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5. Paris


[73] And so he left for Paris, alone and on foot, and he arrived in Paris for the month of February more or less. (According to what he told me, this was the year of 1528 or 1527.)109 He settled himself in a house with some Spaniards and went to classes in humanities at Montaigu.110 And the reason for this was that, since they had made him go forward in his studies in such a hurry, he was discovering himself to be very lacking in background. He was studying with the boys, following the structure and method of Paris.

In exchange for a draft from Barcelona a merchant gave him, on his arrival in Paris, twenty-five écus. These he gave for safe-keeping to one of the Spaniards in that lodging, who spent them within a short time and had nothing with which to pay him back.111Consequently, once Lent was over, the pilgrim had none of this money, either because he had spent it or for the reason just mentioned. And he was forced to go begging, and even to leave the house where he was. [74] He was taken in at the almshouse of St Jacques, beyond the Church of the Innocents. He had great inconvenience as far as study was concerned, because the almshouse was a good way from the college of Montaigu, and one needed to arrive back for the ringing of the Angelus if one was to find the door open, while one couldn’t leave before daybreak. Thus he couldn’t put in such a good attendance at his lessons. There was also another problem, that of asking for alms on which to survive.

For five years now he hadn’t had the stomach pain that used to attack him, and so he began to give himself to greater penances and acts of self-denial. And as he spent some time in this almshouse life and in begging, and seeing that he was making little progress in his language study, he began to think about what he would do. And seeing that there were some who served certain regents in the college and had time to study, he decided to look for this kind of employer.112 [75] And this was the line of thought and intention he had, finding consolation in it: to imagine that the master would be Christ, and to one of the students he would give the name of St Peter and to another that of St John, and so on for each one of the apostles. ‘And when the master commands me, I’ll think that it’s Christ who’s commanding me, and when someone else commands me, I’ll think it’s St Peter who’s commanding me.’ He made considerable effort to find an employer: for one thing he spoke to the bachelor Castro113 and to a Carthusian monk, who knew many of the teachers, and also to others. But they were never able to find him an employer.

[76] And finally, since he was finding no solution, a Spanish monk told him one day that it would be better to go off to Flanders each year, and lose two months, or even less, in order to bring back the wherewithal to study the whole year. This method, once he had put it before God, seemed a good one to him. Acting on this advice he used to bring back a sum each year from Flanders on which he could somehow manage. Once he also crossed to England, and brought back more alms than he normally did in other years.114


[77] When he came back the first time from Flanders, he began to give himself more intensively to spiritual conversations than he normally did, and he gave exercises to three people almost at the same time, namely to Peralta, to the bachelor Castro who was in the Sorbonne, and to a Biscayan who was in Ste Barbe called Amador.115 These made major changes in their lives, and at once gave all they had to poor people, even their books; they began to beg for alms around Paris and went to lodge in the almshouse of St Jacques (where the pilgrim had formerly been but which he had now left for the reasons spoken of earlier). This caused great commotion in the university, because the first two of these were distinguished people, and well known. At once the Spaniards began a campaign against the two masters. Not being able to overcome them with many arguments and means of persuasion to return to the university, many of them went out one day armed, and took them out of the almshouse. [78] And bringing them to the university, they arrived at the following agreement: after they had finished their studies, then they could pursue their intentions.

The bachelor Castro later went to Spain, preached for some time in Burgos and became a Carthusian monk in Valencia. Peralta set out for Jerusalem on foot as a pilgrim; as such he was caught in Italy by a captain, a relative of his, who took steps to bring him before the Pope, and had the Pope order him to return to Spain. (These things didn’t happen at once, but some years later.)

There arose in Paris much negative talk, especially among Spaniards, against the pilgrim, and Magister Noster de Gouveia, saying that the pilgrim had driven Amador (who was in his college) crazy, decided – and said so – that the first time he came to Ste Barbe he would have him beaten as one who led students astray.116


[79] The Spaniard with whom he had been at the beginning and who had spent his money without paying him back left for Spain by way of Rouen. And while he was waiting for a ship at Rouen, he fell ill. As he was in that sick state, the pilgrim got to know of it through a letter from him. And there came to him desires to go to visit him and help him – thinking also that, in that meeting, he might win him over to leaving the world and dedicating himself fully to the service of God.117 So as to be able to bring this about, the desire came upon him of going the eighty-four miles from Paris to Rouen on foot, without shoes, not eating or drinking. As he was praying about this, he found himself very fearful. In the end he went to St Dominique, and there he resolved to journey in the way just spoken of, and that great fear that he had of presuming upon God had now passed.

