Loyola University Maryland

Ignatian Isolation and Quarantine

Ignatian Isolation: Once Upon a Time

Long ago, there was a man named Iñigo Lopez de Oñaz y Loyola (Ignatius). He was fond of women, his looks and attire, gambling, sword fighting, and brawling. Ignatius was from a prominent Spanish family, and he took advantage of all that his privilege offered, which sometimes included walks on the wild side and even avoiding consequences and prosecution after engaging in violent crime.

However, in 1521, when the French army stormed the town of Pamplona, Spain, Ignatius Loyola fiercely defended his country by becoming a Spanish soldier and fighting to protect his territory. Ignatius was struck by a cannonball during the attack and it shattered his leg. His recovery was expected to take extensive time, so Ignatius returned to his family castle to recover. However, Ignatius demanded that his leg be re-broken and re-set when he became dissatisfied with his leg’s appearance. This demand required a longer healing process, and ultimately, a more meaningful time in solitude.

It was during this time in essential isolation that Saint Ignatius began his discernment journey. His interests shifted from the aesthetic to the substantive, and he became centered and focused on the profound lives of the saints. Ultimately, and as a result of the transformative experience in isolation Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus – and he set the world on fire. And so can you!