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Born around 1491 into a noble family at Loyola in the Basque region of Spain, St. Ignatius was seriously injured when the French laid siege to Pamplona in 1521. During his convalescence he read about Jesus and the lives of other saints and noted that "I could be as saintly as they were." On recovering, he did not re-enlist as a soldier but went and hung his sword before the famous portrait of the Virgin in the Benedictine monastery at Monserrat. He then began to draft the famous "Spiritual Exercises" and eventually went to Rome with six companions, who called themselves "the Company of Jesus." Their aim was to preach the Gospel in Palestine but war prevented this and they offered themselves to the Pope and in 1540, the Pope formally approved the Society of Jesus.

The Patronal title of our church may have been chosen by its first pastor out of his personal attachment to the founder of the Jesuit Order. Support for this would also come from the name he gave to the daughter church of Carfin, viz., St. Francis Xavier, a companion of St. Ignatius. There is, however, another explanation for the name. When Father Mc Cay was seeking a suitable site for the church, he learned of a stone dyke, which runs through the coalfields of Lanarkshire and which, passed through Wishaw. He wanted a particular site on this stone dyke for obvious reasons but it was refused. At that time there was considerable trade between Spain and Lanarkshire so he got in touch with some friends in Spain, who in turn persuaded their commercial friends in Lanarkshire. Thus Father Mc Cay got the site he requested. In gratitude to his Spanish friends, he decided that church and school should be dedicated to St. Ignatius. The church and school thus stand on the solid rock in Wishaw and not on any undermined ground!