Updated: May 24, 2021 09:14 AM GMT
A 16th century painting of St. Ignatius of Loyola in armor.
Pope Francis has joined the prayer program marking the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit society.Pope Francis, a Jesuit, said the cannonball that wounded Ignatius of Loyola 500 years ago in Pamplona shattered the worldly dreams of St. Ignatius “in an instant.”“But it changed the course of his life and the course of the world,” he said in a May 23 video message.
Pope Francis said Ignatius’ conversion that began in Pamplona continued for his whole life
Ignatius was a soldier and entertained dreams of fame and glory. But his military career abruptly ended on May 20, 1521, when a cannonball broke his right leg during a war in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona.During the boring weeks of recuperation in the Castle of Loyola, the only two books available to him to read were a book on the lives of Christ and another on lives of saints.
Reading them led to him to a spiritual stirring, which prompted him to join a Benedictine monastery after recovery.In 1522, he spent 11 months living inside a cave in Manresa, where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises, the base of the spirituality he developed.