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St. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA

(Founder of the Society of Jesus)

Ignatius was born in 1491 at Loyola in Spain. After serving some time in the royal court, he turned to a military career. In 1521 he was wounded at the siege of Pamplona and, while convalescing, he conceived a burning desire to become a follower of Jesus. His experiences during this time at Manresa were to provide the core of his spiritual classic `The Spiritual Exercises'. In 1537 he was ordained a priest in Venice, and in the same year moved to Rome. There in 1540, along with his nine companions, he founded the Society of Jesus. Francis Xavier was one of them. In the following year Ignatius was elected the Society’s first General Superior. In every kind of way he and his companions contributed greatly to the renewal of the Catholic Church and Christian life in the sixteenth century. They were also chiefly instrumental in the spread of education in Europe. Ignatius died in Rome in 1556, and was declared a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

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St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552 was born near Pamplona, Spain on April 7, 1506. Xavier was educated at the University of Paris. In 1529, while in Paris, he met the Spanish ascetic, Ignatius of Loyola. Xavier was one of the group that joined Ignatius to found the Society of Jesus. He arrived at Goa in India on 6th May, 1542. He taught children, visited prisoners, and comforted the sick in hospitals. He shared with people the teachings of Jesus and instructed them to love and to hope. He inspired them to be kind and compassionate towards one another and to become agents of peace, prosperity and justice. From Goa he traveled to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Malacca, Amboina, Morotai, Japan, Sancian Island and Singapore, and continued to serve and inspire people by his exemplary lifestyle. On 21st November, 1552 he fell ill on Sancian Island and died on 3rd December and was buried there. In 1553 his incorrupt body was exhumed and buried in Malacca. On 15th August his body was again exhumed and taken to Goa. It has been kept there in the Basilica of Bom Jesus ever since. People from all over the world, irrespective of their religious affiliation and social status, visit the Basilica everyday and draw inspiration and enlightenment from the saint.

Past Memories

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