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Saint Ignatius of Loyola ( , ), (1491 July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight, who became a hermit and priest, founding the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, and becoming its first Superior General. Ignatius and the Jesuits became major figures in the Counter-Reformation, where the Catholic Church worked to reform itself from within and countered the theology of Protestantism. After his death he was beatified and then on March 12, 1622, was canonized. The feast day of Ignatius is celebrated on July 31 — he is the patron saint of soldiers, the Society of Jesus, the Basque Country, the provinces of Guipúzcoamarker and Biscay, among other things.

From a Basque noble family, Ignatius was initially a knight, but after his leg was seriously wounded at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521, he underwent a spiritual conversion while in recovery. Ignatius had read De Vita Christi by Ludolph of Saxony which inspired him to abandon his previous lifestyle, to live a life of labour for God following the example of men like Francis of Assisi. He claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat, while living as a hermit in a cave at nearby Manresamarker.

He visited the Holy Land with the desire of reconverting the area, but was sent back to Europe by the Franciscans. Ignatius then spent seven years learning theology and Latin, firstly at three universities in Spain and then one in Paris — he arrived in the city at the same time John Calvin was leaving. After gaining a tightly knit association of followers, Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus which received recognition from Pope Paul III. Highly disciplined, the movement's followers learned the Spiritual Exercises and Constitution. Education and self-examination were at the core. At the time of Loyola’s death in 1556, there were 1,000 Jesuits organised into eleven units.

Early life

Ignacio López de Loyola (sometimes erroneously called Íñigo López de Recalde) was born in the municipality of Azpeitiamarker at the castle of Loyola in today's Basque Country of Gipuzkoa, Spainmarker. He was baptized Íñigo, after St. Enecus (Innicus), Abbot of Oñamarker, a mediaeval Basque name arguably meaning "My little". It is unclear when he started using Ignatius instead of his baptismal name "Íñigo" ( ; ; ). Ignatius did not intend to change his name but rather adopted for France and Italy a name which he believed was a simple variant of his own, and which was more acceptable among foreigners.

The youngest of 13 children, Íñigo was only seven years old when his mother died. In 1506, Íñigo adopted the last name "de Loyola" in reference of the Basque city of Loyola where he was born and later became a page in the service of a relative, Juan Velázquez de Cuéllar, treasurer (contador mayor) of the kingdom of Castile.

In 1509, Íñigo took up arms for Antonio Manrique de Lara, Duke of Nájeramarker and Viceroy of Navarre. According to Thomas Rochford, S.J., his diplomacy and leadership qualities made him a gentilhombre very useful to the Duke. Under the Duke's leadership, he participated in many battles without injury to himself. But when the French army, supporting the Navarrese monarchy expelled in 1512, stormed Pamplona's fortress on May 20, 1521, a cannonball wounded one of his legs and broke the other. Heavily injured, Íñigo was returned to the castle. He was very concerned about the injuries on his leg and had several surgical operations, which were very painful in the days before anaesthetics.

Ignatius dressed as a knight.
During this time he read the De Vita Christi, by Ludolph of Saxony, in a Catalan edition. This work influenced his whole life. The De Vita Christi is the result of forty years of work by Ludolph. It is a commentary on the life of Jesus Christ, a commentary on the Gospels borrowing extracts from the works of over sixty of the Fathers of the Church. Ludolph particularly quotes St Gregory the Great, St Basil, St Augustine and the Venerable Bede. Ludolph proposes to the reader that he place himself at the scene of the Gospel story; that he visualise the crib at the Nativity etc etc. This is known as a method of prayer called Simple Contemplation and is the basis of the method that St Ignatius sets out in his Spiritual Exercises.

Religious aspiration places

During the time he was recovering, Ignatius read a number of religious texts on the life of Jesus called the Vita Christi by Ludolph of Saxony and the saints and became fired with an ambition to lead a life of self-denying labor and emulate the heroic deeds of Francis of Assisi and other great monastic leaders. He resolved to devote himself to the conversion of non-Christians in the Holy Land. Upon recovery, he visited the Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria de Montserratmarker (March 25, 1522), where he hung his military vestments before an image of the Virgin. He then went and spent several months in a cave near the town of Manresamarker, Cataloniamarker where he practiced the most rigorous asceticism. Ignatius began seeing a series of hallucinations in full daylight in a hospital. This repetitive vision 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 begged his journey to the Holy Land, as a way of self denial and sacrifice. He spent from September 3 to 23, 1523 in the Holy Land and twelve years later, standing before the Pope with his companions, it was again to Jerusalem that he proposed sending his companions as emissaries.

