Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Basque nobleman and soldier born in 1491. During the battle of Pamplona a cannon ball hit him in the leg and he was forced to recover for quite some time until his leg healed and cured. In the meantime, stubborn and proud young men could find him reading nothing other than the lives of the saints and life of Christ. Over time those books attracted him so much so that, although he grew up as a faithful catholic, he discovered that there was much he did know know. He began to daydream about how to serve Christ as did the saints throughout history. This was the beginning of a long journey to conversion that wouldl take him to Jerusalem, then Paris, and finally Rome.
After recovering he decided to surrender all to God’s service. For almost a year he remained in a cave near Manreza and lived a time in penance, but felt God’s mercy. He felt that God raised “such students” to lead him in spiritual life. At that time he began to write his experiences in a book he later titled “Spiritual Exercises”
In Paris he met his first 6 friends. In 1534 the group has passed the vows of poverty and chastity. They also decided to work in a hospital and to do missionary work in Jerusalem. They felt if that were not possible, they would put themselves at the disposal of the pope, and go where he sent them. Ignatius became the first superior general and oversaw rapid growth of the Society of Jesus.
Ignatius grew from a young tempted person involved with global issues to a in great mystic. His extraordinary life of prayer is reflected in Spiritual Exercises-upon which the Jesuit life is based.
Ignatius was loaded with grace so that he could find God in all things. He wanted the Jesuits to be skilled people in making decisions and discernment, to feel the difference between good and evil and to be always ready to love and serve Christ and the Church