The Patron Saint of Catholic Soldiers
By: Christopher Petersen
The setting is 1509, St. Ignatius, or at this point Iñigo Loiolakoa enlisted in the local army in Spain. He was highly revered as a leader and diplomat. And rose up the ranks to a commanding position. He continued fighting as a soldier until the French army forcefully took the fortress he was defending. He and his troops fought valiantly but a cannonball crippled his legs during the battle, May 20, 1521. He had to undergo very dangerous medical procedures at the time. Mind you this was nothing like a modern day hospital visit and he risked a very high mortality rate due to his injuries.
During the time of his healing he read a book that would turn out to change his whole life. It’s called the “De Vita Christi, by Ludolph of Saxony.” This is essentially a commentary on the Gospels and Jesus Christ. A very popular religious text at the time for those privileged enough to have access to printed copies. He became a heavily practicing Christian mirroring his goals after those of St. Francis of Assisi. He was empowered with God’s will and wanted to spread the word of Jesus Christ to all of those in Jerusalem and beyond.
Around this time came a legendary moment in history when he lay his military clothing before a statue of The Virgin Mary in a final show to renounce his violence. Shortly after this he began having repetitive visions, full out of body visions inside of a hospital of the time of a mist that he knew to be the lord God. This instituted his second trip to the holy land.
He got his masters degree shortly after this in France and became referred to as Master Ignatius at age 43. In 1534 he had a small group of highly educated theologians who also gained masters with him. Little did he know what this group of colleagues to accomplish. The most important of this group being Francis Xavier (later to be canonized.) St. Ignatius of Loyola, along with the help of Francis Xavier created one of the most powerful religious organizations of the Catholic Church. He was given the title Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Members were and are known by the name Jesuit. Members of this group had close ties to the current pope and served him well.
During this time he made one of the most famous quotes in Roman Catholic History “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same.”
He was noted as highly spiritual and peaceful. Sending his missionaries out of his headquarters in Rome to spread the good word of Christ during this shaky time in history. His outspokenness changed rapidly once the Protestant Reformation was starting to come into play. This he vehemently opposed and considered it absolute sacrilege. He would go on to write papers stating his distain. With these writing along with his status he became an active and crucial part of the Counter-Reformation launched by the church. St Ignatius of Loyola was beatified then canonized. He became saint March 12, 1622. This mans organization has lead to the type of teaching who has made me the man I am today. It is…