17The Ignatius Altar

Ignatius was born as the son of a Basque noble family at Loyola in 1491. Committed to the chivalric ideals of that time, he received a courtly education and became a soldier. A severe injury confined him for months to the sickbed. At this time a change of mind gradually began. Now he wanted to direct his life to "the greater glory of God." He recorded his inner experiences in the "Spiritual Exercises", in order to allow other people experience a similar transformation process. With a few friends, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, he formed a group in Paris in 1534, and all took their vows of celibate chastity and poverty. Out of this circle of friends, a new type of a catholic religious congregation developed: through prayer centered on the "meditation" of Jesus and the perception of one's conscience and consciousness, flexible in action, totally committed to the service of people, in affinity with the church, everyone should be ready to go to where-ever their superiors sent them. This envisages „the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus" which Ignatius composed.