The most important religious orders in Austria are the Jesuits, the Benedictines, the Franciscans, the Augustinian Canons, the Steyler missionaries and the Salesians of Don Bosco. The most important women’s orders in Austria are the Benedictine Sisters, the Franciscan Sisters and the Sisters of Mercy.
In 1534, the Basque Ignatius of Loyola and his companions at Montmartre in Paris vowed a pilgrimage with subsequent pastoral work in Jerusalem and surrendered to Pope Paul III’s. disposal in 1537. In 1539 Ignatius of Loyola founded the largest male order of the Catholic Church, the Societas Jesu (SJ), which in 1540 was allowed by Pope Paul III. as a community of „papal law“. The brothers see themselves as men who live in friendship with Jesus Christ, are dispossessed, celibate, obedient and especially obedient to the Pope. Ignatius of Loyola saw himself as a pilgrim with the principle of being on the move, of growing and learning as the guiding principle of his spirituality.