20 November 2009

Presenting...Frankie X & the Jesuits! (Part I)

Hello, my dearest blog devotees...I hope you enjoyed my sojourn into the secretive world of Mason Locke "Parson" Weems. But now it is time for another ramble into the realm of the Cabinet. Be mindful of the fur coats--you might wind up in Narnia! Let ol' Prof. C tell you a tale of mystery and intrigue, of the distant Orient in days of yore! Okay, it may not be that exciting, but it will be interesting, I promise.

I was searching through my Cabinet the other day, as is my want, and I happened to stumble upon an old rosary that I had picked up during my travels in Japan. Nippon, you say? Why, I thought Shintoism was the state religion there, or maybe Buddhism, but definitely not the Big C! Ah, but you are wrong--let me take you back to the fifteenth and/or sixteenth century..... Once upon a time, there was a crazy Basque gentlemen named Eneko Loiolakoa. No, he was not a fisherman, or a terrorist. Perhaps you know him better as Ignacio López de Loyola? Getting closer? How about Ignatius of Loyola? Bingo!

Eneko was super-angry about the Reformation--I mean MAD. So irate that he wanted to establish a spiritual army to fight for Catholicism in the world at large. On the Ides of August 1534, Ignatius met with six of his young Turk friends from the Sorbonne, AKA the University of Paris I at the crypt of the Chapel of St Denis outside of the City of Lights. Wait, you're thinking, did he just say they MET IN A CRYPT? An auspicious beginning for a religious order, am I right? For the next six years, Ignatius and his gang, calling themselves "Amigos en el Señor," ("Fellowship of the Ring" in Esperanto, the utopian synthetic language they adopted to secretly communicate with one another) the group, which included future Catholic superstars St. Francis Xavier, Diego Laynez, and Tom Monaghan, vowed themselves to observe poverty and chastity, and to "enter upon hospital and missionary work in Jerusalem, or to go without questioning wherever the pope might direct." Pretty heady stuff!

So, the boys went on a road trip to Rome in 1537 to seek papal approval from Paul III, who ordained them and blessed their mission. At first, they were limited to an elite group of sixty, but soon there awesomeness couldn't be contained to a mere five dozen who would "strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine."  What does the future hold for our daring Basque boys? Only the Cabinet (and Wikipedia) knows...

Frankie X.

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