"What you are in love with ... will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, … and what amazes you with joy and gratitude." This quote from Pedro Arrupe gets at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality, and at the heart of what brought me to work at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center this past year. When I was discerning where I would do my field education as part of my Masters of Divinity program at the Jesuit School of Theology I visited St. Agnes and immediately felt God calling me to this community.
In the past year I have fallen in love with the St. Agnes and ISLC communities, and as Pedro Arrupe says it affected everything. It got me out of bed in the morning to get to mass on Sunday morning. It helped me decide to spend many evenings at the ISLC, and even slept there during our 24 Hour Peace Vigil! It decided that I would read Women Deacons: Past, Present Future and have an amazing discussion of the future of women deacons in our Church. It decided that I would come to know so many of you, and find incredible joy in my time with this wonderful community.
I choose St. Agnes and the ISLC as my field placement site because the community inspired me by their dedication to social justice, encouraged me to share my gifts, and welcomed me with open arms. In the past year the ISLC has become my second home, and a place where I can be myself. Now, I am full with gratitude and joy that I have joined the staff at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center this summer!
If you’re looking to learn more from Pedro Arrupe, who led me here, join us for our screening of Pedro Arrupe: His Life and Legacy on July 20th!
Elaina Jo Polovick is a student at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. She is currently in her third year of the Masters of Divinity program, and is very excited to be working at such a diverse and inclusive parish. Elaina Jo is originally from South Bend, Indiana but has spent time living in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and rural Montana. She is coordinating the Young Adult Group as well as assisting with liturgy and special programs.
You can contact her at ISLC@SaintAgnesSF.com
In celebrating Pentecost, Pope Francis reminds us that, the Spirit "rests on each and then brings all of them together in fellowship. To each (the Spirit) gives a gift, and then gathers them all into unity. In other words, the same Spirit creates diversity and unity, and in this way forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church."
In a time when our country is so often defined by division, the Spirit instills in us unity in diversity, where all are neighbor, where all are loved by God and so also, by us. During our series on peacemaking last month, Fr. Ray and I came across a prayer from Daniel Berrigan, SJ that invites us to pray for those who await our love. Who awaits our love today? The Gospels teach us that we must spend our whole lives asking and answering this question.
As we enter into the 50th Anniversary Year of the Summer of Love, commit to asking, Who awaits our love today and spend time nurturing your relationship with God and our community. Join us at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center for a Summer Film Series and Meditation & Wellness Workshops.
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center,
Blessings in this Easter Season! Alleluia!
We especially want to welcome the six new members of our St. Agnes Community who entered the Church at our Easter Vigil. As we move forward in the fifty days of Eater let us continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ!
I recently came across these words from Desmond Tutu, social activist and former Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa.
Dear Child of God, I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now--in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally.
In this Easter Season we are reminded of the unfailing, everlasting hope found in God, risen in Christ and shared with us through the Holy Spirit. Let's gather in these beautiful Spring days at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center to continue to build the beloved community. Join our spirituality series on Thomas Merton's advice to peacekeepers, stop by for a screening of the documentary, Screenagers: Growing Up in a Digital Age, participate in a workshop on what the Church can learn from the LGBTQ community and check out all of our programs on our calendar.
We look forward to seeing you soon at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center!
Peace & Blessings,
Happy Easter! He is risen!
Now that, like the two women, we have visited the tomb, I ask you to go back with them to the city...Let us go back with them to tell the news… In all those places where the grave seems to have the final word, where death seems the only way out. Let us go back to proclaim, to share, to reveal that it is true: the Lord is alive! He is living and he wants to rise again in all those faces that have buried hope, buried dreams, buried dignity. If we cannot let the Spirit lead us on this road, then we are not Christians.
Let us go, then. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by this new dawn and by the newness that Christ alone can give. May we allow his tenderness and his love to guide our steps. May we allow the beating of his heart to quicken our faintness of heart.
-Pope Francis, Easter Vigil Homily 2017
For full text of Pope Francis' Homily, Click Here
"Good Friday: day of the cross, day of suffering, day of hope, day of abandonment, day of victory, day of mourning, day of joy, day of endings, day of beginnings...
I closed my eyes and could see his sacred body...I saw the immense suffering of humanity during the centuries:
people killing each other;
people dying from starvation and epidemics;
people driven from their homes;
people sleeping on the streets of large cities;
people clinging to each other in desperation;
people flagellated, tortured, burned, mutilated;
people alone in locked flats, in prison dungeons, in labor camps;
people craving a gentle word, a friendly letter, a consoling embrace,
people...all crying out with an anguished voice,
'My God, my God, why have your forsaken us?'...
Then with my minds' eye I saw a large crowd of isolate, agonizing individuals walking away from the cross together, bound by the love they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own lips. The cross of horror became the cross of hope, the tortured body became the body that gives new life; the gaping wound became the source of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation."
-Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center,
As we enter into the Triduum, take a moment in these days to rest, to pray & to try and see the world with Jesus' eyes.
During Holy Week I use Ignatian contemplation to pray with the Gospel stories of Jesus' suffering, death & resurrection. In this way of prayer, you use your imagination to place yourself in the midst of the Gospel story and witness what unfolds. Through our imagination, we are able to see and discover more of who Jesus is and who we are in Jesus' eyes. Jesus is always ready to deepen his relationship with us, he is always ready to show us something new.
This week Jesus seeks to share his life and death with us. Ultimately, he shares his resurrection, his unwavering love and his unfailing hope. What it is that Jesus is inviting you to see, hear and hold this week? For some ideas about ways to reflect and have some "holy calm" this week check out Ignatian Spirituality.com's article: How To Do Holy Week. This week, as we always are as as the community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center, let's imagine God's dream for the world and come to know, even more deeply, how we can make God's dream a reality.
Would you like to try Ignatian contemplation this week? Here are some resources:
The Ignatian Workout for Lent Retreat: Holy Week
Arts & Faith: Lent—Holy Thursday Imaginative Prayer Exercise
Arts & Faith Lent----Good Friday Imaginative Prayer Exercise
During the triduum, Jesus invites us into his life in an incredibly intimate and vulnerable way. We, like his apostles and disciples, are asked to walk with Jesus in his suffering and we will also be asked to walk with him in his resurrection.
In the midst of his suffering, in the midst of persecution -- Jesus invites us to accompany him. In our yes to accompany him, we become his disciples. The Gospel we hear proclaimed today, the washing of feet that happens in all of our communities today-- is about reclaiming, revealing and remembering who it is that Jesus charges all of us to be for his church in the world.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a priesthood of all believers, where through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we may bear witness to Christ in all that we do.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a pilgrimage that the Lord set before Aaron and Moses in the 1st reading from Ezekiel.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of what Dr. King calls, “the beloved community. “
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a way of being in the world that is rooted in mercy.
We are continually called back to Holy Thursday... We are called back to Jesus' decision to wash his disciples' feet. And in that action we discover again and again who Jesus calls us to be in the Church and in the world.
For full text of Natalie's homily: Click Here
Catholic Women Preach is an innovative project designed to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Church today by responding to Pope Francis’ call for broader and more active engagement of the baptized in the preaching mission of the Church. This project is a deeply faithful, hopeful and joyful initiative intended to build up the Church.
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center (ISLC),
During this Lenten season my intention has been to practice mindfulness. The ISLC's Tuesday Morning Mindfulness group provided inspiration for this journey. I find that carving out time to gather for our weekly communal prayer, meditation and sharing transforms my day. This Lent I committed to exploring different ways to practice mindfulness - to be aware of God's presence, aware of the communities I am part of and aware of my own mind and body.
So I took to the spiritual streets and asked everyone I could think of about their own mindfulness practices, I tried a practice of meditation with the San Francisco Sound Meditation Group and last week, I walked from home to the ISLC for the first time (a lovely 3.5 mile stroll through Golden Gate Park) as a way to witness nature, unplug and create an intention for the day ahead.
Interspersed in this season of mindfulness there were also (many) days where I thought I was too busy to be mindful, reminding me that mindfulness is not something that we succeed at or complete. Rather, mindfulness is a practice that is continually revealed to us through our daily lives, our community and our God. It is a way of being in the world where we cultivate and rediscover our interconnectedness, holiness and love.
With all that is unfolding in our world and country, a practice of mindfulness is a way for us to stay rooted in our relationship with God, to be more aware of our needs and desires, and to be able to witness the needs of our community with renewed eyes, ears and hearts. As we enter into Holy Week, the Easter Season & Springtime, I invite you to make a new commitment to a practice of mindfulness. Join us at the ISLC this month for Holy Yoga, Tuesday Morning Mindfulness and our monthly prayer for peace. To see all that's happening, Click Here for the full calendar.
As you discover and explore mindfulness comment on this blog post or send us a note to share about practices that are meaningful to you!
Peace & Prayers,
In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit that was published on March 9, Pope Francis briefly discussed the Commission on the Women’s Diaconate. Although his remarks included some that challenge the role of women deacons, Francis also spoke about the task of theology today. “You must do research to get to the bottom of things, always. This also applies to the study of Scripture. The historical-critical method: What does this mean at that time? What does it mean today? Truth is not to be afraid. That tells us the historical truth, the scientific truth: Do not be afraid! That makes us free.” Following the instruction of Pope Francis, the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center is delving into the study of the Women’s Diaconate in our Book Series. We are reading Women Deacons: Past, Present, and Future. We welcome you to join us and communities around the world in reading and discussing the book!
Purchase a copy of the book Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future here.
Archbishop John Wester, leader of the Diocese of Santa Fe, N.M., has said that it is not a question of whether or not migrants are breaking the law, but if the law is breaking them.