Feast of St. Ignatius

Ignatius statue

Tue, 07/31/2018

Dear members of the Loyola community,

Today, July 31, is a very special day for Loyola University New Orleans, for it is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who is the founder of the Jesuits and the patron saint of our university. On behalf of the Loyola Jesuits and the entire Loyola community, I wish each of you a happy and blessed feast day and ask you to remember Ignatius, whose life and spirituality shapes our university.

St Ignatius Day with Belize kids

Ignatius was a passionate Basque, born in 1491, who dreamed of winning great battles, when a cannonball tore through his legs at the Battle of Pamplona. While recovering from his wounds, Ignatius looked deep within his heart, as he began a search for a meaningful life. Discerning a deep call from God, he became a pilgrim who sought to deepen his experience of God's love in the world. As he sat at the River Cardoner at Manresa, he had a true epiphany that led him to realize that it is possible to “find God in all things.” For Ignatius, even the smallest things could lead him to God. Ignatius’ spirituality urges each of us to discover that unique relationship we each have with God.

As Ignatius began to share his spirituality with others through his Spiritual Exercises, he gained friends and followers who banded together as Compañeros de Jesús. A new religious order, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) was founded, and in 1548, just a little under 470 years ago, the new religious order opened their first Jesuit school in Messina in Sicily. Ignatius never originally intended Jesuits to open schools, but he realized how young people's lives could be improved by a holistic education rooted both in gospel values and in the humanistic revival of the Renaissance.

Ignatius also understood that ideas not only were things to be studied for their own sake. He believed our ideas affect who we become as people. Ideas affect the lives we lead, and in this way, they shape the world. Ignatius believed that our goal on this earth is to help create a better world.

Loyola’s mission statement empowers us to prepare students to lead meaningful lives for and with others. Loyola University New Orleans is committed to educating the whole student both for his or her own benefit and for the benefit of the larger community. We trace our mission to our founder, Ignatius of Loyola.

So today, on this feast day, let us remember Ignatius, who is the inspiration of our mission and purpose at Loyola University. And let us work together to create a community of students, faculty, staff and alumni who seek to live out this mission. In so doing, we will help to make our city, our nation, and the world a better, more humane place for all men and women.

With prayers and best wishes,
Father Ted Dziak, S.J.