Saint Ignatius of Loyola, also known as Inigo Onaz Lopez de Loyola, was raised in the household of a popular courtier. In 1517 he left home to join the army. During recuperation in 1521 from a serious injury, he was influenced by reading the life of Jesus. He went to Montserrat, where he was changed and went to Manresa. In 1523 he toured the Holy Land. He was prohibited from entering Palestine,thereafter he took a decision to secure an education.
Born: October 23, 1491, Azpeitia, Spain
Died: July 31, 1556, Rome, Italy
Full name: Ignacio López
Education: University of Alcalá, University of Paris
He studied at Barcelona and at Alcala. He was imprisoned at Salamanca and at Paris. St. also Ignatius's goal was towards spiritual direction. He and six followers took vows of poverty and chastity. This group proved to be the core of the future Jesuits. They decided to visit the Holy Land and worked to convert Muslims. Meanwhile the Turkish wars erupted, and they headed to Rome. They were ordained and welcomed by the pope, who allowed them to work in Italy.
In the year 1539, Ignatius designed a model for a new order and secured (1540) the approval of pope. It served as the pillars for the following constitutions by which Jesuits have been ruled ever since. Ignatius was elected in the year 1541, as the general of the order and proclaimed as its leader, having headquarters in Rome, until his death. Nevertheless, the Jesuits proved to be a prominent strength in the Counter Reformation, the society was not founded specifically with this objective. Ignatius's interests appear to have been the foreign missions and the upliftment of youth. Several schools were opened in Europe in his lifetime, and programs were initiated in Japan, India, and Brazil.
He was governed by a wish to imitate Christ. His “Spiritual Exercises’, written over several years, are an array of reflections, evaluation of conscience, and prayers, combined according to a conventional set of four phases leading to the enigmatic union with God. The spirituality associated with St. Ignatius is expressed by focus on human initiative. His little book is a work of Christian faith and is facilitated by devout Catholics. His mission of the "soldier of Christ" has often been interpreted as superficial. He was declared a Saint in the years 1622. He was laid to rest in the Gesù at Rome.