In 1522, a young Knight named Ignatius de Loyola experienced a life-changing vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus while at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat. He was ordained a priest in 1537, and went on to co-found, alongside future Saints Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, the religious order The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). His masterpiece, THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES, has for nearly five centuries proved a definitive manual of mystic and monastic Christian spiritual direction. "By this name of 'Spiritual Exercises'," he writes, "is meant every way of examining one's conscience, of meditating, of contemplating, of praying vocally and mentally, and of performing other spiritual actions... of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies and... to seek and find the Divine Will as to the management of one's life for the salvation of the soul." St. Ignatius of Loyola was beatified in 1609 and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.
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