St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491, one of 13 children of a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man Ignatius Loyola was inflamed by the ideals of courtly love and knighthood and dreamed of doing great deeds.

But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, Ignatius Loyola experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him.

Over the years, Ignatius became expert in the art of spiritual direction. He collected his insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book the Spiritual Exercises, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatius conceived the Jesuits as “contemplatives in action.” This also describes the many Christians who have been touched by Ignatian spirituality.

Biographies of St. Ignatius Loyola

  • St. Ignatius Loyola, SJ: Founder of the Jesuits A short biography by Norman O’Neal,
  • SJ. The Life of St. Ignatius: A Prayerful Introduction (PDF) By Fr. Mark Link, SJ Nine brief meditations introducing the story of Ignatius.
  • Three Holy Jesuits (PDF) David L. Fleming, SJ, explores the unique qualities of Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, and Peter Faber.
  • Who Was St. Ignatius? (video) A short video introduction to the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, produced by Marquette University.
  • Ignatius of Loyola Biography A brief, well-written biography of Ignatius, in 11 parts.
  • Saint Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556 By Amy Welborn This story of Ignatius is written for children to understand.

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