Celebrating the Feast of St. Ignatius

Dear members of the Loyola community,

On the calendar of the Catholic church, today, July 31, is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus and patron saint of our university. I wish each of you a happy and blessed feast day and ask you to remember Ignatius, whose life and spirituality shapes our university.

Ignatius was born in 1491 as a member of the Basque noble family. He became a military officer who eventually was wounded in battle. While recovering from his wounds, Ignatius had a deep, personal experience of God's love for him and God’s presence in all creation. Because of this experience of God, Ignatius believed it was possible to “find God in all things.” For Ignatius, even the smallest things could lead him to unity with God, and he lived his life to give witness to the God of love.

Ignatius and his early companions quickly found themselves at home in universities. Ignatius and the Jesuits thought that universities, which celebrate human accomplishment in the arts, sciences, ideas, and the professions, are places where God can be encountered. Ignatius also understood that ideas not only were things to be studied for their own sake but also, he believed, our ideas affect who we become as people. Ideas affect the lives we lead, and in this way, they shape the world.

As Loyola is a Jesuit university, it is not surprising that our mission statement speaks of a mission to prepare students to lead meaningful lives with and for others. Loyola University New Orleans is committed to educating the whole student both for his or her own benefit and for the benefit of the larger community.

So today, on this feast day, let us remember Ignatius, who inspires the mission of Loyola University. And let us work together to better live out our mission. In so doing, we will help to make our city, our nation, and the world a better, more humane place for all men and women.

With prayers and best wishes,

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.