Saint Ignatius of Loyola is one of the most important saints of the Catholic Church. He was the founder of the Society of Jesus and played an important role in the development of Catholic spirituality in recent centuries with his Spiritual Exercises.
Here you will find a short biography of his life and reflection questions to use in class.
You can also download and print the worksheet with this biography and reflection questions:Download the Saint Ignatius of Loyola Worksheet >
Saint Ignatius of Loyola Biography and Reflection Questions
Feast Day: July 31
Saint Ignatius was born in a castle in Loyola, Spain in 1491 as the youngest son of thirteen children.
He convinced his father to let him train to become a knight with dreams of glory like El Cid or the knights of Camelot. But a cannonball struck his leg on the battlefield crippling him for life.
While in the hospital recovering from his injury, he read the gospels, stories of the lives of the saints, and a book about the life of Jesus Christ. He realized God was calling him to follow the heroic example of the saints and seek the greater glory of God rather than his own glory on the battlefield.
Saint Ignatius set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and began to develop a set of spiritual practices that he later shared with the world. Returning from the Holy Land, he began to study theology at the University of Paris in preparation to become a priest. There he met and inspired many friends to join him in founding the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, in service of the pope.
Saint Ignatius was elected the first leader of the Jesuits and led its members through his unique set of Spiritual Exercises. The Jesuits became known for their great missionary work and scholarship in schools.
Saint Ignatius died in Rome in 1556, where his body was buried and remains today.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola Reflection Questions
1. How did Saint Ignatius give greater glory to God rather than himself?
2. Saint Ignatius was inspired by the lives of the saints. Which saints inspire you most?
3. Saint Ignatius and his fellow Jesuits inspired each other in their faith. Who are your closest companions and inspirations in the Christian faith?
Download the Saint Ignatius Worksheet
St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!
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