Dom Inácio de Loyola 1491-1556
He was born some twenty kilometers southwest of San Sebastian, Spain. He had 13 brothers and sisters. His mother and father died when he was still very young. After the death of his parents, his relative Juan Velázquez de Cuéllar took care of him. He was a Minister of the Royal Treasury. After he died he become a servant of Duke of Nájera Antonio Manrique de Lara.
Later he was severely wounded in the Battle of Pamplone and spend months in his bed recovering. In that time, he read a lot of books about saints, religion etc.
Soon he became inspired to take upon a religious path. He was especially inspired by Francis Of Assisi. He decided to devote his life to converting people to religion. He developed so called Spiritual Excercises (Ejercicios espirituales). After regaining his health he went to Monastery of Montserrat where he confessed for three days. On “4th of March 1522 he stopped wearing his military equipment standing in front of the image of Virgin Mary. He stripped all his clothes and gave them to a beggar. He started to wear a simple fabric cloth.
He soon moved to monastery of Manresa, 55 km from Barcelona Spain. He lived in one room of the monastery as a guest and he was not being a monk yet. He imitated lifestyle of monks, was deprived of food and attended Mass on a daily basis. He also visited local hospital frequently and he brought food to patients.
In Manresa he has several spiritual experiences and visions and went through various personal trials of grief, discouragement etc.
Also sitting by the river Cardoner in Manresa he had a mystic experience and he started to get more anwers to his questions.
In 1523 he left Barcelona and went to Jerusalem. First he went to Rome to get a passport, then Venice and soon arrived to Jerusalem. He was greeted by Franciscans. He visited holy places in Jerusalem and wanted to stay there, but was declined by Franciscans. He soon moved back to Venice, where he arrived in January 1524. After that he moved back to Barcelona.
In Barcelona, lived in the home of Inez Pascual.
Later he went to Alcala university, where he continued his studies. He remained for a year and a half. He devoted himself to preaching and doing spiritual exercises. The inquisition did not like him. They throw him to jail for a month and half. He went back to teaching and preaching. No harm was found in his teaching after that. But they prohibited him to preach and he had to dress casually.
He was angry and went to visit the Archbishop of Toledo, where he reported the issue he had with Inquisition. After that he moved to Salamanca, which is one of the Spanish cities richest in monuments of the Middle Ages , the Renaissanceand the seasons classical and baroque . There he became famous for his preaching. Again he was arrested by the local Vicar, who found out that he is preaching but does not have a required theology education. He was later released but forbidden to preach again until he completes four years of study.
In 1528 he joined the university of Paris where he studied the next 7 years and trying to interest other people in his spiritual exercises. In 1533 he gets his teaching license. In 1534 he became a master of arts and had six followers. They were Peter Faber, the only priest in the group, Francisco Xavier , Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez and Nicholas Bobedilla, Spanish, and Simão Rodrigues .
On 15th August 1534 he and 6 other people from his group founded Society of Jesus in the church of Santa Maria in Montmartre to perform missionary work and support hospital in Jerusalem , or to go where the Pope wants, without question. The group wanted to go back to Jerusalem in 1537.
In 1537 he travelled back to Rome to seek approval from pope to go to Jerusalem. Pope Paul III gave him permission to visit Holy Land and allowed them to be ordained priests.
In Venice he was again held back and not permitted to go to Jerusalem by the bishop of Arbe. They waited a year and visited local hospitals, prisons, performing works of charity etc.
He went back to Rome in 1538 and placed himself at the disposal of the pope. The group preached in churches, squares, streets asking for alms. The group raised suspicion again and was investigated yet again. He was accused of Spanish inquisition. But later he was set free with no charges. In 1548 ,Roman Inquisition allowed Dom Ignatio to print the Spiritual Exercises.
He died in Rome on July 31, 1556.