|The University of Messina|
................the Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum Societatis Iesu, which can be translated as The Official Plan for Jesuit Education. It can be considered to be one of the great early achievements of the Jesuit order. I say early, because even though it was not issued until 1599, it had already been about 50 years in the making. The first Jesuit school had opened in Messina, Sicily, in 1548, eight years after the foundation of the order. By the time Ignatius died in 1556 there were thirty-five colleges. These institutions were equivalent to American high schools augmented by the first two years of a college curriculum. Those that went on to add philosophy and theology faculties approached something that paralleled our universities. Two centuries brought the number of Jesuit educational institutions around the world to a total of 800. Thus the Society averaged four new schools per year.