Pamplona And Ignatius Loyola
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
From the great plaza, considered to be one of the largest in Spain, in which 10,000 Jews were burned alive to do honor to the marriage of a Count de Champagne—a human bonfire, which was visible from all the country round-a steep, street leads to the Pamplona cathedral. Its Ionic front, built by Ventura Rodriquez in 1780, causes one to be agreeably surprised with the rest of the building, which dates from 1397, when Charles the Noble (or III.) pulled down an older church of 1100, leaving only the chapter-house and a part of the cloisters.
From the cathedral we follow the line of the walls—whose strength in the Middle Ages gave Pamplona the title of "most noble, most loyal and most heroic," and which are said to have been originally founded by the sons of Pompey, who called the palace Pompeiopolis—till we emerged upon the Taconera, close to the church of St. Lorenzo, which contains a statue of the tutelar saint of the city, St. Fermin, who was born at Pamplona, but afterward went to preach at Amiens, where his miracles are carved around the choir, and where the delicious scent of his dead body revealed its resting-place to the bishop—his disinterment in mid-winter being celebrated by an entire resurrection of nature, and the recovery of all the sick.
Near this is the citadel which was besieged in 1521 by the army of Francis I., while Charles V. was absent in Germany. A handsome young knight, Ignatius Loyola, had been left to guard it, and defended it bravely, but was wounded and disabled, and the garrison surrendered upon seeing him fall. A cannon-ball had struck Loyola on both legs, and such was his personal vanity that he insisted, after the wounds were healed, upon having his legs twice opened and a projecting bone sawn off, lest their appearance should be injured; all, however, was of no avail, and he was lame for life. During his detention in the castle of Loyola, he asked for romances to amuse his convalescence, and none being forth-coming, lives of our Savior and the saints were brought to him, which made him say to himself:
"These men were of the same frame as I am; why should I not do as they have done ?"—and he rose from his sick-bed with a firm desire to imitate them and to abandon the world and its vanities. The fair lady, to whom he declared that he would henceforth devote himself as champion, was the Virgin Mother of God, and the wars he would wage were those against the spiritual enemies of God's people. This change in the life of the founder of the Jesuits is commemorated at Pamplona by a small chapel near one of the gates, which contains an interesting portrait of Loyola, in his soldier's dress.