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Saint Ignatius Loyola


This Ignatius was a Spanish Basque by race, and was born in 1491, of the noble Biscayan family of Loyola, and entered first the Court and then the army of the King of Spain. At the siege of Pampeluna in 1521, he received a severe wound, which laid him up with a long and dangerous illness. During this time he chanced to read some godly books, and conceived from them a burning desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ and his Saints. Whereafter he betook himself to consecrate, and there entered himself for the heavenly warfare, by hanging up his weapons, and watching them for a night before the altar of the Blessed Virgin. Thence he withdrew to a cave nearby, called Manresa, where he dwelt for a year, fasting and praying, and doing terrible penances, that he might master himself. But meanwhile he was feasted by God with such clear lights that he put together (although he was then a man of but little education) that wonderful book entitled Spiritual Exercises, whose worth hath been attested by its universal usefulness.

In 1523 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where in spirit he drew still closer to our Lord. After his return to Spain he determined, for the profit of souls, to improve himself by education, and at the age of thirty-three began to go through the rudiments among little boys. Meanwhile he left nothing untried that could help towards the salvation of others. And it was marvellous what pain and mockery he cheerfully accepted, suffering imprisonment, and even stripes, from those whose will he provoked by his enthusiasm for the greater glory of God. At Paris he took to him seven comrades from the members of that University, men of different nations but who had all taken the Degree of Master of Arts and of Divinity. With these seven he laid the first foundations of the Society of Jesus in a chapel on Montmartre, on August 15th, 1534. When he afterwards organized the same Society at Rome, he bound it by the closest bonds to the apostolic See, adding to the three accustomed vows a fourth concerning Missions. To spread the Faith, he sent holy Francis Xavier to preach the Gospel in the Indies, and others to other parts of the world. And the war, which he thus started against unbelief and heresy was waged with such success, that it was generally believed that God had raised him up and his Society against the hereticks of that age.

But the first care of Ignatius was to set forward godliness among Catholics. He was a great promoter of catechetical instruction, and also of Retreats and parochial Conferences, for which his Spiritual Exercises have come into general use by those who give such things. He opened schools everywhere to train up boys in godliness and good learning. He also founded many other charitable institutions. He never wearied in his work of gaining souls for God, until July 31st, 1556, when in his sixty-fifth year he passed away to that Lord, whose greater glory had been the constant theme of his words and aim of all his works. In 1662 he was enrolled in the Kalendar of the Saints, and is now invoked as the patron of those who go into Retreat for the conversion of their souls.


O GOD, who for the propagation of the greater glory of thy Name didst through thy blessed Saint Ignatius stablish thy Church militant with a new defence: grant, we pray thee; that, by the succour of his intercession and by the following of his example, we may so fight manfully in this life on earth, that we may be found worthy to share the glory of his crown in heaven. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1343-1344

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

Ordo Kalendars are available from the Anglican Parishes Association Book Publisher.