St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Founder of Jesuits

Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 into a noble Basque family in northern Spain. During his youth, he served as a soldier in the Spanish army and had the experience of life at the royal court of King Ferdinand. In 1521, while defending the castle of Pamplona against the French, a cannon ball shattered his leg. It was during the ensuring long and painful convalescence that he experienced an inner transformation that made him renounce his ambitions of Knightly glory and dedicate himself to love and serve Jesus. On recovering from that painful experience, he went to Manresa. He spent a few months in a cave living a life of intense prayer, mortification and reflection on the life and teaching of Jesus. His carefully worded notes on these deep spiritual experiences have become a little book called the ‘Spiritual Exercises”. In his attempt to share his spiritual experience with others, Ignatius felt the need of good education. This led him to schools of learning in Spain and later to the University of Paris. It was here that he gathered around him a group of friends who later became his followers. Finally, in Rome, in 1540, Ignatius formally founded the Society of Jesus, and his companions came to be known as the Jesuits. Ignatius was elected as its first General or Superior. He also personally drew up thenorms and rules that were to govern the life of this group of dedicated men. These rules have become the Constitution of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius passed away at the age of 66 on July 31, 1556. Today the Jesuits are spread all over the world committed to a life of service of people through different types of work. Our Schools and Colleges are managed by the Jesuits of Karnataka.