Tomorrow we will celebrate the memory of one of the most important persons in the Church in the last 600 years or so. Tomorrow is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In this Spanish soldier/priest, launched one of the most important organizations in the history of the Church. He is right there with Benedict, Francis, and Dominic. Ignatius founded the
Society of Jesus, and over the last 400-plus years, they have been seen by many as the greatest source of strength in the church in almost every area of ministry in Church life.
Ignatius was born in Spain in 1491. As a young man, he found himself in military service and at war. In that process he was badly wounded. His injury provided him with time for reflection and evaluation of his own life. In so doing, he chose to give up a military career and offer his services to his Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.
Beginning with only a small band of half dozen, his work has moved through the centuries till today, when there are over
19,ooo members of the Society working on every continent, in virtually every aspect of Catholic activity.
We call them the Jesuits.
In the United States, they are best known for their work in higher education. There are 27 colleges and universities run by the Jesuits. Can you imagine a private organization building 27 universites in one country?
God bless them, and we should thank God for them!