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A cannonball that changed the world: Pope Francis marks 500 years since St. Ignatius’ conversion

Pope Francis said Sunday that the cannonball that wounded Ignatius of Loyola 500 years ago not only changed the saint’s life but also the course of the world.

The world’s first Jesuit pope made the remark in a May 23 video message marking the start of an Ignatian Year celebrating the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion.

“In Pamplona, 500 years ago, all Ignatius’ worldly dreams were shattered in an instant,” he said. “The cannonball that wounded him changed the course of his life, and the course of the world.”

“Seemingly small things can be important. That cannonball also meant that Ignatius failed in the dreams he had for his life. But God had a bigger dream for him.”

The pope’s message was broadcast at a live global prayer event called “Pilgrims with Ignatius,” featuring Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa and people from across the world sharing their testimonies.

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuit order, aspired to be a famous soldier as a young man. But his military career came to an abrupt end on May 20, 1521, when a cannonball injured his right leg while he was defending the city of Pamplona in northern Spain.

He experienced a spiritual awakening while recovering from surgery. When he could walk again, he decided to embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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