Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491, one of thirteen children in a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. He grew up at a time of great adventurers like Christopher Columbus and dreamed of gaining fame in battle, so he joined the army of Spain to do just that. When Ignatius was severely wounded in a battle with the French, his days of knighthood ended – and his spiritual adventures began.
While recuperating from his injuries he found himself in a hospital where the only books available to him were the Bible and the histories of the saints. Inspired by the courage of the saints, Ignatius felt God was calling him to a greater purpose and he turned his life over to the will of God. He ultimately turned his attention to study, the priesthood, and the foundation of a new religious order, the Society of Jesus. Ignatius felt the Society had the potential to change the hearts of people to serve God and the world. To achieve this, he rooted his heart and those of his followers in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
We at Cross Catholic Outreach also believe our ministry must be rooted in the knowledge and love of Jesus, and that such devotion is the source of all true transformation. We seek to accomplish this by meeting the physical needs of people with food, water, and shelter, as well as through the lastingly impact of education. Education, we have found, allows our poor sisters and brothers to break the cycle of poverty enslaving them, giving them new opportunities and a greater hope for the future.
On this feast of Ignatius of Loyola we can all recommit ourselves to carrying out our own part in transforming the world as we pray Ignatius’ prayer:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
-Fr. Bernard Olszewski