Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the religious order responsible for returning large portions of Europe to the Catholic church after the Reformation. The Society of Jesus, trained by Ignatius's Spiritual Ex­ercises, epitomized the spirit of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It was a disciplined and obedient spiritual army ready to defend and serve the church.
In 1521 serious battlefield injuries precipitated a complete religious conver­sion in Ignatius. During his long convalescence, he read spiritual classics. Since he was a gentlemen soldier who subscribed to the romantic ideals of medieval chivalry, he understood Christ and the saints to be more heroic, spiritually speak­ing, than the most valiant knights. Ignatius resolved to imitate the deeds of his spiritual heroes as a soldier of Christ.
As he fought with himself to leave behind his old way of life, he wrote the first draft of the Spiritual Exercises, a manual of self-discipline whose purpose was to root out vice and instill virtue. After several years of study, Ignatius obtained his master's degree in Paris in 1534. While he was in Paris, he vowed to live in poverty and chastity with several of his companions. When his group could not go to the Holy Land as they had hoped, they went to Rome to work as preachers, teachers, and hospital chaplains. They were officially recognized as the Society of Jesus in 1540 by Pope Paul III.
Ignatius's constitutions broke with the traditional forms of religious life. The Jesuit way of life did not call for the observance of set times for communal prayer nor for special religious garb. Ignatius wanted his men to take a fourth vow of obedience to the pope, in addition to the three traditional religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Inspired by military ideals in creating the Jesuits, Ignatius prized obedience over all other virtues. Ignatius hoped that discipline and respect for authority, joined with the conviction that prayer was found in work and action in the world, would prepare the Jesuits to revitalize the church and fight the advance of Protestantism.
Elected the first general of the Jesuits in 1541, Ignatius served in that capacity until his death. When he died in 1556, the Society of Jesus had over one thou­sand members. He was declared a saint of the Catholic church in 1622. Igna-tius's Spiritual Exercises continue to exert a great influence on the Catholic understanding of the spiritual life.
P. Caraman, Ignatius Loyola: A Biography ofthe Founder ofthe Jesuits, 1990.
Evelyn Toft

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ignatius von Loyola — (auch: Íñigo López de Loyola; * 31. Mai 1491 auf Schloss Loyola bei Azpeitia, Baskenland, Spanien; † 31. Juli 1556 in Rom) war der wichtigste Mitbegründer und Gestalter der später auch als Jesuitenorden bezeichneten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ignatius von Loyola —   [lo joːla], eigentlich Íñigo López Oñaz y Loyola [ lopɛθ o ɲaθ i ], katholischer Ordensgründer baskischer Herkunft, * Schloss Loyola (bei Azpeitia, Provinz Guipúzcoa) 1491, ✝ Rom 31. 7. 1556; zunächst in höfischen und militärischen Dienst,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ignatius (of) Loyola — Saint (born Iñigo López de Recalde) (1491 1556); Sp. priest: founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order): his day is July 31 * * * …   Universalium

  • Ignatius (of) Loyola — Saint (born Iñigo López de Recalde) (1491 1556); Sp. priest: founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order): his day is July 31 …   English World dictionary

  • Ignatius of Loyola — ] St. Ignatius did not intend to change his name but rather adopted for France and Italy a name which he believed was a simple variant of his own, and which was more acceptable among foreigners.cite journal | last = Verd | first =Gabriel María |… …   Wikipedia

  • Ignatius de Loyola, S. (6) — 6S. Ignatius de Loyola, Conf. Soc. Jes. Fund. (31. Juli). Das Leben ihres heil. Ordensstifters (Fundatoris Ordinis Clericorum Regularium Societatis Jesu) wird von den Bollandisten sehr ausführlich behandelt. Zuerst findet sich (Jul. VII. 409–634) …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon

  • Ignatius of Loyola — noun Spaniard and Roman Catholic theologian and founder of the Society of Jesus; a leading opponent of the Reformation (1491 1556) • Syn: ↑Saint Ignatius of Loyola, ↑St. Ignatius of Loyola, ↑Loyola • Topics: ↑Roman Catholic, ↑Western Church, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ignatius of Loyola — Ig|nat|i|us of Loy|o|la, St also St Ignatius Loyola (1491 1556) a Spanish priest who started the ↑Jesuit ↑order (=a Roman Catholic group of ↑missionary priests, which is also called the Society of Jesus) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Ignatius of Loyola — biographical name Saint 1491 1556 originally Iñigo de Oñaz y Loyola Spanish religious & founder of Society of Jesus • Ignatian adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Ignatius of Loyola — /ɪgˌneɪʃəs əv lɔɪˈoʊlə/ (say ig.nayshuhs uhv loy ohluh) noun Saint (Iñigo López de Recalde), 1491–1556, Spanish soldier and priest; founder of the Jesuit order …   Australian English dictionary

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