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Selected Writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Ignatius Writes to His Brethren: Fifty Selected Letters and Instructions of St. Ignatius Loyola
with commentary by Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.
One Hundred Prayerful Thoughts from St. Ignatius of Loyola
Compiled from his letters and instructions, the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, and the Spiritual Exercises. Edited by Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.
Introduction to the Selected Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola
by Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.
Much of Saint Ignatius Loyola's spiritual teaching is found in his letters, and these have always been regarded by Jesuits as an important source of their spirituality. Among Ignatius' many letters, those written to his fellow Jesuits have always had a special place, for in these the Jesuit of today not only finds Ignatius' teaching on the spiritual life, but he also meets Ignatius the man, expressing his affection for and interest in those to whom he wrote. None of Ignatius' other writings so ably exhibits the love he bore in his heart for those who chose to walk with him along the path toward Christ than do these letters.
This present collection contains fifty letters and instructions written to Jesuits. The reader will find included the ever-famous letters on perfection, obedience, and experiencing the effects of poverty. In fact, these are more than letters, they are short treatises on these very subjects. Also included are Ignatius' instructions on how to deal with others, written when the early Jesuits were leaving Rome as papal legates for Ireland, or as papal theologians to attend the Council of Trent, or when they were on their way to establish the Society in Germany. There are also personal letters encouraging his correspondents, exhorting them to care for their health and moderate their penances, or to view their illness as a gift from God. There are likewise letters of reproof, and though Ignatius writes as Father General, he at the same time writes as a father to a son. While correcting his child, he intimates that this correction flows from paternal love.
These fifty letters are not newly translated, but are a selection and a revision of the letters translated by William J. Young, S.J., and published as Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1959). The revision was made with constant reference to the twelve volumes of Ignatius' letters in the Monumenta Ignatiana series of the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu (MHSI) (Madrid, 1903-1911). The introductions and notes were written especially for this edition, and in large measure depend on the introductions that precede Ignatius' letters in the fourth revised edition of Obras Completas de San Ignacio de Loyola (Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1982), edited by Ignacio Iparraguirre, S.I., and Candido de Dalmases, S.I.
In this present edition each letter is preceded by a short introduction, identifying the letter's recipient and indicating or explaining the occasion for the letter. The letters are given in chronological order and cover the years from September 1541 to July 20, 1566, eleven days before Ignatius' death. Toward the end of each introduction, reference is made to where the letter may be found in the volumes of the Monumenta Ignatiana.