by Donna William Giaimo, FSP
This famous founder of the Jesuits was born in 1491. He was from a Spanish noble family. As a boy, he was sent to be a page at the royal court. There he lived with the desire to someday become a great soldier and marry a beautiful lady. Later, he did indeed win honor for his courage in the battle of Pamplona. However, a wound from a cannon ball forced him to spend months in bed at Loyola Castle. Ignatius asked for some books to read. Only biographies of Jesus and the saints were available. Gradually, the books began to make an impression on him. When he recovered, he made a pilgrimage to Monserrat. In the hopes of becoming a priest, Ignatius began his education. Ignatius was forty-three when he graduated from the University of Paris. With six other students, he professed religious vows in 1534. Ignatius and those of his companions who were not yet priests were ordained in 1539. They promised to work for God in whatever way the Holy Father thought best. In 1540, their order was officially recognized by the pope. Before Ignatius died, there were 1,000 members of the Society of Jesus or ?Jesuits.? St. Ignatius died in Rome, on July 31, 1556. Pope Gregory XV proclaimed him a saint in 1622. The fascinating story of Ignatius of Loyola is full of excitement, adventures and challenges both before his conversion and after. Children who read this saint's story will love the adventure while also learning the secret of his strength and happiness. Ignatius surrendered all he had to God and asked in return only God's love and grace, a central secret to authentic spirituality.