Founder of the Society of Jesus
Ignatius was born in 1491 at Loyola in Guipuzcoa. After spending some time as a courtier, he turned to a military career. In 1521, while convalescing after a wound received at the siege of Pamplona, he suddenly conceived a burning desire to follow the footsteps of Christ. His spiritual experiences during his retreat at Manresa were to provide the core of his book `Spiritual Exercises'. In 1537, he was ordained in Venice, and in the same year moved to Rome. There, in 1540, he founded the Society of Jesus, and in the following year was elected its first General. In every kind of apostolic work, he contributed greatly to the Catholic revival of the sixteenth century and to the renewal of the Church's missionary activity. He died in Rome in 1556, and was canonized by Gregory XV in 1622.