Who is St. Ignatius of Loyola?


St. Ignatius was born in the Basque area of Spain in 1491. In his early life he pursued a worldly career as a courtier and soldier. At the age of 30 he was struck down by a cannon ball in the battle of Pamplona.

During a year of recuperation he had no books to read except a life of Christ and lives of the saints. He daydreamed about being a heroic soldier and about serving God, and noticed that while both dreams were sweet, the sweetness of the first quickly faded while that of the second endured. He began to see from this that the second was an indication of God’s will and that God speaks to us through our consolations and desolations and other inner movements. As he continued to read and pray over both books, he began to recognize that God was calling him to follow Jesus.

After recovering, he traveled to the monastery of Montserrat near Barcelona, and there dedicated himself to the service of God. His conversion was deepened through ten months of prayer at Manresa, a town about ten miles away. There he experienced visions and anxieties, joys and scruples, and learned to discern the difference between the workings of God and those of the evil spirit.

In mystical visions beyond words, Ignatius experienced the love of the Trinity communicating itself to us and acting within creation out of love for us. He began to free himself from anything holding him back from God. And he greatly desired to share his experience of God with others.

But, in those days, it was difficult for an unschooled layman to teach about religious matters. He had to go back to school at the age of 30, get a degree, and become a priest. He went to the University of Paris, where he found companions, among them Francis Xavier.

The ministry of Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland is rooted in the life of St. Ignatius. JRH provides a sacred place for contemporary men and women to make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We are here to welcome you!

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