Ignatius of Loyola venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who together with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541. The Jesuit order is dedicated to teaching and missionary work. Its members are bound by a special (fourth) vow of obedience to the sovereign pontiff to be ready to fulfill special papal missions. The society played an important role during the Counter-Reformation.
Ignatius was noted as an inspired spiritual director. He recorded his method in a celebrated treatise called the Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises, first published in 1548. It is known as "Ignatian spirituality".
Ignatius was beatified in 1609 and canonized, receiving the title of Saint, on 12 March 1622. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July. He is the patron saint of the Basque provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay as well as of the Society of Jesus. He was declared patron saint of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Ignatius is also the foremost patron saint of soldiers.
Books by St. Ignatius
The Spiritual Exercises
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, composed 1522–1524, are a set of Christian meditations, contemplations, and prayers written by Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th-century Spanish priest, theologian, and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)...
The Epistles of Ignatius
Ignatius of Antioch penned these letters to churches (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, and Smyrnaeans) and Polycarp on his way to martyrdom. Ignatius was an apologist for the Episcopal style of church government (as opposed t...
The Autobiography of St. Ignatius
This account of the life of St. Ignatius, dictated by himself to Father Gonzalez, is a most valuable record of the great Founder of the Society of Jesus. It, more than any other work, gives an insight into the spiritual life of St. Ignatius. Few work...