Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Founder of the Society of Jesus

(December 24, 1491 - July 31, 1556)

Feast Day: July 31

Saint Ignatius of Loyola had been a brave soldier in the Spanish military. One day (in 1516 A.D.) he was wounded badly in battle. When he was getting well, he read the Lives of the Saints. “What they did, I can do!”, he thought. And he then became a brave soldier of Christ. So he established a new Society of Priests and Brothers. He called it the Society of Jesus.

He once suffered from a severe sickness brought about by various troubles and fatigue. After he entered the hospital two of his near relatives, Dona Maria d’Oriola and Dona Simona d’Alzaga, attended him; it is from their testimony that we learn of a wonderful event.

One night before retiring, they wanted to leave a light burning in the Saint’s sick room, but he opposed it, saying that God would provide a light if he needed it. He then arose, according to his custom, to pray. The fervor of his devotion prompted frequent sighs and murmurs. The two ladies, on hearing these sounds, assumed the Saint was moaning in pain and rushed to his room. On opening the door they found him in prayer, surrounded by a brilliant light. The Saint, greatly confused on being discovered in this state, begged them not to mention what they had seen.

Another time, while St. Ignatius was sitting on the steps of an altar with a group of children listening to a sermon, a lady of position, Elizabeth Roser, saw the Saint’s head encircled with a bright light.

St. Ignatius had the gift of tears and experienced many ecstasies during his Holy Masses. An unusual manifestation was noted during one of his Masses which was attended by Fr. Nicholas Lannoy. During the Memento of the Mass, a flame of fire hovered above St. Ignatius’ head, much to the horror of Fr. Lannoy. Rushing forward to extinguish it before the Saint was harmed, the priest suddenly stopped when he realized that the Saint’s face clearly indicated he was lost in contemplation. The flame, moreover, was causing no harm. This amazed the priest, and he stared at the spectacle for some time in complete amazement.

Few saints in the entire history of the Catholic Church have been more influential on the lives of Catholics than has St. Ignatius. He was a great man who in a time of grave crisis was sent by God to help the Church recover from the Protestant Revolt — and to help it flourish once again, even more wonderfully than before.


Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve Thee as Thou deservest: to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to seek reward, save that of knowing that I do Thy Will, O God.

To read more about this saint and others, go to and look for the following titles:

Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Fr. Genelli, S.J.

Saint Ignatius Loyola by F.A. Forbes

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

Our Friends: The Saints by Rev. Daniel A. Lord, S.J.

Mysteries, Marvels, Miracles in the Lives of the Saints by Joan Carroll Cruz

Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler This story was compiled from the above books.