On 25 May, the Vatican Postal Service issued a postage stamp to mark the beginning of the Ignatian Year. It is not every day that a project of the Society of Jesus receives this type of publicity with such a universal dimension. The original work represented is a painting by the Andalusian artist Raúl Berzosa, born in 1979, who has produced numerous works on different themes, especially portraits, human figures and maritime scenes. He is best known for his works featuring confraternities, those pious associations of laypeople that are widespread throughout Spain but especially in Andalusia.
For the Vatican Postal Service, Raúl Berdoza has chosen to show Ignatius’ spiritual encounter, on his convalescent bed, with St. Peter – a direct link with the pope and the Vatican. In its explanatory note for the release, the Vatican Postal Service emphasises that the occasion is specifically the 5th centenary of Ignatius’ conversion. The note recalls the event of the battle of Pamplona, Ignatius’ injury, his being carried to the family home in Loyola and his readings of the life of Christ and the lives of the saints that would guide his new vocation. It concludes with an explicit reference to Ignatian spirituality: “This experience would become the foundation of the discernment of spirits and the principle of the Spiritual Exercises, which he composed.”
In addition to the stamp itself, an issue day seal was produced, with the inscription “5th centenary of the conversion of St Ignatius of Loyola”. 102,000 copies of this stamp, with a unit value of €1.15, were printed.