The Fifth Week

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Loyola Press offices will be closed beginning 4:30 pm (CST) on Friday, December 20th, 2019 through Friday, January 3rd, 2020. All orders placed on our website or by email during that period will begin processing on Monday, January 6th, 2020. Order early to avoid shipping delays. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Fifth Week

Second Edition



Every Jesuit novice makes a long retreat—the full Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. One month long, this retreat is divided into four flexible weeks of meditation: the first week is on the principle and foundation of life; the second on the life of Jesus; the third on the passion and death he suffered; and the fourth on the new, resurrected life of the children of God.

And the fifth week is the rest of the Jesuit’s life.

The Fifth Week by William J. O’Malley, SJ, has sold over 26,000 copies since its first publication in 1976. Its pages have encouraged young men listening for their vocations and intrigued countless other readers with stories of Jesuit saints and martyrs, as well as ordinary Jesuits, each fulfilling his unique mission—whether as carpenter, poet, mathematician, or mystic—each living according to his individual talents and interests, but all for the greater honor and glory of God.

Because the accidentals of Jesuit life and training have evolved in the past two decades, this new edition updates the original by adding James Martin’s new afterword  in which he explores recent developments in Jesuit formation. Father O’Malley has updated other chapters to reflect educational initiatives and training programs launched in the wake of Vatican II.

The body and soul of this Second Edition of The Fifth Week are still the stirring accounts of the lives and deaths of Ignatius the founder and Xavier the missionary to the East; of Campion, Ciszek, and Chardin in Europe; of Brébeuf and Lord and Pro in the West. We follow O’Malley’s personal journey through questions and doubts to self-knowledge and the dynamic equilibrium of his commitment to life in the Society of Jesus. With humor and  tolerance he records the drama and daily grind with sundry companions.

The Fifth Week is a great companion for prospective Jesuits: it asks—with them—do you want to be a priest? a religious priest? a Jesuit?​

William J. O'Malley, SJ 

William J. O'Malley, SJ, is a professor at Fordham University.

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Books by William J. O'Malley, SJ

God—The Oldest Question

A Fresh Look at Belief and Unbelief—and Why the Choice Matters

Does God exist? Is belief reasonable? William O’Malley examines these and other questions with a combination of rigorous gravity and irreverent humor. It is an account of O’Malley’s personal intellectual and spiritual journey.

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The Fifth Week

Second Edition

The Fifth Week encourages men discerning vocations with stories of Jesuit saints and martyrs living for the greater honor and glory of God.

Shop Now