In the kingdom of Navarre, in the north of Spain, among those mountains whence the armorers of Toledo drew their metal and forged for the world their trenchant steel, in a region where the generous, passionate, valiant people seemed to have formed their character on the austere grandeur of nature itself, St. Ignatius was born.
The world represents him as a man of few and stern words, in appearance severe and dark, and yet a man in whom intellect is ever prominent, but intellect elevated by the grandeur of a soul of chivalry and by an exquisite delicacy of charity -- this was the real character of St. Ignatius. This will be seen in the brief glimpse given of his life and his spirit of charity, his absorbing love for souls, in his work of founding missions, his greatness of mind and heart, in the work originated by him, and carried on by his followers, in the cause of higher education.
His character stands prominently on the horizon of history. He cannot be ignored, nor is his existence or his work ignored.
His enemies have not passed him by without notice, and his friends, the friends of God, have rejoiced that, as God sent him forth to teach and produce fruit that the fruit might remain, the fruit has remained.
St. Ignatius sends his voice down the centuries as a great individuality. He has spoken as a man of God, as a man of ideas, a man of energy. He has made his influence felt throughout the universe, not only in the civilized world, but in the uncivilized portion, to bring it into civilization, or to bear to it the advantages of civilization.
Other great men have spoken and have sent forth their influence. Theirs has been a message to the civilized world; it has been limited to one point of view. It has been prowess on the battlefield or on the seas, work in the ship of state or in the fields of science. But Ignatius has not been limited to any one of these. He is the founder of a Religious Order that has sent pioneers into all these fields and forests of valor or research; he is the writer of the Spiritual Exercises that have won a fame gained by but few authors; he is the father of many saints; he is the educator of generations; he is the inspirer of scientific, literary, theological, philosophical investigation, and the promoter of discoverers and of pioneer missionaries in the Old and the New World.
Ignatius was born, in 1491, at the chateau of Loyola, and at fifteen years of age he was a page in the court of King Ferdinand, and then a soldier under the Duke of Navarre, his relative. The army of Francis I penetrated into Navarre, and, at the siege of Pampeluna, Ignatius, Captain of Infantry, was wounded by a cannon ball. His life is given in the preceding pages.
I shall refer only briefly to it, and to his conversion. He was a young knight fond of gayety and feats of arms, and for some time after he received the wound he was confined to his bed while his broken leg was set; and while awaiting his slow recovery he read the lives of the saints and of Christ, as these were the books given to him in place of the novels he had asked for, as no others were in the house.
In reading the lives of the saints his heart was touched. His eyes were opened to the vanity of life and the reality of eternity compared with the worldliness of the life he had been leading. Inspired with enthusiasm at the lives of the saints, he said, "What they have done, I can do." The event of his life proved the earnestness of his purpose.
He resolved to undertake a life of penance and self-denial, and, while occupied with these holy resolutions, he wrote in a book the principal events of the life of Christ and His glorious Mother. It was at this time that Our Lord sent him a vision to strengthen and console him. He beheld one night, as he was holding his vigils, the glorious Queen of the angels, who appeared to him holding in her arms her Blessed Son, enlightening him with the splendor of glory and charming him by her sweet presence.
To her he ascribes the inspiration of the Spiritual Exercises, and his Order, imitating its founder, has shown the most unbounded affection and devoted filial love toward the Virgin Mother of Christ.
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At Alcala St. Ignatius studied, and there won for the Society of Jesus, Laynez, Salmeron, and Babadilla. He afterward founded there a college where Vasquez, Suarez, and St. Francis Borgia expounded the Holy Scriptures. St. Ignatius sent Father de Torres to Salamanca to found the famous college where the illustrious professors, Cardinal de Lugo, Francis Suarez, Maldonatus, Gregory of Valencia, Francis Ribera, and many other illustrious men were professors.
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At the University of Paris, in 1534, on the 14th of March, St. Ignatius received the degree of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, having received the degree of Bachelor of Arts two years before. The University of Paris had the honor of having as pupils St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, Claude le Jay, Simon Rodriguez, John Codura, Paschasius, Brouet, Martin Olave, all honored with the academic degree.
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Among the earlier colleges founded by St. Ignatius were the following: --
In 1542 the College of Coimbra, in Portugal, arose. In 1546 St. Francis Borgia founded the College of Gandia. In 1556 the College of Ingolstadt was founded. In 1552 a college was founded at Vienna, and in 1556 one at Prague. In 1553 the Roman College was fully founded. And in 1568 the colleges at Lima, Peru.
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The German College founded in Rome by St. Ignatius produced many remarkable men.
From it came 1 pope, Gregory XV, 24 cardinals, 6 electors of the Empire, 19 princes, 21 archbishops, 121 titular bishops, 100 bishops in partibus infidelium, 6 abbots or generals of religious orders, 11 martyrs of faith, 13 martyrs of charity, and 55 others, conspicuous for piety and learning.
