones, settle into mediocrity, and never achieve the type of focus and self-discipline essential for success. Don’t let that happen to you. You owe yourselves much, much more.” d. St. Edmund Campion, S.J.
24. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” e. St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
25. “Business will not change Loyola; Loyola will change business.” f. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.


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  • Posted by editor | May 23, 2013

    Sources include: Rev. Charles Borges, S.J., associate professor of history; R. Trent Pomplun, Ph.D., associate professor of theology; Jivan (News and Views of Jesuits in India); and The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by Rev. James Martin, S.J.

  • Posted by Bro. Edward Driscoll CFX | June 2, 2013

    The Church and the world owe much to he Jesuits.

  • Posted by Karen | June 2, 2013

    I don’t at all, but I admire the Jesuits above all the religious. I had the opportunity to visit Loyola this past weekend as the wife of a Golden Greyhound and I admire the good works.

  • Posted by Ignatius | July 31, 2015

    Note that for 2), answer d) is incorrect, although it is often quoted that way.

    The correct quote reads: “Act as if everything depended on GOD; trust as if everything depended on YOU.” This sentence is known as the Havenesi maxim.

    This maxim and its meaning have been discussed extensively by Fr. Paul Valadier SJ, see for instance here (in French):

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