This account of the life of St. Ignatius, dictated by himself to Father Gonzalez, is a most valuable record of the great Founder of the Society of Jesus. It, more than any other work, gives an insight into the spiritual life of St. Ignatius. Few works in ascetical literature, except the writings of St. Teresa and St. Augustine, impart such a knowledge of the soul.The saint in his narrative always refers to himself in the third person, and this mode of speech has here been retained. Many persons who have neither the time, nor, perhaps, the inclination, to read larger works, will read, we trust, with pleasure and profit this autobiography. Ignatius, as he lay wounded in his brother's house, read the lives of the saints to while away the time. Touched by grace, he cried, "What St. Francis and St. Dominic have done, that, by God's grace, I will do." May this little book, in like manner, inspire its readers with the desire of imitating St. Ignatius. This autobiography is a valuable key for the understanding of his Spiritual Exercises. It was kept in the archives for about 150 years (Summary from the preface)
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