St Ignatius Loyola SJ
Feast Day

The Feast Day of St Ignatius Loyola is 31st July.
Jesuit schools in the UK celebrate the feast on a suitable day at the end of the summer term.


Ignatius Loyola , born (1491) of a Basque noble family; chose a life of chivalry and fame until wounded at the battle of Pamplona (1521); during long convalescence he underwent a spiritual conversion; lived as a hermit at Manresa where he began to see how God was active in his life; his notes from this time became the Spiritual Exercises; with companions he founded the Society of Jesus (1540); Ignatius spent the rest of his life developing and governing this new order. Died 31st July 1556.

Ignatius born, the youngest of 13 children, at Loyola in the Basque country of northern Spain.
Enters the service of the King's Treasurer as a page, at Avila.
Appointed Gentleman-in-Waiting to the Duke of Nájera, Viceroy of Navarra.
Battle of Pamplona, 20th May. Ignatius falls wounded. Taken home to Loyola to recover. Reads The Life of Christ and the Golden Legend. Begins to practice the discernment of spirits and chooses a new life.
Leaves Loyola (February). Pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady at Aránzazu. Spends the night in vigil before the Black Madonna at the monastery of Montserrat. Travels on to Manresa in search of Paul, a hermit with expertise on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Spends 11 months at Manresa in prayer. Begins to make the notes which will become the Spiritual Exercises.
18th February - leaves Barcelona for the Holy Land. Arrives in Rome on Palm Sunday. 4th September - enters Jerusalem. Ejected from the Holy Land by Franciscan guardians.
Returns to Barcelona. Begins to learn Latin before pursuing higher studies in order to 'help sous' without interference from the ecclesiastical authorities.
Enters the university of Alcalá, near Madrid.
Arrested and imprisoned for teaching the Christian faith without authorization (this happened eight times in all over the next few years). July - enters the university of Salamanca.
Enters the university of Paris. Lodges with Pierre Favre and Francis Xavier, his first companions.
Journies to London to beg alms to support himself in his studies.
Ignatius and six companions take a vow of poverty, decide to go to Jerusalem, and to spend their lives as 'friends in the Lord' helping souls.
Ignatius grduates as a Master of the university of Paris. Visits his family at Loyola for the last time.
The companions reach Venice en route to Jerusalem. They go to Rome to obtain the Pope's blessing but he encourage them to 'help souls' in Italy. The companions disperse to various towns in Italy. Ignatius has a mystical experience at La Storta, outside Rome. The companions put themselves at the service of the Pope and the Church.
The Deliberation of the First Fathers - the companions decide to bind themselves in a new religious order of priests to be called the Society of Jesus.
Francis Xavier set out for the far east. 27th September - Pope Pal III approves the new Order.
Much againsthis will, Ignatius is elected the fist Superior General of the the Society of Jesus. 22ndApril - the first 10 companions take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at the basilica of St-Paul-Outside-the-Walls, Rome.
Laínez and Salmerón are sent as expert theologians to the Council of Trent. 1st August - Pierre Favre, Ignatius' first companion, dies in Rome.
The Spiritual Exericses are approved and published for the first time (in Latin).
Ignatius finishes the first draft of the Constitutions for the new Society.
Francis Xavier dies on Sanchuan island, off the coast of China.
Ignatius dictates his Autobiography to Luís Gonçalves da Cámara.
31st July - Ignatius dies in Rome.
There are already over 1,000 members of the Society of Jesus in many parts of the world.
Ignatius is declared a saint by Pope Gregory XV.
Prayer Cards

St Ignatius Prayer Card 1
Image (Rubens) and prayer
Copies of this card are available from the Jesuit Institute
Image © 2011 Simon Norton Museum, Passadena; used with permission.

St Ignatius Prayer Card 2
Image (St Ignatius and the Stars by William Hart McNicols) and prayer
Copies of this card are available from the Jesuit Institute
Image © 2013 William Hart McNichols; used with permission.


St Ignatius of Loyola - The Man and his Spirit
A short biography of St Ignatius and an introduction to some of the key features of his spirituality.
St Ignatius of Loyola (pdf)
Booklet © 2016 Jesuit Institute London


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Prayer for Generosity
Lord, teach me to be generous; to give and not to count the cost.

