Ignatius of Loyola, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to his well-beloved brothers in Jesus Christ, the Superiors and Members of the Society of Jesus, salutation in our Lord. As the true charity which obliges us to embrace the whole body of the Church in Jesus Christ its Head,
requires us to apply more especially remedies to those portions of this same body which are suffering from dangerous sickness, we have thought it right that our Society should devote itself with particular attention, according to the feeble measure of our powers, to the succour of Germany and the northern nations whom the malady of heresy exposes to the greatest dangers.
And although in other ways we discharge this duty, and many amongst us endeavour to give succour to these countries by our prayers and the holy sacrifice of the Mass, nevertheless, in order that this duty of charity to our neighbour may be exercised for a longer time and in a more extensive sphere, we give orders to all our brothers, both to those who are under our immediate rule, and those who are placed under the authority of Rectors and other Superiors appointed to govern, to say, if they are Priests, every month a Mass, and if they are not Priests, to recite prayers for the spiritual wants of Germany:
that the Lord may be pleased at last to have mercy upon that nation and the other lands which heresy has infected by its contagion, and to bring them back by His grace to the purity of the Catholic faith and true religion.
And we wish that they should continue to do so, as long as the want of these countries shall remain. We wish also that wherever the Society is established, no province, though it were at the furthest extremities of the Indies, be exempt from this duty of charity.
Rome, July 25, 1553.