The following day, the morning when he was due to leave, he got up early, and, as he was beginning to dress himself, there came upon him a fear so great that it almost seemed to him he couldn’t dress himself. Despite this repugnance, he left the house, and indeed the city, before it was fully day. However, the fear continued with him constantly, and stayed with him as far as Argenteuil, which is a walled town ten miles from Paris in the direction of Rouen, where the garment of Our Lord is said to be.118 He passed through that walled town in this spiritual turmoil; then as he was going up a rise in the road, this thing began to pass from him, and there came to him a great consolation and spiritual élan, with so much joy that he began to shout through those fields and to speak with God etc.

He lodged with a poor beggar that night in an almshouse, having walked forty-two miles that day. The following day he got to lodge in a barn, and on the third day he arrived in Rouen, all this time without eating or drinking, and barefoot, as he had determined. In Rouen he consoled the sick man, helped to get him onto a ship in order to go to Spain, and gave him letters introducing him to the companions who were in Salamanca, namely Calisto and Cáceres and Arteaga.

[80] So as not to say more of these companions, what happened to them was as follows. Once the pilgrim was in Paris, he used to write to them often, in accord with their agreement, about how it would be far from easy for him to bring them to study in Paris. But he managed to write to Dona Leonor de Mascarenhas,119 so that she could help Calisto with letters to the court of the King of Portugal, through which he might be able to obtain one of the bursaries which the King of Portugal gave in Paris. Dona Leonor gave the letters to Calisto, and a mule on which to travel, and some ready money for his expenses. Calisto made his way to the court of the King of Portugal, but in the end he didn’t come to Paris. Instead, returning to Spain, he went to Mexico120 with a certain spiritual lady. And afterwards, having returned to Spain, he went once more to Mexico, and this time returned to Spain rich, and in Salamanca really surprised all those who had known him previously.

Cáceres returned to Segovia, his home territory, and there began to live in such a way as suggested he had forgotten his first intention.

Arteaga was made a comendador. Later, the Society now being in Rome, he was given a bishopric in Mexico.121 He wrote to the pilgrim asking him to give it to someone from the Society. When a negative reply came to him, he went off to Mexico having become a bishop, and there died in strange circumstances, namely: he was ill and there were two bottles of water apparently for his refreshment, one of water, which the doctor had ordered for him, and the other containing water of Soliman122 – a poison. The latter was given him in error, and it killed him.


[81] The pilgrim returned from Rouen to Paris, and found that, because of the things that had happened with Castro and with Peralta, much talk had arisen about him, and the inquisitor was having a summons issued against him. But he didn’t want to wait further, and went to the inquisitor, telling him that he had heard he was looking for him, and that he himself was ready for everything he wanted (this inquisitor was called Magister Noster Ory, a Dominican friar123), but that he was asking him to expedite the matter quickly, because he wanted to enter the Arts course on the following St Remigius’s day:124 he wanted these things to be over with first, so that he could better attend to his studies. But the inquisitor didn’t call him back: he just told him that it was true they had spoken to him of his doings, etc.

[82] Shortly afterwards came St Remigius’s day, which is the first of October, and he began to attend the Arts course under a Master named Juan Peña. And he began with the intention of keeping those men who had the intention of serving the Lord, but not to go any further in looking for others,125 so that he could study more easily.

As he began to attend the course lectures, the same temptations began to come over him as had come when he was studying Latin language at Barcelona: every time he attended a lecture, he could not remain attentive with the many spiritual things occurring to him. And seeing that through this means he was making little progress in his studies, he went up to his master and made him the promise never to be absent, but to attend the whole course, as long as he could find bread and water on which he could survive. And once this promise was made, all those devotions that were coming over him out of due time left him, and he went ahead with his studies calmly.

