Bet you didn't know THAT about St. Ignatius of Loyola!

Learn more about St. Ignatius of Loyola and Ignatian Spirituality


Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola is best known as the person who founded the Jesuits and whose spiritual insights gave birth to Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. A lesser-known fact is that the cannonball wound he received in battle is actually what led to his conversion experience. Without this conversion, there would be no Jesuits, no Ignatian spirituality.

Listed below are seven more fun facts about St. Ignatius of Loyola that you’re unlikely to hear in general conversation about this 16th-century saint:

  1. He once allowed the donkey on which he was riding to determine whether he should follow and murder someone he thought had insulted the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Fortunately, the donkey chose the path that led away from the insulter.)

  2. He thought that his leg had been set poorly after the cannonball incident and that, as a result, he wouldn’t look good in his courtier’s tights. So he had a doctor rebreak his leg and start over!

  3. He may be the only canonized saint to have a notarized police record—for nighttime brawling with intent to inflict serious harm.

  4. He was hauled before the Spanish Inquisition on a number of occasions.

  5. At age 33, he joined a class of young children so he could learn Latin.

  6. He sometimes cried with so much devotion at Mass that he couldn’t continue, and he feared he would lose his eyesight.

  7. He penned over 6,800 letters in his lifetime, making him one of the most prolific letter writers of his time—or any time, for that matter.

Other Ignatian Spirituality Resources is a service of Loyola Press, a ministry of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus. It offers information on and experiences of Ignatian spirituality from Jesuit and Ignatian sources around the world. serves all audiences—the curious, the knowledgeable, and the expert.

dotMagis is a blog about Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit ministry, inspired by Ignatius Loyola’s love of “magis” —the greater, the excellent, the best.
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Activity Finder This is your Life, St. Ignatius -- An activity for your child

Children can learn about the important events in the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola with this activity

Infographic: What St. Ignatius Ate

In this fun infographic, eat alongside St. Ignatius as he grows up in Loyola, Spain, serves in the royal court, fasts after his conversion, and later, lives out his last years in Rome.

The food Ignatius ate offers rich insight into his spiritual transformation, from the sumptuous feasts he enjoyed at court, to the severe fasting he subjected himself to post-conversion.

Download this infographic to share with your family, friends, class, or parish community.