One of the most significant figures of the 16th Century, St. Ignatius left behind a legacy of accomplishments that still resonate in the Church to this day.Born in 1491, the nobleman spent his early adulthood in military service. His legs were severely injured by a cannonball, and in his convalescence read a “Life of Christ” which influenced the rest of his life. After his recovery, his conversion led him to a life of service.
In 1534, he and six companions created the Society of Jesus, whose member became known as Jesuits. In the nearly 5 centuries of its existence, the Society has become a leading voice in Catholicism promoting academic excellence and cultural pursuits. Currently, the Jesuits offer spiritual retreats, minister in hospitals, and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue. The current Pope, Francis, is the first Jesuit to become Pope.
His “Spiritual Exercises” have long been a critical component of spiritual formation in the Catholic Church. Over the last few decades, many Evangelicals and other Protestants have also found value in Ignatian spirituality.
Among the many words of wisdom that Ignatius left behind is this encouragement to service: “Teach us to give and not count the cost.”