IGNATIUS 500 AT ST JOHN’S BEAUMONT
This year marks the 500th anniversary of St Ignatius’ injury at the battle of Pamplona: an injury that set in course one of the greatest spiritual conversions in history.
Ignatius, the youngest of 13 children, was born into a noble Spanish family in the Basque region of Spain. When growing up, he dreamt of courtly deeds and the pursuit of fame and fortune. It was the search for such fortune that took Ignatius to the defence of a small Spanish town, in 1521, against the invading French army. During this battle, a cannonball smashed into Ignatius’ legs, severely injuring one and badly damaging the other also, rendering him an invalid for many months.
It was during this period of convalescence that Ignatius experienced his now-famous conversion. Eschewing his long-held dreams of courtly success, he now wished only to serve God in any way possible and set about walking thousands of miles on foot, including to Jerusalem, Rome and Paris. His efforts ultimately led to him receiving a Papal Bull from Pope Paul III in 1540 and permission to establish ‘The Society of Jesus’ (The Jesuits).
During this week’s assembly, we created our own recollection of this famous moment. With Mr Baker’s (Teacher of Science) help, we made a potentially dangerous mixture of 2/3 hydrogen and 1/3 oxygen with a ‘balloon-firing mechanism’. Boom! It worked perfectly and the explosion was met with a huge cheer from 200 expectant Middle and Upper School boys.
During the course of this academic year, the boys will continue to reflect on some of the key moments of Ignatius’ life; his challenges, achievements and the legacy for all involved in the worldwide Jesuit community today.