The Spiritual Journey of St. Ignatius Loyola

Artist: Dora Nikolova Bittau

Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University

Dora Bittau graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, and now lives and works in Rome. Her acrylic paintings on wood with gold leaf depicts five key moments in the life of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Panel 1 of 5: Wounded at Pamplona

Wounded at PamplonaIn the first panel, St. Ignatius is the worldly knight who is wounded at the battle of Pamplona. His armored helmet and gloves have fallen uselessly at his side, as his glance is directed away from battle and toward the first glimmering of God's call to him.

During an extended convalescence, Ignatius turns mind and heart from a preoccupation with self-glory to a passion for the greater glory of God.

Acrylic on wood panel with gold leaf, 44"x27"

Panel 2 of 5: Transformed at the River Cardoner

Transformed at the River CardonerThe second panel conveys the tranquility Ignatius found at the River Cardoner, where he sensed the loving presence of God in all things. He is shown in front of a shrine to the Madonna, writing his classic text "The Spiritual Exercises."

The pilgrim to Jerusalem pauses in Manresa and spends a year of purification and enlightenment, culminating in a transforming illumination by the River Cardoner.

Acrylic on wood panel with gold leaf, 44"x27"

Panel 3 of 5: Educated and Blessed with Companions at the University of Paris

Educated and Blessed with Companions at the University of ParisThe larger central panel shows the University of Paris where Ignatius gathered friends into a spiritual companionship. The artist has included many students of our own time and from the cultures represented by students at Seattle University.

Ignatius pursues an education so he can help others and serve God. He is given companions who come to share his graced desires and spiritual vision. The painting includes 20th century students from diverse cultures, representing the continuation of Ignatius' mission today.

Acrylic on wood panel with gold leaf, 57.5"x39.5"

Panel 4 of 5: Confirmed in Mission at LaStorta

Confirmed in Mission at LaStortaThe fourth panel portrays the vision at La Storta, in which Ignatius saw Jesus carrying the cross and promising to be favorable to him in Rome. Soon after, the Pope approved the Jesuits as a new religious order that would care for "the unprotected ones" of society.

Ignatius' desire and prayer that he and his companions serve Christ's mission is confirmed when God places him with Jesus carrying his cross.

Acrylic on wood panel with gold leaf, 44"x27"

Panel 5 of 5: Abiding Intimacy with the Trinity in Rome

Abiding Intimacy with the Trinity in RomeThe fifth panel shows Ignatius writing the constitutions of the Jesuit order. The long corridors are animated by the figures of Jesuits and their companions who have labored throughout the centuries.

Ignatius governs the Society of Jesus and writes the Constitutions that guide the Society's life and mission in a prayerful abiding union with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Acrylic on wood panel with gold leaf, 44"x27"

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