Retablo Series. Saint Ignatius de Loyola

Saint Ignatius

Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Santo de bulto, located on the second level, central niche, Epistle altar. The polychrome statue depicts a Hispanic-looking Jesuit (the Order he founded) with large forehead and receding hairline, wearing black robes.

The statue is located in the epistle transept or the right wing altar and this is dedicated to the Jesuit saints depicted in various bas-reliefs and single statuary. In the middle of the second story niche is the polychrome statue of St. Ignatius de Loyola. This flanked on the left by Aloysius Gonzaga holding a lily of virginity and on the right by Stanislaus Kotska holding a Christ child with an image of the Blessed Mary on the side. On the third level are the Japanese martyrs Paul Miki and companions. Their martyrdom in Japan reached Manila in sixteenth century and was immortalized in the altar with great jubilation. The first level bottom left stands St. Francis Xavier with crucifix in hand and a tropical background of palms. Francis Borgia is on the other side with a hat of grandee and a crowned skull at his feet. Xavier and Borgia flanked the image of a bound Jesus Christ ready for trial reechoing the martyrdom theme of the epistle transept (Javellana).

In most representations, St. Ignatius is wearing an ornate chasuble of red, gold and white often depicted holding a book, a sword, the order’s IHS banner or with the Blessed Sacrament. Though living in Rome, it was he who in effect led, directed, and animated his subjects all over the world. Beatified 1609 and canonized 1622.

“It is impossible to sketch in brief Ignatius’ grand and complex character: ardent yet restrained, fearless, resolute, simple, prudent, strong, and loving. He believed in discipline as an educative force, he despised any other motives for action except the love of God and man” (Pollen).


Javellana, Rene. Wood & Stone for God’s Greater Glory: Jesuit Art & Architecture in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1991.

Pollen, John Hungerford. “St. Ignatius Loyola.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910