Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, dies

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, dies in Rome. The Society of Jesus, as the Jesuit order is formally known, played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism.

Ignatius, the son of a noble and wealthy Spanish family called the Loyolas, was born in his family’s ancestral castle in 1491. Little interested in church matters, he trained as a knight and in 1517 went in the service of a relative, Antonio Manrique de Lara, the duke of Najera and viceroy of Navarre. In May 1521, during the siege of Pamplona by the French, his legs were shattered by a cannonball. Seriously wounded, he was transported to his family’s castle, where he was forced to lie in convalescence for many weeks. During this time, he was given the Bible and a book on the saints to read. He came to see the service of God as a kind of holy chivalry and resolved to live an austere life in imitation of the saints.

In February 1522 he made a pilgrimage to Montserrat, where a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary and Child, supposedly carved by St. Luke, resides. Ignatius hung his sword and dagger near the statue as symbols of his conversion to a holy life. For the next year, he lived as a beggar and prayed for seven hours a day, often in a cave near Manresa in northeastern Spain. During this time, he composed an early draft of The Spiritual Exercises, his manual for spiritual meditation and conversion. In 1523, he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

After his return to Spain in 1524, Ignatius resolved to gain an extensive education to prepare himself for his spiritual mission. He studied in Barcelona and at the University of Alcala, where he began to acquire followers. Suspected of heresy, he was tried in Alcala, and later in Salamanca but both times was acquitted. He was forbidden to teach until he reached the priesthood, and he went to the University of Paris to continue his studies.

In August 1534, the Jesuit movement was born when Ignatius led six of his followers to Montmartre near Paris, where the group took vows of poverty and chastity and made plans to work for the conversion of Muslims. If travel to the Holy Land was not possible, they vowed to offer themselves to the pope for apostolic work. In 1537, Ignatius and most of his companions were ordained. Unable to travel to Jerusalem because of the Turkish wars, they went to Rome instead to meet with the pope and request permission to form a new religious order. In September 1540, Pope Paul III approved Ignatius’ outline of the Society of Jesus, as the Jesuit order is formally known.

Under Ignatius’ charismatic leadership, the Society of Jesus grew quickly. Jesuit missionaries played a leading role in the Counter-Reformation and won back many of the European faithful who had been lost to Protestantism. In Ignatius’ lifetime, Jesuits were also dispatched to India, Brazil, the Congo region, and Ethiopia. Education was of utmost importance to the Jesuits, and in Rome Ignatius founded the Roman College (later called the Gregorian University) and the Germanicum, a school for German priests. The Jesuits also ran several charitable organizations, such as one for former prostitutes and one for converted Jews. When Ignatius de Loyola died on July 31, 1556, there were more than 1,000 Jesuit priests.

During the next century, the Jesuits set up ministries around the globe. The “Black-Robes,” as they were known in Native America, often preceded European countries in their infiltration of foreign lands and societies. The life of a Jesuit was one of immense risk, and thousands of priests were persecuted or killed by foreign authorities hostile to their mission of conversion. However, in some nations, such as India and China, the Jesuits were revered as men of wisdom and science.

With the rise of nationalism in the 18th century, most European countries suppressed the Jesuits, and in 1773 Pope Clement XIV dissolved the order under pressure from the Bourbon monarchs. However, in 1814, Pope Pius VII gave in to popular demand and reestablished the Jesuits as an order, and they continue their missionary work to this day. Ignatius de Loyola was canonized as a Catholic saint in 1622. His feast day is July 31.

Ranger 7 photographs moon

Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, takes the first close-up images of the moon—4,308 in total—before it impacts with the lunar surface northwest of the Sea of Clouds. The images were 1,000 times as clear as anything ever seen through earth-bound telescopes.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had attempted a similar mission earlier in the year—Ranger 6—but the probe’s cameras had failed as it descended to the lunar surface. Ranger 7, launched from Earth on July 28, successfully activated its cameras 17 minutes, or 1,300 miles, before impact and began beaming the images back to NASA’s receiving station in California. The pictures showed that the lunar surface was not excessively dusty or otherwise treacherous to a potential spacecraft landing, thus lending encouragement to the NASA plan to send astronauts to the moon. 

In July 1969, two Americans walked on the moon in the first Apollo Program lunar landing mission.