Prayer Texts and Readings for the Mass of St Ignatius
Mass Texts

San Ignacio de Loyola
A Poem by Fr James Janda (1936-2010)

Ignatius of Loyola - A Portrait
by Christof Wolf SJ.
Loyola Productions Munich (2013)
Ignatius of Loyola (7m 31s)
The Olive
Directed by Patrick Ginnetty
Who better than a Spanish olive to tell the story of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, and probably the most famed Spanish Basque of all time! This Monty Python-esque video gives the historical details of his life in a uniquely humorous way.
Written and edited by Jason Kapell. Fairfield University Media Center.
The Olive on the Fairfield University website
The Oive on YouTube (10m 11s)

In the Footsteps of St Ignatius
by Michael Maher SJ and Antonio Maria de Aldama SJ
A visit to the rooms of St Ignatius in Rome
Film (22m 47s)
A Visit to the Rooms of St Ignatius in Rome
Film (10m 53s)
Click on the image to open a higher definition image for downloading.
Signature of Ignatius
Ignatius Loyola
[?] Jusepe de Ribera (1591 - 1652)
in the Rooms of St Ignatius at the Collegio Internazionale del Gesù, Rome.
This painting was completed around the time of the beatification of Ignatius in 1609.
Ignatius Loyola
origin unknown
in the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Rome.
Ignatius Loyola
Jacopino del Conte (1510 - 98)
in the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Rome.
This portrait was completed shortly after Ignatius' death in 1556. Del Conte used the death mask as his model.
Ignatius the Pilgrim
origin unknown
Go Forth and Set the World on Fire
origin unknown
These words are ascribed to St Ignatius as he sent St Francis Xavier on mission to the far east.
Ignatius as Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1664)
Ignatius Loyola
Detail of the sculpture in the rooms of St Ignatius at Loyola
Ignatius Loyola
origin unknown
Ignatius and Francis Xavier at the University of Paris
origin unknown

Santa Maria della Strada
Medieval anonymous
This was the mural before which Ignatius prayed at the church of Our Lady of the Way in Rome. It is now in the Church of the Gesù. The feast of Our Lady of the Way (24th May) was restored to the Jesuit liturgical calendar in 2014.

Ignatius Loyola
origin unknown

St Ignatius in prayer beneath the stars
William Hart McNichols
Image © 2013 William Hart McNichols

Ignatius sits among the schoolboys to learn Latin
Peter Hackett SJ (1991)
at St Ignatius College London
Image © 2013 Jesuit Institute

Ignatius at Manresa
Montserrat Gudiol (1991)
at Manresa
Image © 2013 Jesuit Institute
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
origin unknown
Ignatius the soldier
origin unknown
in the Rooms of St Ignatius at the Collegio Internazionale del Gesù, Rome.
Ignatius Loyola
origin unknown

Ignatius writes the Spiritual Exercises
Chevalier-Tayler (1908)
in the Church of the Sacred Heart Wimbledon
Image © 2012 Jesuit Institute
More images from this series

Ignatius Loyola
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Image © Norton Simon Collection, California

Ignatius and his Companions (c.1620)
Juan Martínez Montañés (1568–1649)
Campion Hall Collections, Oxford
Image © 2013 Jesuit Institute
Series of Images
Life of St Ignatius by Peter Paul Rubens (1609)
Images © 2012 Jesuit Institute
Life of St Ignatius by Albert Chevallier-Tayler (1904)
Images © 2012 Jesuit Institute
Life of St Ignatius by Carlos Saenz de Tejada (1958)
Images © 2012 Jesuit Institute
Life of St Ignatius by Charles Henin (2010)
Images © 2010 Charles Henin and Editions Vie Chrétienne, Paris
Guided Prayer
The Way of Ignatius
A five-day programme of guided prayer and reflection to lead you a little deeper into Ignatian spiritualty. From Pray-As-You-Go (Jesuit Media Initiatives, London).
MP3 or WMA format available
Articles on St Ignatius Loyola
from Thinking Faith, the online journal of the British Jesuits
Go to Thinking Faith website
Ignatius of Loyola
by JA Phillips SJ (1946) and updated by A Symondson SJ (2006)
CTS Great Saints Series
ISBN 798-1-86082-367-1 £1.95
A Pilgrims's Testament - The Memoirs of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Institute of Jesuit Sources (St Louis, 1995)
ISBN 1-880810-09-3 £11.50
Ignatius of Loyola
(Ignacio de Loyola b Miguel Berzosa Martinez, translated by Brian Edwards; the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus in association with ATF Press; ISBN 9781921511644)
A cartoon life of St Ignatius suitable for upper primary and lower secondary pupils.
64 pages full colour.
Please contact the Jesuit Institute for more information.
Mass Texts for the Feast of St Ignatius
Prayer Texts and Readings for the Mass of St Ignatius
from the Missal and Lectionary of the Society of Jesus
Mass Texts