St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in Spain. He was a page in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and then joined the Spanish army as a soldier. After a leg injury in Pamplona in 1521, he was hospitalized for a long time, and in his boredom, read “Lives of the Saints.” This book led him to convert to the Catholic faith.
After his conversion, Ignatius spent a year in solitude, and then went on pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, converting Muslims and writing his “Spiritual Exercises,” which are still widely used today.
When he came to France, Ignatius attracted many followers, the first members of the Society of Jesus. Pope Paul III approved the society in 1540, and it gained a great deal of popularity.
St. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556. He was made a saint in 1622. The Jesuit society is still in existence today, with many groups throughout the world.