St. Ignatius de Loyola
The opening scenes of Healing introduce the viewer to a beautifully dramatised evocation of the life and work of St. Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order and patron saint of the healing centre that bears his name. During his ministry Ignatius travelled extensively and performed miracles, but suffered persecution and physical abuse for his spiritual beliefs. Five centuries later, João Teixeira de Faria – John of God – underwent similar harassment and ill-treatment when he first began wandering from city to city to bring healing to the people.
Ignatius de Loyola was a Spanish knight from a noble family, whose bravery and outstanding qualities of leadership won him great honour in the service of the Duke of Nájera, one of the country’s foremost aristocrats and soldiers. In 1521 he was badly wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the Battle of Pamplona. When recovering from his injuries, during which he suffered several painful operations, he read De Vita Christi, (The Life of Christ) a major theological work by Ludolph of Saxony. The book encourages the use of meditation as a form of prayer, and Ignatius was profoundly influenced by this as a spiritual exercise.
Inspired by further study of the lives of the saints, the former warrior travelled to the monastery of Montserrat, where as a sign of his complete religious conversion he laid his earthly sword down upon the altar of the Holy Virgin. Here he made a vow to live a life of self-denial as an evangelising ascetic.
Ignatius then retreated to a cave in Catalonia, where he spent months in prayer and contemplation to increase his spiritual understanding. He undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, relying, like St. Francis, on the charity of strangers to feed and shelter him along the way.
On his return to Spain he eventually travelled to Paris to study at the Collège de Montaigu. Here he met the six key companions who would become the founding members of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius, as Superior General, laid down his rules of strict obedience and the meditative exercise derived from De Vita Christi which he called Simple Contemplation.
The order was recognized by the Pope, Ignatius and his followers were admitted to the priesthood and in time the Society of Jesus- the Jesuits – spread all over the world.
St. Ignatius commands the admiration and reverence of an enormous number of people for his spiritual integrity and dedication to the teachings of Jesus Christ for the awakening of mankind. These qualities are encapsulated in the atmospheric imagery and music that opens and closes the film Healing.