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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : CHAPTER V HIS ARRIVAL IN APULIA, VENICE, FERRARA, AND GENOA--HE IS APPREHENDED AS A SPY--HE IS DESPISED AS A FOOL--HIS STUDIES AT BARCELONA AND ALCALA

The Autobiography Of St Ignatius by Saint Ignatius Loyola

CHAPTER V HIS ARRIVAL IN APULIA, VENICE, FERRARA, AND GENOA--HE IS APPREHENDED AS A SPY--HE IS DESPISED AS A FOOL--HIS STUDIES AT BARCELONA AND ALCALA

On the following day the pilgrims took their departure, and arriving at Cyprus, were assigned to different vessels. In the harbor of that place were three or four ships bound for Venice. Of these one belonged to some Turks; another was too small; but the third, the property of a wealthy Venetian, was very large and strong.

Some of the band asked the captain of this last to take the pilgrim aboard; but, finding that no pay was to be offered, he refused, in spite of the fact that many begged him and were loud in their praises of the pilgrim. His reply was, that if the pilgrim were indeed a holy man, he might cross the sea as St. James did.

The favor they asked was easily obtained of the captain of the smaller ship.

On a certain day they set sail with a favorable wind, but toward evening a storm arose, which tossed the vessels about in different directions. The large ship, whose captain had refused to take Ignatius, was driven by the tempest against the Island of Cyprus, and dashed to pieces. A like fate overtook the Turkish vessel. The small ship, however, though for a long time severely tried by wind and waves, finally reached the shores of Apulia in safety.

Although the winter had set in with intense cold and a heavy fall of snow, Ignatius had no garments save a pair of knee-breeches of a very rough texture, leaving the legs naked, a black waistcoat open and quite ragged about his shoulders, a light cloak made of coarse hair, and a pair of shoes. He arrived at Venice about the middle of January, having spent a good part of the preceding month and all of November aboard the ship which carried him from Cyprus.

At Venice, he met a friend who had been kind to him on his way to Jerusalem. From him he received alms and some cloth, which he wrapped about his body as a protection against the intense cold.

When Ignatius understood that God did not wish him to remain at Jerusalem, he began to consider what he should do. The plan he approved and adopted was to enter upon a course of study in order to be better fitted to save souls. For this purpose he determined to go to Barcelona, and setting out from Venice he traveled toward Genoa.

While praying at the principal church of Ferrara, he gave five or six coins to a beggar who asked an alms. To a second beggar he was equally generous. As soon as the beggars saw him so prodigal of his alms, they flocked around him, until he had spent all the money that he had; so when others approached to ask for assistance, he excused himself on the plea that he had nothing left.

While proceeding from Ferrara to Genoa, he met some Spanish soldiers, who treated him kindly, and who were not a little surprised at his choosing such a route, since by so doing he was compelled to pass through the very midst of the armies of France and Spain. They entreated him therefore to take a safer road, which they would point out to him, and to withdraw from the highway.

Not following their counsel, however, he kept straight on until he came to a town fortified by strong walls. Seized as a spy, the guards cast him into a small house not far from the gate, and, as is customary in such suspicious times, closely questioned him. On all points, however, he professed the greatest ignorance. Finally they searched his clothes and shoes to see if he bore any messages, and finding nothing, they led him into the presence of the captain. They deprived him of his cloak, leaving him only his waistcoat and knee-breeches.

As he was compelled to go about in this condition, he recalled to mind the thought of Christ led about as a captive. Although he was forced to walk through the three principal streets of the town, he did so, not with sadness, but feeling great joy and consolation.

In addressing others he was in the habit of saying |you,| employing no other word either of reverence or dignity, believing that such was the simplicity as well of the Apostles as of Christ Himself.

While being conducted through the different streets, it occurred to him that it would be well to depart somewhat from his ordinary custom, and to show greater respect to the commander of the place. Such a thought was by no means the outcome of the fear of any punishment which they might inflict. He felt, however, that this was a temptation; he said, |In that case I'll neither address him as a person of dignity, nor bend the knee as a mark of respect, nor even remove my hat in his presence.|

Having reached the residence of the commander, he was made to wait some time in the courtyard before being summoned into his presence. Then, without manifesting the slightest degree of civility, he so paused after each word he spoke as to be taken for a fool by the commander, who said to his captors, |This man is an idiot; restore what belongs to him and send him away.|

A certain Spaniard met Ignatius coming from the house of the commander, led him home, just as he was, and gave him food and whatever was necessary for that night.

The next morning he resumed his journey until toward evening, when, espied by the soldiers of a fort, he was seized and brought to the commander of the French forces. The latter, among other things, asked where he came from. When Ignatius answered, |Guipuscoa,| the officer said, |I also come from near that place;| and immediately he ordered Ignatius to be conducted within to supper and to be treated with great kindness.

At Genoa, he was recognized by a Cantabrian, who had spoken with him elsewhere, when in the army of his Catholic Majesty. Through his influence, he was taken on a ship bound for Barcelona. He came very near being taken captive by Andrea Dorea, who was at that time in the service of the French, and gave chase to the vessel.