Visions of Ignatius.
Once back to Spain, he was found in Alcala with his companions making disciples of women who were called as witnesses by the Inquisition under the direction of magistrate Alonso Mejias. Although the alumbrados [Illuminated; Illuminati; Enlightened Ones] of Spain were linked in their zeal and spirituality to the Franciscan reforms of which Cardinal de Cisneros was a promoter", the Inquisition was becoming more suspicious. These female disciples, Dona Leonor, Dona Maria, and Dona Beatriz were so hysterically zealous that "one fell senseless, another sometimes rolled about on the ground, another had been seen in the grip of convulsions or shuddering and sweating in anguish." This suspicious activity had taken place while Ignatius and his companions were preaching. Because of his "street-corner perorations" being identified "with the activities of the alumbrados", Ignatius was naturally singled out for inspection as one of these visionaries, but later released. After these adventurous activities, he studied at the ascetic Collège de Montaigu of the University of Parismarker, where he remained over seven years. In later life, he was often called "Master Ignatius". This title was due to his taking a master's degree from the before-mentioned university at the age of forty-three.

By 1534 he had six key companions, all of whom he met as students at the University— Francis Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez, and Nicholas Bobadilla, all Spanish; Peter Faber, a Frenchman; and Simão Rodrigues of Portugal. Later on he was joined by Francisco de Borja, a member of the House of Borgia who was the main aide of Emperor Charles V, and other nobles. "On the morning of the 15th of August, 1534, 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 of Loyola was the main creator and initial Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious organization of the Catholic Church whose members, known as Jesuits, served the Pope as missionaries. He is remembered as a talented spiritual director. He was very vigorous in opposing the Protestant Reformation and promoting the following Counter-Reformation. He was beatified and then canonized and received the title of Saint on March 12, 1622. He is the patron saint of the provinces of Guipuscoamarker and Biscay along with the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Loyola wrote Spiritual Exercises, a simple 200-page set of meditations, prayers, and various other mental exercises, from 1522 to 1524. The exercises of the book were designed to be carried out over a period of 28-30 days.

Father General of the Jesuits

Ignatius was chosen as the first Superior General of his religious order, invested with the title of Father General by the Jesuits. He sent his companions as missionaries around Europe to create schools, colleges, and seminaries. Juan de Vega, the ambassador of Charles V at Rome had met Ignatius there. Esteeming him and the Jesuits, when Vega was appointed Viceroy of Sicily he brought Jesuits with him. A Jesuit college was opened at Messinamarker; success was marked, and its rules and methods were afterwards copied in other colleges. In 1548 Spiritual Exercises was finally printed, and he was briefly brought before the Roman Inquisition, but was released.
Ignatius as Superior General.
Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1540, which created a monarchical organization and stressed absolute self-abnegation and obedience to Pope and superiors (perinde ac cadaver, "well-disciplined like a corpse" as Ignatius put it). His 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, Ignatius dictated his life's story to his secretary, Father Gonçalves da Câmara. This autobiography is a valuable key for the understanding of his Spiritual Exercises. It was kept in the archives for about 150 years, until the Bollandists published the text in Acta Sanctorum. A critical edition exists in Vol. I (1943) of the Fontes Narrativi of the series Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu. He died in Rome on July 31, 1556 as a result of the "Roman Fever," a severe case of malaria that recurred in Rome, Italy at different points in history.

Famous Quote of Loyola:

Canonization and legacy

Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 13, 1622. His feast day is celebrated annually on July 31, the day he died. Saint Ignatius is venerated as the patron saint of Catholic soldiers, the ordinariate of the Philippine military, the Basque country and various towns and cities in his native region.

On April 22, 2006, Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Society of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI said that "St Ignatius of Loyola institutions, are dedicated to St Ignatius." Perhaps the most famous of them is Basilica of St Ignatius Loyola, built next to the house where he was born in Azpeitiamarker, the Basque Country. The house itself, now a museum, is incorporated into the basilica complex.

As probably one of the most important parts of the material part of his legacy, we can find many Jesuit schools and general educational institutions worldwide: see [812830], one the most popular of them being Georgetown Universitymarker, along with the Ateneo de Manila Universitymarker, Loyola University Marylandmarker, Fairfield Universitymarker, Fordham Universitymarker, The College of the Holy Crossmarker, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Marymount Universitymarker, Boston Collegemarker, and University of Scrantonmarker, as well as high schools like St Aloysius´College, Sydney. In the United States alone there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, and more than 50 secondary schools.

