The Sanctuary and the birthplace of St Ignatius of Loyola

Santuario de Loiola, Loiola, Španija

Website of the Sanctuary

+ 34 943 025 000

Visits Every day of the year September - May 10 am-1 pm 3:30 pm - 7 pm June - September 10 am -1:30 pm 3:30 pm - 7.30 pm [last entry 45 minutes before closing]

Situated in the Urola valley, the sanctuary is built around the tower house of the Loyola family. The building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is divided into the lower half built in stone, which recalls its past as a fortress, and the upper half built in brick that represents its evolution into a palatial house.

St Ignatius of Loyola

Loyola is the birthplace of St Ignatius of Loyola and also where as a wounded soldier he became a humble pilgrim in search of God.

Spirituality

In Loyola, they live and breathe the desire to seek and find God in all things, beginning with a personal and affective relationship with Jesus. This is the spiritual legacy of Inigo.

The setting helps one to become a pilgrim, letting God receive and transform our own wounds, as happened to Inigo during his convalescence in what is now the Chapel of the Conversion.

Jesuits

Loyola is an important place for the Society of Jesus. In addition to the community serving the Sanctuary, Jesuits from all over the world come here to enrich their formation, to accompany groups or to make retreats.

Nature

The surroundings are unequalled: a dome in the middle of a green valley, surrounded by mountains and trails, on the banks of the Urola river, and with a spacious and quiet inner park.


See Top 15 Catholic shrines in the world.

Art

The St Ignatius of Loyola comprises a number of buildings constructed around the tower house of the Loyola family. The St Ignatius of Loyola is a cultural treasure and a legacy of the Baroque era.

History

After the death of Inigo, the practice spread of reliving his conversion where it happened. In 1681, the Society of Jesus became the owners of the property and began building the sanctuary. Since then the sanctuary has witnessed many different events.

There are four key moments in the life of Inigo that make his home a place of welcome, encounter and reflection, opened to pilgrims and visitors from all around the world, from the 16th century until today.

1521

A cannon ball broke Inigo’s legs while he was defending Pamplona. During his convalescence in his birthplace, in the care of his family, he felt called by God after reading several books on the life of Jesus and the lives of the saints.


The place, where he surrendered himself to God, is preserved as a chapel dedicated to his conversion. Over the years pilgrims have come here from many places to relive this crucial moment in Inigo’s life.

1535

After fourteen years away, Inigo returned to his homeland to recover from an illness. Now his neighbours saw a very different person from the noble courtier they knew years before.

He returned as a pilgrim who lived among the poor and preached in the valley, and who observed everything in awe with a passion for the glory of God.

1551

The first Jesuits showed great interest in Ignatius’s birthplace and where his conversion happened.
Francis Borgia came in 1551 to celebrate his first Mass in the chapel of the family home.

1622

After the canonization of St. Ignatius on March 12th, 1622, the Society of Jesus worked for the preservation and encouraged devotion to the place where its founder experienced his conversion.

In 1681, the Society obtained ownership of the house and began building what we know today as the Sanctuary of Loyola.

The St Ignatius of Loyola in 20th-21st centuries

  • 1956: Jubilee of the Fourth Centenary of the death of St. Ignatius
  • 1982: Visit of Pope John Paul II
  • 1991: Jubilee of the Fifth Centenary of the birth of St. Ignatius
  • 2006: Jubilee of the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Ignatius and Fifth Centenary of the birth
  • of St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter Faber
  • 2011: MAGIS Youth Experience
  • 2015-2016: First Jubilee of the Ignatian Way
  • 2021-2022: Jubilee of the Fifth Centenary of the Conversion of St. Ignatius

Loyola is the birthplace of St Ignatius of Loyola and also where as a wounded soldier he became a humble pilgrim in search of God.

 

Participate in the liturgy

The Eucharist is at the centre of life in the Sanctuary. Mass is celebrated every day in the Basilica and in the Chapel of the Conversion for casual visitors and organized groups.

Have a spiritual experience

The spiritual exercises are the core of ignatian spirituality; they can be made in a number of ways at the Retreat House.

Start the ignatian way

Inigo left Loyola after his conversion. Five centuries later they welcome new pilgrims who want to start a spiritual journey in his footsteps caminoignaciano.org/en .

Learn about the Society of Jesus

In the library and archives, the Sanctuary houses books and documents of great value to an understanding of the complex history of the Society of Jesus.

Organize activities at the youth hostel

The Hostel hosts pastoral, educational and leisure projects for children and young people. It is situated in a serene natural environment.

