The Ratio Studiorum of 1599

St. Ignatius of Loyola (seated) studying in a Jesuit school whose program of study is preserved for us in the Ratio Studiorum.The Ratio Studiorum, or Rule of Studies, published by the Society of Jesus in 1599 is a key historical resource in researching, restoring, publishing and teaching the true classical Catholic curriculum today.  When we consider that St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, died in 1562, we realize that the Ratio was published in the golden age of the order, just as its famous saints had finished their amazing lives.

The Ratio Studiorum provides us with a complete curriculum, intended to preserve the classical Catholic curriculum as it came under attack from groups that targeted Scholastic Philosophy as their chief enemy.  With the anti-Catholic spirit of the “Scientific Revolution” and the “Protestant Reformation” on the other, the Jesuits rose up to defend the traditional system of learning and the Ratio Studiorum reveals their understanding of that system.

Below, I have embedded a digital copy of an English translation of the Ratio Studiorum.  I’d also like to recommend a book by Robert Schwickerath titled “Jesuit Education, It History and Principles Viewed in the Light of Modern Educational Problems” (1903). Studying these texts together helps us to get a very clear sense of the Jesuit mission in education and how it’s changed over time.  (Remember the Jesuit order was completely suppressed from 1773-1814).  Understanding that the Jesuit spirit before the suppression and that which followed it are very different.  We need to look back to the spirit of the founders of the order and the litany of saints the order produced and learn about Catholic education.

The Ratio Studiorum states that “it is the principal ministry of the Society of Jesus to educate youth in every branch of knowledge that is in keeping with its Institute. The aim of our educational program is to lead men to the knowledge and love of our Creator and Redeemer.”

It is this very mission that we seek to serve and promote in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy.

God bless your studies,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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