basilica de san ignacio de loyola

8:22 PM


I’d often find myself saying a quick prayer of thanks when I was in Loyola.  I’d gaze at the scenery or the gorgeous architecture, or watch the people from all corners of the globe going about and I’d be simply overwhelmed. Too overwhelmed in fact that all I could say was a simple, “thank you, father God.”

There was also much gratitude towards the Jesuits of the ADMU Campus Ministry Office for making it possible for me to join JMJ and mag+s. Another group to be much thankful to was the Jesuits of Spain, our hosts, who made such an experience indelible in my mind. 

And there was something about Loyola that made it unforgettable. 

I paraphrase what Tippi, an Ateneo senior student and fellow pilgrim, said while we were standing on St. Ignatius’s hill and gazing at the expanse of Azpeitia, “I know there’s something about Tuscany that made it magical. But Loyola, there’s something magical about Loyola too... My mom would love to see this.” 

Maybe it was the sum of the enveloping mountains, the misty weather, and the warm people that made Loyola enchanting. So much so that I wondered, not just once, if living in this town was also a reason why St. Ignatius decided to follow Christ. To be born and live in this beauty, how could one not believe?

The Basilica of St. Ignatius is also known as the Sanctuary of Loyola. I’d like to think of it as the point zero (or ground zero?) for all Jesuits. Aside from the actual church, the Sanctuary also houses the original tower castle of the family of St. Ignatius.  The left wing is merely a façade and people could actually tour the original structure.  And as luck would have it, my batteries went kaput just when I stepped inside the room where St. Ignatius was born. 

The family of St. Ignatius later turned over their house to the Society of Jesus and it was officially inaugurated in 1738. According to the experts, the Basilica is a fine example of baroque architecture and was originally designed by Carlos Montana. His plans were later modified though by Martin de Zaldua. 

Since I couldn’t possibly give more (credible) information than a Jesuit, a local, or a guidebook about the Sanctuary, I would just share with you a couple of images I’ve taken.

the 65-meter high dome is the crowning glory of the basilica
the altar was designed by an another Ignacio, an Ignacio de Ibero 
 a quartet playing on the choir loft
a gold medallion could be more than a personal accessory
i think this is St. Francis Xavier
while this one is St. Ignatius

the stone staircase leads up to the museum

one of the girls described it as hogwarts stairs.
corridor that leads to the mmm... water closet. :-)
doesn't the basilica look like a manor from the back?

a part of the sanctuary's extensive grounds
a pretty spot where one can quietly talk to a friend
the dome and the town of loyola from st. ignatius's hill
the basilica all lit up

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