Today is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. As a young man, Ignatius was a knight from a noble family in Spain. During the battle of Pamplona, Ignatius was injured and while recovering he had a deep religious conversion, seeing visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and infant Jesus. Soon after his recovery, Ignatius would spend seven hours in prayer daily, developing his “Spiritual Exercises” (I’ll cover these in a later post). After studying theology and Latin in Paris during a time of anti-Protestant reform, he and several others bound themselves to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and formed the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in 1539. The society became an official religious community when in 1540 it was approved by Pope Paul III. Ignatius of Loyola died in July of 1556 and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. In 1922 Pope Pius XI named him patron saint of all spiritual retreats. He is also the patron saint of military, the Society of Jesus, and education and educators.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!