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81
FLOYOLA


what the Church of Rome was losing by the defection of the Augustinian was being counterbalanced by the conversion of the founder of the Society of Jesus.

As soon as Ignatius had regained strength, he started ostensibly to rejoin the duke of Nagera, but in reality to visit the great Benedictine abbey of Montserrato, a famous place of pilgrimage. On the way, he was joined by a Moor, who began to jest at some of the Christian doctrines, especially at the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin. Ignatius was no controversialist; and the Moor rode off victorious. The chivalrous nature of Ignatius was aroused. Seized with a longing to pursue and kill the Moor on account of his insulting language, Ignatius, still doubting as to his best course, left the matter to his mule, which at the dividing of the ways took the path to the abbey, leaving the open road which the Moor had taken. Before reaching Montserrato, Ignatius purchased some sackcloth for a garment and hempen shoes, which, with a staff and gourd, formed the usual pilgrim's dress. Approaching the abbey he resolved to do as his favourite hero Amadis de Gaul did-keep a vigil all night before the Lady altar and then lay aside his worldly armour to put on that of Christ. He arrived at the abbey just about the feast of St Benedict (the 21st of March 1522), and there made a confession of his life to a priest belonging to the monastery. He found in use for the pilgrims a translation of the Spiritual Exercises of the former abbot, Garcia di Cisneros (d. 1510); and this book evidently gave Ignatius the first idea of his more famous work under the same title. Leaving his mule to the abbey, and giving away his worldly clothes to a beggar, he kept his watch in the church during the night of the 24th-25th of March, and placed on the Lady altar his sword and dagger. Early the next morning he received the Holy Eucharist and left before any one could recognize him, going to the neighbouring town of Manresa, where he first lived in the hospice. Here began a series of heavy spiritual trials which assailed him for many months. Seven hours a day he spent on his knees in prayer and three times a day he scourged his emaciated body. One day, almost overcome with scruples, he was tempted to end his miseries by suicide. At another time, for the same reason, he kept an absolute fast for a week. He tells us that, at this time, God wrought with him as a master with a schoolboy whom he teaches. But his energies were not confined to himself. He assisted others who came to him for spiritual advice; and seeing the fruit reaped from helping his neighbour, he gave up the extreme severities in which he had delighted and began to take more care of his person, so as not needlessly to offend those whom he might influence for good.

During his stay at Manresa, he lived for the most part in a cell at the Dominican convent; and here, evidently, he had severe illnesses. He recounts the details of at least two of these attacks, but says nothing about the much-quoted swoon of eight days, during which he is supposed to have seen in vision the scheme of the future Society. Neither does he refer in any way to the famous cave in which, according to the Ignatian myth, the Spiritual Exercises were written. Fortunately we have the first-hand evidence of his autobiography, which is a surer guide than the lines written by untrustworthy disciples. Ignatius remained at Manresa for about a year, and in the spring of 1523 set out for Barcelona on his way to Rome, where he arrived on Palm Sunday. After two weeks he left, having received the blessing of Pope Adrian VI., and proceeded by Padua to Venice, where he begged his bread and slept in the Piazza di San Marco until a rich Spaniard gave him shelter and obtained an order from the doge for a passage in a pilgrim ship bound for Cyprus, whence he could get to Jaffa. In due course Ignatius arrived at Jerusalem, where he intended to remain, in order continuously to visit the holy places and help souls. For this end he had obtained letters of recommendation to the guardian, to whom, however, he only spoke of his desire of satisfying his devotion, not hinting his other motive. The Franciscans gave him no encouragement to remain; and the provincial threatened him with excommunication if he persisted. Not only had the friars great difficulty in supporting themselves, but they dreaded an outbreak from the fanatical Turks who resented some imprudent manifestations of Loyola's zeal. Ignatius returned to Venice in the middle of January 1524; and, determining to devote himself for a while to study, he set out for Barcelona, where he arrived in Lent. Here he consulted Isabella Roser, a lady of high rank and piety, and also the master of a grammar school. These both approved his plan; the one promised to teach him without payment and the other to provide him with the necessaries of life. Here, in his thirty-third year, he began to learn Latin, and after two years his master urged him to go to Alcala to begin philosophy. During his stay of a year and a half in this university, besides his classes, he found occasion to give to some companions his Spiritual Exercises in the form they had then taken and certain instructions in Christian doctrine. On account of these discourses Ignatius came into conflict with the Inquisition. He and his companions were denounced as belonging to the sects of Sagati and Illuminati. Their mode of life and dress was peculiar and hinted at innovation. But, always ready to obey authority, Ignatius was able to disarm any charges that, now and at other times, were brought against him. The Inquisition merely advised him and his companions to dress in a less extraordinary manner and to go shod. Four months later he was suddenly cast into prison; and, after sevent een days, he learnt that he was falsely accused of sending two noble ladies on a pilgrimage to ]aen. During their absence, from the 21st of April 1527 to the 1st of June, he remained in prison, and was then set free with a prohibition against instructing others until he had spent four years in study.

Seeing his way thus barred at Alcala, he went with his companions to Salamanca. Here the Dominicans, doubting the orthodoxy of the new-comers, had them put into prison, where they were chained foot to foot and fastened to a stake set up in the middle of the cell. Some days afterwards Ignatius was examined and found without fault. His patience won him many friends; and when he and his companions remained in prison while the other prisoners managed to escape, their conduct excited much admiration. After twenty-two days they were called up to receive sentence. No fault was found in their life and teaching; but they were forbidden to define any sins as being mortal or venial until they had studied for four years. Hampered again by such an order, Ignatius determined to go to Paris to continue his studies. Up to the present he was far from having any idea of founding a society. The only question before him now was whether he should join an order, or continue his wandering existence. He decided upon Paris for the present, and before leaving Salamanca he agreed with his companions that they should wait where they were until he returned; for he only meant to see whether he could find any means by which they all might give themselves to study. He left Barcelona and, travelling on foot to Paris, he arrived there in February 1528. The university of Paris had reached its zenith at the time of the council of Constance (1418), and was now losing its intellectual leadership under the attacks of the Renaissance and the Reformation. In 1521 the university had condemned Luther's Babylouish Captivity, and in 1527 Erasmus's Colloquies met with the same fate. Soon after his arrival, Ignatius may have seen in the Place de Gréve the burning of Louis de Berquin for heresy.[1] At this period there were between twelve and fifteen thousand students attending the university, and the life was an extraordinary mixture of licentiousness and devout zeal. When Ignatius arrived in Paris, he lodged at first with some fellow-countrymen; and for two years attended the lectures on humanities at the college de Montaigu, supporting himself at first by the charity of Isabella Roser; but, a fellow lodger defrauding him of his stock, he found himself destitute

and compelled to beg his bread. He retired to the hospice

  1. Louis de Berquin, who died on the 17th of April 1529, belonged to a noble family of Artois. He was a man of exemplary life and a friend of Erasmus and the humanists, besides being a persona grata at the court of Louise of Savoy and Francis I. His main offence was that he attacked the monks and clergy, and that he advocated the reading of the Scriptures by the people in the vulgar tongue. (W. A. P.)