Our Founder

Our Founder

José Manuel Pereda Crespo was born on December 2, 1943, in the city of Tampico (Mexico). He attended elementary school at the Instituto Patria in Mexico City. He enters the Faculty of Medicine at the UNAM, where he actively participates in the political movement that was then taking place at the university. In 1968 he was deprived of his freedom and remained in prison for six months, where he began his search for God’s will.



On January 25, 1971, while still a layman, he headed the foundation of the Crusaders of Christ the King, which would later be canonically constituted as a Society of Apostolic Life.

He studied philosophy at La Salle University. Later he enrolled in the San Ildefonso Higher Institute of Theological Studies in Spain. On September 20, 1984, he was ordained a priest in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. From then on he serves the members of the Society seeking God’s will under the premise “Love and Serve”.


"Why Crusaders?"

In 1997, during a dinner at the Vatican, St. John Paul II asked him in surprise: “Why Crusaders?”, implying the negative connotations of that title. Reflecting on his defensive response, our founder begins to recognize the underlying arrogance in many of his approaches and the need for a profound personal and institutional conversion.

In 1999, he made the month-long Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. From then on, he began a process of purification of intention and constant prayer.



P. José Pereda greeting St. John Paul II.

New start

In the General Chapter of 2002, he exhorted the members of the Society to ask for the grace to live in an “attitude of confession”, intensely preaching Divine Mercy. It proposes to formally adopt the spirituality of St. Ignatius – which has accompanied our history since its beginnings – and to abandon the name Crusaders of Christ the King, replacing it with a name that emphasizes service to our Lord.

The General Chapter approved the proposed changes by a very large majority. Our Founder chose as our new name Servants of Jesus, which has been our official name since July 31, 2003.

Some members did not accept the changes and, separating themselves from the founder and Superior General and other internal authorities, decided to continue as Crusaders of Christ the King. Having rejected the decisions of the General Chapter, they had to hold another one and elect a superior.

Extraordinary General Chapter

Our founder continues to discern the Divine will. In the Extraordinary General Chapter celebrated in January 2006, he resigned as Superior General of the Servants of Jesus in order to dedicate himself fully to prayer and the Spiritual Exercises.

Francisco Javier Almanza Terrazas, S. de J., second Superior General of the Servants of Jesus, erected the Holy Trinity House of Prayer, headquarters of the contemplative nucleus of the Servants of Jesus. José Manuel Pereda Crespo, S. de J. remained as the first superior of the same, serving until the year 2023.

José Manuel Pereda Crespo, S. de J. is also founder of the Virgo Fidelis Association of the Faithful.