At this time he was in contact with Master Pierre Favre and Master Francis Xavier, whom he later won for the service of God by means of the Exercises.126

At this stage of his course he was not persecuted as before. And in this connection Dr Frago127 once told him that he was surprised at how he was going about undisturbed, without anyone causing him trouble. And he answered him, ‘The reason is because I’m not talking to anyone about the things of God. But when the course is over we’ll be back to normal’.

[83] And as the two of them were speaking together, a friar came up to ask Dr Frago if he would be willing to find a house for him, since in the one where he had his room there had been many people who had died. He thought this was from the plague, because at that time in Paris the plague was beginning. Dr Frago, together with the pilgrim, elected to go and see the house, and they took with them a woman who was very well versed in these matters. She, on going in, confirmed that it was the plague. The pilgrim elected to go in too, and, finding a sick man, consoled him, touching his sore with his hand. And after having consoled him and encouraged him a little, he went out alone. And his hand began to hurt, so that he thought he had the plague; he was imagining this so vividly that he couldn’t overcome it until, with great force, he put his hand into his mouth, really turning it about inside, and saying, ‘If you’ve got the plague in your hand you can have it in your mouth too’. And when he had done this, the fantasy left him, and the pain in his hand as well. [84] But when he returned to the college of Ste Barbe, where at the time he had his room and was following the course, those in the college who knew that he had been into the house with the plague ran away from him, and refused to let him come in. Thus he was forced to spend some days outside.

It is the custom in Paris for those who study arts to ‘take a stone’128 (as they say) in the third year in order to become bachelors. And because this costs an écu, some very poor students can’t do it. The pilgrim began to doubt if it would be good for him to take it, and finding himself very hesitant and undecided, he resolved to place the matter in the hands of his teacher. When the latter advised him to take it, he took it. Nevertheless, there was no lack of critics – or at least there was a Spaniard who passed comment on it.


Already by this time in Paris he was in a very bad way with his stomach, such that every fortnight he had a stomach-ache that used to last a good hour and sent his temperature up. And once his stomach-ache lasted sixteen or seventeen hours.129 At this stage, when he had now passed the Arts course, studied some years of theology130 and won over the companions,131 the illness was steadily getting much worse, without his being able to find any cure, though many were tried. [85] The only other thing remaining that could possibly help him, so the doctors were saying, was his native air. The companions too were giving him the same advice, and insisting strongly on it with him.

And already at this time they were all resolved on what they were to do, namely, to go to Venice and Jerusalem and to spend their lives in what was beneficial to souls. And if permission was not given them to remain in Jerusalem, they were to return to Rome and present themselves to Christ’s vicar,132 so that he could employ them wherever he judged to be more for the glory of God and the good of souls. They had also planned to wait a year in Venice for the passage, and if there was no passage that year to the East, they would be freed from the Jerusalem vow and would go to the Pope etc.

In the end the pilgrim allowed himself to be persuaded by the companions, and also because those who were Spaniards had some matters of business to do which he could settle.133 And the agreement was that once he felt well again he would go and do their matters of business, and then cross to Venice and wait for the companions there. [86] This was the year 1535, and the companions were to leave, according to the agreement, in the year 1537, on the feast of the conversion of St Paul,134 though in fact they left in November 1536 because of the wars that came along.


As the pilgrim was on the point of leaving, he learnt that they had accused him before the inquisitor135 and brought a case against him. Hearing this, and seeing as they were not summoning him, he went to the inquisitor and told him what he had heard. He was on the point of leaving for Spain and he had companions: his request was that he should be so kind as to give a verdict. The inquisitor said that it was true there was an accusation, but that he didn’t see any matter of importance in it. He just wanted to look at his writings on the Exercises. On seeing them, he was very complimentary about them, and asked the pilgrim to leave the copy of them with him. So he did; nevertheless, he renewed his insistence that the proceedings be gone ahead with, right up to the verdict. The inquisitor was making excuses, but he went to his house with a public notary and witnesses for his case, and he got a sealed statement made on all this.

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