The first Jesuit Pope celebrated the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus at the 'Gesu' Church in Rome.
Pope Francis presided over Vespers with a painting of Our Lady of the Way present on the main altar. It is an image that is venerated by the Society, especially by their founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, who prayed often to Her in Rome.
The Pope spoke about the time the Jesuits were suppressed and reminded them of how God accompanied them.
"God loves us and he saves us. At times the path that takes us to life is strait and narrow, but tribulation, if lived in the light of mercy, purifies us like fire, it gives us so much consolation and inflames our hearts, making it accustomed to prayer”.
Pope Francis also asked the Jesuits to be "expert and courageous rowers” and to always be at the service of the Church.
"Row then! Row, be strong, even with the winds against you! Let us row at the service of the Church! Let us row together!
Before leaving, the Pope blessed a recently installed painting at the 'Gesu' Church. It is called the "Descent of Christ” and three important Jesuits are portrayed, among them, Fr. Pedro Arrupe.