Ignatius of Loyola

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) was a Spanish knight from a local noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was 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.  He experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus while at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in March 1522.  He then traveled to the town of Manresa in Catalonia and spent several months in a cave where he practiced rigorous asceticism and began praying for seven hours a day. Ignatius also began seeing a series of visions in full daylight while in hospital. These repetitive visions appeared as "a form in the air near him and this form gave him much consolation because it was exceedingly beautiful ... it somehow seemed to have the shape of a serpent and had many things that shone like eyes, but were not eyes. He received much delight and consolation from gazing upon this object ... but when the object vanished he became disconsolate." He also formulated the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises.

In September 1523, Loyola reached the Holy Land to settle there, but was not permitted to stay and was sent back to Europe by the Franciscans.

Between 1524 and 1537, Ignatius studied theology and Latin in Spain and then in Paris. In 1534, he arrived in Paris where he gathered six key companions. 15th of August, in the crypt of the Church of Our Lady of the Martyrs, at Montmartre, Loyola and his six companions, of whom only one was a priest, met and took upon themselves the solemn vows of their lifelong work."

Ignatius and a few followers bound themselves by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In 1539, they formed the Society of Jesus, with Ignatius of Loyola as the main creator and initial Superior General. Loyola also composed the Constitutions of the Society in 1540. The society was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III. In 1548 Spiritual Exercises was finally printed, and he was briefly brought before the Roman Inquisition, but was released. His Spiritual Exercises was approved in the same year.

Loyola was very vigorous in opposing the Protestant Reformation and promoting the following Counter-Reformation. He 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.

He died in Rome in 1556, as a result of malaria.



Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

The Society of Jesus is a religious organization of the Catholic Church whose members, known as Jesuits, served the Pope as missionaries.

Loyola's main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam ("for the greater glory of God"). The Jesuits were a major factor in the Counter-Reformation. During 1553–1555.


Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are a month-long program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices that help Catholic faith become more fully alive in the everyday life of contemporary people. It is set out in a brief manual or handbook: sparse, taciturn, and practical. It presents a formulation of Ignatius' spirituality in a series of prayer exercises, thought experiments, and examinations of consciousness—designed to help a retreatant (usually with the aid of a spiritual director) to experience a deeper conversion into life with God in Christ,to allow our personal stories to be interpreted by being subsumed in a Story of God.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia:

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius form the cornerstone of Ignatian Spirituality - a way of understanding and living the human relationship with God in the world exemplified in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Although originally designed to take place in the setting of a secluded retreat, during which those undergoing the exercises would be focused on nothing other than the Exercises, in his introductory notes, Ignatius provides a model for completing the Exercises over alonger period without the need of seclusion. The Exercises were designed to be carried out while under the direction of a spiritual director. The Spiritual Exercises were never meant onlyfor the vowed religious. Ignatius of Loyola gave the Exercises for 15 years before he was ordained, and years before the Society of Jesus was even founded. After the Society was formed, the Exercises became the central component of the Jesuit novitiate training program, and they usually take place during the first year of a two year novitiate.

  • In 2003 Loyola University, a Jesuit school, invited Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh to instruct its students on the practice of meditation. He spoke to a capacity crowd of 5,000 at the university stadium as well as to the annual freshman convocation. “The Buddhist encouraged his rapt audiences to the daily practice of meditation and breathing exercises as a means to eliminate all passionate emotions and thus achieve peace and compassion. He received standing ovations at both events” (“Practicing Peace,” National Catholic Reporter, September 12, 2003).

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