Company of Jesus

A Third-Order Benedictine, Franciscan & Celtic Community

The History of the Company of Jesus

Br. Bp.+Peter Riola, the Founder and first Abbot of our Order, formerly of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC), and before that an ECUSA member. He was originally drawn to Ignatian spirituality and so chose a name that was very close to the Society of Jesus of the Jesuits. Later, however, his interest switched to Benedict. The Order grew to some 200 members at one point and eventually became rather much to handle. As +Peter neared retirement, numbers began dwindling and he looked for a successor. It was at that time he came to know Fr. Geoffrey Ames.

Br. Bp +Geoffrey Ames, Founder of the Franciscan Servants of the Holy Cross, an order within the CEEC. It was decided to merge the two groups, keeping the Company of Jesus (COJ) name, and with Fr. Ames taking on the job of Abbot. In late 2003 Br. +Geoff went to Kuwait and Iraq as a military chaplain and eventually received several awards, including the Army Commendation Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal. He handed off the Abbot's job to Br. Mark Camp.

Br. Abp +Mark Camp served as the treasurer of the Order before becoming Abbot. Br. Mark was ordained in Sparta, Tennessee under Bp. +Rob Hoyt of the CEEC and was (is) a Franciscan in the COJ. In 2004, Fr. Mark became a bishop with his own churches, and Br. Andrew Counts+ was asked to take on the Abbot's job. Later, Bp. +Mark became the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Br. Abbot Andrew Counts+ made his profession as a Benedictine in the Order in 2002, and shortly thereafter became the Order's Director of Benedictine Vocations. In 2004, he was consecrated Abbot by Bp. Mark Camp. Abbot Counts+ has faithfully served the Order ever since.

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