Ignatius’ conversion dates from his wounding at the battle of Pamplona in May of 1521. At that moment his former way of life ended and a new way of life began slowly and painfully to unfold.

Ignatius is often described as a Spanish nobleman, and a soldier. He is in fact the patron saint of soldiers, and he was indeed from a noble family, that of Loyola. However, he was not Spanish but Basque, from a fiercely independent area in the northwest corner of Spain. He was not a soldier but a knight, a gentleman-at-arms for the Duke of Navarre.

Pamplona, the capital of Navarre, was under siege by the French, and had already surrendered while the Duke was away. Ignatius thought this surrender dishonourable, and he persuaded a small group to resist in a fortified tower until reinforcements could arrive. He felt even death was better than dishonour. After six hours of bombardment he was wounded in both legs by a cannon ball, and forced to surrender.

Praise the Lord

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