Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez




Chapter I.
Settlement in a New Place

How the Society ought to conduct itself when it commences a settlement in a new place.

I. An explanation of the design of the society, prescribed in those rules, which declare that the society ought to labor with as great diligence for the good of others, as for its own, will render it acceptable to the people of the place; therefore the humblest duties in the hospitals ought to be performed; the poor and the afflicted, and those in prison, should be visited and the confessions of all promptly received, that by such uncommon benevolence to all, and by the novelty of the thing, the principal inhabitants may admire and love us.

II. Let all remember that the power to exercise the offices of the society is to be requested modestly and religiously, and that they should study to make all chiefly ecclesiastical, but also secular, whose influence we want, favorable to themselves.

III. Also let them take care to visit distant places, where having explained our poverty, alms, however small, may be received, which should again be given to others who are poor, so that they who do not as yet know the society, may be won, and may be so much the more liberal towards us.

IV. Let all appear to breathe the same spirit, and so learn the same exterior deportment, that by such uniformity in such variety of persons, every one may be attracted; they who do otherwise should be dismissed as injurious.

V. In the commencement, let our members be careful in buying lands; but if they should purchase for us those well situated, let this be done in the fictitious name of some faithful and confidential friend; and that our poverty may better appear, let the estates which are near to places in which we may have colleges, be assigned by the provincial to remote institutions, by which it will be impossible that rulers or magistrates can ever have certain knowledge of the society.

VI. Let not our members make any location for a college, except in wealthy cities; for the object of the society is to imitate Christ, our Saviour, who resided generally in Jerusalem, but only passed through other places of less importance.

VII. Let the utmost means be always extorted from widows, and our extreme poverty be proven to them.

VIII. In every province let no one, except the provincials, know precisely the value of the revenues. Let what is in the treasury at Rome, be sacred.

IX. Let us proclaim, and every where in conversation announce, that we have come for the education of youth, and the good of the people, and that all things will be performed gratis, and without respect of persons, and that we will not be a burden to the community, as other religious orders are.