Before his death in 1555, Saint Ignatius of Loyola's fellow Jesuit companions urged him to recount his life, which would serve as an account of how God had guided Ignatius from the beginnings of his spiritual conversion. Ignatius dictated what became known as A Pilgrim’s Testament to his companion Luís Gonçalves da Câmara. Written in the second person, it begins with Ignatius’s conversion in his ancestral home of Loyola, Spain, as he recovered from battlefield injuries (“he was left with such loathing for his whole past life, and especially for things of the flesh”). It covers the saint’s travels through the time he settled in Rome and became the first superior general of the Society. The memoirs were not widely published until loose English translations of the original Spanish and Italian appeared in 1900. Jesuit Barton T. Geger introduces this new edition of A Pilgrim’s Testament, which includes fascinating notes that accompany this important text, making the autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola more accessible to all.
St. Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556) was a Spanish nobleman who had a spiritual conversion when he was thirty years old. Ignatius did two things for which he is famous. First, he wrote a little book called The Spiritual Exercises, which is a manual of sorts to guide people through a thirty-day silent retreat. The second thing that Ignatius did, after he became a Catholic priest, was to create a fraternity of priests and lay brothers called the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits for short.
Readers will find Ignatius struggling with many of the same questions and tensions that Christians face every day: Why should I belong to the church, if I can follow God in my own way? What should I do with my life? How do I fight this temptation? How do I know when God is trying to tell me something? Is it ever acceptable to say “no” to good people who ask for my help?
Foreword of Fr. Jerónimo Nadal
Foreword of Fr. Luís Gonçalves da Câmara
A Pilgrim’s Testament
1. Pamplona and Loyola (May 1521 to Late February 1522)
2. Road to Montserrat (February to March 1522)
3. Sojourn at Manresa (March 1522 to February 1523)
4. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (March to September 1523)
5. Return to Spain (October 1523 to February 1524)
6. Barcelona and Alcalá (February 1524 to June 1527)
7. Trouble at Salamanca (July to December 1527)
8. Progress in Paris (February 1528 to April 1535)
9. Farewell to Spain (October to November 1535)
10. Venice and Vicenza (January 1536 to October 1537)
11. Finally in Rome (November 1537 to October 1538)
Epilogue of Fr. Gonçalves
Appendix 1: Timeline of St. Ignatius’s Life
Appendix 2: Classic Sources for Understanding A Pilgrim’s Testament
Appendix 3: About Citations of the MHSI