Today is the memorial of the St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Here is a quick blog post on his life and ten things you need to know about him –
1. St. Ignatius was born into a noble family and grew up with many luxuries, which made him very worldly.
2. As a young man, he joined the army and was known for his courage, however, he was wounded in a battle for Pamplona. During his recovery, he first asked for a book that compares to our sensual romance novels of today, but the Catholic hospital caring for him did not have them. Instead, they gave him the “Lives of the Saints” to read – at this point he had a huge conversion and turned his life over to God.
3. In the monastery of Monserrat, he made a general confession (if you have ever been on a retreat covering the Spiritual Exercises, you know this to be a life-time confession).
4. He wrote the Spiritual Exercises while in seclusion and then made pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land.
5. In 1528, after his pilgrimages, he began his studies in Paris and eventually graduated with a Master of Arts in 1534. It is here the core of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) began to form.
6. At the founding of the order, the Jesuits desired to go to Rome to have approval from the Pope. They vowed to always be obedient to the teachings of the Church and to be servants of the Pope – they would go wherever the Pope asked them to go. They also took vows of poverty and chastity.
7. St. Ignatius was ordained to the priesthood in Venice in 1534, along with some of his companions who then went to Rome and was received by Pope Paul III.
8. On September 27, 1540, Pope Paul III announced with a Papal Bull that the religious order was approved. St. Ignatius was appointed as the first general superior. On Easter 1541, he was installed in the office.
9. As the Society spread throughout the world, as far as India in the East and Brazil and West, St. Ignatius resided in Rome where he governed the order. He was the superior general for more than fifteen years. It was during this time that a Roman College was built for the Jesuits to study in. The Spiritual Exercises were approved by Papal Authority in 1548 and first published in Rome.
10. St. Ignatius of Loyola died in the morning of July 31, 1556. In 1622, Pope Pius XI canonized him. He was also named as the Patron Saint of Spiritual Exercises and Retreats.
St. Ignatius of Loyola…Pray For Us!
This blog post is dedicated to the Jesuits Priests in the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco who first introduced me to the study of Catholicism intellectually and the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola from 1994-1997 – Fr. Buckley, Fr. Fessio, Fr. King, Fr. Mahoney, and Fr. Quihuis. These men paved the way for me to become the man I am today. Thank you.
550th Blog Post on TomPerna.org