About the Ignatian YearFrom 20 May 2021 to 31 July 2022, the Society of Jesus and the entire Ignatian family are celebrating an Ignatian Year.
We celebrate a very strange event: the wounding of the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola at a battle in Pamplona in 1521. That event changed the course of his life; it led to the foundation of the Society of Jesus which in turn provoked dramatic changes in the Church and in the history of Catholicism.
On 20 May 1521, The Basque soldier Ignatius of Loyola was defending the city of Pamplona (Spain) against French troops. He gets hit by a cannonball. His legs are shattered. He barely survives and has to spend months recovering. His previous dreams of worldly success and fame are also shattered. He will walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
During his recovery, Ignatius has nothing to do. He is given a book on the life of Christ and a collection of lives of the Saints to read. He does so reluctantly at the beginning, but then gets inspired and wants to imitate the saints. He radically changes his life, centring it on Christ. He leaves for a long pilgrimage in Europe and the Holy Land.
Fr. General Arturo Sosa says:
It is good to remind ourselves that the wound Ignatius suffered in Pamplona was not so much a happy ending, but rather a happy beginning. Conversion consists sometimes of great moments of change, but it is also a never-ending process. We need to put Christ in the centre every time, again and again. This process is a pilgrimage along winding roads, up and down, sometimes having to retrace our steps, sometimes feeling lost. But meeting people along the road who indicate the way and reach out their hands to us.
We want to set out on the road, letting ourselves be guided gently by the Holy Spirit, centring our lives ever more on Christ and allowing ourselves to see all things new in Christ.
About Ignatius, Pope Francis said to the Society of Jesus:
All through his life he converted, […] he put Christ in the centre. And he did so through discernment. Discernment is not about always getting it right from the start, but it’s rather about navigating, about having a compass to be able to set out on the road which has many twists and turns, but always letting oneself be guided by the Holy Spirit who leads us to an encounter with the Lord.
On his long pilgrimage of conversion, St. Ignatius found true freedom. Do you want to know how to discover true freedom? Click here.
The cannonball moment of St. Ignatius happened 500 years ago, but we all can live a moment of change, conversion, transformation. Listen to people like you telling their story here.
Learn more about the story of St. Ignatius here.
Main international events
20 May 2021
Official opening of the Ignatian Year in Pamplona (Spain), exactly 500 years after the cannonball hit Ignatius. A Eucharist will be celebrated at the cathedral by Archbishop Francisco Pérez González and Fr. Arturo Sosa at 18h (CET) and livestreamed on YouTube
23 May 2021
Pilgrims with Ignatius. Online prayer with Fr. General Arturo Sosa and Pope Francis to start the Ignatian Year. Streamed three times (20h PST, CET, EDT), each time in English, Spanish, and French on ignatius500.global/live
12 March 2022
Solemn Mass at the Gesù in Rome on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the canonisation of St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Jesús, St. Isidore Labrador, and St. Philip Neri.
31 July 2022
Official closure of the Ignatian Year on the Feast Day of St. Ignatius