The English Reformation is not practically concerned with the Oratorians; nor did the Jesuits influence it before the reign of Elizabeth. But their great and protracted campaign against that monarch vitally affected the national sentiment in her reign, intensifying and crystallising the anti-Roman feeling which the Marian persecution had already aroused. It will therefore not be out of place to give some attention to those early days of the Order that were contemporaneous with the main events with which we have to deal.
Unlike most important movements, the one which took form in the Society of Jesus was not, as the phrase goes, " in the air"; it was conceived in the brain of a single man, Ignatius Loyola. Reform was in the air; but the method adopted was Loyola's own creation. A young knight full of martial ardour, he was struck down in battle; when he rose from his sickbed, it was with a resolution to exchange earthly for heavenly warfare. There had been soldiers of the Cross before, but they had fought with the arm of flesh. The new idea was, to introduce military organisation into the warfare of the spirit. The utter obedience of the soldier to his superior officers is the principle that makes armies invincible; it was the beginning and the middle and the end of the association that Loyola conceived. Obedience to the right rule of life is enjoined upon all men; obedience to the rules of an order is enjoined upon members of the order; not only obedience to these, but submission absolute, unquestioning, unhesitating to every injunction from a superior officer was to be the fundamental law of the society.
Even in Loyola's own mind the idea did not take immediate and final shape. For years he gave himself up to a personal training which should fit him for the end he had in view; prayer and fasting, study and travel, the subjugation of the flesh, the education of the brain, the purification of the spirit, to these he devoted himself. Towards 1530 he met, and so to speak absorbed, the kindred spirit, Francois Xavier; in 1534 they and five others at Montmartre solemnly formed themselves into a company, the nucleus of one of the mightiest organisations for good..that the world has known. They preached, they taught, they inspired, they became a power: in those early days, a power with a single eye to the service, as they understood it, of the Saviour.
Link (here) to the portion of the book entitled Cranmer and the Reformation.