- Colour: White
- Patron Saint: St. Ignatius Loyola
- Feast Day: 31st July
- Motto: NOW OR NEVER
The founder of the Society of Jesus.
Born in 1491, at Azpeitia, Spain, Ignatius belonged to the lesser nobility and experienced the distractions of court life. At the age of 31, in the defence of Pamplona, his legs were shattered by a cannon ball. During the months of painful convalescence he dreamed anew and found a new Master, Christ who reigns from the Cross. He rose from his sick bed and prayed to Mary to bless his desire to serve her son. A cave in nearby Manresa saw him “doing battle with the devil”. His Manresa experiences are the source of his most famous writings, the Spiritual Exercises.
Later during his studies at the University of Paris (1528-1535) he formed a group of like-minded young men among whom was Francis Xavier, and inspired them to give their lives for the service of God. They called themselves ” The Society (or Company) of Jesus “, and received approval from the Pope. Ignatius composed the Constitutions, was duly elected Superior General. Ignatius spent his years guiding not only his own men but also men and women in the highest positions (including the emperor, Charles V), to holiness and the service of God.
This great saint – brave, courageous, gentle of heart, master of spiritual discernment, servant of the Church – died at Rome on July 31, 1556.
- Colour: Blue
- Patron Saint: St. Francis Xavier
- Feast Day: 3rd December
- Motto: NEVER GIVE IN
Francisco de Jassu y de Javier, was born on April 7, 1506, in Javier, Navarre, Spain.
He was sent to the University of Paris where, bright in studies and full of life, he graduated in 1531 and lectured at the same University on Aristotle. His roommate and fellow-countryman, Ignatius of Loyola pursued the generous-hearted Francis with those famous words: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his very soul? Francis yielded “his soul to higher things.”
Ignatius lost no time in forming his “Six Friends in the Lord” into a special group. After private vows of poverty and chastity, on August 15, 1534, they went to Rome and offered their services to the Pope who on September 27, 1540, approved of the Society of Jesus, with Francis Xavier as a founder member.
At the Pope’s request Ignatius sent Francis, his personal secretary, to Portugal’s colonies in South Asia; and on April 7, 1541, Francis set sail and landed in Goa on May 6, 1543. He spent several years preaching the Good News of Jesus in South India – Vasai, Goa, Tamilnadu – Sri Lanka, East Asia, the Philippines, Malaya and Japan.
Francis died a lonely death on the island of Sancian near Canton (China), early on the morning of December 3, 1552. His incorrupt remains lie in a silver casket in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa. He planted the seeds of the Gospel and those who came after him gathered in the harvest.
- Colour: Yellow
- Patron Saint: St. John Berchmans
- Feast Day: 26th November
- Motto: SERVICE BEFORE SELF
Saints come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds. John would have become like his father a shoemaker, but John desired to become a priest.
Owing to the worsening economic conditions at home, John had to give up schooling. But a kind soul came to their help and John went back to his books and graduated from the newly-opened Jesuit school at Mechlin, Belgium, and joined the Society of Jesus.
John was eighteen years old when he joined the Jesuits and twenty-two when he died. What was it that made the Church canonize this ordinary sort of religious ? John followed his own simple formula: to do ordinary things, demanded by the rule or otherwise, in the most extraordinary way. There are millions of souls that follow this way, and the Church chooses some of them as models for others to follow – in the case of John (and of Aloysius and Stanislaus), for the youth of Europe of the time.
He was cheerful, never a spoilsport, strict with himself, a dedicated student preparing for the future as an apostle in the Society of Jesus, and very humble despite being very brilliant in studies. A model of true dedication to one’s vocation.