Fairfield Launches Ignatian Spirituality Center

Fairfield University Seal. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Fairfied University has established a Center for Ignatian Spirituality. According to the University announcement:

The stated mission of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University is to keep the Ignatian charism alive, both at the University and the College Preparatory School, as well as offering this to the local Christian community of Fairfield County. Its goals are: To establish a lasting infrastructure to serve as a repository and holder of the Jesuit values foundational to the culture of the Fairfield University Corporation; to create a symbol that personifies the commitment of the corporation to these Ignatian values; to promote vibrant and attractive expressions of Ignatian spirituality at an individual, group, and the larger community levels, both on campus and for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Among the programs that the center will offer are a one-week directed retreat, a 10-week directed Ignatian prayer experience, and the full Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius — approximately a five month program of daily prayer and spiritual direction. The center will also train spiritual directors and supervisors, as well as offer communal spiritual experiences for parishes and other groups.


As noted by the University, the new center is an attempt to ensure that the school's Igantian heritage and identity is not lost as more lay men and women assume leadership positions once filled by Jesuits. A similar effort at "mission preservation" remains underway at the secondary level, too. It's a response, in part, to this question: How do you be a Jesuit school with no Jesuits? Some would say that's not possible, or would at least require me to modify the question to this: How do you remain within the Ignatian tradition without Jesuits? 

At my school, Xavier College Prep in Palm Desert, CA, we provide opportunities for spiritual direction, we host Ignatian formation days for faculty and staff and from time to time put on "Do You Speak Ignatian?" nights for parents and members of the Coachella Valley community. The task is to generate meaningful awareness and integration of Ignatian ideals without isolating those ideals from Ignatius's Catholic core. Achieving this integration, and keeping the Ignatian charism alight, is one of the top priorities for those in Jesuit education. 

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