University of Regina
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On 20 May, 1521, a very pivotal event occurred: the wounding of Ignatius of Loyola at a battle in Pamplona. The cannonball not only smashed his leg, but started his conversion to become a great saint. This year, the Jesuits are celebrating 500 years since this cannonball moment to reflect on our own moments of conversion.
As part of the celebration, the Ignatian Year Pilgrim, an artwork commissioned to celebrate the 500thanniversary of St. Ignatius’ deepening spiritual journey. This piece, entitled “Conversion” was on display in the Campion chapel in January 2022. Created by French Canadian Jesuit Artist, Daniel LeBlond SJ., it is to help us reflect on how God works in our own experiences.
The medium of the piece is wood. Trees slowly grow and experience long changes, but also rapid changes. In this way they hold both tradition, and the present. The process of conversion of St. Ignatius is akin to our own experience of transformation in the present. God being always there to subtly guide the slow growth from moment to moment.
You may notice the gold, which in the iconographic tradition expresses God. Here the gold springs from the wound in the wood where the “cannonball” hit. Notice the movement from the wound above. The old life (as seen in the eyes and shadows), is surrounded by darkness and is being left behind. While the new life below is being transformed through this conversion. Where do you see conversion?
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were unable to host public viewings and reflection times with the piece, but we have put together a short video with a reflection for you to enjoy below.