Best known for starting the Jesuits, Saint Ignacio De Loyola was born to in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa to a noble family. Before he had even turned five, his father decided that Ignacio was to serve the church and his brother to join the military.
Ignacio would never even consider bringing shame to his father’s name by being disobedient but this decision made him very unhappy. He took the tonsure at the age of 14 and served the church to the best of his ability. However, it was quite clear that his heart wasn’t in it. Upon seeing his son’s sadness, Ignacio’s father gave his permission for him to leave church service and become a soldier as well. Ignacio happily finished out his boyhood training to become a knight.
Years later he was hit by a cannonball, whilst on a campaign for the king of Navarre. The damage to his legs was so great that he had to undergo several surgeries to restore them to use. From the time of his injury to his restoration, Ignacio had a lot of down time. To pass the time as well as to keep his mind sharp, he used as much of this time as he could to read. It was through the reading of religious books that Ignacio was drawn towards once again serving the church.
Once Ignacio had recovered enough to walk again, he visited the shrine of the Black Madonna of Montserrat to thank her for his healing. As he knelt before her image, the Madonna confirmed his calling and gave him visions. Overwhelmed with emotion, Ignacio drew his sword and laid it at her feet.
He spent the next few years travelling as a beggar in Rome, Venice, and Jerusalem. When he finally returned, Ignacio entered the University of Paris. He found the Jesuits in 1546 and spent the rest of his life training those who were called to this order. He died on July 31, 1556 and was canonised in 1622.
Because of his devotion to the Black Madonna, his visions, and his zeal to provide the church with a military order, Saint Ignacio is called upon when there is need of protection from:
- Evil spirits
- Evil men
One old folk remedy used to prevent a person from becoming a vampire after his death is to rub the body with the fat of a pig that was butchered on the feast day of Saint Ignacio.