Genealogy

Shield of Oñaz-Loyola

The Shield of Oñaz-Loyola is a symbol of St. Ignatius family's Oñaz lineage, and is used by many Jesuit institutions around the world.

Original shield of Oñaz-Loyola

Lineage

Villoslada established the following detailed genealogy of St. Ignatius:

Lope de Oñaz (~1180)
  ├ García López de Oñaz (~1221)
     ├ López García de Oñaz
        wife: Inés, dame of Loyola – unit of families (~1261)
         ├ daughter: Inés de Oñaz y Loyola (~end of XIII c.)
            husband: Juan Pérez (related)
            ├  Jaun (Basque - Lord) Juan Pérez
            ├  Gil López de Oñaz
            ├  other 5 brothers (see – battle of Beotibar)
                 Beltrán Yáñez (el Ibáñez) de Loyola, son of Jaun Juan (+1405)
                 wife: Ochanda Martínez de Leete from Azpeitia
                     ├ Sancha Ibáñez de Loyola
                     |  husband: Lope García de Lazcano
                     |  married: 4 III 1413
                     ├ heir: Juan Pérez de Loyola (d. childless, heirdom for Sancha)
                     ├ Maria Beltranche
                     ├ Elvira
                     ├ Emilia
                     ├ Juanecha
                              Juan Pérez de Loyola, son of Sancha Ibáñez (+ in Tolosa)
                              wife: Sancha Pérez de Iraeta (+1473)
                                 ├ Don Beltrán Yáñez (vel Ibáñez) de Oñaz y Loyola (+ 23 X 1507)
                                   wife: Doña Marina Sáenz (vel Sánchez) de Licona (+  6 V 1508)
                                   married: 13 VII 1467 r.
13 children:
1. Juan Pérez de Loyola (+1503 in Naples)
2. heir – Don Martín García de Oñaz y Loyola (1477 – 29 XI 1538)
              wife: Magdalena de Araoz
              married: 11 IX 1498
    * – order uncertain
*. Ochoa Pérez de Loyola
*. Juan Beltrán de Loyola
*. Beltrán de Loyola (+  14 XI 1527)
*. Hernando de Loyola (+ in Panama, New World)
*. Pero López de Oñaz y Loyola (priest, +  VII 1529 in Barcelona)
*. Juaniza (vel Joaneiza) de Loyola, wife of Juan Marínez de Alzaga, notary from Azpeitia
*. Magdalena de Loyola, wife of Juan López de Gallaiztegui, notary from Anzuola
*. Sancha Ibáñez de Loyola
*. Petronila de Loyola, wife of Pedro Ochoa de Arriola
*. Maria Beltrán de Loyola, wife of Domingo de Arruado
13. Iñigo López de Loyola ( 23 X 1491 – 31 VII 1556)


Bibliography

Primary

Secondary



See also



References

  1. The southern part of the Pyrenees of the Kingdom of Navarre, having been absorbed by the Kingdom of Castile in 1499, became part of the unified Kingdom of Spain
  2. Article in Spanish
  3. Gentilhombre should be understood as servant of the court. By contrast, the English term Gentleman denotes a man of good family. In this sense the word equates with the French Gentilhomme (nobleman), which latter term was in Great Britain long confined to the peerage.(see Spanish Wikipedia article Gentilhombre.)
  4. Sr Mary Immaculate Bodenstedt, The Vita Christi of Ludolphus the Carthusian, a Dissertation, Washington: Catholic University of America Press 1944 British Library Catalogue No. Ac2692.y/29.(16).
  5. The Vita Christi by Charles Abbot Conway Analecta Cartusiana 34
  6. Ludolph's Life of Christ by Father Henry James Coleridge in "The Month" Vol 17 (New Series VI) July — Dec 1872 pages 337-370
  7. Jesuits, A Multibiography by Jean Lacouture, p. 18, Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1995)
  8. Jesuits, A Multibiography by Jean Lacouture, p. 24, Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1995)
  9. Jesuits, A Multibiography by Jean Lacouture, pp. 27-29, Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1995)
  10. History of The World by John Clarke Ridpath, Vol. V, pp.238, New York: Merrill & Baker, 1899)
  11. History of The World by John Clarke Ridpath, Vol. V, pp.238, New York: Merrill & Baker, 1899)
  12. For information on the O'Conner and other translations, see notes in A Pilgrim's Journey: The Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola Page 11-12.
Famous Quotes of Loyola:

Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Rule 13:That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same; . . .” Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 260.

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