Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491, in the castle of Loyola, Spain. This was a period of great historical change throughout Europe and the world. Discovery was taking place in the New World and reformation was revolutionizing the church throughout Europe. As the youngest son in a family of seven sons and six daughters, his parents designated him as a candidate for religious life. Ignatius had other plans. He was primarily interested in being a courtier and a soldier. He also enjoyed an active social life.
Ignatius (Ignacio in Spanish) lived an early life of ease, wealth and eventually meeting the challenges of being a soldier in battle. After being wounded and confined to a hospital, he read books about saints and the Bible. God was working in his soul. He slowly came to realize he wanted to become a priest and live his life in poverty and service. He was especially inspired by the deeds of Francis of Assisi and he began to experience a conversion. He realized that doing God’s will was all important in his life. He journeyed to a monastery at Montserrat to pray about his decision, surrendering his sword and trading his fancy clothes for rags. He began his new career of begging for food and shelter with heavy dosages of prayer. He also began to write the Spiritual Exercises—a body of work to help people engage God in daily life in new, meaningful ways. He was ordained a priest and later formed the Jesuit order based in social justice and spiritual formation.
Ignacio’s journey encompassed both tremendous spiritual growth and geographical travels. He traveled by foot and horseback to the Holy Land, Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome and other places in Italy, France and Spain. The map illustrates his travels as his ministry grew, eventually ending in Rome where he died at age 65 in 1556.
As you engage your journey in spiritual growth and work discernment, you are encouraged to follow Ignacio’s travels while accomplishing the tasks you need to in order to clarify your career, job and/or retirement/work goals. At each city, you’ll also have an opportunity to learn about Ignatius and his journey.