Celebrating the Feast of the Founder of the Jesuits


On July 31, Jesuits will celebrate the feast of their founder,  St. Ignatius of Loyola, who, with his early companions, founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.

St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491 to a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man, Ignatius Loyola was a soldier and dreamed of doing great deeds. But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, he experienced a conversion while reading of the lives of Jesus and the saints.

St. Ignatius’ collection of insights, prayers and suggestions in his book the Spiritual Exercises is considered one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. When Ignatius conceived the Jesuits, he wanted them to become  “contemplatives in action.” This is also an ideal for those  who are guided by Ignatian spirituality and who continually strive to follow St. Ignatius’ motivation to “find God in all things”.

Interested in finding out more about St. Ignatius of Loyola? Loyola Press has a collection of biographical materials, works of St. Ignatius, videos and reflections on their website.

Marquette University has also created this short video piece on the story behind the founder of the Jesuit order as told by  Stephanie Russell, executive director of Marquette University’s Office of Mission and Identity.

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