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Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Born: c. October 23, 1491 in Loyola, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Crown of Castille (Currently Spain)

Died: July 31, 1556 (age 64) in Rome

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion

Beatified: July 27, 1609 by Pope Paul V

Canonized: March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

Feast Day: July 31

Patronages: Military Ordinariate of the Philippines
Society of Jesus
Places: Dioceses of San Sebastian and Bilbao, Biscay and Gipuzkoa
Basque Country
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Junin Buenos Aires, Argentina
Antwerp Belgium

Saint Ignatius was born of a noble family in 1491, in the Castle of Loyola in Guipuscoa, Spain.  Reared in the Court of Ferdinand V of Aragon, the husband of Isabella of Castile, he entered the army and distinguished himself by his valor.  He was wounded at the siege of Pamplona, in a war between Charles V and Francis I, King of France.  During his convalescence he read the "Lives of the Saints" which effected his conversion from worldliness to piety.  Henceforth, his life belonged entirely to God.

After a general conversion in the monastery of Monserrat, he spent ten months in the solitude of Manresa, where he composed his Spiritual Exercises, and then made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land.  On his return to Spain, he began his studies and in 1528 he went to Paris to continue them.  Here his virtue and wisdom gained him a few companions, and these became the nucleus of the Society of Jesus.  At montmarte they vowed to go to Palestine, or to offer themselves to the Pope to be employed in the service of God in some other manner.  Receiving ordination at Venice together with his companions, Saint Ignatius went to Rome where he was graciously received by Pope Paul III.

In 1540, Pope Paul III approved the Society and it soon made rapid progress, spreading to India in the East and Brazil in the West.  Saint Ignatius continued to reside in Rome, employed in consolidating and governing his Society.  There he became the friend of Saint Philip Neri.  He was General of the Society more than 15 years.  He died peacefully on July 31, 1556, and was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.

Prayer: God, You raised up Saint Ignatius in Your Church to inspire men to work for Your greater glory.  Grant that we may labor on Earth with his help and after his example and merit to be crowed with him in heaven.  Amen.