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St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us

A Spaniard, born at Loyola in Cantabria, Ignatius first served in the court of the Most Catholic King and then in the army. In the defence of Pampeluna, he was wounded. As he lay in a long convalescence, the chance reading of some holy books gave him a burning desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ and the Saints. He went to Montserrat, hung up his arms before the Altar of the Blessed Virgin, and spent a whole night in prayer, thus entering on his new profession of holy warfare. 

The austerity of his life was extraordinary. He was ignorant of letters but, refreshed by brilliant illuminations from God, he composed the Exercises, a wonderful book approved by the Apostolic See and also by its usefulness to everyone. At Paris he was joined by nine companions of different nations all studying at the university, and there at Montmartre he laid the first foundations of the Society of Jesus which were later completed at Rome. To the three customary vows was added one to carry out the command of the Apostolic See concerning the Missions. 

Ignatius gave aid in increasing the beauty of churches, in teaching catechism, and in fostering attendance at sermons and the reception of the sacraments. He was most zealous for the spread of the Christian religion everywhere, and exercised a wonderful power over demons. In the sixty-fifth year of his age, he went to receive the embrace of his Lord, whose greater glory he had always sought in all things. Pius XI appointed and declared him the heavenly patron of all spiritual exercises or retreats.

Ignatius writes the Spiritual Exercises in the cave at Manresa

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