Wednesday, July 31, 2019

St. Ignatius Loyola


 From Jesuits in Ireland:
The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola and since then has grown from the original seven to 24, 400 members today who work out of 1,825 houses in 112 countries. In the intervening 455 years many Jesuits became renowned for their sanctity (41 Saints and 285 Blesseds), for their scholarship in every conceivable field, for their explorations and discoveries, but especially for their schools. The Society is governed by General Congregations, the supreme legislative authority which meets occasionally. The present Superior General is Father Arturo Sosa. Ignatius Loyola was a Spanish Basque soldier who underwent an extraordinary conversion while recuperating from a leg broken by a cannon ball in battle (see picture). He wrote down his experiences which he called his Spiritual Exercises and later he founded the Society of Jesus with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540.

From the very beginning, the Society served the Church with outstanding men: Doctors of the Church in Europe as well as missionaries in Asia, India, Africa and the Americas. Men like Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius spearheaded the Counter Reformation in Europe, courageous men like Edmund Campion assisted the Catholics in England suffering under the terrible Elizabethan persecutions and missionaries like deNobili Claver, González, deBrito, Brebeuf, and Kino brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth. No other order has more martyrs for the Faith.

Ignatius Loyola had gathered around him an energetic band of well-educated men who desired nothing more than to help others find God in their lives. It was Ignatius’ original plan that they be roving missionaries such as Francis Xavier, who would preach and administer the sacraments wherever there was the hope of accomplishing the greater good. It soon became clear to Ignatius that colleges offered the greatest possible service to the church, by moral and religious instruction, by making devotional life accessible to the young and by teaching the Gospel message of service to others. From the very beginning these Jesuit schools became such an influential part of Catholic reform that this novel Jesuit enterprise was later called “a rebirth of the infant church”. The genius and innovation Ignatius brought to education came from his Spiritual Exercises whose object is to free a person from predispositions and biases, thus enabling free choices leading to happy, fulfilled lives.

Jesuits were always deeply involved in scholarship, in science and in exploration. By 1750, 30 of the world’s 130 astronomical observatories were run by Jesuit astronomers and 35 lunar craters have been named to honor Jesuit scientists. The so-called “Gregorian” Calendar was the work of the Jesuit Christopher Clavius, the “most influential teacher of the Renaissance”. Another Jesuit, Ferdinand Verbiest, determined the elusive Russo-Chinese border and until recent times no foreign name was as well known in China as the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, “Li-ma-teu”, whose story is told by Jonathan Spence in his 1984 best seller. China has recently erected a monument to the Jesuit scientists of the 17th century – in spite of the fact that since 1948 120 Jesuits languished in Chinese prisons. By the way, no other religious order has spent as many man-years in jail as the Jesuit order. (Read more.)

1 comment:

Ms. Lucy said...

Wonderful- Thank you. We love St. Ignatius in our family- he is the Patron Saint of my son's high school: Loyola, here in Montreal. He just graduated this year. This wonderful school started every morning with daily prayers and dedications to St. Ignatius. They also abided by writing at the top of every single assignment, test, paper..even before the title, the letters: A.M.D.G (latin)meaning: all for the greater glory of God- on all their work. Wonderful school and St. Ignatius started it all.

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