St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius of LoyolaIgnatius of Loyola (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa, Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola) (ca. October 27, 1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. Loyola’s devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope.

After being seriously wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521, he underwent a spiritual conversion while in recovery. De Vita Christi by Ludolph of Saxony purportedly inspired Loyola to abandon his previous military life and devote himself to labour for God, following the example of spiritual leaders such as Francis of Assisi. After claiming to experience a vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in March 1522, he went to Manresa, where he began praying for seven hours a day, often in a nearby cave, and formulating the fundamentals of the Spiritual Exercises. In September 1523, Loyola reached the Holy Land to settle there, but was sent back to Europe by the Franciscans.

Between 1524 and 1537, Ignatius studied theology and Latin in the University of Alcalá and then in Paris. In 1534, he arrived in the latter city during a period of anti-Protestant turmoil which forced John Calvin to flee France. Ignatius and a few followers bound themselves by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In 1539, they formed the Society of Jesus, approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, as well as his Spiritual Exercises approved in 1548. Loyola also composed the Constitutions of the Society. He died in July 1556, was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1609, canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622, and declared patron of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Ignatius’ feast day is celebrated on July 31. Ignatius is a foremost patron saint of soldiers, the Society of Jesus, the Basque Country, and the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay. (source : wikipedia)

March of St. Ignatius

Noble Knight, leader of a brave array. lead us on, O lead us on
We will fight neath thy sway (2)
What tho’ foes gather near, we don’t fear (2) We’ll not shun, we’ll not quit this our noble career.

We will fight ever true to death to thee: true to God to faith and thee. true to thee.

Lead us on gallantly, ever on valiantly
‘Neath thy banner to fight for the Church and its right.
All for God’s own greater glory is our cry, our battle cry!
Not for gain, nor in vain is our strife in this life;
but for God who is our king
all to him our hearts we bring.

Growing stronger and stronger as fighting lasts longer and purer and purer to make heaven surer with crosses and trials and many denials – we’ll fight!

But to die loyal and true to our king who doth reign on high! Ignatius lead us on – till we die!!