Life of Ignatius – Day 34

Pastoral work with the Rich

34. Palazzo Madama

Probably helped by his early days in the Spanish Court, Ignatius befriended and acted as confessor to Margaret of Austria, the illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V who was also Charles I (Carlos) of Spain. She married Alessandro de’ Medici, the Florentine, at the age of 14, but became a widow at 15. She then married Ottavio Farnese of another great Italian family. Although her marriages did not bring her great happiness they did bring her wealth. She was the ‘Madama’ of the Palazzo Madama, a mansion which is now home to the Italian Senate.
Ignatius’ devotion to her can be measured by his spending the whole day at her home during the birth of twins to Ottavio in 1545. One twin survived to adulthood.
Madama rented a house for Ignatius where he could receive Jews who wanted instructions to enter the Catholic faith.

A thought to ponder

Call to mind all the people you would call ‘a friend’.
Call God’s blessing down on each one of them.
Might any of them appreciate your reaching out to them now?

Scripture for the Day

As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Lectio Divina

Sirach 6:14-17 NRSVACE

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price;
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
and those who fear the Lord will find them.
Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright,
for as they are, so are their neighbours also.

Music for Today

What a Friend we have in Jesus sung by St Mother Theresa Choir, Tanzania written by Joseph Scriven, music by Charles Converse

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Palazzo Madama

Now home of the Italian Senate, but in Ignatius’ time the palace of Margaret of Austria (Madama)
Photo: Paul Hermans