Skip to main content
Seattle University


Celebrating Ignatius

Written by Mike Thee
August 4, 2010

The SU community gathered on Aug. 30 to celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. A breakfast reception was held at the Arrupe Jesuit Residence. Pat Kelly, S.J., later celebrated a mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

Pat Howell, S.J., rector of the Arrupe Jesuit community, described the celebration in this way:

In midsummer Seattle University celebrates the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola, who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, founded a religious order that has had tremendous impact throughout the world, especially in the realm of education. In fact, the Jesuits founded the first-ever systematic school system in the world.

Here on campus two landmarks bear the name of the saint: The Chapel St. Ignatius, of course, and Loyola Hall, fittingly the center for the College of Education and formerly the Jesuit residence, 1954 to 1993.

Jack Bentz, S.J., vocation director for the Oregon Province, who worked in Campus Ministry at SU from 2004 to 2006, wrote: 

The Feast of St. Ignatius is something of a family holiday. Ignatian folks all over the world celebrate this day in gratitude for the life and teachings of Ignatius of Loyola. From Patna to Budapest and from Lima to Quebec, Jesuits come together for food, fun, and festivities. In the Philippines there's even a St. Ignatius Day Run, ranging from 3 to 10K, so everyone can participate.

It's one of the biggest international holidays that no one's ever heard of.

Here in the U.S. Jesuits come together in large groups and there's usually some kind of a BBQ or a big party. Communities pull out all the stops and the party brings together men from various apostolic works for a evening of fun relaxation. We remember distant friends and catch up on our works around the world.

What's so special about the 31st of July? It's the day, back in 1556, when St. Ignatius died. By the year of his death the Society of Jesus was 16 years old and the Jesuits were more than 1,000 men strong. They had 100 houses on 3 continents and had somehow established 35 schools all across Europe.

The history of the Jesuit brotherhood in the Lord goes back to the graces experienced by our Iñigo of Loyola and his bold response to the Spirit's invitation in drawing men forward on a global mission to engage the entire world.