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.



Holiness in Life

It is not necessary that you live the way I do. But in order to become happier than you are keep these rules:

– think of God at least as much as you think of men
– fear God at least as much as you fear men
– honor God at least as much as you honor men
– pray to God at least as much as you entreat men
– hoping God at least as much as you hope in men
– ask God for help as least as much as you ask men
– fulfill God’s law at least as much as you fulfill the law of men
– be thankful to God at least as much as you are thankful to men
– glorify God at least as much as you glorify men!

– St. Nikolai Velimirovich (From an anonymous Egyptian hermit)




Saint Mary Magdalen

The Church today remembers liturgically St Mary Magdalen.

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and mind,

and called her to be a witness to his resurrection:

Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities

and know you in the power of his unending life;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.

Wikipedia has more on her.

Mary Magdalene (original Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή), or Mary of Magdala and sometimes The Magdalene, is a religious figure in Christianity. She is usually thought of as the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She was present at Jesus’ two most important moments: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Within the four Gospels, the oldest historical record mentioning her name, she is named at least 12 times, more than most of the apostles. The Gospel references describe her as courageous, brave enough to stand by Jesus in his hours of suffering, death and beyond.

In the New Testament, Jesus cleansed her of “seven demons”,[Lk. 8:2] [Mk. 16:9] sometimes interpreted as referring to complex illnesses. Mary was most prominent during Jesus’ last days. When Jesus was crucified by the Romans, Mary Magdalene was there supporting him in his final moments and mourning his death. She stayed with him at the cross after the other disciples (except John the Beloved) had fled. She was at his burial, and she is the only person that all four Gospels say was first to realize that Jesus had risen and to testify to that central teaching of faith. John 20 and Mark 16:9 specifically name her as the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. She was there at the “beginning of a movement that was going to transform the West”. She was the “Apostle to the Apostles”, an honorific that fourth-century orthodox theologian Augustine gave her and that others earlier had possibly conferred on her.

Throughout the centuries there have been many extra-biblical speculations about her role before and after she met Jesus. These have included theories presenting her as a harlot, the secret lover or wife of Jesus and/or the mother of their child, and leader among the women following Jesus, similar to the role of Simon Peter among the men.

Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches—with a feast day of July 22. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine in the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions.



Saintless Christianity

dutchmasterWhat would Christianity mean if there were no saints?

To rephrase the question: What would be the meaning of the Christian gospel if there were no wonderworkers, no people who had been transfigured with the Divine Light, no clairvoyant prophets, no healers, no people who had raised the dead, no ascetics living alone in the deserts for years on end, no beacons of radical, all-forgiving love? 

What would be the meaning of the Christian gospel if there were no wonderworking relics, no true Body and Blood of Christ, no true Baptism in the death and resurrection of Christ? What if there were no weeping icons?

Fr Stephen Freeman has a look. Well written and insightful, as always.


Who Was St Patrick?

Discovery has a look.

For thousands of years, Irish Catholics have traditionally celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by attending church in the morning and celebrating in the afternoon with a huge feast, honoring Ireland’s patron saint. Even though March 17 falls in the middle of Lent when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat, this was waived in Ireland for feasting — mostly on cabbage and Irish bacon, according to

But who was Saint Patrick? The truth is, much of his life is a mystery.

Rest here.



Halos Banned from Euro Coin

Depicting St Cyril and St Methodius:

The Commission of the European Union has demanded that Slovenia remove the halos from its new Euro coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. A spokeswoman for the Bank of Slovenia explained their decision to comply with the European Comissions demands:

‘The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religious neutrality. We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity,”

The European Commission defended its insistence that Slovenia remove the halos from  Cyril and Methodius:

“Under EU rules, when designing the national side of a euro coin, Member States are required to take into account that the coins will circulate throughout the whole eurozone, and in that context, proposed designs are shared in advance with other Member States so that they can provide any comments they deem appropriate.

The Commission acknowledged that some members states objected to the coin, adding that Slovakia submitted a slightly amended design, “which has now been approved by the [EU] Council of Ministers.”

Protect the Pope comment:  The European Commission’s demand that Slovenia  remove the Christian symbol of sanctity that has been included on coins throughout Europe for thousands of years is yet another attack on our common Christian heritage. In the censored coin St. Cyril and St. Methodius have been reduced to the stature of  mundane historical figures, their eternal significance and role as intercessors and exemplars of sanctity removed from the public arena.  The secular reformation of Europe continues to impose its intolerant ideology under the guise of ‘religious neutrality’.


Blessed John Henry Newman

Today is the Feast Day of the Blessed John Henry Newman (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890), a man who spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. Wikipedia has more on him here.

And a quote (or two… or more…) from him may be appropriate:

    • It is often said that second thoughts are best. So they are  in matters of judgment but not in matters of conscience.
    • Calculation never made a hero.
    • Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish.
    • If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great  hazards.
    • If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable… we must be  content to creep along the ground, and never soar.