MEMORIAL: JULY 31
St. Ignatius was born in Northern Spain in the late 15th century as the youngest of 13 children. He eventually became a soldier at the age of 30 but broke his leg in battle. Spiritual readings of the saints during his slow recovery led to conversion in St. Ignatius. He renounced his life as a soldier and lived in the caves outside of town, spending time in prayer and understanding spirituality. From this came the beginnings of his famous work, the Spiritual Exercises. Desiring to become a priest, Ignatius went to school in Paris where he roomed with eventual saints Francis Xavier and Peter Faber. These three, with four others, formed the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. For 15 years, Ignatius led the Jesuits from Rome and served the poor while constantly writing letters of encouragement to the Jesuits. St. Ignatius would eventually die of a stomach ailment that plagued him many years of his life. After his death, the Jesuits became a thriving order of missionaries throughout the world. He is the patron saint of retreats, soldiers, and education.