Onyeme Netochukwu, student at St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, Idimu, Nigeria, shares shares an article about Ignatius as a student.
Ignatius was thirty-three years old when he decided to study for the priesthood. This was very late a time when people were ordained to the priesthood at an early age. His was a late vocation. For Ignatius however, it was never late. At that advanced age, he made a wise decision to go back to school. As he was ignorant of the Latin language, he went to study it in Barcelona with young boys and after two years, he went on to the University of Alcala. In Alcala it is said that Ignatius got in trouble with Spanish Inquisitors because he dared to talk about theology without having a degree in it. At the University of Paris, Ignatius further studied Latin and Literature, Philosophy and Theology. At this point in his life, he met Francis Xavier and Peter Faber. He was a great influence on others in terms of improving their spiritual lives.
A close look at the life of Saint Ignatius shows that we must all possess the virtue of humility. If Ignatius had pride he would not have gone back to school with young boys. I can imagine how it must feel like for a 33 year old woman to come and sit in our SS 2 class. How would she relate with us? How would she fit it? How would she feel like if the teacher is even younger than her? How embarrassing would it be if she fails a class test? Certainly it was not easy for Ignatius. But he knew the goal he had in mind. He was goal oriented and driven. As a student, Ignatius teaches us to be resilient in education. I should be humble enough to ask questions in class. People might laugh at me, but what matters is that I am learning. Ignatius also teaches me to be humble and meet my fellow student for explanations if they have a better grasp of the matter than me.
In this school, our motto is “Magis in Love and Service.” Magis means “more.” This implies that we are to imitate Ignatius and strive to do more and always be ready to face all the obstacles in our way. Despite the obstacles Ignatius encountered, he recognized the value of education. No wonder the Jesuits are masters of education and our school is a living testimony.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.