READ MORE: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Timeline: From Liftoff to Splashdown

Philippe Petit walks on a tightrope between the Twin Towers

High above the early-morning traffic in Lower Manhattan, a French street performer steps off the roof of the south tower of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Clad in black and carrying a long pole for balance, Philippe Petit begins the most famous high-wire walk in history, calmly traversing the space between the Twin Towers at a height of 1,350 feet.

Petit enjoyed tightrope walking from a young age, and began his career as a juggler on the streets of Paris. Amazingly, he first imagined himself walking between the Twin Towers before they had even been built. As he later recounted, the idea came to him because of a dental emergency: “Here I am, young, 17-years-old, with a bad tooth in one of those un-colorful waiting room of a French dentist … suddenly, I freeze because I have opened a newspaper at a page and I see something magnificent, something that inspires me. I see two towers and the article says one day those towers will be built.”

The towers would be not open until 1973, but Petit was determined he would one day walk between them. He began his high-wire career with walks between the towers of Notre Dame in 1971 and the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1973. Although he trained with a circus performer and thought of himself as a “poet, conquering beautiful stages,” his preparations to walk between the Twin Towers most closely resembled scenes from a heist film. He disguised himself as everything from a construction worker to a journalist to an architect in order to gain access and study the site, even casing it from above via helicopter and identifying Barry Greenhouse, a man who worked on the 82nd floor of the south tower, as his inside man.

On the night of August 6, 1974, with Greenhouse’s help, Petit and some accomplices made their way into the towers, split into two teams. One of them shot an arrow across the gap between the buildings, spanning it with a length of fishing line that was then used to string stronger support wires. Around 7 a.m. the next morning, Petit stepped out onto the wire. Over the next 50 minutes, he completed eight trips across the divide, bowing to the onlookers below and even stopping to sit and lie down on the inch-thick wire. Finally, he dismounted and surrendered to the police, who arrested him and took him in for psychological evaluation.

Petit was charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, but the charges were dropped on the condition that he perform for the public in Central Park, which he happily did. Petit went on to perform a similar walk at the Lincoln Center and become the artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side. He insisted that his famous walk, which was documented in the film Man on Wire and dramatized in another film, The Walk, was not an artistic statement so much as a natural outgrowth of his attitude toward life: “I see three oranges, and I have to juggle. I see two towers, and I have to walk.”

When the College Football Stars Played NFL Champs

When the College Football Stars Played NFL Champs

The last game, a 24-0 win by the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976, was played in a ‘surreal’ deluge.

From 1934-1976, the NFL’s preseason tradition included The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game, a game featuring college stars against the league champion. The last game in the long-forgotten series, played mostly at Soldier Field in Chicago, was forgettable: a 24-0 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a deluge. 

As the torrents fell in that final game, many fans stormed the field, splashing and sliding on turf that resembled a lake. TV broadcaster Frank Gifford called it a “carnival,” and the game was mercifully ended in the third quarter. “Surreal,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described the finish. 

But the series, conceived by a newspaper sports editor, was popular, often drawing more than 70,000 fans for a game. Attendance at the 1947 game was 105,840. (The game wasn’t played in 1974 because of the NFL players’ strike.)

“It was a fascinating series of games,“ says Jon Kendle, the director of archives and football information at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “It’s something that a lot of people don’t know about, for as long as it took place. And it’s something that will really never happen again. The way the NFL is structured now, there’s just too much at stake for all parties involved.”

Sports Editor Arch Ward Founds Game in 1933

Chicago Tribune sports editor Art Ward (center), founder of The Chicago Charity College All-Star Game, greets Notre Dame coach Terry Brennan.  

Times were different when Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward came up with the all-star game idea in 1933. College football was king then. In 1926, 110,000 fans attended the Army-Navy game at Soldier Field—the formal dedication of the stadium. In the early 1930s, the NFL needed the all-star game.

Ward was as much promoter as he was reporter. He worked in public relations for Notre Dame football during two of legendary coach Knute Rockne’s unbeaten seasons, started the Golden Gloves boxing tournament, and in 1933 suggested Major League Baseball hold a midseason exhibition between the stars of the American and National leagues. The Midsummer Classic continues to this day.

In consultation with the Chicago city leaders and George Halas of the Chicago Bears, Ward came up with a similar idea for football, pitting college all-stars against the NFL champions. That kind of game was not unusual in those days; in 1939, there were nine games between college players and NFL teams. Ward’s coup was getting the NFL to agree to allow the best players who had just left college play the champions.

Ward decided proceeds from the game would be shared by Chicago-area charities. Thus began one of the greatest charitable efforts in sports history.

