The order consists of scholastics (students), priests who are either fully professed or not, and brothers. The Jesuit novice after two years becomes a scholastic or a brother in formation, and takes his first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience simply. Some years after, at the close of a second period of prayer and ministry, he takes his final vows and is ranked among the coadjutors or fully professed. The professed priests are bound by a fourth vow, from which only the pope can dispense, requiring them to go wherever the pope may send them for missionary duty. The Society is governed by a General who holds office for life. He has associated with him “Assistants” (five at the present time), representing different provinces. The Jesuits have displayed in their enterprises a high degree of zeal, learning, and skill, but, by their enemies, have been generally reputed to use art and intrigue in promoting or accomplishing their purposes, whence the words Jesuit, Jesuitical, and the like, have acquired an opprobrious sense.
Those who come forward and offer themselves to the Society of Jesus, whether to be priests or brothers, already possess great gifts and talents. Many have academic and professional qualifications. All of these are to be placed at the disposal of the Society in the service of the Church with the expectation that the Society will use them wisely.