St Ignatius


The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned.

It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises.   He first began it at Manresa in 1522, and it was finally published in Rome in 1548, with papal approval. In essence, it is an application of Gospel precepts to the individual soul, written in such a way as to arouse conviction of sin, of justice, and judgment. The value of systematic retirement and religious meditation, which the book sets forth, had always been known, but the order and method of meditation prescribed by Ignatius were new, and, though many of the maxims he repeats had been laid down before by the Fathers, they were here singularly well arranged, explained, and applied. To perform the Exercises as directed requires a month. The first week is given to consideration of sin and its consequences; the second, to our Lord’s earthly life; the third, to His Passion, and the fourth, to His Resurrection. The object is to induce in the practitioner such a state of inner calm that he can thereafter make a choice “either as to some particular crisis or as to the general course of his life,” unbiased “by any excessive like or dislike; and guided solely by the consideration of what will best forward the one end for which he was created—the glory of God and the perfection of his own soul.”

He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods.

In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general.

When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society.

Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.

Ignatius directed the Society of Jesus for fifteen years. At the time of his death there were 13,000 members, dispersed in thirty-two provinces all over Europe, and soon they were to be established in the New World. The Society of Jesus served as the chief instrument of the Catholic Reformation. Its pursuits as a trading firm, followed for some years, reaped high returns but were disapproved by the papacy. Exclusive of the period of its suppression by papal brief, 1776-1814, and its suppression by various countries at different periods, largely by reason of these commercial activities, it has flourished in virtually all parts of the globe; its educational institutions are famous, and many individual Jesuits have achieved distinction as teachers and writers. Towards the end of his life Ignatius became so worn and feeble that he was assisted by three fathers. He died, after a brief illness, on July 31, 1556.   Father Laynez succeeded him; he and Father Francis Borgia gave the Society its direction for years to come. In 1622 Ignatius was canonized by Pope Gregory XV, and in our own time Pope Pius XI declared him the patron of all spiritual exercises. His emblems are a chasuble, communion, a book, and the apparition of the Lord.

O Lord, our God, you poured forth into your Church a spirit of renewal in prayer and life through the work of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus.  Grant us the spirit of discernment so that we may hear the still, small voice of your Word speaking in the depths of our heart, and, hearing may obey.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

If We Accept..


Dear friendsWe have been asked to pray for a girl being helped by another intern working with Vanessa and Laura in the States. She needs a lot of prayers and real support. She is 14 weeks pregnant and wants an abortion however she does believe in God and has been praying the rosary. Her situation is a difficult one as she has been told she might die if she goes ahead to have the baby.

Understandably this girl must be terrified. We can help with our prayers! Lots of prayers are needed for a conversion of mind and heart and also for healing and protection.

Thanks everyone

If you haven’t had a wee look at the girls blogs in a while, why not have a look. There are some inspiring reads

EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers Internship
American Center for Pro-Life Action BlogBronx, New YorkContact Founder and President Chris Slattery212-213-4690Email: Slatteryny@gmail.comTwitter: ChrisTSlatteryFacebook: Chris SlatteryJoin our Facebook Cause!

When I watched this video I realised anew that we live in a world that not only accepts abortion as an normal action to be taken to solve a problem but also that we don’t hear people speak about abortion.  Our society has accepted abortion so much that the ending of a child’s life every 3 minutes in the UK doesn’t warrant much debate in an ordinary week, month or year.

Jim Caviezel was propelled to stardom when he took the lead part in the Mel Gibson film “The Passion” almost ten years ago.  I knew he is a Christian and prolife, but watching him speak about the sin of abortion was extremely moving.  Moving, because we don’t see people becoming worked up and emotional about the gravity of what abortion is.  We don’t hear people speak about the sin of participating in an abortion but also the forgiveness that God offers.  This clip is  so refreshing and reinvigorating for us in the prolife movement who can feel we don’t have a voice. Jim Caviezel certainly speaks out for the voiceless here.


From an ancient tradition, going back even to the second century, the parents of the Virgin Mary are known by the names of Joachim and Anne.  Devotion to Saint Anne is found in the sixth century in the East, and by the tenth century  it was widespread in the West.  Saint Joachim was likewise honoured, but at a more recent date.

Photo: Did you know Steve Jobs was adopted? What if every unwanted child could be adopted -- what kind of impact would that have on the world?

The following story reminds us ( and yes we need constant reminding!) that the unborn child is fully human while growing in the womb and if this fact is appreciated by the parents the power to teach the world so much about life is huge.


Some people think that an 19 week unborn child is disposable but they would be shell shocked to see these photos which demonstrate that although small, this child possesses everything that we would warrant he/she being called human.  The only reason this baby didn’t survive is viability.  We were all once at this vulnerable stage of development and perhaps at the end of our life we will again be completely dependent on other people for our care.

