A dedicated Jesuit priest struggles to understand the decline of the Society of Jesus and turns to former students for guidance in this intriguing novel. Retreat from Manresa: a Jesuit Story At the heart of the modern decline in the influence of the Catholic Church is the story of the decline in numbers and influence of the Jesuits
This book is a fictional account of the internal conditions that have led to the decline of this once great religious order. The history of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits, begins at Manresa in Spain where the founder, St Ignatius Loyola, prayed and wrote the Spiritual Exercises which became the core of the order''s unique spirituality and which every Jesuit was required to make twice in his long thirteen-year formation, once at the beginning in the novitiate and at the end in tertianship. Once known as the black popes with a special vow of obedience to the pontiff, the Jesuits have since fallen into the ranks of the unofficial opposition to the recent popes, especially Pope John Paul II. Through a fictional account of the lives of four principal characters, Retreat from Manresa tells the story of this transformation of the Jesuit order. Unlike several other such novels, however, this one is not written out of a well of bitterness; it is, on the contrary, written from a large reservoir of affection. An affection, however, tinged with a deep sadness.