St. Ignatius of Loyola was born a noble in the Basque region of Spain. His young life was a rowdy one, filled with alcohol and women and sword fighting, but all of that came to a quick close when he became a soldier and suffered a fateful accident. A cannonball to his leg left him seriously wounded and unable to do anything but lay in bed and rest until he recovered. Ever the rogue, he asked for romances to read, but all that was available was a book that detailed the lives of the saints. Reluctantly, he read about the saints, and, moved by their stories, he dedicated himself to becoming a soldier of the Catholic faith.
Following this, he embarked on a long journey, experiencing holy visions and life-changing inspiration. He wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises,” a meditative guide still used by many today, and went on to study around the world and found the Society of Jesus (commonly called the Jesuits.) St. Ignatius of Loyola was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609, and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622. His feast day is July 31, the day he died. Ignatius is the patron saint of Catholic soldiers, the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Basque country and various towns and cities in his native region.
Questions for Reflection:
- When have you experienced spiritual change in your life?
- St. Ignatius of Loyola’s life shows us that God chooses people from all walks of life to serve him. How do you feel God’s call in your life? What do you feel God calling you toward?