Today's Saint (July 31): Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor
Saint Ignatius was born in 1491 at Loyola, Spain. Before his conversion, he was a soldier and was wounded in a battle against the French at the battle of Pamplona in 1521.
During his convalescence, he desired to read knightly romances. But such were not available, and instead he was given a Life of Christ and some Legends of the Saints, which led to his conversion.
After his conversion, he renounced his military life and devoted a year to prayer and penance. His faith was deepened profoundly, which allowed him to write a draft of his famous Spiritual Exercises.
He founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and at the outset, they became deeply involved in charitable works, in educating the young and in missionary endeavours which caused a renewal and a spread of the catholic Christian faith throughout Europe and abroad.
May we also become faithful soldiers and servants for the sake of the furtherance of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The accompanying picture (oil on canvas) was created by Peter Paul Rubens around 1620-22 for the Mother Church of the Jesuit order in Rome.
Books Worth Considering
Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual Exercises & Selected Works (Classics of Western Spirituality)
Personal Writings (Penguin Classics)
A Pilgrim's Journey: The Autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin)
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church