Subscribe to our monthly Woodstock Reflections podcast in either video or audio format, by pasting these URLs into iTunes!
THE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY GATHERED IN ROME
|Ignatius Submits His Resignation
Rome, January 30, 1551
summary | text
of letter | footnotes
By 1550 the Spanish text of the Society's Constitutions was complete and
Ignatius summoned many of the older professed fathers to Rome to discuss it.
The meetings lasted from early January to February 1, 1551. As the meetings
were drawing to an end Ignatius, on January 30, 1551, presented to the
assembled fathers a sealed letter containing his resignation as general of the
Society. Of all the fathers only one1 thought that whatever
Ignatius desired should be done. The others, however, were unanimous in
maintaining that they would have no one else as general while Ignatius was
alive. This message was sent to Ignatius, who humbly accepted their decision
and remained general until his death in 1556. Ignatius composed this letter in
Spanish [Ep. 3:303-304].
1. At different
times throughout these months and years I have given this matter free and
undisturbed thought, and I will state, in the presence of my Creator and Lord,
who is also my eternal judge, what I take to be the balanced results of this
reflection, to the greater praise and glory of the Divine Majesty.
2. Regarding calmly
and with a sense of reality what I see in myself, as a result of my many sins,
imperfections, and infirmities of body and soul, I have often and at different
times come to the conclusion that I really do not possess (in fact, I
infinitely lack) the gifts required for the proper discharge of the office
which the Society itself has laid on me.
3. I have a great
desire in our Lord that this matter be taken under consideration, and that
another who is better, or not so bad, take over the office of governing the
Society which is now mine.
4. I desire that
such a person be chosen and given this office.
5. And not only does
my desire persist, but I think with good reason that this office should be
given, not only to one who would perform it better, or not so poorly, but to
one who would have at least equal success.
6. Considering all
this, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, my one
and only God and Creator, I lay down and renounce simply and absolutely the
office which I hold, and beg and beseech in our Lord with all my heart, both
the professed and those who wish to join them, to be pleased to accept this
resignation which is made with so much sincerity before His Divine Majesty.
7. If those who are
to accept and pass judgment on this petition to God's greater glory detect any
inconsistency in it, I beg of them for God's love and reverence to commend it
to His Divine Majesty, so that in all things His most holy will be done to His
greater glory and to the greater general good of souls and of the whole
Society, understanding everything for the greater praise and eternal glory of
Rome, this day,
Friday, January 30, 1551.
||This was Andrés de Oviedo. Born in Illescas, Spain,
about 1517, he entered the Society in Rome in 1541. After his studies
he was appointed (1545) rector of the Jesuit college at Gandía, and
it was he who led Francisco de Borja through his novitiate and
received his vows on February 1, 1548. In 1550 Oviedo travelled to
Rome with the duke and participated in the discussions on the
Constitutions. He became (1551) rector of the new college in Naples
and was later assigned to the mission in Ethiopia. He was ordained
bishop on May 5, 1555, and became Patriarch of Ethiopia on December
20, 1562. In Ethiopia he lived amid extreme poverty; he died in 1577.