This mother describes the impact of delivering her 19 week son prematurely and agreeing to her husband taking photos during the labour and birth.

I am so very glad that Joshua went to our vehicle and got my camera. At first I did not want any photos, but they are the only thing I have to look back on now. I’m still in shock at how much his photos have been shared and commented on. In his short life of just a few minutes he has touched more lives then I ever could have imagined. I have gotten messages from people all around the country who have experienced a loss or were just touched by his story. I’ve even had a few people tell me that they were able to use his photos to reach out to a hurting woman who was contemplating an abortion. Just because the child within cannot be seen by us does not mean that he is a blob of cells. Walter was perfectly formed and very active in the womb. If he had just a few short more weeks he would have had a fighting chance at life. I don’t understand why the Lord took him home, but I have to trust in his perfect timing. I may never know why, but it is a comfort to know where he is and that I will see him again. For now, he’s with his heavenly father who loves him unmeasurably more than I, as his earthly mother ever could.


I am sure many of you reading this will remember Terri Schaviavo, the woman who was starved to death after an accident left her in a persistent vegeative state.  This video demonstrates the good that can come out of such awful situations such as Terri’s.  We wonder why her life was cut short.  Here we learn that she has inspired many people to stand up for what is right.  This young woman featured in this video has answered the call that many of us hear – to not let someone else speak up for the vulnerable and unseen such as the unborn child.  Why should it not be us that helps pregnant women, or prays outside abortion clinics or hospitals?  Do we ever think what we could do to help the prolife cause?

The Willis Clan


Some one brought this beautiful family to my attention. They are a fabulous example of the positive aspects of large family and this particular family seem to be extra talented musically aswell as displaying a love of peforming together.

There is such negativity around large families that it is wonderful to see such an uplifting example of what can be achieved.  Enjoy!

As we remember these two great saints, let us read again Pope John Paul’s homily from 1995 commemorating them,

Pope John Paul II

Homily for Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29, 19951.”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16).Today the Church returns to this confession, spoken by Peter nearCaesarea Philippi.This is the faith of the Apostolic College, inwhose name Peter is speaking.This is the faith of Paul.Both Peterand Paul bore witness to it even to the shedding of their own blood.

According to tradition, this happened here in Rome in Nero’s time,around the year 67 after the birth of Christ.

Today, in a particular way, we commemorate Andrew, Simon Peter’sbrother, who was the first to be called (Protokletos) and who broughtSimon to Christ.With intense feeling, we call his figure to mindtoday because on this solemn day the Church of Rome welcomes as herguest Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and the Church overwhich he presides is especially linked to the person and martyrdom ofthe Apostle Andrew.

Every year on 30 November, the Feast of St. Andrew, the Church ofRome joins her sister Church in honouring her patron.It is a deepjoy for us today, as we recall the glorious memory of Simon Peter,Andrew’s brother, to be able to welcome to Rome the EcumenicalPatriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the firstSee among the world’s Orthodox Churches.Today, with Andrew, Peterutters these words:”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”(Mt 16:16).

2.This confession discloses the mystery of God the Father to us. Christ, in responding to Peter’s words, said:”Blessed are you,Simon-Bar Jona!For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17).The Father revels theSon because only the Father knows the Son, as only the Son knows theFather (cf. Lk 10:22).The Church professes this faith with thewords of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed:”I believe in one God,Father almighty….”

This is a venerable text which we both recognize as a normative andirrevocable expression of the Church’s one faith.No confession offaith which belongs to a specific liturgical tradition can contravenesuch a fundamental expression of the Trinitarian faith, taught andprofessed by the Church in all ages.

3. In this regard, it is necessary to clear up a misunderstandingwhich still casts its shadow on relations between Catholics andOrthodox.To this end a Joint Commission was established.Its taskis to explain, in the light of our common faith, the legitimatemeaning and importance of different traditional expressionsconcerning the eternal origin of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity,expressions that are part of our mutual doctrinal and liturgicalheritages.On the Catholic side, there is a firm desire to clarifythe traditional doctrine of the Filioque, present in the liturgicalversion of the Latin Credo, in order to highlight its full harmonywith what the Ecumenical Council confesses in its creed:the Fatheras the source of the whole Trinity, the one origin of both the Sonand the Holy Spirit.

The Son, consubstantial with the Father, is the eternal Word of whichthe Apostle John wrote in his Prologue to the Fourth gospel,confession the Word who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).

According to tradition, St. John wrote the Gospel in Ephesus, therebybecoming particularly dear to all the Christian East.His Gospel wasthe light that illumined the Church throughout the world.

We, the Successors of Peter and Andrew, united today in veneration ofthe holy Apostles Peter and Paul, would also like to illumine ourmeeting with the light of John’s Gospel, so that it may be clear toall that the same truth about the Father and the Son is professed byus and proclaimed in common.

4.”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16).

