Ignatius, by nation a Spaniard, was born of a noble family at Loyola, in Cantabria. At first, he attended the court of the Catholic king and later on embraced a military career. In the year 1521, a cannonball fractured the left leg of Captain Ignatius Loyola, the future founder of the Jesuits. While he was convalescing, Ignatius read about Christ and His saints and thus turned wholly to God. He then undertook to equip himself for Christ's service by acquiring a good classical and theological education. The members of the Society of Jesus became the shock troops of the Church in the battle against the spread of Protestantism in Europe, as well as one of the greatest foreign mission organizations that the world has known. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556.
St. Ignatius founded his Society to give the greatest possible service to the Church and to the Pope. In addition to vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Jesuits take a special vow of loyalty to the Pope. Today would be a good day to say a prayer for Pope Francis, first Jesuit to be elected Pope.
O God, who raised up Saint Ignatius of Loyola in your Church to further the greater glory of your name, grant that by his help we may imitate him in fighting the good fight on earth and merit to receive with him a crown in heaven.