Ignatius Loyola

5 things you probably don’t know about Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) is best known for founding the Society of Jesus. His story has been told a thousand different ways, but here are five things that might surprise you about the famous first Jesuit.   

1. Canonized Soldier
A cannonball struck Ignatius during the battle of Pamplona in 1521. His broken leg was not set properly, leaving an unsightly protruding bone. Without the benefit of anesthesia, Ignatius insisted on having the leg re-broken and re-set. Nonetheless, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. His suffering was not in vain though – he underwent his famed spiritual conversion during recovery.

2. Record Holder
Ignatius is likely the only saint with a notarized police record.  The charge: nighttime brawling with intent to cause bodily harm. As you might imagine, this came before his conversion.

3. Non-traditional Student
At 33, Ignatius decided to get a college education. Humble and determined, he attended a public grammar school to prepare for entrance into a university, studying Latin grammar with children. He completed his formal education by earning a master’s degree at the age of 43.

4. A Man of Letters
Ignatius penned over 6,800 letters in his lifetime. Just imagine what he might have accomplished in the age of email.

5. Inquisitive Prisoner
During the Spanish Inquisition, Ignatius was imprisoned three times for talking about theological matters without a theology degree. Despite once spending 42 days in jail, he continued to speak his truth.

Learn more about Ignatius' legacy.