Posts Tagged ‘Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola’
A little-known day of Jesuit thanksgiving was celebrated on March 12 to mark the canonizations of two of the most famous Jesuits: St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. Every year on that date, each Jesuit offers a special prayer or Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of the saints’ canonizations, which occurred on March 12, 1622 — 66 years after the death of Ignatius and 70 years after the death of Xavier.
The founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius lived most of his priestly life in a small room in Rome, directing the newly founded Society. Francis Xavier, one of the Society’s most well-known missionaries, lived most of his Jesuit life traveling around Asia, preaching and baptizing.
Pope Gregory XV was responsible for canonizing the two Jesuits, and he held religious orders in high esteem. The pope was educated by the Jesuits at the “Collegio Romano,” the university founded by Ignatius in Rome that is now known as the Gregorian University.
On the same day Ignatius and Francis Xavier were canonized, Pope Gregory XV also canonized Teresa of Avila, reformer of the Carmelites; Philip Neri, founder of the Oratorian Fathers; and Isidore of Madrid, a simple but devout farmer, now patron of farmers, peasants, day laborers and rural communities.
The grouping of these five dissimilar saints took some by surprise and illustrated that there is no mold for being holy or even for becoming a canonized saint. Pope Gregory XV was never canonized, but he did keep his connection to the Jesuit saints. The pope was buried in the Church of Saint Ignatius in Rome when he died in 1623. [Society of Jesus in Thailand]
This month ends with the Feast of St. Ignatius, but Loyola Press is celebrating for the entire month in what they are calling 31 Days with St. Ignatius. They’ve assembled a calendar of Ignatian articles, videos, and prayers for every day.
It’s a new edition of resources from their sister site, IgnatianSpirituality.com, so if you followed along in previous years, you’ll find new things to explore this summer.
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”.
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.