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Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius Loyola was born 23 October 1491 into a noble Basque family in northern Spain and raised as a gentleman destined for military service.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius Loyola was born 23 October 1491 into a noble Basque family in northern Spain and raised as a gentleman destined for military service. In 1521, during the defence of the citadel of Pamplona, he was struck by a cannonball. During his convalescence, he read a life of Christ and lives of the saints and found himself inflamed with the desire to serve Jesus. Leaving home, Ignatius spent a vigil at Mary’s altar in the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat and then lived in the nearby town of Manresa, praying and serving the poor. During this time, he had mystical experiences and illuminations, which later formed the basis of his Spiritual Exercises. After a brief stay in the Holy Land, Ignatius returned to Europe to acquire a formal education. He gathered together a group of students, including Francis Xavier, with whom he shared his eagerness to serve Jesus wholeheartedly. After ordination and a variety of apostolic experiences, Ignatius brought the group to Rome, where they offered themselves to the service of the Pope. Wishing to make their companionship a lasting one, they formed the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on 15 August 1534.  The man who paved the way for an education revolution in the world died on 31 July 1556 and was canonized in 1622. He said, “Whatever you are doing, that which makes you feel the most alive...that is where God is.”  “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man” is a maxim attributed to him. Voltaire was a prominent student of the Jesuits

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