Saint of the Day for 31 July: St Ignatius of Loyola
The Revolutionary Life of the Jesuit Founder and His Spiritual Legacy
Íñigo López de Loyola
Founder of the Society of Jesus
1491, Lojola, Spain
31 July 1556, Rome
27 July 1609, Rome, Pope Paul V
12 March 1622, Rome, Pope Gregory XVI
Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my intelligence and all my will, all that I have and possess; you have given it to me, to you, Lord, I give it back; all is yours, of all you dispose according to your will: give me only your love and your grace; and this is enough for me. Amen.
Patron Saint of
Piedimonte Etneo, Santo Stefano Lodigiano, Museums
Memory of St Ignatius of Loyola, priest, who, born in Gascony in Spain, lived in the king’s court and in the army, until, seriously wounded, he was converted to God; having completed his theological studies in Paris, he joined his first companions, whom he then formed into the Society of Jesus in Rome, where he carried out a fruitful ministry, devoting himself to writing works and training disciples, to the greater glory of God.
The Saint and Mission
St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), is an emblematic figure when it comes to mission in the Catholic Church. His life and work have profoundly influenced the Church’s approach to mission and evangelisation, and continue to inspire countless people around the world.
Ignatius began his life as a soldier and nobleman, but a serious injury and a period of convalescence led him to a profound spiritual conversion. He decided to dedicate his life to the service of God and later founded the Society of Jesus, a religious order dedicated to the ‘greater glory of God’ and the service of neighbour.
Ignatius’ vision of mission was radical for his time. Instead of withdrawing from the world, as many religious orders did, Jesuits were called to actively engage in the world, to seek God ‘in all things’ and to serve where the need was greatest. This commitment to action and to encountering people in their context of life has profoundly marked the Church’s approach to mission.
Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, a series of meditations and prayer practices, are another key aspect of his contribution to Christian mission. These exercises help people discern God’s call in their lives and respond with generosity and courage.
The life and teaching of St Ignatius of Loyola remind us that Christian mission is not just a matter of words, but of action. He challenges us to seek God in all things, to serve with generosity, and to love without reservation. His example continues to inspire many to actively engage in the mission of bringing God’s love to the world.
The Saint and Mercy
St Ignatius of Loyola is a major figure in the discourse on mercy in Christianity. Through his life of conversion and his revolutionary approach to spirituality and service, Ignatius offers us a powerful vision of how mercy can be embodied and experienced.
Ignatius himself experienced God’s mercy in a profound way during his period of convalescence following a serious injury. This experience of mercy and forgiveness transformed his life and prompted him to dedicate his existence to the service of God and others. His own conversion is an expression of God’s mercy – an invitation to change, to be renewed, and to live God’s love more fully.
Ignatius’ vision of service also reflects God’s mercy. Members of the Society of Jesus, the religious order he founded, are called to serve ‘on the frontier’, where the need is greatest. This commitment to service and justice reflects God’s mercy for the most vulnerable and marginalised.
Furthermore, Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, a series of meditations and prayer practices, help people to experience God’s mercy in a personal way and to respond with gratitude and generosity. Through these practices, Ignatius invites people to experience God’s love and mercy and be transformed by it.
St Ignatius of Loyola reminds us that mercy is not just something we receive, but something we are called to live and share. His life and teaching challenge us to seek God in all things, to respond with love and service, and to allow God’s mercy to transform our lives and our world.
The Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order, is a Catholic organisation founded in 1540 by St Ignatius of Loyola. It is recognised for its commitment to education, evangelical mission and social service, and for its unique approach to spirituality.
The order’s motto, ‘Ad maiorem Dei gloriam’, meaning ‘For the greater glory of God’, expresses its fundamental mission: to dedicate everything to the glory of God and the service of humanity. Unlike many other religious orders, Jesuits are not tied to a particular place or type of work, but adapt to the needs of the world and the Church, working in a variety of contexts, from foreign missions to education, from spiritual counselling to scientific research.
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, a series of meditations and prayer practices, are at the heart of Jesuit spirituality. These exercises help guide people on a journey of spiritual discernment, helping them to recognise God’s presence and action in their daily lives.
A particularly distinctive aspect of the Jesuits is the importance they give to intellectual formation. Jesuit educational institutions, such as schools and universities, are known worldwide for their academic excellence and commitment to social justice.
The Society of Jesus is an order that strives to find God in all things, to serve where the need is greatest, and to work for the ‘greater glory of God’. Their legacy and ongoing commitment to formation, mission and service make the Jesuits an essential and dynamic part of the Catholic Church.
He was born in the castle of Lojola, to a noble family from Spain, in the year 1491. After living for some time at the court of the Catholic kings, he went to the militia, where he distinguished himself for his valour.
Selected for the defence of Pamplona, he bravely besieged it with a handful of men, but in the heat of the fray he suffered a broken leg. As he was bedridden, he asked for one of those chivalric novels that were then in…