Religious conversion and religious lifeDuring his period of convalescence in 1521, Ignatius read a series of religious texts on the life of Jesus and on the lives of the saints; he became fired with an ambition to lead a life of self-denying labour and to emulate the heroic deeds of Francis of Assisi and other great monastics. He resolved to devote himself to the conversion of non-Christians in the Holy Land. Upon his recovery, he visited the Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat (March 25, 1522), where he hung his military garments before an image of the Virgin. He then traveled on foot to the town of Manresa (Catalonia) and spent several months in a cave nearby  where he practiced rigorous asceticism. Ignatius also began experiencing a series of visions in full daylight while in hospital. These repetitive visions appeared as "a form in the air near him and this form gave him much consolation because it was exceedingly beautiful ... it somehow seemed to have the shape of a serpent and had many things that shone like eyes, but were not eyes. He received much delight and consolation from gazing upon this object ... but when the object vanished he became disconsolate". In 1523, he instituted a pilgrimage to the Holy Land on a path of self-denial and sacrifice. He remained there from September 3 to 23 but was not permitted to stay. Twelve years later, standing before the Pope with his companions, he again proposed sending his companions as emissaries to Jerusalem.
Returning to Spain, he and his companions were occupied in the University of Alcalá (the present-day Complutense University of Madrid, not the newer University of Alcalá established in 1977) with the task of making disciples of women called as witnesses by the Inquisition under the direction of magistrate Alonso Mejias. Although the alumbrados [Illuminated; Illuminati; Enlightened Ones] of Spain were linked in their zeal and spirituality to the Franciscan reforms of which Cardinal de Cisneros was a promoter, the administrators of the Inquisition had mounting suspicions. These female disciples, Doña Leo, Doña Maria, and Doña Beatriz, were so zealous that "one fell senseless, another sometimes rolled about on the ground, another had been seen in the grip of convulsions or shuddering and sweating in anguish." This suspicious activity had taken place while Ignatius and his companions were regularly preaching in public. Because of his "street-corner perorations" being identified "with the activities of the alumbrados", Ignatius was naturally singled out for inspection as one of these visionaries; however, he was later released. After these adventurous activities, he studied at the ascetic Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris, where he remained for over seven years. In later life, he was often called "Master Ignatius", due to his having obtained a master's degree from that university at the age of forty-three.
By 1534 he had gathered six key companions, all of whom he had met as fellow students at the University of Paris—Francis Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez, and Nicholas Bobadilla, all Spanish; Peter Faber, a Frenchman; and Simão Rodrigues of Portugal. Later, he was joined by Saint Francis Borgia, a member of the House of Borgia, who was the main aide of Emperor Charles V, and other nobles. "On the morning of the 15th of August, 1534, in the chapel of church of Saint Peter, at Montmartre, Loyola and his six companions, of whom only one was a priest, met and took upon themselves the solemn vows of their lifelong work."  Ignatius of Loyola was the main creator and first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious organization of the Catholic Church whose members, known as Jesuits, served the Pope as missionaries. He is remembered as a talented spiritual director. He was vigorous in opposing the Protestant Reformation and promoting the following Counter-Reformation. He was beatified and then canonized and received the title of Saint on March 12, 1622. He is the patron saint of the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay as well as the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Loyola wrote Spiritual Exercises, a simple 200-page set of meditations, prayers, and various other mental exercises, from 1522 to 1524. The exercises in the book were designed to be carried out over a period of 28–30 days.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Ignatius Loyola Visions of a Serpent
The founder of the Jesuit Order Inspired by Visions of something with the shape of a serpent!