St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits or "Society of Jesus" was born in 1491, the year before the discovery of the New World by Columbus. He grew up in a golden age of the Spanish court, himself a courtier, a gambler and a ladies' man. Wounded in defending the citadel of Pamplona, he underwent a dramatic conversion and became a leading figure in the Counter-Reformation. A man of wit and humanity, of enormous energy and administrative ability, he was also one of the greatest of mystics, and in struggling against his own failures and shortcomings, he became one of the great influences on world history. Philip Caraman is the author of "The Lost Paradise" and "John Gerard".
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