On Friday we published a story about a statue of Our Lady of Monserrat which is being presented to a church in Glasgow. Fr Francis Coveney, from Brentwood Diocese has kindly sent some more information on the links between Our Lady of Monserrat and St Ignatius Loyola. Fr Francis writes: St Ignatius visited Our Lady of Monserrat in 1522 but he had other connections with Our Lady of Monserrat many years later, in Rome. When he finally founded the Society of Jesus in Rome in 1540, St Ignatius (only just ordained a priest at the age of 49) was a frequent visitor and preacher at the Church of Our Lady of Monserrat - which was, and still is, the National Church for the Spanish in Rome. It is very close to the Campo dei Fiori where St Ignatius preached. (Apparently in quite poor Italian - so there's hope for all of us!) Our Lady of Monserrat is very close to the Church of St Girolamo where St Philip Neri founded the Congregation of the Oratory in 1551. St Philip as a young man had been much influenced by St Ignatius preaching in the Campo dei Fiori - just across the way. Both Our Lady of Monserrat and St Girolamo are in the Via di Monserrato, very close to the Venerable English College, founded in 1579. St Philip Neri was a confessor and Spiritual Director to many of the first students in the College - some of whom would become martyrs. From the beginning, the students of the English College did their Philosophical and Theological studies at the Roman College - founded by St Ignatius and run by the Jesuits but now called the Gregorian University. Soon after its foundation, the English College was entrusted to the care of Jesuits who supplied its Rectors until the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. Some of the early students of the College became Jesuits - and it was feared that if this continued there would be no guarantee that the College would serve the needs of the England Mission (because the Jesuits could choose to send their men to other missions). Therefore an anti-Jesuit Oath was instituted - the students of the English College had to make a solemn promise not to join the Society of Jesus. See also: 22 February 2008 Head of Barcelona FC donates statue to Glasgow church
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