I was delighted to learn that St. Ignatius Loyola is among my son’s top three choices for his Confirmation saint. Of course, I wanted him to make an educated choice, so, in all fairness and with no partiality or favoritism, I directed him to my favorite Ignatian books and websites and procured a copy of the 2016 film, Ignacio de Loyola.
As we sat down to watch the film, both of my teens aired their grievances about how they had hoped to watch a superhero movie instead. With a little grumbling and shuffling of the feet, they plopped down to watch Ignacio. Within just a few minutes, they were thoroughly absorbed in his story, and by the end of the film, they realized Ignatius was a superhero in his own right!
Together, we discovered 10 reasons why St. Ignatius would be a great Confirmation saint or, indeed, anyone’s go-to saint when needing saintly guidance and protection.
- He had a cool sword. It’s true. It’s still in the little church of Sagrat Cor in Barcelona. It’s beautifully ornate. And, generally, having a sword makes a saint cool.
- He was a real person. Before he was a saint, “he was no saint,” a fact alluded to in the subtitle of Ignacio de Loyola: Soldier. Sinner. Saint. Some saints seem to be nearly perfect from birth—not so with Ignatius. Before he gave up his life of privilege as a Spanish noble, Ignatius had been a playboy and had killed men in battle. These imperfections make him relatable to those of us who aren’t yet saints.
- He was brave. Ignatius demonstrated great bravery throughout his life, from his days as a soldier to his recuperation from his battle injuries, to his appearance before the Inquisition and when he went to the pope to request permission to found the Society of Jesus.
- He was resilient. When the cannonball shattered Ignatius’s leg, it also shattered all of his dreams and aspirations. Although Ignatius was initially devastated, he was not defeated. He adapted in the face of adversity.
- He persevered. Many people would have lost their desire to share their faith after having been interrogated three times by the Inquisition. Ignatius, however, remained solid in his convictions and undeterred by these trials.
- He was determined. In whatever he did, whether it be in recovering from his wounded leg, getting an education, or finding God, Ignatius was determined to succeed.
- He gave solid advice. Ignatius learned from the excesses of his youth and his early penitential practices of self-flagellation and fasting. As such, he prohibited extreme practices among his brothers in the Society of Jesus. He instead encouraged a more balanced approach promoting the health of the body, mind, and spirit.
- He knew God. Ignatius powerfully experienced God’s love and mercy. He was on fire with God’s love, and his joy in Christ was contagious. When he offered Mass, he was so often moved to tears by the beauty that his doctor advised that he must stop crying or he would lose his eyesight!
- He was a master at teaching how to pray. Long before it came into vogue, Ignatius taught anyone who would listen how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. His concept of conversing directly with Jesus through the use of the imagination is now a time-proven method of deepening one’s Christian faith. His insights into the spiritual life in his Spiritual Exercises are unparalleled in helping to bring people into closer relationship with God.
- He gave the glory to God. When Ignatius was young, he sought glory for himself, his family, and his country. As he progressed along his spiritual journey, though, he realized that God should always be the recipient of our praise and glory. So, when he founded the Jesuits, Ignatius chose the motto, “For the greater glory of God,” to ensure that all that he did and all that his order would do in the future would be undertaken for and dedicated solely to the glory of God.
Will my son choose Ignatius? I don’t know. What I do know is that St. Ignatius offers an example of a life steadfastly anchored in God’s love, and he remains a wonderful guide for anyone seeking to walk closer to God.
I’ve always had a devotion to St. Ignatius since college. I graduated from Fordham University . AMDG
Gracias por este compartir de San Ignacio! Sin duda los ejercicios de San Ignacio siguen dando mucho fruto de oración en toda la iglesia. Me pregunto a quién habrá elegido finalmente tu hijo como santo de la confirmación! Saludos desde Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Hola Mamani Daniela,
¡Eligió a Ignacio!
While reflecting on what you heard from your children, I get the sense that I’m invited to explore what it means to lead the Ignatian good life.
Another example I found that speaks to me is Sister Dr Margaret Beirne, RSC in Australia. She likens the Ignatian set of principals and exercises to Greek origins ‘Endaimonia’, closely translated as having a good guardian spirit.
Today marks me standing at the threshold of a new month-September. Your top 10 list led me to reflect on good progress in four areas of my life, with greater clarity on what direction I need to go. Thanks.
I laughed out loud at the sword part! Ignatius is so relatable to young people, and seasoned people as well.
I find it interesting how people seem to get particular graces related to their choice of a confirmation patron.
The person who picks St. Catherine of Siena, for example, who enjoys the gift of tears she describes. Things like that. May whoever your son chooses be a constant friend and companion as he grows up.
Ha! Glad to have brought a laugh to your day! 🙂 When my sons saw the sword in Sagrat Cor, their eyebrows went up. They couldn’t talk out loud because a Mass was about to start, but as we left the church, they both whispered to each other, “Cool!”
What an interesting point about graces related to ones patron saint. Great “food for thought.”
Thank you. My son did choose Ignatius – and I do think that sword had something to do with it!
I choose St. Ignatius as my patron saint. I miss you Loretta!! Much love!
I’ve gone through the Spiritual Exercises twice and read a lot about Ignatius. I think your 10-points on Ignatius is well done. He is an exemplar for people of all ages and of all times.
Thank you! Yes, Ignatius offers a wonderful example of a life rooted in Christ and accessible spiritual advice for people of all ages. I was so pleased when my son did actually choose him as his confirmation saint!
This is wonderful. Thought provoking. And easy to do.Thank you
Thanks! Yes, St. Ignatius is a wonderful spiritual guide.
I enjoyed this. Thank you!
So glad – thank you for writing! AMDG!
My son did choose Ignatius as his confirmation name 6 years ago and then went on to attend a Jesuit high school which gave him a wonderful academic and spiritual foundation
Wonderful! He will have an education for life and a reliable guide in Ignatius.
Thank you for this . A good way to sart off 31 days with Ignatius. May he assist me in my walk each day to come to know love and serve God always.
Thank you, glad you found it helpful. Prayers for you as you walk along with Ignatius this month! AMDG!
It does seem like I’m hoping it will extremely meaningful for me.
Well Done Rebecca…I really enjoyed your article even had a little chuckle….. Truly A Different type of HERO!! The Best kind. A.M.D.G.
Would love to find a copy of that film! Thank you for sharing! God Bless.
It’s not readily available everywhere yet but many local Catholic shops and carry it and some parish lending libraries have copies of it now. I believe it’s on backorder at Ignatius Press as well. I should note – it has some risque scenes so it is more suitable for older viewing audiences (not young children).
I learned so much about my life by doing Sacred Story. It is 40 weeks of Ignatius Loyola’s story. Written by a priest by the name of Bill Watson. Hes home is in Washington State. I have been an Ignatius follower and I can handle more of things in life because of it. I was 60years when doing this program made me feel that Jesus did love ME… I felt it and that was big for me…..AMEN…+
Sounds like a great series. I’m so glad that it helped you to experience God’s love for you.
I’ve also chosen Ignatius of Loyola as my patron saint. I was so glad to learn that I didn’t have to choose a female saint just because I was female. Ignatius has been instrumental in teaching me more about my faith, and the discipline he learned then used to develop the Examen is so indicative of military life (which is also my background).
How wonderful that Ignatius is your patron saint! I think we need a #11 on this list with your observations about St. Ignatius’ discipline and relatability to those in military life. Thank you for sharing!
Lovely article to read on a cold winter’s day. Nice to find a follow HC alum on the web doing great things.
Thank you and thanks for reading! Go ‘Saders!