St Ignatius of Loyola

Founder of the Jesuits. It is his Feast Day.

Ignatius of Loyola (ca. October 23, 1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. Loyola’s devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope.

After being seriously wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521, he underwent a spiritual conversion while in recovery. De Vita Christi by Ludolph of Saxony purportedly inspired Loyola to abandon his previous military life and devote himself to labour for God, following the example of spiritual leaders such as Francis of Assisi. After claiming to experience a vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in March 1522, he went to Manresa, where he began praying for seven hours a day, often in a nearby cave, and formulating the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises. In September 1523, Loyola reached the Holy Land to settle there, but was sent back to Europe by the Franciscans.

Between 1524 and 1537, Ignatius studied theology and Latin in the University of Alcalá and then in Paris. In 1534, he arrived in the latter city during a period of anti-Protestant turmoil which forced John Calvin to flee France. Ignatius and a few followers bound themselves by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In 1539, they formed the Society of Jesus, approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, as well as his Spiritual Exercises approved in 1548. Loyola also composed the Constitutions of the Society. He died in July 1556, was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1609, canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622, and declared patron of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Ignatius’ feast day is celebrated on July 31. Ignatius is a foremost patron saint of soldiers, the Society of Jesus, the Basque Country, and the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay.

Rest at Wikipedia here.

A Collect:

Almighty God, from whom all good things come: Thou didst call St. Ignatius of Loyola to the service of thy Divine Majesty and to find thee in all things. Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship, may we labour without counting the cost and seek no reward other than knowing that we do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

And this is the magnificent Church of the Gesù in Rome, the mother Church of the Society of Jesus.



4 thoughts on “St Ignatius of Loyola

  1. Ignatian spirituality, Jesuit spirituality, as it is sometimes called… the spirituality for decision makers! When I was in the Benedictine noviciate (my mid to late 20’s), this was the last effort for me in Catholic spirituality and discipline…”to conquer oneself and regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.” But as with Luther the monk, I did not found this true! For the Christian is always both the ‘Saint and Sinner’, in this life…until he/she sees Jesus! (Martin Luther’s theology)… I found this much more truthful! But each Christian must of course find their own place and path before the Lord! Mine, is much more Pauline with Luther, Col. 2: 20-23, with chapter 3: 1-3 (with of course verse 5) ; 12-17!

  2. heaven is always knocking at our door; may we ever be as ‘attentive’ as St. Ignatius was, who came to know Christ – unmistakably – in that still and silent recumbentibus; that is to say, God’s hand even in the most forlorn of circumstances!
    St. Ignatius, pray for us!

    1. Strange is it not, that Christ, “stands” at the door and knocks, at the Church of Laodicea, the last church, of the Churches of Asia Minor! HE, Christ is outside of this church age! And those outside must hear His voice and open the door! But who can hear HIM knocking?

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