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The Credo Pages

Ignatius: my Confirmation name


It is customary to adopt a name of a saint at Confirmation. When I was confirmed in 1961, I chose to adopt the name 'Ignatius', after St Ignatius Loyola. So why did I choose that saint?


It was, without doubt, the influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins. On the 'Why I am a Catholic' page, I wrote that I discovered Hopkins' poetry when I was 16, and loved it. In my folly, I thought its Christianity came through despite his being a Catholic; prejudice so often blinds one to the obvious truth. After my conversion in the autumn of 1960, I came to realize that his poetry was what it was because of his Catholicism and, indeed, because he was a Jesuit priest. I felt a certain affinity to Hopkins; we were both received into the Catholic Church when we were 22. But, unlike me, he had entered the Jesuit order two years later.

The more I read about Hopkins, the more I came to respect the Jesuit order. I learnt how Edmund Campion and other Englishmen had gone to the continent during penal times, joined the Jesuit order and then returned to this country to keep the faith alive and to celebrate the Mass in those houses when people had retained their ancient faith. They had done this despite the virtual certainty that they would one day be caught and then suffer the hideous death of being hanged, drawn and quartered - as indeed they were. I was grateful that these men had, despite the appalling risk, helped to keep the faith alive during penal times. Who had founded this remarkable order?

I knew from my schooldays that it was Ignatius Loyola; but then he and the Jesuits had been presented in a rather different light. Who was he really? By clicking on the picture of the saint above left, you will find 'The Life of St. Ignatius Loyola'. I suppose what meant most to me was his vision in founding the Society of Jesus and their work "to correct ignorance and corruption among the clergy and the faithful, to stem the decline of the Church in the face of the Reformation, and to fulfill the motto of the Society of Jesus, 'Ad Majórem Dei Glóriam' --to the greater glory of God.".

Before giving St Ignatius' prayer 'Sume, Dómine, et súscipe', I conclude with the words Luis Goncalves de Camara, one of his closest associates, wrote about him:
"He (Ignatius) was always rather inclined toward love; moreover, he seemed all love, and because of that he was universally loved by all. There was no one in the Society who did not have much great love for him and did not consider himself much loved by him. "


Prayer of St Ignatius Loyola

Sume, Dómine, et súscipe
omnem meam libertátem,
meam memóriam,
meum intelléctum,
et omnem voluntátem meam,
quidquid hábeo et posídeo:
tu mihi hæc ómnia dedísti,
tibi, Dómine, ea restítuo;
ómnia sunt tua,
dispóne de illis
pro omni voluntáte tua.
Da mihi amórem tui et grátiam,
nam hæc mihi súfficit.
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will,
whatever I have and hold:
you have given me all these things,
I restore them, Lord, to you;
everything is yours
dispose of them
entirely according to your will.
Grant that I may love you and receive your grace,
for these are riches enough for me.
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Created March 2006. Last revision:
Copyright © Ray Brown