Ignatius was born in Spain, the youngest of 13 children. Before entering the Church he spent time as a page, then a soldier in the Spanish army fighting the French. A cannon ball and a series of bad operations ended his military career in 1521. While recovering, Ignatius read the lives of the saints. He decided to dedicate himself as a soldier of the Catholic Faith.
Soon afterward he began experiencing visions. A year later he experienced a fear that drove him to despair. Out of this dark night he wrote his famous "Spiritual Exercises". He spent time traveling and studying in different schools. He received his degree in Paris at the age of 43. At first he wasn't well liked. Despite this, he attracted several followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. He died at the age of 65.