“Being a member of the College All-Stars was competition that as I kid I dreamed of,” says Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Paul Warfield, who played in the game as an all-star and with the Cleveland Browns.

A panel of 30 sportswriters chose the first all-star team. The attendance was more impressive than the result, as 79,432 watched a scoreless tie on August 31, 1934. Ward’s column on the game dealt with a technological improvement: lights at Soldier Field. “The giant audience was able to follow with facility the details of line play,” he writes.

The 1935 All-Stars’ roster included a Michigan player named Gerald Ford, who would become the nation’s 38th president. Attendance topped 100,000 at the 1942, 1947 and 1948 games. Games in 1943 and 1944 were moved to the nearby Northwestern campus in Evanston, Ill., to avoid a large gathering near downtown Chicago, considered a potential enemy target during World War II.

Jackie Robinson Plays in 1941 Game

TCU’s Sammy Baugh returns a punt in the College All-Stars’ 6-0 win over the Green Bay Packers in 1937.

In 1941, UCLA star Jackie Robinson, who would break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, scored a touchdown for the all-stars. College teams were integrated well before the NFL re-integrated in 1946.

In 42 games, the all-stars won nine and tied twice. Sammy Baugh guided the 1937 college team to its first win, 6-0 over the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay also lost in 1963, a game Vince Lombardi called his most embarrassing loss. The Packers were the first and last NFL team to lose to the all-stars.

Kendle recalls Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Robinson, the Packers’ first-round draft pick in early December 1962, talking about being a part of the college team that beat Green Bay in 1963. “…the college players were in the locker room hooting and hollering and all of a sudden the trainer from the Packers walks in and yells out, ‘Robinson, Coach Lombardi said to get you. You’re a Packer now. Pack up your things,’” Kendle says.

Robinson sheepishly walked to the near-silent Green Bay locker room and found a corner to sit down. He told Kendle he could feel the eyes of Packers veterans piercing through him.

NFL Player’s Injury Prompts Rethink of Series

College all-stars carry their coach, Otto Graham, off the field after a 35-19 win over the Detroit Lions in 1958.

At the 1947 game, the Bears were provided new machines called air conditioning to cool the locker room on a 91-degree day. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins were undefeated, but they crossed midfield only three times against the 1973 collegians. Miami coach Don Shula replaced starting quarterback Bob Griese with Earl Morrall to secure a 14-3 win.

Warfield played for the collegians in the 1964 game after he was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. He had an outstanding rookie season, but he suffered a broken collarbone the next preseason when playing against the collegians.

READ MORE: The birth of the National Football League

“I was diving for the ball for a pass that was slightly overthrown,” Warfield says. “I came down on my elbow and almost instantaneously the defender fell on top of me.” He needed two surgeries to repair the injury and was limited to one game during the 1965 regular season.

That injury fostered quiet murmurings about the wisdom of the game. Ultimately, it didn’t make sense for a team’s best draft picks to miss training camp for two weeks to work for an all-star team. As NFL training and systems improved, the game became more one-sided. The Super Bowl champions won the final 12 games.

The 1976 deluge, a quirk of nature, was perhaps the final signal that the game had run its course. The College All-Star game was washed out by a torrent of nature and the torrent of growth that the NFL enjoys to this day.

“It was a nice idea when it started,” says longtime NFL writer Vito Stellino, who covered the final game for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But this was a combination of a perfect storm and a real storm that was too much to overcome.”

Fighter jet collides with passenger plane

A mid-air collision between a Boeing 727 and a fighter jet in Japan kills 162 people on July 30, 1971. The military plane was flying without radar.

All Nippon Airways Flight 58 was traveling from Chitose Airport in Hokkaido to Tokyo, filled largely with members of a group dedicated to the assistance of war victims. Takeoff was uneventful and the plane soon reached 28,000 feet. Cruising over the Japanese Alps, Flight 58 suddenly encountered two military jets.

One of the Japanese F-86 Sabre jets was piloted by Captain Kuma; the other was being flown by his student, Sergeant Ichikawa, who had only a few hours of flying experience. Neither jet was equipped with radar, which would have indicated the presence of the Boeing 727. Ichikawa’s fighter jet struck the airliner and sent both planes plunging into the mountains. Ichikawa was able to eject himself and parachute to safety. Everyone on board Flight 58, however, was killed.

Yoshimi Ichikawa was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but was acquitted at trial.