Little Bits of History

May 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 20, 2017

1521: The Battle of Pampeluna takes place. The battle was a part of the Italian War of 1521-26 and is sometimes called the Four Years War. France (with the help of Swiss mercenaries) and Venice were up against the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England, and the Papal States. Charles V was elected as Holy Roman Emperor with backing from Pope Leo X as a means of repressing Martin Luther. The French-Navarrese expedition tried to reconquer Navarre, unsuccessfully and the Pope, Emperor, and Henry VIII signed an agreement against France and took up, once again, fighting in the Italian Peninsula and northeast France.

Pampeluna, also known as Pamplona, is in northern Spain, close to the French border. It is the capital city of Navarre, which was at this time in history, the Kingdom of Navarre. The small kingdom was sandwiched between Castile and Aragon with France to the north and with small pockets of English ruled lands around it. The French backed the Navarrese as they took up arms against the invading Spanish (both Castile and Aragon). On this day, Inigo Lopez de Loyola, was seriously injured when a Navarrese cannonball shattered his legs. The soldier so impressed the opposition with his bravery, tradition says they carried him all the way back to his hometown, Loyola.

The injuries required a long recovery time and during his imposed bed rest, he began meditations. This in turn, helped him turn his life around and he left the world of warriors and began his life as a priest. The man from Castile is known to us today as Ignatius of Loyola. He was born in 1491, the youngest of 13 children. His mother died soon after his birth. As a boy, he became a page in the service of a relative, the treasurer of the kingdom of Castile. He became enchanted by the stories of El Cid and joined the army at age 17. He was known as flamboyant young man, womanizer, and violent. With age, he became more diplomatic and came into the service of the Duke of Najera. After his injury, he returned home, underwent several surgeries to “fix” his legs (no anesthesia at the time) and eventually recovered, although one leg was shorter and he always walked with a limp.

As he recovered, he decided to redirect his life to the service of God and hoped to convert infidels in the Holy Land. A year later, when he could walk again, he went to a Benedictine monastery and had a vision. He hung up his sword and began to seriously study. He gathered together with six companions who worked together to form the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits. Their dedication to evangelism and apostolic ministry is legendary with founding of schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries around the globe. They are known for their intellectual research as well as piety and service. Ignatius of Loyola died in Rome in 1556 at the age of 64. He was beatified in 1609 and canonized a saint in 1622.

One rare and exceptional deed is worth far more than a thousand commonplace ones.

It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.

Teach us to give and not to count the cost.

Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent. – all from Ignatius of Loyola


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 27, 2013
Society of Jesus

Society of Jesus

September 27, 1540: Pope Paul III signs the Bull “Regimini militantis ecclesiae” and so establishes the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 at the castle of Loyola in Spain. He was the youngest of thirteen children. By 1509 he was aligned with the Duke of Nájara and proved adept at both military leadership and diplomacy. He fought without sustaining any injuries until 1520. At that time he was severely wounded and returned to the castle to heal (or die). During his recuperation, he read De Vita Christi by Ludolph of Saxony. He continued his religious reading and changed his life.

Ignatius traveled to Paris, Rome, and Jerusalem as he continued his studies. He was imprisoned several times. He and six others, including Francis Xavier, took a vow in 1534, defining their new purpose in life. They entered into a life of poverty and chastity and vowed to enter “hospital and missionary work” wherever the Pope would direct them. In 1537, they traveled to Rome to get papal approval and the Pope permitted them to be ordained as priests. The group was intent on serving in Jerusalem but a war was in progress and impeded their travel. There was debate within the Catholic hierarchy, but finally the Papal Bull or charter was issued.

The original charter gave the group a limit of sixty members. Number restrictions were rescinded in a subsequent Bull issued in 1543. Ignatius was the first Superior General of the Society of Jesus. As such, he wrote “The Formula of the Institute” whereby he laid out the fundamental charter for Jesuits. All following documents flow from and must conform to this initial text. Francis Xavier left for India with two other Jesuits in 1541 and arrived thirteen months later, establishing a base for missionary work in the East.

Today, the Society of Jesus is the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church. The greatest number of members serve in India with the second highest concentration residing in the US. There are over 19,200 members serving in 112 nations on six continents. The current Superior General is Adolfo Nicolás. The Jesuits are famous for missionary work, human rights advocacy, social justice, and higher education. They run many colleges, universities, and high schools around the world with fifty in the US alone. The Society has been rumored to have been involved in conspiracies and have suffered from controversy during their centuries of service.

“Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” – Ignatius of Loyola

“Imagine that leader of all the enemy, in that great plain of Babylon, sitting on a sort of throne of smoking flame, a horrible and terrifying sight. Watch him calling together countless devils, to dispatch them into different cities till the whole world is covered, forgetting no province or locality, no class or single individual.” – Ignatius of Loyola

“Give me the children until they are seven and anyone may have them afterwards.” – Francis Xavier

“If you know anything about Loyola or the Jesuits, you would expect us to do this. People don’t come to a Jesuit university expecting mediocrity.” – Lisa Martin

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Jesuits have been accused of seeking out power and political intrigue. They have been said to create unjustifiable causes for their unsavory ends as well as being anti-Semitic. As counterpoint to that last issue, twelve named Jesuit priests have been formally recognized for their heroic rescue efforts during World War II’s horrific Holocaust. The Jesuits were considered to be one of the Nazi party’s greatest enemies. Over the centuries many Jesuits contributed to a wide variety of scholarly learning especially in the sciences. They have also contributed to our greater understanding of mathematics and history. There has even been one Pope who was a Jesuit.

Also on this day: Tonight – In 1954, the Tonight show premiered.
Liberty Ship – In 1941, the SS Patrick Henry launched.
Aquarius – In 1968, Hair opened in London.