The Story Behind Audacious Ignatius

Hey there! We are Paul Mitchell and Katie Broussard, siblings who make up the author-illustrator team that created Audacious Ignatius.

Paul Mitchell and Katie Broussard are Corde Press’s creators

Both of us were Jesuit educators for years in Chicago. (Katie at the original Cristo Rey, Paul at Chicago Jesuit Academy). We saw our schools introduce the story of the Society of Jesus to a lot of teachers and students, and searched for a succinct, beautiful telling of the story of St. Ignatius.

Then, on Christmas Day of 2015, Katie’s sons received the delightful and clever Iggy Peck, Architect as a gift. The full name of the protagonist (Iggy) is Ignatius, and upon reading this book, Paul realized for the first time how many excellent words rhymed with our beloved saint’s name. In the days that followed, Paul wrote the first draft of Audacious Ignatius.

But it wasn’t until 2017 that Paul approached Katie with a draft of the words and asked if she would take on the art for the book. (Here is a sketch Paul made as he wrote the first draft. You can see in this sketch where his illustration skill begins and ends. He clearly needed some help.)

Sketch of Spiritual Exercises page of Audacious Ignatius
First Sketch of the Spiritual Exercises page of Audacious Ignatius

Katie experimented with different styles of illustration. (The first iteration was actually collage a la Eric Carle!). Ultimately, she fell in love with watercolor and set to work. Here is a look at a few first drafts of page spreads.

First draft of the page showing Audacious Ignatius’ “spacious heart”
An early draft of Audacious Ignatius’ first page

Through 2017, Katie painted, took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, taught herself how to digitally edit the her scanned paintings, and learned the Adobe suite in order to lay out the book. (Yup – you read that right. Katie single-handedly crafted every visual element of Audacious Ignatius, having never taken on such a project before.)

As Katie mastered the art, Paul refined the words and researched publication options. Ultimately, the team decided to share the book through a Kickstarter campaign. The generosity of the Ignatian Family came through in a big way. The project funded in less than a week, on the Feast of St. Ignatius!

With joy, we have shared the book with families, Jesuit schools, retreat houses, and other vibrant Catholic communities. A copy even reached Pope Francis, who wrote back with the following letter.

Pope Francis’ letter to Paul about Audacious Ignatius (translation here)

And one more thing. Here is a video produced with the outstanding folks at the Jesuit Conference, in which Paul gives a snapshot of the inspiration and purpose of the book.

Paul Mitchell, author of Audacious Ignatius, reflects on the creation of the book.

A great, audacious thanks to you for being part of our journey.