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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letters on Ignatian Spirituality

You are in for a great treat with these letters from Maryland from one of my former students who is really an expert in Ignatian spirituality; she knows more than I do and I suspect more than many Jesuits know about Ignatius and his spirituality. I am sure you will enjoy reading these letters and know that you will be better informed and maybe motivated to study more about Ignatian spirituality that is so important for us today.

"Dear Helen,

Here is the first of the letters from Maryland on Ignatian Spirituality that you requested. It has been over 3 years now since my happy discovery of the St. Thomas University Online Certificate Program in Spirituality and 1 year last April since I received the Certificate. It occurs to be as I write that while the requirements for the program are completed, the program is a bit like the Spiritual Exercises in that they are never really finished but lived. Both have been rich blessings in my life.
It seems fitting that these letters are written from Maryland as it is the State where Fr. Andrew White, S.J. and 4 other Jesuits landed on March 25th, 1634 and said the first Catholic Mass in the new colonies. The Jesuit – Ignatian family presence in education, pastoral services and other ministries remains strong.
When I look back at the presence and influence of Ignatian Spirituality in my life it goes a long way beginning with stories of Jesuit cousins and a Jesuit priest who came to out parish weekly and enriched us with his homilies. It was further strengthened in high school Sodality when I was first taught Ignatian active contemplation.
I was born on Thanksgiving Day and, like Ignatius, I have been a Pilgrim ever since. David Fleming, S.J. says we can look at Ignatian spirituality as a basic set of attitudes about the pilgrimage we are on and that the tools of Ignatian spirituality keep us attentive to the movements of the Spirit. Therefore, Ignatian spirituality is not so much devotional practices as a pilgrimage following Jesus. I was greatly aided on my journey by annual directed retreats at Guelph, Ontario, Canada and by being patiently accompanied through Annotation 19 here at home. Those experiences gave me a strong foundation as well as a desire to share the graces with others."

I cut the letter here and will continue tomorrow as I know you will want to read more.

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