This was at the end of the eighteenth century. In our own time in one classroom Father Cardella counted seventeen different orders of all different nationalities present at the lectures of theology in the Roman College.
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The Roman College was the type of the Jesuit College. It was begun by Francis Borgia, in 1551, at the foot of the Capitol in Rome, with fourteen members of the Order and Father John Peltier, a Frenchman, as Superior.
The professors taught rhetoric and three languages, -- Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. There were present there at a given time 2107 students, 300 in theology. The most eminent professors filled the chairs: theologians like Suarez and Vasquez; commentators such as Cornelius a Lapide and Maldonatus; founders of national history schools, as Mariana and Pallavicini; Clavius, reformer of the Gregorian Calendar; Kircher, universal in the exact sciences, while the other colleges throughout the world remained provided with their own required forces and maintained their own prestige.
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From this college came forth distinguished men in every line of intellectual life, and general eminence, men of elevated thought and of noble and generous minds. In particular three characters came -- young men that were to fill with admiration of their greatness the succeeding century.
Stanislaus Kostka, a Polish noble who died at seventeen years of age; Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian prince of twenty-three; and John Berchmans, a Flemish townsman of twenty-two.
Among some of the famous men educated by the Jesuits we find Bossuet, Corneille, Moliere, Tasso, Fontenelle, Diderot, Voltaire, and Bourdaloue, himself a Jesuit.
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When Pere Poree replied to the remark that he was not one of the great poets, he said, "At least you may grant that I have been able to make some of them." A few others were Descartes, Buffon, Justus Lipsius, Muratori the historian, Calderon, and Vico, the author of "Ideas of History," Richelieu, Tilly, Malesherbes, Don John of Austria, Luxembourg, Esterhazy, Choiseul, St. Francis de Sales, Lambertini, afterward Benedict XIV, the most learned of the popes, and the present Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII, renowned for his learning and wisdom.
Nearly all the Jesuit writers had been Jesuit professors, with almost no exception, and nearly all had taught humanities, belles-lettres, and rhetoric. Father Southwell in 1676 numbers 2240 authors, and Father de Backer in 1876 counts 11,100.
We find some remarkable authors among the Jesuit writers. Foremost come the Bollandists, renowned throughout the world for their monumental work, the "Acta Sanctorum." Similar gigantic works were carried on by Fathers de Backer, Sommervogel, and Pachtler. In the various branches of learning we need mention a few of the greater writers.
In astronomy, we find Ricci, Perry, De Vico, Secchi, Curley, Sestini.
In mathematics, Hagen, Algue.
In naval tactics, "The Jesuit's Book."
In archaeology, Garucci, Marchi, the master of De Rossi.
In Oriental languages, Strassmaier, Harvas, Maas, Van den Gheyn.
In theology, Suarez, Vasquez, Toletus, Maldonatus, Franzelin.
In philosophy, Cominbricenses, Liberatore.
In moral philosophy, Busenbaum, Gury, Toledo, Ballerini, Layman, Lehmkuhl, Genicot.
In asceticism, Alvarez de Paz, Gaudier, Rodriguez, Scaramelli, Grou.
The Spiritual Exercises comprise a whole library. Father Watragan has written a work merely to record the editions and commentaries on these Exercises.
THE EDUCATIONAL PLAN OF ST. IGNATIUS
St. Ignatius had gathered about him a body of picked men. The Roman College, the type of colleges of Jesuit education, would have for its professors only those who had been doctors of the University of Paris.
The outline of the course of education was given by St. Ignatius. It was completed and developed by Aquaviva. The work was still more perfected by Father Laynez, of whom it is said, --
"St. Ignatius praised him not only on account of other great merits, but particularly for devising and arranging the system of colleges."
As to the number of students found under a unified method of thorough teaching, it will be interesting to take them in review.
In Rome in 1584, the twenty colleges attending classes in the Roman College numbered 2108 students, in Poland there were 10,000 young men chiefly of the nobility, at Rome 2000, at La Fleche 1700. In the seventeenth century at the College of Louis le Grand, in Paris, the number varied between 2000 and 3000. In 1627 the Province of Paris had in fourteen colleges 13,195 students.
The papal seminaries under Gregory XIII, at Vienna, Dillengen, Fulda, Prague, Graetz, Olmuetz, Wilna, as well as in Japan, were directed by the Fathers, as also that of Pius V and of St. Charles Borromeo at Milan.
Taking an average, there were more than two hundred thousand students being educated in these educational institutions.
A comparison could be made on this basis of the work done by the Order and that which is accomplished by Oxford.
If Oxford spends annually a revenue of [USD]2,500,000 to supply facilities for higher education to two thousand of the nobility and gentry, how much would be required to educate a quarter of a million students, -- not two thousand, but two hundred and fifty thousand?
The fundamental principles in the educational institute of St. Ignatius were these: --
First, solidity and thoroughness.
The first condition of all higher studies as well as of lower studies was such that, as St. Ignatius said, "It was useless to begin at the top, as the edifice without a good foundation would never stand."
