In the year 1491, the future founder of the Jesuits was born in northern Spain. He would soon be known as Saint Ignatius of Loyola. By the time that he was fifteen he was already interested in to religion. When he got older he became a soldier. He would end up crushing his leg in battle by a cannon ball in the battle of Pamplona. Ignatius would soon go to college to be a teacher. And he achieved that goal. He would soon invent the Jesuits who were priests that would teach and go on missionaries. Ignatius’s goals were to become a strong church and to bring people back to Catholicism. He would soon accomplish it. Ignatius in order to become a strong again, you must have education to do that. That is when his spiritual exercises came into affect. He would teach the priests and the priests would teach the students. He would also create a constitution, so that everyone would stay good. And in 1556 he would be laid to rest.
Ignatius of Loyola was important because, he founded the Jesuits, that would soon put their focus on education and missionary work. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus in 1540; these members would soon be known as the Jesuits. The Jesuits were a group of priests that believed education was key to being successful. Ignatius was so high on education that every Jesuit had to be trained to be a scholar and clerics in case someday they would take over the Catholic Church (Simon 105). Ignatius wanted the Jesuits so well educated that he started his own school for the Seminarians since there were no Universities with high enough academic standards (Simon 105). Seminarians are professors that teach students. Ignatius of Loyola taught the Seminarians through his spiritual writings. So Ignatius decided that he would build a college that would meet his standards in grammar and human relations that is when he founded the Roman College in February 1551.
He also had as many as 300 students sign up for the college the following year, and in 1552 Loyola also established the German College (Dalmases 355). Loyola does this so that he can show that the Jesuits are a good order of monks. He is trying to get more people to come and join the Jesuits. Ignatius made the Jesuits go to school for ten years before they could go and teach. They also had to go to mass once a day and were required to listen to seminars that were spoken in Latin. Loyola did this so that when they went out to be professors they were equipped with the right knowledge and they would know what they were doing.
Ignatius did such a good job of teaching his students that people heard about them around the world. The Jesuits were so well known, that universities and schools recruited them. They ended up taking over the teaching in many universities teaching (Simon 105). The Jesuits liked to teach so much that by the 1600’s they had over eighty percent of the Jesuits being teachers. Therefore, Ignatius is an important man because of his works in education and his beliefs that knowledge is an important aspect in the Catholic Church.
Another reason that Ignatius of Loyola is important is through his missionaries. Missionaries are people who are sent out to preach about what they believe in and try to get people to switch to their religion. In order to become a Jesuit you had to be willing to do what you told by your superiors. All the missionaries had to go to class to learn about what they are to preach about (Broderick 904). “Part of Ignatius’ inspiration was his vision of the Society as carrying out the mission of Christ to defend and extend his kingdom throughout the world” (Meissner 211). Loyola had the missionaries go to many foreign areas such as Africa, Asia, India and many other countries.
On of the best-known missionaries was Francis Xavier who traveled all around the East. Loyola knew so well what he was doing that by 1749 he had 3,276 people out being missionaries teaching about the Jesuits. That is one-seventh of the Jesuits. The Jesuits had such good missionary work that that they spread throughout five continents (Broderick 904). Ignatius and the Jesuits had one of the best orders, he not only sent missionaries around the world but he started orders that stayed in the countries and preached about the Jesuits and converted them over to the Catholic Church. Thus Ignatius of Loyola wanted to create a dominant order that would bring Catholicism back to order.
The second point that makes Ignatius of Loyola important are his Spiritual writings, he did this by writing the Spiritual Exercises and Constitution. Loyola started writing the Spiritual Exercises after the battle of Pamplona. He started writing the book in 1521 and ended the book twenty-seven years later in 1548 (Lewis 578). Once the book was finished was printed out and used by all the Jesuits.
“The first week in concentrated on with the sinful condition of man and the three other are taken up with the consideration of the life of Christ: His hidden life and public life, His Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension” (Lewis580). They would be told how to use the Spiritual Exercises. The way that they taught the Exercises were that they needed to give the students a summary explanation on what they were learning about. This would help the students to remember the material easier. Therefore, Ignatius made the Spiritual Exercises so that the Jesuits could learn and improve the knowledge of the Christ.
The last reason that makes Ignatius of Loyola important was the Constitution. Ignatius created the Constitution after he founded the Jesuits in 1540. The Constitution is made up of a series of laws that consist of obedience, loyalty and respecting the Pope. When Ignatius set up the Constitution he knew that there would be changes in society and that the laws couldn’t stay the same. So in 1558 the General Constitution made the law that you can adjust or modify the law, as long as there is no disagreement with Papal law (Ignatius 276). The Constitution ended up traveling allover the world with the missionaries and would set the standard for the Catholic Church. Consequently, Loyola wrote the Constitution so that if you became part of the Catholic Church that you would have to the follow the rules that were set. He also wrote them because if you wanted to be a Jesuit you needed to act in an orderly fashion.
Ignatius founded the Jesuits and they would soon put their focus on the education and missionaries. Ignatius also was important through his spiritual writings; he did this by writing the Spiritual Exercises and Constitution. This is why Ignatius of Loyola was important because, he not only founded the Jesuits in 1540 but he emphasized on education. He was so interested in education that he started universities. The Jesuits were a major contribution in education around the world. Ignatius of Loyola thought that they needed to spread Catholicism, which is when he sent Jesuits on Missionaries. He would finally get job done by creating orders of monks around the world. He also has contributed the writings of the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitution. The Jesuits for knowledge and discipline look upon these two books.
Lewis, J. “Spiritual Exercises.” New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967.
De Dalmases, C “Saint Ignatius of Loyola.” New Catholic Encyclopedia.
Meissner, W.W. Ignatius of Loyola. New Haven: Yale University Press
Simon, Edith. The Reformation. New York: Time-Life Books, 1996
Ignatius. Ignatius of Loyola. Trans. George E. Ganass. New York: Paulist
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