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Pope’s spiritual family begins year celebrating founder’s conversion


CARFLEO | Fair Use

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/20/21

The Jesuits (members of the Society of Jesus) are marking 500 years since the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The spiritual family of Pope Francis, the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, are leading the Church in celebrating 500 years since the conversion of the founder.

The year opened with a solemn Mass in Pamplona, Spain, on May 20, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’s injury during the Battle of Pamplona on May 20, 1521. While defending the citadel of Pamplona against French forces, St. Ignatius was seriously injured after being struck by a canon ball. This led to a long period of convalescence which began his conversion and subsequent transformation from soldier to saint.

During this year themed “to see all things new in Christ,” the Jesuits will also mark the 400th anniversary of the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier on 12 March 2022. The Ignatian year will conclude on 31 July 2022 – the Feast of St. Ignatius.

We can consider why a special celebratory year marks St. Ignatius’ conversion, and not, say, his birth or death or canonization.

St. Ignatius, pray for us, that our hearts might be converted to Christ!

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