Saint Ignatius just wanted to be a great and famous soldier and when is life long dream was shattered when he was injured in battle, he became lost. He underwent multiple surgeries and was even told at one point to prepare for death. The only books he could read while he was recovering was books about the Saints and the Bible. He underwent conversion and laid down his sword and went out into the world to convert non-believers. He begged for his food and helped out at a hospital. He would spend his alone time working on his spiritual exercises. He doubted himself and even went through some depression.
He started recording his spiritual exercises in a journal which would later become the basis for his published Spiritual Exercises. He then started studying and traveling and while he was traveling he would talk to others about spiritual matters. The Church at the time took notice of St. Ignatius and was accused during the Inquisition three times of preaching without formal training. He was exonerated each time. He then enrolled in school and went on to obtain his masters degree but was passed over for his doctorate because of his age.
He met Peter Faber and Francis Xavier while attending school. They decided to journey to Rome and present themselves to the Pope to serve at the Pope's discretion. The Pope declared them an official religious order "Society of Jesus" and the Jesuits were born. St. Ignatius turned down the role of its first leader because he felt he wasn't worthy or experienced enough but the group convinced him to become their first leader. They were labeled "Jesuits" actually to disparage them but the name stuck. The order grew and focused on education. Before Ignatius passed away they had established 35 schools and had over 1,000 members.
Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized on March 12, 1622. His feast day is July 31. He is the patron saint of the Society of Jesus, soldiers, educators and education.
When I think of St. Ignatius I always think of a soldier for Christ. He couldn't become a great soldier in the secular world because of his injuries to his legs but God was able to use him to be a great spiritual soldier. I feel sometimes that I make plans to do something but they don't work out the way I wanted them to. Later I realize that the plans I made didn't include God in them. When God got involved the plans were much better than I could ever make by myself. We must make sure we involve God in our planning process. We need to pray and listen to His will when we need to plan anything. God will point you in the right direction.
Some Products for St. Ignatius on our site includes:
Book on his Spiritual Exercises: