Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. As a product of Jesuit education since the 5th grade, this has always been a special day. St. Ignatius is also my Confirmation patron, and I am truly grateful for all the Jesuits that I have had the privilege of knowing, and am particularly grateful that it was their witness that drew me to faith and the fountain of life in baptism.
The Catholic blogosphere is abuzz with information on this day, as it should be. I would recommending heading over to Mark Mossa's and search his archives for his really insightful commentaries on (along with the full text of) St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. (Mark, this will be a book soon, right? :)).
The Jesuits of the Bombay Province have a special place in my heart -- especially the years that I spent under their tutelage at St. Xavier's, and the many hours of erudite (and less-than-erudite) conversation at De Nobili College, their Formation House in Pune. And, thanks to the Bombay Jesuits, we have these wonderful witty Jesuit humor pages online:
Jeswits (If I recall correctly the artwork is by Fr. Myron Pereira, whose arwork also adorns there little booklets, called "Ah! These Jesuits" which provide a humorous introduction to Jesuit life. They were used (maybe they still are?) to promote vocations to the Society ... and I still have a set lying around)
This year is also the anniversary of three founders of the Society: the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier and Bl. Peter Faber and the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Ignatius (today). The US Jesuits have a Jubilee site chock-full of information.
Here's a link to a post I put up in January, about the impact a famous hymn (much derided in some sections of the Catholic blogosphere) written by a Jesuit, had on me, years ago, on this Feast Day.
A while back, I found myself at the cave in Manresa, Catalonia, where St. Ignatius wrote his exercises. It was a beautiful visit, and I was very grateful to be able to pray one of his well-known prayers, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises, which quite possibly every alum of a Jesuit institution knows, which is also one of my very favorite hymns.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,Happy Feast!
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given to me.
I restore it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed under your will.
Give me only your love and grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.