San Ignatius

  • 1491
    Born Eneko Oinaz de Loyola, though he would later be known as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, on December 24th 1491, Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa).
  • 1505
    He settled in Arévalo, at the home of the Head Treasurer of Castile. His father, who belonged to the Oñacino band, wanted him to enter a religious life, but Ignatius preferred a military career. He was in the service of the Crown of Castile between 1506 an 1517, and took part in some military forays against the King of Navarre and French troops. He became a courtier and man of the court.
  • 1521
    He fell wounded in battle in the city of Pamplona. He went home to his house in Loiola to heal, and his conversion began. During his long convalescence, he read books on the lives of saints and decided to change his life completely, renouncing his arms.
  • 1522
    Once he recovered, he started a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting Arantzazu and the Montserrat Monastery, among other places. He confessed to the sins of his military and courtly life and spent a year living in Manresa, dedicated to prayer, penitence and liturgy. It was during this period that he wrote his first spiritual work, which he would later include in the book Spiritual Exercises.
  • 1533
    He began to study at the University in Barcelona, with the intention of preparing for becoming an Apostate. He continued his studies in Alcalá de Henares, and then studied Philosophy and Theology in Paris. His spiritual exercises attracted the attention of many university students, including Saint Francis Xavier. They formed a group of six key members, which would later become the embryo of the Society of Jesus.
  • 1535
    He left Paris and returned to Azpeitia, the town where he was born.
  • 1540
    He founded the Society of Jesus.
  • 1541
    He was elected General of the Society. He stayed in Rome while the rest of the members of the congregation took the missionary path. He organised spiritual exercises to continue attracting more and more people.
  • 1551
    Worried over the preparation to become an Apostate, he built the Roman College, which would later become the Gregorian University. The Society expanded quickly, with Jesuits evangelising in Asian lands and fighting Protestantism in Europe.
  • 1556
    He died in Rome on July 31st. He died in Rome on July 31st.
  • 1622
    He was canonised by Pope Gregorius XV on March 12, together with Saint Francis Xavier. Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the patron saint of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia.
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