Saint Of The Month
St. Ignatius Of Loyola
Born a nobleman's son in the castle of Loyola in the country of Basques, Saint Ignatius began his career as a soldier in the army of the Duke of Nagara. At the siege of Pamplona in 1521 he was so seriously wounded that he needed to convalesce for months. During this time he read a life of Jesus and other lives of saints. 'Since these men were as human as I am,' he noted, 'I could be as saintly as they were.' After his recovery, instead of re-enlisting as a soldier, he exchanged his military dress for the clothing of a beggar, and at Montserrat in Barcelona visited the famous portrait of the Virgin in the Benedictine monastery, there to hand before her his sword.
Ignatius then retired to a place called Manresa, and in deep prayer and discipline wrote the first draft of his famous Spiritual Exercises, a manual for training the soul to grow daily nearer God.
The saint now went on a pilgrimage to Rome and to Jerusalem, riding from Jaffa to the Holy City on a donkey. He returned to Europe, and for the next seven years - at Spanish universities and in Paris - devoted himself to study. In Paris was laid the foundation of the great society of Jesus which Ignatius was to found. Six student joined him in vowing poverty, chastity and obedience, in joining themselves together by means of the Spiritual Exercises and in determining once their studies were over to preach Christianity in Palestine.
War in the middle east made the last plan impossible. Instead Ignatius and his followers offered their services to Pope Paul III. In 1540 the pope formally approved the Society of Jesus. Ignatius had sixteen more years to live. During that time he tirelessly watched over the development of the Society which soon had a thousand adherents throughout Europe, working as missionaries and in universities and schools.
'We were created to praise,
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