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Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Born in 1491 at his family’s castle in Loyola, Spain. He initially embarked on a secular career and was also not opposed to merrymaking, but after a serious injury endured at the age of 30 he converted, relinquished all his property, left his family and lived in the Spanish countryside as a beggar, also visiting the Holy Land. On his return to his native country, he committed himself to the study of holy literature over a period of 13 years. In 1539, with a group of companions, he founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit Order), which quickly spread through Western Europe and, over time, overseas as well, and acquired considerable political power. Spiritual depth, a talent for organization, pastoral zeal and leadership qualities were all combined in the person of Saint Ignatius. The first Father General of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola died in Rome in 1556, and was canonized in 1622. He is generally depicted with the monogram IHS (Jesus Hominem Salvator, Jesus Saviour of Man), and his attributes also include a heart with three nails. He protects against remorse and is the patron saint of soldiers, children, pregnant women, the Jesuits and the Spiritual Exercises, he helps those with difficult deliveries, protects against plague, fever or livestock diseases.

 

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