St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 - 1556)
JULY-31 feast Of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Inigo Lopez de Loyola, was the earlia Spanish name of St Ignatius of Loyola. At the age of thirty in 1521, as a soldier in the army of Antonio Manrique de Lara, duke of Najera and Viceroy of Navarre, Ignatius was defending the capital Pamplona against the French troops who had already invaded Navarre. During the siege of the city, Ignatius was wounded in both his legs by a canon of ball. His one leg was completely broken, and the other was badly injured. The garrison surrendered to the French troops after his injury.
Ignatius was taken as a prisoner and cared by the French. His leg was set, and in two weeks time he was ﬁt to be carried back to Loyola When he reached Loyola, his leg was badly set, and it had to be broken again to be reset. After the resetting of his leg, he was taken very ill. He made his confmsion and prayed to St. Peter, to whom he had a great devotion, that if he gets healed he would dedicate his life as a knight to him. He recovered from his illness, but he found that his second resetting had left him deformed. It was broken again and reset the third time. It took nine months for him to recover completely.
It was during this time of his recuperation, a time of inactivity for the usually active Ignatius that his conversion began. While he was lying on his bed he asked for some books on romance to while away his time. Having no other books, they gave hirn the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony and the Golden Legend - a book of lives of saints by Jacobus de Voragine. In the beginning he read those books half heartedly only to kill time, but as he read he began to enjoy the reading and he spent much time reading the lives of the great saints and hennits. Inspired by the lives of the saints, he began to ask himself, "These men were the same frame as I am; Why then should not I do what they have done?" In the heat of his passion he made a resolution to go to Jerusalem and become a hermit, but soon this resolution vaporized.
One night while he was praying, Ignatius had the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus in her arms, and the vision ﬁlled him with such intense joy and spiritual delight that it ﬁlled him with shame for his past sins and made him to realize the insipidity of the worldly pleasures. Later he said that alter that vision he never experienced any temptation of the ﬂesh. He devoted his life completely to God and His service.