Peter confesses this and, together with him, so does the whole Churchwhich was founded on the Apostles.In confessing Jesus of Nazarethas the Christ, the Church is also indirectly proclaiming the truthabout the Holy Spirit.In fact the name “Christ”, from the Hebrew”Messiah”, means one who is anointed with God’s Spirit.This truthwas expressed by the Prophet Isaiah many centuries before Christ inthe words Jesus was to proclaim and bring to fulfilment at thebeginning of his messianic activity:”The Spirit of the Lord is uponme, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Lk4:18).

The Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in the name of the Son (cf. Jn14:26), has been the source of the Church’s life since the day ofPentecost, in accordance with the Redeemer’s promise:”He will teachyou all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said toyou” (Jn 14:26).The Spirit, who guides the Church and teaches her,who consecrates the Bishops as successors of the Apostles, is with ustoday in a particular way, as he was with Peter and Paul on the dayof their martyrdom when they bore their definitive witness to Christand sealed their mission with blood, leaving it as an inheritance notonly to Rome, but to so many other places in the ancient world.

And how many of these places are found in Greece!It is enough tolist the communities to which St. Paul’s letters are addressed.Fromthe “Pauline corpus”, as it were, a common tradition of the Church inthe East and in the West emerges.The whole series of ApostolicLetters in the New Testament are proof of their concern for all theChurches entrusted by God to the Apostles and to their successorsuntil the end of time.

5. “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and thepowers of death shall not prevail against it.I will give you thekeys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shallbe bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosedin heaven” (Mt 16:18-19).

These words are overwhelming.The authority which Christ hands overto the Apostles, that of the keys of the kingdom of heaven and thatof binding and loosing, is given to them in the person of Peter andin union with him.An unfathomable mystery!

Today’s feast of the martyrdom of the holy Apostles reveals what isthe true meaning of this authority:it is service.Peter, Paul andAndrew served even to the shedding of their blood, just as Christ haddone before them:”For the Son of Man also came not to be served butto serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45).TheApostles were called to participate in their Master’s service:aservice by which they were able to give the ultimate testimony; aservice which was their true strength, their glory in Christ who diedand rose again.

Today we wish to honour those who, in the course of the 2000 years ofthe new era, have witnessed and continue to witness to Christ inevery corner of the earth, in the East and in the West, in the Northand in the South.We would especially like to honour all those whohave borne witness to the point of shedding their blood.We preparedourselves for today’s meeting by pondering again over the paths thatthis witness took in the Roman Colosseum and in the many other”colosseums” scattered throughout the world.Last year’s Way of theCross was a great help in this common reflection, whose texts wereprepared in fact by our Brother, Bartholomew I.

6.Today’s solemn liturgy is enriched by an additional andmeaningful rite, the imposition of the pallium.

The pallium, which today the Bishop of Rome confers on the newMetropolitans, is an expression of a special spiritual bond with theconfession and witness of St. Peter in Rome, and with the ministry ofhis Successor.

I embrace you with affection, beloved Brother Archbishops, and Irejoice in the fact that, having been sent to preside overMetropolitan Churches in various parts of the world, you will receivethe pallium in the presence of our guest, the Ecumenical Patriarch ofConstantinople.

7.The solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul invites us to reflect on theway taken by Peter and Paul as they followed Christ from the day oftheir calling to that of their martyrdom here in Rome.The firstreading from the Acts of the Apostles showed us St. Peter while hewas still in Jerusalem on the first stage of the Church’s longpilgrimage.

We listen together to the words of this passage, which in a certainsense recounts our own history, Venerable Brother Bartholomew I.Welisten to it with deep veneration and feeling, now that the 2,000thyear since the birth of Christ is approaching.It represents a greatchallenge for the whole of humanity and especially for allChristians.When I think of this historic goal, I am reminded ofwhat St. Luke’s Gospel says about the disciples’ mission:”He sentthem on ahead of him, two by two” (Lk 10:1).We should meditate onthe meaning of these words.Do they not suggest that Christ is alsosending us out two by two as messengers of his Gospel in the West andin the East?

Christ is sending us out together, so that we may jointly bearwitness to him.Thus we cannot remain separated!We must walktogether, because this is Our Lord’s will.The world must recoverits faith at the end of the second millennium and at the start of thethird!This is why we should redouble our efforts; we must commitourselves actively to becoming truly one, just as he, Christ, is onewith the Father (cf. Jn 17:22).

At the altar of the “Confessio” over Peter’s tomb, let us pray forthis together.Together with us, the whole Church in the West and inthe East is praying, the Church which Christ entrusted to us, just ashe once entrusted her to Peter and Andrew, establishing her on thefoundation of the Apostles as the way of eternal salvation for everypeople and every nation, until the end of the world.

Taken from:
L’Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
5 July 1995, pp. 6, 7

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. - John 10:10

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