Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 into a large, wealthy Spanish family. From a young age, Ignatius dreamed of becoming a knight, surrounded by fame and glory. His dreams of great deeds were realized, but not in the way he expected.
In 1521, Ignatius was hit in the leg by a cannonball, which destroyed his career as a knight. During his recovery, he began reading about Christ and the lives of the saints. As he read, he slowly realized that with God leading him, he could still do great deeds. Ignatius decided to lay down his sword and his armor at a statue of Mary as a physical sign of his conversion to a life of faith.
Ignatius, who was now in his 30’s, enrolled in university so that he could learn Latin and receive an education that would allow him to go out to teach and to serve. Ignatius’ excitement was contagious, and he formed a small group of friends who gathered frequently to study Scripture and pray. At one point, Ignatius was accused of heresy, because the Inquisition found it suspect that he was teaching people to pray but was not a priest. He was imprisoned for 42 days before he was declared innocent.
Over time, Ignatius developed a deep spiritual life, one in which he constantly sought God’s presence and His will in all things. Ignatius became an expert at giving spiritual direction to his friends. Together, Ignatius and his friends went on to found the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, a religious order that grew from 8 to 1,000 members during his lifetime. The Jesuits focused on opening schools so that they could teach others about how to discern God’s will for their lives. Ignatius’ legacy of good deeds and adherence to God’s will continues to inspire Christians to seek God and to glorify Him in all things.
About the author: Stacey Jarzynka has a decade of experience as a Catholic school teacher and a reading intervention specialist. After having her daughter, she started looking for jobs where she could stay home while also pursuing her love of creating content that inspires young people to grow deeper in their Catholic faith. God’s answer to her prayer started with the homeschooling moms in her book club introducing her to classical education and it ended with an offer to start developing content for Kolbe. Stacey resides in a small town in Illinois with her husband and two children.