Friday, December 04, 2009
Born in Loyola , Spain in 1491, Ignatius worked in the king’s court until he was 30. A cannonball injury almost cost Ignatius his life, but a miracle of dreaming about St. Peter touching his wound made him well. While recuperating after three operations, he discovered the books The Life of Christ and Lives and of the Saints, which inspired him to devote his life to God. Like Francis before him, Ignatius cared for the sick, practiced austerity measures, fasted, and became prayerful. One night, after witnessing a Marian apparition, he went on a pilgrimage to Montserrat wearing a long habit and a sandal for his limping leg. While on the journey, he tended the ill, fasted with the bread and water given him as alms and knelt for hours in complete meditation. He himself fell ill, so he bolted out of his great penance and regained his peace. It was during this time that he produced his Spiritual Exercises for those on retreat. He attempted to go on a mission to the Holy Land but was obliged to return to Europe by the Provincial of the Franciscans. He continued to convert Spanish people to the faith, to teach catechism, and to reform juveniles in Alcala. He also got to study in Paris in extreme poverty, joining the poor in their meals at the hospital. He and six of his young disciples established the Society of Jesus, which aimed at serving the Church and saving lost souls. They continued to live in dire poverty while following Christ’s Passion and suffering persecution from nonbelievers. He landed in prison in Salamanca on suspicion of heresy but until his life full of love for Jesus Christ was taken away from him, Ignatius confronted the persecutions with Christian courage, which became the quality of the Company of Jesus that he founded.