Columnists > We would now diagnose the 1522 Ignatius as being an at-risk self-harmer

03 August 2016 | by Richard Leonard

We would now diagnose the 1522 Ignatius as being an at-risk self-harmer


I may be the only Jesuit who will tell you this, but St Ignatius Loyola, whose feast day we celebrated on 31 July, was an obsessive-compulsive neurotic nut. That’s not fair, of course, because he was also a brilliant, insightful and deeply holy mystic. However, some of his behaviour demonstrates that my comment is neither facetious nor unwarranted.

I want to take you back to a cave beside the River Cardoner at Manresa, Spain, in 1522, where, after dedicating his life to God, Ignatius became a penitent. This was where he had his best and worst days. For months, he whipped himself three times a day, wore an iron girdle, fasted on bread and water which he begged and slept very little.


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Comment by: Ishvara
Posted: 11/08/2016 07:00:54
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Posted: 11/08/2016 05:12:47

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Comment by: Ishvara
Posted: 06/08/2016 04:03:46
Bless you philipchircop. From personal encounter with them, the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola can be the efficacious means either to induce religious delusions in the vulnerable, or to aggravate them in the patients. Thanks, but no thanks.
Comment by: philipchircop
Posted: 05/08/2016 15:26:34
Well dear Ishvara: I suggest you engage is some form and on some level the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Engage them as seriously as you can, possibly with the help of a guide and companion, and then and only then, you'll be better able to talk about the ma, Indigo - broken yet called to love - and his way of proceeding. You will also, I hope, be given a new lens through which you can look at the "order he founded".

May your day be blessed.
Comment by: Ishvara
Posted: 04/08/2016 20:07:39
"St Paul's DArk secrets: Psychosis and Religious Delusions" ( 2016) deals with the mental state of Ignatius Loyola independently of Richard Leonard but more consistently. According to this study, Ignatius was a psychotic with religious delusions as his so-called conversion points out.

His mental illness could not have begun with the conversion. Rather, it was only a positive sign that he was a psychotic well before it. Richard Leonard unwittingly confirms it with details at Manresa. It raises for me an interesting question if the Order he founded is also affected by psychosis and to what extent.

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