Feast Day : July 31st (celebrated in school in the Spring Term)
Our school is in the parish of St Ignatius of Loyola, Sunbury on Thames in the Upper Thames Deanery. It was founded in 1862. The church was built in 1869, and consecrated in 1884.
St Ignatius and the Jesuits were committed to education, and to them, as to us, developing the whole child was very important. Although we are not a Jesuit school, their model of education, to form and to educate, is still very important to us.
Our school aims are taken from the words of St Ignatius:
All for the Greater Glory of God
St Ignatius was born in the town of Loyola, in what is now modern day Spain. He was baptised Inigo by his parents, and we are not sure when he started to use the name Ignatius. He was the youngest of thirteen children, and sadly his mother died while he was still an infant. He was cared for by Maria, a blacksmith's wife, and later chose the last name Loyola, after the place he was born.
When he was 17, Ignatius became a soldier. He enjoyed fighting, duelling and showing off. In 1521 at the Battle of Pamplona, he was badly hurt when a cannonball injured both his legs. He had to go through several operations (without anaesthetic) to re-set his legs, and this left him with a permanent limp. He could no longer be a soldier.
While he was getting better from his injuries, Ignatius read lots of books about the life of Jesus, and decided to be a better person. He chose to devote himself to God, learning from the example of St Francis of Assisi and others. He found meditation and this became very important to him.
When he was able to walk again, he decided to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He stopped at different places on the way, devoting himself to prayer and giving away his riches.
When he was 33, he went back to Barcelona to study, where he got into trouble for preaching without a degree in Theology. He then went to university in Paris, where he stayed for over seven years.
Ignatius made six very special friends in Paris, and in 1534 together they took vows to do lifelong work for Jesus.
In 1539, Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus (known as the Jesuits) with St Francis Xavier and St Peter Faber, and became known as Father General by the Jesuits. The Jesuit motto became Ad maiorem Dei gloriam , which means ‘for the greater glory of God’. This motto is part of the mission statement of our school today.
Ignatius died in Rome on 31st July 1556, which is his feast day.
He was beatified by the Pope in 1609, and canonised in 1622. He is the patron saint of Catholic soldiers and various places around the world, and most importantly, of our school here in Sunbury!
In 1548, St Ignatius wrote a special book called Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers and other mental exercises. One of these very special exercises is the Examen prayer, which we pray regularly at school.