Monday, June 25, 2012

Spain Highlight: Sanctuary of Loyola: Shrine of St Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus.

Lying among mountains and gardens in the middle of the Basque Country, we find the humble Holy House surrounded by the Sanctuary of Loyola.

The Shrine and Basilica of Loyola is a monumental and religious complex built around this birthplace of Ignatius of Loyola , founder of the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits.

In 1491, a family of minor nobility welcomed its 13th child, who would one day change the world. Ignatius of Loyola, whose real name was Iñigo López de Loyola, was the son of the Lord of Loyola, Beltrán Ibáñez de Oñaz and Marina Sánchez de Licona, member of an important family.

San Ignatius, turned from Lopéz de Loyola, a soldier, into to the priesthood by his visions. He was living in around the Court, as described by himself, in dissipation and laxity when he was called to the war. While in the battle against the French around Pamplona, a cannon ball broke his leg. He was taken to Loyola, where his leg had to be rebroken and reset.

During the following period he read the lives of Christ and the Saints, and he was radically transformed. Then all of a sudden, he became conscious that the knight dreams were to make him dry and dissatisfied, while the ideas of the saints braced and strengthened him with joy and peace. Next it dawned on him that the former ideas were of the world, the latter God-sent; finally, worldly thoughts began to lose their hold, while heavenly ones grew clearer and dearer. One night as he lay awake, pondering these new lights, "he saw clearly", so says his autobiography, "the image of Our Lady with the Holy Child Jesus” at whose sight for a notable time he felt a reassuring sweetness, which eventually left him with such a loathing of his past sins. His conversion was now complete. Everyone noticed that he would speak of nothing but spiritual things.

He founded the Brotherhood of Jesus, or Jesuit order, whose radical interpretation of Catholicism left its mark on both the New and Old World.
The Society of Jesus became a powerful institution that was very influential in the Catholic Church. Ignatius, its founder, was named a saint and his birthplace became a place of worship.
In the seventeenth century the house where he was born was given to the jesuits, they built there, near the birthplace of its founder, a religious complex, of which the highlight is its basilica.

A place of pilgrimage and wonder for the devout and secular alike, San Ignatius' former home has been transformed with Chirriguerresque flair into a grand compound.
In addition to the basilica and shrine, there is an art museum displaying some of his belongings and writings, as well as religious objects collected over the centuries. We will present you some other information in coming entrances. 

In the year 2011, more than 3.000 young catholics meet in Loyola, in the “Magis 2011”, preparing themselves for the “World Youth Day”.

To learn more:
Sanctuary of Loyola oficial page:


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