Ignatius and our Blessed Mother
Hedwig Lewis SJ
Ignatius had deep devotion to the Virgin Mary since childhood. There are several Marian shrines that serve as milestones to his spiritual progress. The first “companions” made their vows before the altar of Our Lady at Montmarte. Mary granted Ignatius his heart’s desire: “to place him with her Son” at La Storta. The Society’s first headquarters were attached to the chapel of Our Lady of the Way.
Ignatius considered Mary his mediatrix and the intercessor for the Society. He introduced the “Triple Colloquy” in the Exercises to obtain graces that are significant and foundational. When Pope Marcellus II, a dear friend of his fell seriously ill, Ignatius sent four Jesuit priests on foot to the shrine of Our Lady of Loretto to pray for his recovery. Ignatius used a rosary formed by a series of beads strung on a cord. When he died, his body was placed for public veneration before the image of the Madonna della Strada.
Every Jesuit, like Ignatius, has his own story of indebtedness to Mother Mary for his vocation and for her intervention in the effectiveness of his ministry.
Further reading: Simon Decloux, Our Lady in Ignatian Spirituality, CIS, XIX, 1988.