Ignatius's visit to Montserrat was part of an intense and difficult period for him: he was recovering from a battle injury to his leg, and he was struggling to leave behind his privileged and prestigious past as a noble man.
At Montserrat, Ignatius began to live his faith, spending all night in prayer before the statue of the Virgin. He put on simple clothes and gave his expensive clothing to a beggar.
After Ignatius?s visit to Montserrat, he stopped at Manresa, a small town nearby. He planned to spend to spend a few nights writing down his thoughts, but he stayed for 11 months and left profoundly changed. The fruit of Ignatius's reflections at Manresa became one of the greatest works of Christian spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises.
Saint Ignatius went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain. He left his sword on the altar and exchanged his rich clothes for a beggar's garment. He lived in the nearby town of Manresa, doing penance. In Manresa, Ignatius experienced the spiritual growth that led him to write the Spiritual Exercises. However, Ignatius decided he needed more schooling, so, in his 30s, he began attending school and studying Latin. Eventually, he went to study in Paris, where he became the leader of a group of seven (including Francis Xavier) who took vows in 1534, an event that marked the beginning of the Society of Jesus.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola and many of his followers through the centuries have won recognition by the Church for their holiness. Many Jesuits are canonized saints; still more are among those whom the Church calls Blessed. Among the Jesuit saints are Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Borgia, Francis Xavier, and Peter Claver of Spain; Aloysius Gonzaga and Robert Bellarmine of Italy; Issac Jogues, Rene Goupil, and John de Brébeuf of France; Edmund Campion of England; Paul Miki of Japan; Roque Gonzalez of Paraguay; and Peter Canisius of Germany.