Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) - An institute dedicated to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge in Africa and its adjacent islands

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Who are the Jesuits?

Simply put, Jesuits are members of the Society of Jesus, a religious Order in the Catholic Church. The members are brothers and priests or students preparing to become either of them. In 1975, the Society described a Jesuit in slightly more complex terms: "a man whose mission is to dedicate himself entirely to the service of faith and the promotion of justice, in a communion of life and work and sacrifice with companions who have rallied round the same standard of the Cross and in fidelity to the Vicar of Christ, for the building up of a world at once more human and more divine" (Society of Jesus, 32nd General Congregation, d.2, n.31).

stignatiusloyolaSt Ignatius of Loyola in contemporary Ethiopian art

The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St Ignatius of Loyola and nine other companions. It grew very fast, quickly spreading to all the continents in its early decades. In Africa, Jesuits first reached Mozambique in 1541, Congo and Angola in 1548, Ethiopia in 1555, and Zimbabwe in 1560. Today Jesuits carry out ministries in 36 African countries, from parish work to spiritual guidance, and from social service to education. Since 1994, Jesuits have viewed their mission in Africa as one that involves "the challenge of building up a young and vibrant African Church, rooted in the richness of different cultures, creating new bonds of solidarity among their peoples and struggling to overcome the global forces that tend to marginalize the whole continent" (Society of Jesus, 34th General Congregation, d.2, n.17).

cameroondeaconA new Cameroonian Jesuit Deacon sharing his joy with a father and child

After they were founded, the Jesuits advanced rapidly in the field of education, at some point earning for themselves the title "Educators of Europe". In more recent times, Jesuit involvement in university education, especially in America, has sustained the Society of Jesus in the academic limelight. There has been a similar but more modest involvement in schools, colleges and research centres in Africa and Madagascar. At the moment, Jesuits in different parts of the continent are planning for a greater investment of resources and personnel in higher education and in research. JHIA fits in this larger picture as a commitment of the Society of Jesus to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge in Africa and Madagascar.

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Upcoming International Forum

Upcoming International Forum

  'Encounters between Catholics and Protestants in Africa' is an upcoming international forum organized by the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa... Read more

Fr General's Visit to JHIA

Fr General's Visit to JHIA

The Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) would like to thank the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr... Read more

2017 Diary: Africa in Recent GCs

2017 Diary: Africa in Recent GCs

The 2017 JHIA Diary is here! This product is now available for circulation. We trust that our patrons can order... Read more

JHIA Joins RefoRC

JHIA Joins RefoRC

During its meeting of May 2015, the Board of RefoRC accepted the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) as member... Read more

What Is Happening At JHIA?

What Is Happening At JHIA?

In the last twelve months, JHIA has received three major shipments of books—two from Oxford, UK, and one from Rome,... Read more