Ignatius Loyola

Ignatius Loyola
(? 1491–1556)
   Saint and Order Founder.
   Ignatius was born of a noble family in Loyola, northern Spain. After a short career as a soldier, he was wounded in the leg which led him to reassess his life. After a period of withdrawal from the world in Manresa, he travelled first to Rome and then to Jerusalem as a pilgrim before returning to Spain. He studied in Barcelona, Alcalá and Salamanca before spending seven years at the University of Paris. By this stage he had written his famous Spiritual Exercises. These are a series of meditations on sin, the Kingdom of Christ, the Passion and the risen Lord. He gathered round him a band of six followers, who included francis xavier, and together they vowed themselves to lives of poverty, chastity and service to the Church. In 1540 the new order, known as the Society of Jesus, was approved by Pope Paul III.
   Ignatius was chosen as its first General. He drew up the constitution of the society and dedicated the rest of his life to its establishment. Within the order stress was laid on obedience, discipline and ef- ficiency. The Jesuits, as members of the society were called, quickly established a reputation for effective missionary and educational work. They were strong supporters of the Papacy at the Council of Trent and their theologians have continued to lead the attack against Protestantism in all its forms. Even today the order is regarded as a powerful force in Catholic education.
   J. Brodrick, The Origin of the Jesuits (1940);
   M.P. Harney, The Jesuits in History, 2nd edn (1962);
   P. van Dyke, Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits (1968).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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