Front Page Titles (by Subject) 69.: St. Ignatius Loyola - Judgments on History and Historians
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69.: St. Ignatius Loyola - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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St. Ignatius Loyola
He was born in Guipúzcoa and was thus a Castilian, something not without value for his career. As an officer he was extraordinarily ambitious; he swept the others along in maintaining the defense of Pamplona.
It certainly made some difference that he possessed, on the one hand, the bearing and habit of power of an officer and, on the other, the general background of a man of culture and station. In his conduct toward people of all kinds, even powerful ones, he was then not subject to the sudden changes and unpredictable behavior which commonly appear in a man who has risen from the bottom, from peasant or urban stock.
How much did he associate with the court of the reyes católicos [Catholic kings]? He gives us no evidence of this later.
His further career is hard to unify psychologically and presupposes a highly extraordinary, certainly iron personality. He had to complete his pilgrim’s life of contemplation and penance. With the vast majority of men there would then have remained only a mendicant or a hermit. What kept him on top must have been, apart from an iron constitution, the joys of mysticism.
To make up for that, he was spared the doctrinal toil of the reformers, the disputes about nuances of faith and exegesis. In a highly desultory fashion he caught up on his studies as an obligation, because he had to become a priest at any price.
His danger was an impulse toward preaching and pastoral pursuits before he was entitled to them. But the inquisitors, who examined him about five times in Spain and France, must each time have quickly convinced themselves of his complete orthodoxy.
His power lay in the fact that he was able early to gather around him companions of subsequent significance, make them completely submissive to himself, and inspire them. He swept along Contarini and Caraffa.
It is a very extraordinary thing that he did not found an order of penance, such as the Trappist order, but an entirely practical one, apparently with extreme intellectual effort, though directed by visions. Here there emerges the old officer. Instead of choir service there resulted a widely varied outside activity.
But in addition he harbored a firm belief in a periodic spiritual regimen or diet: exercitia spiritualia [spiritual discipline]. Anyone who underwent it then thought like St. Ignatius. It was no cramming in of a certain mass of knowledge for an examination, because such knowledge one might later throw away with disgust.
For the time being, this order was confirmed at a moment when one wanted to let all existing orders perish as degenerate.
It was utterly impossible to establish a competing institution with-in Protestantism, whereas the Jesuits were able to induce precisely their most gifted pupils to remain in the order, because they felt happiest there.