Recalling the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius Loyola's conversion, Pope Francis pointed to the role wars and plagues had in his life.
On November 14, Pope Francis released a letter to Cardinal Juan José Omella,
Archbishop of Barcelona and President of the Spanish Bishop’s Conference. In the letter, Pope Francis reflected on the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius Loyola’s conversion.
He explained, “Our protagonist, after having served the king and his convictions to the point of shedding his blood, was wounded in body and spirit, he had stripped himself of everything and was determined to follow Christ in poverty and humility.”
In particular, Pope Francis pointed out how “wars and plagues” influenced St. Ignatius’ conversion.
It is meaningful at this time to think that God used a war and a plague to bring him there. The war that brought him out of the siege of Pamplona and was the trigger for his conversion, and the plague that prevented him from reaching Barcelona and kept him in the cave of Manresa. This is a great lesson for us, for we are not lacking in wars and plagues before we are converted. We can, therefore, take them as an opportunity to reverse the course we have followed so far and invest in what really matters, whatever the field in which we work. Through crises, God tells us that we are not the masters of History, with a capital letter, not even of our own histories, and although we are free to respond or not to the calls of his grace, it is always his plan of love that guides the world.
Pope Francis then gave his blessing all those who plan on visiting the various sites in Spain associated with St. Ignatius Loyola’s conversion.