St. Ignatius Loyola


St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491, one of 13 children of a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man Ignatius Loyola was inflamed by the ideals of courtly love and knighthood and dreamed of doing great deeds.

But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, Ignatius Loyola experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him.

Over the years, Ignatius became expert in the art of spiritual direction. He collected his insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book the Spiritual Exercises, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatius conceived the Jesuits as “contemplatives in action.” This also describes the many Christians who have been touched by Ignatian spirituality.

Biographies of St. Ignatius Loyola

Three Holy Jesuits (PDF)
David L. Fleming, SJ, explores the unique qualities of Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, and Peter Faber.

     Who Was St. Ignatius? (video)
A short video introduction to the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, produced by Marquette University.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556
By Amy Welborn
This story of Ignatius is written for children to understand.

     Jesuits On…Ignatius Loyola
An extract from a video about Ignatius Loyola from Loyola Productions’ “Jesuits On…” series. Features a commentary by Richard Leonard, SJ.

Life of Ignatius Loyola
An outline of the life of Ignatius, organized around important dates in his life. A rough translation from German.

     St. Ignatius of Loyola Video
Video introduction to St. Ignatius Loyola, produced by the Apostleship of Prayer for his feast day.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Imitator of Christ, 1494-1555
By John Hungerford Pollen
A balanced and popular account of Ignatius’s life and conversion. Discusses the early years of the Society of Jesus and its contribution to world missions and the Council of Trent. Gives important highlights of the Constitutions. Book available online in several formats.

Works by St. Ignatius Loyola

Selected Letters of Ignatius
Ignatius’s letters are renowned for their insight and wisdom. Here are 50 of them.

Reflections on St. Ignatius Loyola

     What Students Can Learn from St. Ignatius
Stephanie Russell, Executive Director of Marquette University’s Office of Mission and Identity, discusses the challenges faced by students today and how a Jesuit education can help.

Will the Real Ignatius Please Stand Up?
By Ron Darwen, SJ
The different images of Ignatius through the ages: soldier, man of action, and mystic.

The Mysticism of Ignatius of Loyola (PDF)
By Brian O’Leary, SJ
A survey of the development of Ignatius’s spiritual journey of growth in discerning God’s will for himself and how he could share those insights with others. The article discusses Cano’s critique of the relationship between contemplation and action in the Exercises. The author also notes Ignatius’s reticence in speaking of his personal mystical experiences in his later years.

How God Accompanied Ignatius: A Paradigm for Us in “Helping Souls” (PDF)
By Simon Decloux
Ignatius’s practice of accompanying others on their journey with God was based on his experience of how God first taught and guided him. Ignatius shared his interior readiness and openness to God every day and more specifically at those stages of his journey in which he let go of his personal desires to follow the direction in which God was leading him. As a spiritual companion he helped others to recognize how God was leading them in a similar way.

St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Stars
An icon of “Ignatius and the Stars” by Fr. William McNichols is paired with the poem “San Ignacio de Loyola” by Fr. James Janda.

Call and Response in St. Ignatius and St. Francis
By Brian Purfield
A comparison of the spiritual journeys of Francis of Assisi, as seen in the biography written by St. Bonaventure, and the journey of Ignatius, as outlined in the Spiritual Exercises.

Ignatius of Loyola: Leader and Spiritual Master (PDF)
By Jaime Emilio Gonzalez Magana, SJ
Shows how Ignatius was able to develop a leadership style integrated with the reality of this world, while always keeping his focus on discerning to find, feel, and do God’s will.

dotMagis Posts About Ignatius Loyola
From the category archives of the dotMagis blog.