German Version

April 2th 1580 - Nadal Jerónimo

Nadal was born in 1507 in a wealthy family in Palma de Mallorca. For five years he studied at the university of Alcala, then he moved to Paris where he became acquainted with Ignatius, Laínez and Peter Faber; but he rejected their invitation to join the circle of friends. He completed his studies in Avignon where he got a doctor's degree on theology and took in 1538 the holy orders.

The thought of Ignatius did not leave him alone. A letter of Xaver from India that at that time was spread throughout Europe, determined him to visit Ignatius in Rome. After Spiritual Exercises by Father Domenech he entered the Society of Jesus in the year 1545 and became one of the chief co-operators of Ignatius, one of his highly talented assistants.

Already three years later Nadal was appointed Superior of the community of nine Jesuits in Messina (Sicily) who were entrusted with the establishment of a college.

In the year 1553 Ignatius sent him to Portugal and Spain to promulgate there for the first time the 'Statutes' of the Order. Polanco wrote about him:
'He knows our Father Magister Ignatius well, because he had much to do with him, and he seems to have understood his spirit and our Constitution like nobody else whom I know in the Society of Jesus.'

Nadal's journey through Portugal and Spain took two years. Nadal visited each community, held exhorts and lectures on the Constitutions and lived frequently for weeks in the larger houses. At the end he left behind recommendations and instructions. Thus he conveyed the ideals of the Order and the vision of its mission to the members.

He is considered as the most reliable interpreter of Ignatius and of the Constitution of the Societas of Jesus. Nadal was probably the one who was most deeply affected by the humanistic movement. Its meaning for the educational foundations of the colleges can hardly be overrated.

After Ignatius' death in 1556, during the turbulent period of transition, Nadal stayed in Rome late into the year 1560. Then Laínez sent him again to Portugal and Spain, and afterwards for visitations to France, the Netherlands and Germany.

Under the new Father General Borja he traveled repeatedly through Europe, and was from 1571 to 1572 - during Borja's absence (Spain and France) - Vicar General of the Jesuit Order in Rome.

After the third General Congregation, from which the Belgian Mercurian came out as General (1573), Nadal was like Polanco ousted by the trend in Rome then averse to Spain, and lived in Hall in Tirol where he worked as an author. In 1578 he returned to Rome and died there on April 2nd 1580, at the age of seventy three.

He let built an own house for Novices, the first in the history of the Society of Jesus. His admiration of Ignatius went so far that he postponed his solemn vows for four years, to have the joy to lay them down into the hands of Ignatius. Nadal sympathized with the New School of Paris, which was not afraid of bold experiments. In Messina he laid the basis for the later 'Ratio Studiorum'.

Nadal was beside Polanco undisputedly that Jesuit who inspired and shaped the recent Order most effectively.

 

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