St. Ignatius came from a family of minor nobility in Spain’s northern Basque region and, in his early years, had dreams of personal honour and fame.

All that began to change one day in the spring of 1521. Ignatius was 30 years old at the time, a Knight at the Spanish Royal Court. Leading his fellow fighters into a battle against the French that they were sure to lose, he was struck by a cannonball in the leg. During a difficult recovery, in his family’s house, Ignatius asked for books about chivalry, his favourite reading. But nothing was available. He had to settle for a book about the life of Christ and biographies of the saints and he found these unexpectedly riveting.
St. Ignatius had always dreamed of imitating heroic deeds, but now, the heroes had names like Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena. Ignatius also noticed something extraordinary happening to him. God, he realized, was working within him — prompting, guiding, inviting. In later years, as he travelled far and wide, he realized too that God was similarly at work in the lives of all people, in the everyday events of the world.
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