The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J., SJ, or SI) is a religious order of men called Jesuits, who follow the teachings of the . Jesuit and brothers—also sometimes known colloquially as "God's Marines" and as "The Company", this terminology because of founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background—are engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents reflecting the Formula of the Institute(principle) of the Society. They are known in the fields of education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits in addition to missionary work, giving retreats, hospital and parish ministry, promoting social justice and ecumenical dialogue.
The Society was founded by St. Ignatius who, after being wounded in battle, experienced a religious conversion and composed the Spiritual Exercises in order to help others to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ more closely. In 1534, Ignatius gathered six young men, including St. Francis Xavier and Bl. Pierre Favre, and together they professed vows of poverty and chastity, and then later, obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope. Rule 13 of Ignatius' Rules for Thinking with the Church said: "That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity, if [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black who to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black."Ignatius' plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by the bull containing the Formula of the Institute. The opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded to "strive especially for the propagation and defence of the faith and progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine. The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and later in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church.
The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General currently Adolfo Nicolás. The headquarters of the Society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of St Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.