The Life History of St Ignatius
The Life of St Ignatius can be traced right from the time he was born in 1491 at Inigo Lopez Loyola. St Ignatius was the youngest child among the thirteen siblings. His mother passed away when he was only seven years of age. After the death of his mother, he was raised by Maria de Garin, a blacksmith’s wife. From his tender age, he was ambitious of becoming a great and renowned leader, and his dream of clinching to high levels of leadership was influenced by stories from The Song of Ronald and El Cid. Therefore, he joined a local aristocracy where he was mentored accordingly. While he was sixteen of age, he started working for Juan Velazquez, and by eighteen years, he became Antonio Manrique de Lara and Viceroy of Navarre soldier and fought for them wholeheartedly. He as such gained considerable experience and reputation as a duelist by killing a Moor. Later, he fought many battles for Duke of Najera, and at this time, his talent was becoming eminent and earned him the position of a commander.
Unfortunately, he was stuck on his legs in 1521 while on duty defending his town Pamplona against the fierce French attack. One of his legs was almost broken and the other severely mangled. His life was saved by the several surgeries done to him by doctors. After well recovering, he began to read every single book he came across most of the books he read were on Christ and the saints. As such, the books served him a great inspiration, and he became devout. By 1522, he had recovered fully and therefore entered the Benedictine monastery and gave out his military clothes to a poor man. After great inspiration and giving out his military uniforms, he secured a place to live in Manresa a nearby hospital and lived begging for food.
At the hospital, he performed some duties, and during his free time, he could walk to the nearby cavé to perform spiritual exercises.He gained much religious experience, godliness and much understanding of God through his daily spiritual activities. The time he spent at the hospital and the cave his life was never smooth. As a result, he suffered from anxiety, depression, and doubts. Later, he started recording his experiences, thoughts, and revelations in a journal. He knew the journal would create a significant impact to those following him in spiritual matters and even today, they have remained valuable, and they are practiced widely by religious organizations.
In 1523 he made a visit to the holy land for a pilgrimage aiming to live there and reach more non-believers however he spent a night there and requested to leave by the church officials. Later on, he discovered that more education could offer him more opportunities to reach more non-believers. Therefore, he made a return to Barcelona and joined a grammar school, and Master Jeronimo Ardevol his teacher blessed him. After completion of primary education, he visited Alcala and Salamanca to further his education ambitions. At the age of 38 years, he joined Saint Barbe of the University. At the university, the education that was offered was highly structured and formalized. He was mesmerized by this type of education and later copied it in his schools. At the age of 44 Ignatius, he had earned his Master’s degree and applied for doctorate. Ignatius at Paris he made great friendship with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier, the men who guided him in spiritual matters.
As a group, they managed to win more converts, and they started referring to themselves as Friends in the Lord. Ignatius with these great friends shared a common dream and vision of visiting the Holy Land, and they agreed to visit the Pope and help him in service. They visited Pope Paul III as a group who in turn legalized them as a recognized religious group by 1540. The group appointed Ignatius as their leader who imposed strict regulations in executing their mandate. The rule impacted positively on religious matters journey, and they opened about 35 schools before Ignatius died in 1556. Ignatius passed away at the age of 64, and Pope Paul v beatified him in 1609.