20 May: The 500th anniversary of the wounding of Ignatius Loyola in Pamplona


On 20 May 1521 a cannon ball struck the leg of Inigo López de Oñaz y Loyola while he was defending the citadel of Pamplona against the French. Inigo surely regretted this wound which took him from battle and confined him to bed for a prolonged period of convalescence. Yet God works all things to the good – this leg wound provided the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work on the soul of the rather proud and sensual Inigo. As he lay in bed recovering from some rather severe operations, he read romance stories as well as the life of Christ and a book about saints. He noticed that, while he loved his tales of high adventure and romance, they left him restless, whereas the books on Christ and the saints brought peace and consolation to his soul. Gradually he was converted. While reading about the saints he reasoned that, if they, who were mere mortals like him, could do such great things for God, so too could he. From this little seed in the soul of Ignatius grew, eventually, the Society of Jesus, and all of its astounding apostolic works.

Fr Doyle once called himself the “soldier son of a soldier saint”. He was a proud Jesuit; it was the spiritual training inspired by Ignatius’ spiritual exercises that helped open Fr Doyle to the Holy Spirit and to do, and be, all that he was. The ripples of grace caused by that cannon ball in 1521 were still felt 4 centuries later in the trenches of World War 1. 

Let us pray today for the Jesuits. Let us also pray in a special way today to St Ignatius for an important intention related to Fr Doyle…     

Leave a Reply