Ignatius and Xavier

Today is the anniversary of the canonization of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier in 1622.  Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri were also canonized on that day, making March 12, 1622, possibly the greatest day in the history of canonizations. The painting above by the Jesuit Andrea Pozzo depicts Ignatius sending Xavier to the missions in the Far East.  They never saw each other again, but their love for each other remained strong.  Xavier once […]

A Novena of Grace

Today is the traditional beginning of the Novena of Grace in honor of St. Francis Xavier, a nine-day devotion that has been popular for centuries.  The first Novena of Grace dates back to 1634, when the intercession of St. Francis obtained the miraculous cure of another Jesuit.  The novena ends on March 12, the date on which Francis was canonized in 1622. The novena prayers can be found here on the Sacred Space website.  Go […]


Last month America Magazine awarded its 2009 Campion Award to Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury– a remarkable move, since the award is named after St. Edmund Campion, one of the English martyrs.  Williams writes movingly of “martyrial ecumenism,” which I take to mean the shared witness (Greek marturion) to faith in Christ, even to the point of death.  See the address here. The theme seems especially relevant during Lent, the period when we […]

Peter Canisius

December 21 is the feast of another great Jesuit saint, Peter Canisius. Let this post represent a shout-out to Buffalo’s Canisius College and Canisius High School; Jakarta’s Canisius College (secondary school); and Berlin’s Canisius Kolleg (secondary school). The Dutch-born Canisius (1521-1597) was one of the early first-generation Jesuits. He met Pierre Favre, one of Ignatius’ roommates at the University of Paris and one of the original seven members of the Society; Pierre led him through […]

Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier (Indonesia, c. 16th century) December 3 is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier. Francis is the patron of foreign missions because of his evangelization in India, Indonesia, and Japan (he died off the coast of China, and the site is a pilgrimage destination for Chinese Catholics). Many Asian Catholics to this day recognize Francis as a patron; many priests take his name. Francis is perhaps the most striking example of what Ignatius’ […]

Venerable Mary Ward

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has announced that Mary Ward (1585-1645), the English woman who founded an order modeled directly after the Jesuits, will be declared Venerable. See the CathAsia news story here. See the bio of Mary at the website of the order she founded, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, here. Like Ignatius, Mary was suspected of heresy during her lifetime. Like the Jesuits, her order was at one time […]

Ignatius the Intense

At his People for Others blog, my friend Paul Campbell has trouble coming up with “five fun facts” about Ignatius Loyola.  One of them is the fact that Ignatius was hauled up several times before the Spanish Inquisition. This got me thinking about the personalities of saints.  There aren’t many  “fun” facts about Ignatius because Ignatius was probably not much of a fun guy.  I think he was pretty intense.  He seems to have had […]

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