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July 31, Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-31-07 12:26 AM
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July 31, Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

Ignatius was born in 1491 at the Castle of Loyola, the youngest son of Don Beltrn Yaez de Oez y Loyola and Marina Saenz de Lieona y Balda. He was baptized Inigo, took the name Ignatius later, while living in Rome. He died in Rome on July 31, 1556, saying the name of Jesus as he died. The cause of his death was "Roman fever" (which I'd guess was malaria since malaria was a great problem in that part of Italy for centuries) His body is under the altar of the Gesu (large Jesuit church in Rome.)

In 1517, as a vain young man who liked fancy clothes, Ignatius joined the army but his military career was ended after a few years by a cannonball injuring his legs. While recovering, he didn't have any of the chivalric romances he liked to read so he read about the lives of the saints and became more and more interested in heavenly things rather than worldly things. He had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus which completed his conversion.

When he was well, he went to the sanctuary at Montserrat, confessed his sins, gave away his fancy clothes to the poor and clothed himself in sackcloth. He left his sword and dagger at Our Lady's altar and sat in front of the altar all night. After receiving Communion in the morning, he left. He then spent two years living in a cave, begging for alms to sustain himself, and beginning to write what would eventually be the "Spiritual Exercises."

A couple of years later, withstanding all sorts of difficulties along the voyage, he made his way to the Holy Land, only to have the Franciscans there tell him that he could not stay but must leave immediately. The pope had put the Franciscans in charge of the holy places to prevent problems, apparently with Christians being taken prisoner, presumably by Muslims. Jerusalem has always been a troubled place. :cry:

The story of the rest of his life is long, full of illnesses, injuries, and other difficuties, but he accomplished two significant things: he established a new order of priests, the Society of Jesus, and he wrote the famous "Spiritual Exercises." The Jesuits are known as educators and missionaries and their motto is "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," often abbreviated A.M.D.G., meaning "To the greater glory of God."

The word "Jesuit" had actually existed in the 15th century and was used scornfully to indicate a person who often spoke the Holy Name of Jesus. Ignatius never called himself a Jesuit but others in the Society of Jesus accepted the term.

Before the Society was formed, Ignatius and his followers went to university to study theology, philosophy, education, etc., and then were ordained to the priesthood.

All of the above is paraphrased from the Catholic Encyclopedia and here's a direct quote about the "Spiritual Exercises" from that source:

"The Spiritual Exercises" are written very concisely, in the form of a handbook for the priest who is to explain them, and it is practically impossible to describe them without making them, just as it might be impossible to explain Nelson's "Sailing Orders" to a man who knew nothing of ships or the sea. The idea of the work is to help the exercitant to find out what the will of God is in regard to his future, and to give him energy and courage to follow that will. The exercitant (under ideal circumstances) is guided through four weeks of meditations: the first week on sin and its consequences, the second on Christ's life on earth, the third on his passion, the fourth on His risen life; and a certain number of instructions (called "rules", "additions", "notes") are added to teach him how to pray, how to avoid scruples, how to elect a vocation in life without being swayed by the love of self or of the world. In their fullness they should, according to Ignatius' idea, ordinarily be made once or twice only; but in part (from three to four days) they may be most profitably made annually, and are now commonly called "retreats", from the seclusion or retreat from the world in which the exercitant lives. More popular selections are preached to the people in church and are called "missions".
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theredpen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-01-07 06:36 PM
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1. Happy birthday to one of my favorite Saints!
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-02-07 01:10 AM
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2. I'm in a Jesuit parish, so St Ignatius's Feast Day is always a big occasion.
I like the Jesuits - they're a very progressive order, and the two big areas for them are education
and social justice. They have a very masculine style, often very well connected to the movers and
shakers in politics and business, and they're achievement-oriented. They do get things done.

One of the best-known modern Jesuits was Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Order from 1965 until
1983. He was a most interesting man, a medical doctor as well as a theologian. He spearheaded the
movement known as "Liberation Theology", which didn't go down well with John Paul II. They had a
series of head-to-head tussles over the degree of autonomy to be allowed the Jesuits, who had
generally run their own affairs independent of the Vatican. It's a shame that nobody to date has
written a biography of Fr. Arrupe; he had such a varied and interesting life, and it would make good
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 04:52 AM
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3. Matilda, see my thread about the Miracle of the Rosary at Hiroshima,

Fr. Arrupe was one of the eight Jesuit priests who survived uninjured. Perhaps you already know this.

I think John Paul II was sympathetic to Liberation Theology for some years. I know he gave a wonderful sermon in the Philippines about how wrong it was that the owners of the sugar cane plantations were so rich and the workers were so very poor. Later, he felt the priests involved in Liberation Theology were becoming too Marxist. His experiences under communist rule in Poland shaped his thinking.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 05:02 AM
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4. A Jesuit joke

Two Jesuit novices both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their superior for permission. The first asked but was told no.

A little while later he spotted his friend smoking and praying. "Why did the superior allow you to smoke and not me?" he asked.

His friend replied, "Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed, and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!"

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