Ignatius' governance - by one who knew him well

Fr Pedro de Ribadeneira SJ, 1526 - 1611
Fr Pedro de Ribadeneira SJ, 1526 - 1611

A new translation that will throw light on St Ignatius Loyola and the Society of Jesus which he founded has just been published by Way Books. Pedro de Ribadeneira, Treatise on the Governance of St Ignatius of Loyola, has been translated by Fr Joseph A. Munitiz SJ of Campion Hall in Oxford, revealing Ignatius’ charism and lessons on governance for those involved in religious life and beyond.

Pedro de Ribadeneira was born in 1526 (or possibly 1527) and was admitted into the Society of Jesus on 18 September 1540 by Ignatius himself. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1553 and went on to fulfil some of the most important posts in the government of the order. Five years after his ordination, Ribadeneira visited England while on a mission to Belgium, having been summoned due to the illness of Queen Mary Tudor. In 1560, he was appointed as the Provincial of Tuscany and then Sicily.

Charismatic gifts and foibles

Few of the early Jesuits knew their founder as well as Fr Pedro de Ribadeneira SJ. He met Ignatius while still in his teens, outlived him by more than 50 years and subsequently went on to write the classic biography of Ignatius. On his death, a sketch for a further account of Ignatius’ mode of government was found among his papers, which remained unpublished until it was added to the Spanish edition of the biography in the 19th century.Fr Joe Munitiz SJ

Few texts are so revealing or so relevant about Ignatius and this latest version in English was badly needed. “Ignatius himself appears with his charismatic gifts and foibles,” explains Fr Munitiz (right), “offering characteristically formulated guidelines—inspired by great respect for individuals but exigent in the high ideals they embody. Some features are proposed ‘for admiration rather than for imitation’, but most Jesuits, both those required to govern and those governed, can learn much from all of them. And the same is true not just for members of the Society of Jesus but for all involved in governance, religious or other.”

Pedro de Ribadeneira, Treatise on the Governance of St Ignatius of Loyola, translated by Joseph A. Munitiz SJ, is available from Way Books at £8.00 (ISBN 978 1 904717 47 1).

Fr Munitiz talks about his life and work - especially his interest in St Ignatius - in a recording on the Campion Hall website.