St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the society of Jesus, was born in 1491 in the Basque country of northern Spain to parents of distinguished families in that area. He was the youngest of 13 children and was called Inigo. At the age of 15, he served as a page in the court of a local nobleman and later embraced a military career and became a valiant soldier.
Wounded in battle by a cannon ball, which broke one leg and injured the other, he was taken prisoner by the French, who set his leg and eventually allowed him to go home to Loyola. He spent his time recuperating at the home of his brother.
Ignatius noticed that after doing good deeds for the Lord, he felt peaceful – which he termed as a “consolation”, through this Ignatius could recognize that God was leading him to follow a path of service. Out of this experience he wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises”.
After travelling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his master’s degree at the age of 43. Many initially hated St. Ignatius because of his humble and austere lifestyle. He started the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. He travelled to Europe and the Holy Land then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death. He died at the age of 65.
“Few Souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and of they were to allow His Grace to mold them accordingly”. – St. Ignatius of Loyola