Common section

Chronology

1491

The date of birth remains problematic, though confirmed by (1) the testimony of Ignatius’s wet-nurse, María de Garín, (2) a legal document dated 1505 only valid if Ignatius was at least fourteen years of age, combined with other testimony that he was not born before 1491. The family was distinguished in the Basque country, possessed considerable land, and had contacts with the Castilian nobility. The baptismal names were Iñigo López, the first of these being the one most used until the name ‘Ignatius’ began to appear.

1506

Move to Arévalo (some miles north of Avila) to serve as page in the household of Juan Velázquez de Cuéllar, Treasurer of King Ferdinand of Castile; formal courtly education.

1515

Summoned for involvement in brawl near Loyola.

1517

Financial ruin and death of his patron; Iñigo obtains post in the retinue of Antonio Manrique, Duke of Nájera and Viceroy of Navarre.

1521

Successful diplomatic mission in Guipúzcoa; then disastrous defence of Pamplona, where his right leg is shattered; operation and convalescence; conversion experience.

1522

Visits Montserrat; then moves temporarily to Manresa, where he leads a life of prayer and penance.

1523

Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, via Rome and Venice.

1524

Settles in Barcelona, starts private studies: first text of Spiritual Exercises (?); Letter 1.

1526

Moves (with three followers) to Alcalá for University studies; first ecclesiastical trial.

1527

Second and third trials; moves to Salamanca; interrogated by Dominicans, new trial.

1528

Moves alone to Paris, and re-starts studies.

1529–35

Arts course, with begging journeys to Flanders and England in search of funds; ‘First Companions’ contacted.

1532

Letters 2, 3.

1534

‘Vows’ at Montmartre.

1535

Travels to Spain (return visit to Loyola) and Italy.

1536

Private theology studies in Venice; Letters 4–7.

1537

First Companions regroup; ordination to priesthood, Letter 8; move to Rome, with vision at La Storta; well received by Pope Paul III.

1538

After one year’s wait, proposed move to Jerusalem seen to be impossible; meets strong opposition in Rome, overcome by recourse to Pope; acquittal at trial; Letters 9–10.

1539

Deliberations about founding of new order; project arouses strong criticism.

1540

Papal Bull founding the Society of Jesus; departure of Xavier for India.

1541

Preliminary draft of Constitutions; election as Superior General and first formal vows.

1542–43

Growth of correspondence; active philanthropic work in Rome (with prostitutes, Jews, children).

1544–45

Discernment process recorded – Spiritual Diary – and begins writing of Constitutions.

1546

Society takes active part in Council of Trent (Letter 14); Francis Borgia joins secretly (Letter 13); opposition to episcopal dignities (Letter 15).

1547–49

Arrival of Polanco as secretary (Letter 18); alarming developments in Portugal (Letters 16, 20) and Gandía (Letters 17, 22–23); educational interests (Letter 24).

1550

Holy Year; finishes first draft of Constitutions; Francis Borgia in Rome announces his membership of the Society.

1551

Initial approval of Constitutions by all available First Companions; letter of resignation (Letter 26); founding of Roman College.

1552–54

Despite chronic ill-health (especially in 1553) active administration, with particular reflection on nature of obedience (Letters 28, 31), involvement in high political spheres (Letter 30) and education.

1553, 1555

Dictation of Reminiscences; continued administration (Letters 34–40).

1556

Constant ill-health, then sudden death in the morning of 31 July.

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