July 13th 1467 - The Wedding of Ignatius' Parents
Ignatius came from an esteemed Basque noble family, whose Castle Loyola lay in the Urola valley in the neighbourhood of the city Azpeitia. His father, Don Beltrán de Loyola, married on July 13th 1467 . She came of the wealthy family of the Crown Jurist Martin de Licona, Doctor of Civil Law, who was highly respected at the Castile Royal Court. Also the Lords of Loyola were politically always faithful servants of the crown of Castilla. The wedding took place in the neighbouring Azcoitia in the house of the family Licona. The written marriage contract does still exist.
From that marriage came at least eleven children: seven sons and four daughters. Ignatius was the last-born son who in 1491, after twenty four marriage years, was given yet almost unexpectedly. The exact birthday is not known. Ignatius himself did not leave any information about it.
Ignatius was baptized on the name IŮigo, which is liked in the Basque country, after the holy Benedictine Abbot Eneco of Ona († 1068). The baptism took place in the parish church of Azpeitia (diocese Pamplona), which was consecrated to St Sebastian. The baptismal font in the parish church is still there. But the baptismal register was unfortunately destroyed by fire in the 16th century.
In the year 1677 the male line of the Loyola family ceased to exist. The ancestral seat, to which at least twenty farmsteads belonged, became the property of the Marqués of Alconiza. The Queen Mother Marian of Austria wanted to donate there a college of the Society of Jesus and a sanctuary for the Spanish nation. In 1681 she left the possessions Loyola transfer to the crown and handed it over to the Order.
The Jesuits entrusted the Italian architect Carlo Fontana (1634-1714), a pupil of Bernini, with the construction. The church, a majestic circular building, was completed in 1738. The building of the college dragged on up to the expulsion of the Order from Spain in the year 1767. Only decades after the re-establishment of the Order the 'Sanctuario de Loyola' could be completed in 1888.
In political turmoil the Society of Jesus in Spain was dissolved in 1932. But the government could not confiscate the possessions, because it belonged legally to a private company (of the Basque Province of the Society of Jesus). After the civil war (1936 - April 1939) it came to a renewed blossoming of the Order in Spain..