A Message on St. Ignatius Day
This July 31 marks the close of the year celebrated by the Society of Jesus to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the conversion of Ignatius Loyola from courtier and soldier to founder and saint.
During this time we have been treated to a surfeit of riches as the Jesuits, here and abroad have generously shared with us, laity and religious, their heritage and spirituality. The companions that Ignatius gathered around him were dedicated to “the greater glory of God and the aid of souls.” To facilitate this they were to be free from enclosure, from office in choir, from a distinctive religious habit and from local episcopal authority. With their own centralized form of government they were free to be sent as missionaries to the ends of the earth wherever the needs were greatest and finding God in all things.
A century later and in another country Mary Ward a woman who had unsuccessfully tried another form of religious life was discerning with her companions how they might best serve God when she was gifted with an experience: “I heard distinctly, not by sound of voice, these words: ‘Take the same as the Society,’ so understood that we were to take the same both in matter and in manner. . . . These are the words that cannot be valued. They made known what God would have done.”
And more centuries later and in yet another country, here we are!
St. Ignatius Loyola and Venerable Mary Ward pray for us!