And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and break in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave.” — 1 Kings 19
From the time of St. Ignatius, Jesuits and their lay partners have long understood the need to seek out quiet moments in order to discover the “still small voice” of God amid the demands of their ministry. When St. Ignatius founded the first Jesuit schools, his primary goal was to “help souls,” which for him meant responding with the love of Christ to the greatest need of the time. That’s why St. Ignatius asked his companions to be “contemplatives in action.”
The same principle holds true for the men and women at St. Ignatius College Preparatory today. We believe that teachers, counselors, coaches, moderators, administrators and staff are all called to deepen their understanding of Ignatian spirituality and to translate this understanding into their work with students. In a 2008 address to the Society of Jesus, the Pope applauded the Jesuits’ efforts to continue formation through the Spiritual Exercises, calling it a “particularly precious method to seek and find God in us, around us and in everything, to know His will and to put it into practice.”
Thus, in 1998, SI began its Adult Spirituality Program, the first in the country and one that has succeeded in making SI an Ignatian school, perhaps more so now than ever before in the school’s 156-year history.
The program has a proven track record of success. It has touched the lives of every single employee at SI, dozens of whom have also prayed the Spiritual Exercises, either on month-long retreats, over the course of a year, or in summer retreat programs. These men and women have discovered that their deeper, more intimate relation with God has given them the courage to respond to the most significant challenges of our time and the skills to listen to their students and provide an experience that transforms minds and hearts.
The fruits of this program are multiple and varied. SI’s teachers direct students along their spiritual journey as part of a senior elective exposing students to the Spiritual Exercises. They help seniors lead the Kairos retreat, the culminating SI experience for many of our students. Just as teachers carry these values into the classroom, so to do SI’s coaches and moderators carry the charism of Ignatian spirituality into their co-curricular activities.
If you are interested in learning more about the Adult Spirituality Program, contact Director Rita Dollard-O'Malley.