This year, Loyola Press is celebrating its 100thanniversary, a milestone few companies ever reach. The fact that Loyola Press is a Catholic publishing company makes the achievement all the more remarkable.
In 1912—the same year in which the Titanic sank and Woodrow Wilson was elected president—Jesuit Father William P. Lyons founded Loyola Press as a publishing ministry of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Lyons was simply following in the footsteps of the Jesuits’ founder, Ignatius of Loyola, who was one of the first people to purchase a printing press in the 16th century. Originally located in the basement of St. Ignatius College (now St. Ignatius College Preparatory School) and employing only a handful of people; today, the company employs nearly 90 people.
Throughout the last 100 years, Loyola Press has maintained rigorous standards for its high-quality textbooks and spirituality resources. Through religious education programs like Finding God, Christ Our Life, and the bilingual God’s Gifts, children not only learn the foundations of the Catholic faith but also discover practical ways to live out their faith. With Voyages in English, which has been in continuous use and publication since 1943, students develop critical skills in grammar, usage and mechanics that help them become successful writers, readers and speakers..
Loyola Press publisher Jesuit Father Paul Campbell, says, “While our various language arts and religion textbooks are generally geared to children, our substantial list of spirituality books is aimed more at adults. Over the course of Loyola Press’s history, we have published literally hundreds of books that draw women and men into a deeper relationship with God and inspire them to serve others.” Some of those books have generated sales in the range one might expect from the big New York publishing houses: The Gift of Peace by Joseph Cardinal Bernadin remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks; Fr. Jim Martin’s My Life with the Saints has sold more than 110,000 copies.
With a century of success behind it, nonprofit Loyola Press is already thinking about and planning for its next 100 years. “Our resources are selling globally, and our rapidly expanding digital content, including eBooks for adults and children, makes it possible for people to interact with Loyola Press whenever they want, wherever they want,” says Teresa Locke, president of Loyola Press. “The Jesuits have always been about serving people’s real needs, about meeting people wherever they are. Today, they are in the digital world, and that is where Loyola Press will interact with them.”
Popular digital offerings include the 3-Minute Retreat, where music, images and Scripture verses allow busy people to spend a few quality moments reflecting on their faith; and IgnatianSpirituality.com, where visitors can gain helpful insight into St. Ignatius Loyola and the spirituality he embraced. For additional information about Loyola Press, its print and digital resources, and its 100th anniversary, visit www.loyolapress.com.