On May 20, 2021, the Jesuits kicked off a worldwide “Ignatian Year” to mark the 500th anniversary of Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion. May 20 is the traditional date given as when Ignatius was struck by a cannonball during a fight at Pamplona, an event which set him on the course for his conversion:

Up to his twenty-sixth year he was a man given to worldly vanities, and having a vain and overpowering desire to gain renown, he found special delight in the exercise of arms. Thus he was in a fortress under attack by the French….He made his confession to one of his comrades in arms. After the attack had lasted a good while, a cannonball hit him in a leg, shattering it completely, and since the ball passed between both legs the other one was likewise severely wounded (from A Pilgrim’s Journey, trans. Joseph Tylenda, SJ, 37-9).

The Jesuits have produced a number of videos related to the Ignatian year, including this overview of St. Ignatius’s life and this general introduction to the year. A website dedicated just to the Ignatian Year, can be found ignatius500.global. Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit, gave an address to start the Ignatian Year (in Spanish) and invited people to experience this year “as a year of conversion.”

The Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, has published a new book, Walking With Ignatius. The year will wrap up on July 31, 2022, the feast of St. Ignatius.