Enjoy the art of Gipuzkoa

The basilica, surmounted by a large dome, represents the height of baroque architecture in Gipuzkoa.

By car
A-8 Motorway
Direction San Sebastian: take exit 64 towards Elgoibar Azkoitia-Azpeitia
Direction Bilbao: take exit 48 towards Zestoa-Azpeitia

By bus
From San Sebastian
Direct bus stopping next to the Basilica of Loyola

From Zumarraga
Direct bus stopping next to the Basilica of Loyola

From Bilbao
Bus to Azpeitia-Loyola with transfer in Eibar

By Train
Renfe stops in San Sebastian, Zumarraga and Bilbao
There are bus connections with Loyola from every place

Bilbao Airport (BIO)
Bus to San Sebastian and then direct bus stopping next to the Basilica of Loyola +info

San Sebastian Airport (EAS)
Bus to San Sebastian and then direct bus stopping next to the Basilica of Loyola +info

Santander Airport (SDR)
Bus to San Sebastian and then direct bus stopping next to the Basilica of Loyola +info

Chapel of the Conversion

Every day of the year
8:30 am [spanish]

Basilica

Monday to Saturday:

  • 11 am [basque]
  • 6 pm [bilingual, from October to March]
  • 7 pm [bilingual, from March to October]

Sundays and holidays:

  • 11 am [basque]
  • 12 pm [basque]
  • 1 pm [spanish]
  • 6 pm [bilingual, from October to March]
  • 7 pm [bilingual, from March to October]

The basilica

The basilica is the central part of the building designed by the Italian architect Carlo Maria Fontana. From the outside we can admire an impressive dome 65 meters in height, which brings balance to the 150 meter long frontage.

The first stone was laid on 28th March 1689 and the building was dedicated on 31st July 1738, the feast of St. Ignatius. The whole structure, on which up to 600 masons worked, was made of large blocks of limestone quarried from Mount Izarraitz.

The dome

The dome measures twenty meters in diameter and reaches fifty meters in height. Its segments are reflected in the design of the paved floor.

At the base of the dome are represented the virtues of Faith, Hope, Religion, Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. Above them, there are the coats of arms of the houses of Habsburg and Bourbon, who paid for the building.

Altars

The main altar was designed by Ignacio de Ibero in churrigueresque style decorated with inlaid marble and was executed between 1750 and 1757.

At the top stands a statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola made of silver, which was given in 1758 by the Royal Guipuzcoan Company of Caracas.

The other altars are dedicated to St. Francis Borgia, St. Francis Xavier, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Protection, St. Peter Claver and St. Alphonse Rodriguez.

The organ

Built in 1889 by the French organ builder Cavaillé-Coll, it is one of the best preserved examples of a Romantic-era organ, with three keyboards and 2,172 pipes.

It is still used for liturgical celebrations and some concerts, a sign of its quality and state of preservation.

Two events make Loyola a centre for pilgrimage: the birth of Inigo Lopez de Loyola in 1491 and his conversion in 1521.

There are four key moments in the life of Inigo that make his home a place of welcome, encounter and reflection, opened to pilgrims and visitors from all around the world, from the 16th century until today.

Situated in the Urola valley, the sanctuary is built around the tower house of the Loyola family.

The building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is divided into the lower half built in stone, which recalls its past as a fortress, and the upper half built in brick that represents its evolution into a palatial house.

1521

A cannon ball broke Inigo’s legs while he was defending Pamplona. During his convalescence in his birthplace, in the care of his family, he felt called by God after reading several books on the life of Jesus and the lives of the saints.

The place, where he surrendered himself to God, is preserved as a chapel dedicated to his conversion. Over the years pilgrims have come here from many places to relive this crucial moment in Inigo’s life.

1535

After fourteen years away, Inigo returned to his homeland to recover from an illness. Now his neighbours saw a very different person from the noble courtier they knew years before.

He returned as a pilgrim who lived among the poor and preached in the valley, and who observed everything in awe with a passion for the glory of God.

1551
The first Jesuits showed great interest in Ignatius’s birthplace and where his conversion happened.

Francis Borgia came in 1551 to celebrate his first Mass in the chapel of the family home.

1622
After the canonization of St. Ignatius on March 12th, 1622, the Society of Jesus worked for the preservation and encouraged devotion to the place where its founder experienced his conversion.

In 1681, the Society obtained ownership of the house and began building what we know today as the Sanctuary of Loyola.

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