The Lasting Impact of a Cannonball

Drawing of St. Ignatius
Illustration by Tracy Martin

October 22, 2021
Lauren Hackman-Brooks

Five hundred years ago, Iñigo López de Loyola (Ignatius of Loyola) was struck by a cannonball during the Battle of Pamplona. What might have been an inconvenient and painful injury changed that soldier’s life and, ultimately, shaped our lives as well.

Born to a Catholic family of minor nobility in the Basque country of Spain, Iñigo was primarily preoccupied with knightly and chivalrous pursuits. Yet his experience of recovery and recuperation changed the trajectory of his life, prompting him to become a pilgrim seeking to follow Jesus and glorify God.

His experience along this pilgrim journey led him from Spain to Jerusalem, Paris and Rome, along the way ministering to people and cultivating his own strengths as a spiritual adviser and leader. Over time, Iñigo and his friends dedicated their lives to being “Companions of Jesus,” founding the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, and serving in all types of ministries.

Since then, many of these early Jesuits have been honored as saints (including St. Ignatius of Loyola), the Spiritual Exercises have drawn countless souls to greater internal freedom and service of God, and Jesuit schools – like Gonzaga – have shaped the lives of students and alumni.

Drawing of St. Ignatius

Illustration by Tracy Martin, Gonzaga University

Join Gonzaga and Jesuit institutions throughout the world as we celebrate our heritage and identity during the Ignatian Year, through July 2022.

Complete this coloring page! (Click to download)

Snap a photo and email it to by Dec. 1 for a chance to have your work showcased on social media – and be entered to win prizes! All ages encouraged to participate. View coloring page submissions here.
More on this yearlong celebration: