29 July 2021, The Tablet

I may be the only Jesuit to tell you St Ignatius was an obsessive-compulsive nut


I may be the only Jesuit to  tell you St Ignatius was an obsessive-compulsive nut
 

You may not know it, but we are in an “Ignatian Year”. It began on 20 May, which marked the 500th anniversary of St Ignatius Loyola’s conversion, and runs until his feast day next year, 31 July. So it’s not really a year, but an “Ignatian 14 months”. The centrepiece of the celebrations will come on 12 March 2022, the 400th anniversary of the canonisations of Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri.

I may be the only Jesuit who will ever tell you this, but St Ignatius was an obsessive-compulsive, neurotic nut. He was also a person of great holiness, a mystical genius and one of the most brilliant men of his time. But some of his behaviour reveals that my first observation is neither facetious nor unwarranted. One of the most important chapters in his life gives the key to why Ignatian Spirituality has been so enduring and adaptable.

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