Society of Jesus

jesuitsThe Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was founded by St. Ignatius, who lived from 1491-1556. In 1852, Bishop Armand-Francois-Marie de Charbonnel of Toronto appointed Fr. John Holzer, SJ, to be the pastor in Guelph. The parish was to be under the care of the Jesuits for about 80 years, until 1931. Fr. Holzer founded St. Joseph Hospital in 1861, to be operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton Diocese. In 1874 his successor, Fr. P. Hamel, SJ, began plans for the building of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph. Construction began in 1877 and was completed in 1926. During this time, the Jesuits reached out from Guelph and established many parishes.

In 1929, property located north of Guelph was purchased by the English Canadian Jesuits to establish St. Stanislaus Novitiate. The Novitiate was incorporated in 1958 and its name was changed to Ignatius College. In 1964 Loyola Retreat House relocated from Oakville to Guelph. After a period of transition, the property was named Ignatius Jesuit Centre in 2000..

The charisms of the Jesuits are to “find God in all things” and to work “for the greater glory of God”. Presently there are five Jesuits serving in the Diocese of Hamilton. They continue their ministry at Ignatius Jesuit Centre and serve Holy Rosary Parish in Guelph. In addition to retreat work and care for the environment, they have had a long tradition of ministry at the University of Guelph.

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