Let literature and philosophy be gone through with satisfactorily, and then theology may be approached.
Literature must come first of all. St. Ignatius provides for law and medicine, but by professors of law and medicine outside of the Order; but no professors of the Order were sent for work outside of Jesuit institutions. If the younger men were sent abroad, the younger generation would be deprived of that type; and if eminent men were sent forth without a permanent Jesuit College, the work would not be that of the Order, but of scattered individuals, and would soon perish.
In the cause of education St. Ignatius had placed in his charter the watchwords "Defence and Advance." As a leader of a military type he had gathered about him the flower of youth and of mature age, from college and university, from doctor's chair and prince's throne, and in fifteen years from the foundation of the Order left one hundred colleges and houses in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Germany, France, Brazil, and the East Indies. Xavier traveled from India and Ceylon, in the west, to Malucca, Japan, and the coast of China on the east. Wherever the energy and activity of Apostolic zeal penetrated it was with the purpose, and usually the result, of permanent Apostolic work in the foundation of educational institutions. Father de Backer says, --
"Wherever a Jesuit set his foot, wherever there was founded a house, a college, a mission, there too came apostles of another class, who labored, who taught, who wrote."
This is true even to our day where in the Rocky Mountains, beside the mission house of Spokane Falls, rises the Jesuit College of Spokane.
Sixty years later than the time of St. Ignatius there were 272 colleges, and in 150 years the collegiate and university houses of education numbered 769.
"Looking at these seven hundred institutions of secondary and superior education," says Father Thomas Hughes in his work on Loyola, "in their scope of legislative executive power we find they were not so much a plurality of institutions as a single one.
"If we look at the 92 colleges in France, although the University of Paris was in one quarter of the city, and in that sense materially one, -- although including 50 colleges, -- yet in the formal and essential bond these 92 Jesuit colleges were vastly more of a unit as an identical educational power than any faculty existing. No faculty at Paris, Rome, Salamanca, or Oxford ever preserved the control over its 50, 20, or 8 colleges that each Provincial exercised over his 10, 20, or 30 colleges, or the general of the Order over the 700 colleges, with 22,126 members in the Order."
At the present day we find the Jesuit colleges in almost every part of the known world. In Rome and in China, in South Africa and North America, in the Philippine Islands as well as in Ceylon and Egypt, in Australia and Cuba, as well as in Syria and the city of New York.
We may glance briefly at the colleges scattered over the world, containing to-day 52,692 Jesuit pupils.
This is a larger number than those taught at Oxford and Cambridge and Glasgow and Harvard or Yale or Princeton or in Paris and Edinburgh.
In the Jesuit College at Rome there are 2082 students.
In Brazil, 757
Thus the total number of students -- studying with professors of the Society of Jesus under one university system in all parts of the known world -- is 52,692.
There has been no going back. Fifty years ago, when the groundwork of rebuilding the 700 institutions that had been destroyed by the suppression had to be commenced all over again, there were but 15,000, to-day there are 52,692.
St. Ignatius was born in 1491. The first College of Coimbra was founded in 1542. From 1542 to 1773 is a period of 231 years. The suppression lasted from 1773 to 1814 (41 years). The new work continued from 1814 to 1899, a period of 85 years.
Among the colleges founded in the chief cities of the world are Loyola College, at Loyola in Spain; St. Omer's College, in Belgium, the link between Europe and America; Stonyhurst College, in England; Clongoes Wood, Ireland; Mangalore, in India, the only first-grade college in the district; Melbourne, Australia; St. Ignatius College, California, the pioneer of Pacific coast missions and of the Rocky Mountains; at Kansas City the only boarding college in the far West; St. Ignatius, at Cleveland, Ohio, one of the latest Western colleges; Spring Hill College, at Mobile, Alabama; Georgetown College, at Washington, D.C.; Holy Cross College, at Worcester, Massachusetts; St. John's College, at Fordham, New York; St. Francis Xavier's College, in New York City.
In the proportion mentioned above, in the same period (that is, a period of 231 years), there will be in the Jesuit colleges 263,690 pupils.
St. Ignatius died July 31, 1556. He was sixty-five years of age. At the age of thirty he hung up his sword at Montserrat, and, with ready mind and heart and pen, in thirty-five years he achieved the gigantic work of the founding and developing the Order. The educational work was projected and advanced in a brief period of fifteen years, from 1542 to 1556.
He was a man of prudence and deliberation, and of unswerving decision.
Vigilant and patient, whenever he appeared account had to be taken of the man; and so with his Order, whenever it appears it is to be recognized either by foes to oppose it or friends to love it and forward its work. It has its churches -- its missions -- its colleges. In its churches it is faithful to the teaching of Christ and His Church, loyal ever to the Vicar of Christ; in its missions, unbounded in zeal and personal self-sacrifice; in its colleges, it aims ever at the solid and thorough training of complete Christian education. Ignatius of Loyola made his Order to go on without him, and it goes on just as he made it.
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