At Barcelona, he was enabled to study through the assistance of a noble and very pious lady, Isabel Roser, and a teacher, named Ardebal. Both highly approved his plan, Ardebal promising to give him instruction free, while Isabel generously offered to provide him with everything necessary.

At Manresa, there was a very holy monk, of the Order of St. Bernard, with whom Ignatius wished to remain, as well for his own personal guidance as to prepare himself to direct others. He accordingly accepted the offer of his two generous friends on condition that what he sought could not be obtained at Manresa. Finding, however, that the monk had died, he returned to Barcelona and applied himself to study. In this, however, he was destined to meet with some difficulties. In his studies, the principles of grammar caused new spiritual thoughts and tastes to arise so abundantly, as to render him incapable of committing anything to memory, and though he strove hard, he could not dispel these thoughts.

Noticing, however, that while praying at Mass he did not experience similar thoughts, he considered this a temptation. Accordingly, after praying for some time, he asked his teacher to come to the Church of Blessed Mary of the Sea, not far from the professor's house, and there to listen to what he would tell him. Ignatius faithfully made known the whole state of his mind, and why he had as yet learned so little. |But,| he said, |I promise not to be wanting in attention in school during these two years, provided that at Barcelona I may be able to find bread and water.|

Such an acknowledgment was of the greatest efficacy, and he never after experienced that temptation. The pains of the stomach, which afflicted him at Manresa, ceased, and, in fact, they did not trouble him from the time he set out for Jerusalem.

While studying at Barcelona, he wished to practise his former penances. Accordingly, making a hole in the soles of his shoes, he tore them, little by little, until nothing but the upper portion was left.

His two years of study being completed, in which, they say, he greatly advanced, he was advised by his master to go to Alcala to study philosophy, as he was deemed ready for it.

Before setting out, however, he wished to be examined by a certain theologian. As he also gave him the same advice, Ignatius, unaccompanied, started for Alcala. Here he began to beg and live upon alms. After ten or twelve days, this kind of life drew upon him the contempt of a priest and of some others. They began to insult him as one who preferred to live on alms, although quite able to support himself.

The superior of a new hospital, seeing him thus rudely treated, took him home, placed him in a room, and liberally provided for his needs.

The time of his arrival at Barcelona was about Lent of the year 1524; and as he remained there upwards of two years, we do not find him at Alcala until the year 1526. At the latter place he spent his time in studying the works of Scotus, Albertus, Alcuin, and the Master of the Sentences. He was diligent also in giving the Spiritual Exercises and explaining the Christian doctrine, by which he gave great glory to God, as very many were thereby led to a knowledge and taste of spiritual things. Many, however, fell victims to various temptations, an example of which is to be seen in one who was unable to scourge himself, because, as he fancied, his hand was held by some invisible agent. Because of such affairs, and especially by reason of the great crowd of men coming to him when he explained the Christian doctrine, various rumors began to spread among the people.

When he first came to Alcala a friendship sprang up between him and one Didacus Guya, who lived with his brother, a painter. Through that friendship, Ignatius was abundantly supplied with all that was necessary; hence he would bestow upon the poor the alms that he himself obtained, and besides three other pilgrims stayed with him.

One day Ignatius went to Didacus to ask for alms in order to assist some poor people. He replied that he had no money. Opening, however, a chest which belonged to him, he took from it trappings of various colors, candlesticks, and other objects, which he gave to Ignatius, who distributed them to the poor.

Many rumors, as was stated above, became widespread in Alcala, and reached the ears even of the Inquisitors who were at Toledo, and who, as their host testified, styled Ignatius and his associates, Legati or Illuminati, and threatened him with capital punishment.

The Inquisitors who had come to Alcala to investigate their actions left the entire affair in the hands of the Vicar Figueroa, who was then negotiating with the Emperor, and returned to Toledo without having even once summoned them. Figueroa granted them the right to continue the work in which they were engaged, and the Inquisitors, after mature deliberation, discovered error neither in their doctrines nor in their manner of life.

They did not, however, favor their custom of dressing alike, as they were not Religious. Ignatius replied that the wish of the Vicar would be obeyed, but he added: |I do not see the fruit of these examinations, since but a few days ago a certain priest refused holy communion to one, on the plea that he had communicated but eight days before; and to me, indeed, he gave it very reluctantly. We would like to know whether or not we have been guilty of any heresy?| |None,| replied Figueroa, |else you would have been led to the stake.| |And they would likewise have led you to the stake,| responded Ignatius, |had you been convicted of heresy.|

The dress was changed according to the wish of Figueroa, who also desired that the pilgrim should not go around barefooted for at least fifteen or twenty days. This command was also obeyed.

Four months after, Figueroa, a second time, brought the Inquisition to bear upon them, influenced, as I think, by the fact that a certain married woman of rank, who chanced to be singularly devoted to the pilgrim, went in disguise at daybreak to visit Ignatius at the hospital where he was staying. But even on this occasion Ignatius was not summoned to appear before the Inquisition; nor was any sentence pronounced against him.

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