Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola SJ (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa; Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola; Latin: Ignatius de Loyola; born Íñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola; c. 23 October 1491 – 31 July 1556), venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Catholic priest and theologian, who, with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier, founded the religious order of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits), and became its first Superior General, in Paris in 1541. He envisioned the purpose of the Society of Jesus to be missionary work and teaching. In addition to the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty of other religious orders in the church, Loyola instituted a fourth vow for Jesuits of obedience to the Pope, to engage in projects ordained by the pontiff. Jesuits were instrumental in leading the Counter-Reformation.
As a former soldier, Ignatius paid particular attention to the spiritual formation of his recruits and recorded his method in the Spiritual Exercises (1548). In time, the method has become known as Ignatian spirituality.
Ignatius of Loyola was beatified in 1609 and canonized saint, on 12 March 1622. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July. He is the patron saint of the Basque provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay as well as of the Society of Jesus. He was declared patron saint of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922.