The Ignatian Year

On Monday, the 20th of May, 1521, a young Basque soldier named Ignatius of Loyola sustained a life-threatening injury in the field of battle in the Spanish town of Pamplona. 

A cannonball tore through one of his legs and wounded the other. That moment of injury marked a turning point in his life that resulted in the transformation and change of his interior disposition and his outlook on life.

God led Ignatius towards a new path. Ignatius's obsessive desire for a successful military career, rewarded by a glamorous life, transformed into an intense passion to strive for the glory of God by helping others. Such was the intensity of his conversion experience that when Ignatius rose from his bed of convalescence he was a new person. Gone were the illusion of an illustrious life; in its stead was a new vision of humble service of God and neighbour. Ignatius saw all things new in Christ. It was as if he had been given a fresh pair of eyes.

Five hundred years later that flame that God lit in Ignatius is still burning; it shines with varying intensity in the works and ministries of the Society of Jesus; in the lives of Jesuits and our collaborators and partners in mission (GC 35, d. 2, no. 1-2). Over the next 15 months we will mark the Ignatian year by honouring the past 500 years of an incredible and amazing journey with gratitude and humility. We will especially look to the future with hope and trust amid the turmoil and uncertainty of these times of a global public health crisis.

The pivotal moment of change and conversion that Ignatius experienced 500 years ago is anything but a quaint historical reminiscence. That experience of change and conversion is God's gift for all times - for Jesuits and collaborators; for our communities and for all our works and ministries. The signs of this new life are best perceived in our closeness to Jesus, poor and humble; and in our service to the poor and vulnerable.

At a time when millions of people are crying out for justice and when the Earth, our Common Home, groans for healing, this graced moment of Ignatian Year is an opportunity to renew, strengthen and deepen our mission of justice and reconciliation.


God of our history, owner of our future, grant us a new vision to enlighten and nourish our hunger for justice and reconciliation in the world, so that your dream to make all things new may come to pass in our day and age. Amen.