Blog | Ignatian Spirituality Project | Page 2

Inaugural Witness Retreat by Gillian Ahlgren

Freedom.  Dignity.  And the capacity to “want and choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me and in the world around me.”   These core values permeate Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, which are designed to make us aware of our potential as human beings and to empower us in the relationship with the divine that energizes our growth toward our deepest selves.  Tapping into our thirst for freedom, dignity, and greater agency in our own lives, as we gain greater confidence in our relationship with God, provides the spark as well as the fuel for the recovery process.  Empowering witnesses to own and share their stories and to deepen and continue their growth in recovery and wholeness was the major goal of ISP’s first Witness Retreat.  Gathering at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, were eighteen people–staff and witnesses representing Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Akron.

Witness talks have always played a major role in the ISP retreat structure.  They are embedded in the heart of the first day, around the core question “Who am I?”  When the retreat witness shares her or his story to the group, s/he speaks of the struggles of being human, and the reality of human brokenness and human hope becomes very personal.  And very real.  The power of the witness of an ISP retreat is that s/he actively models both the honesty that genuine growth requires and the possibility of a new way.  The honesty, courage, and vulnerability of the witness in sharing her or his story opens up new terrain for all of us on retreat.  The small group conversations following the witness talk give each of us an opportunity to embrace this more honest way, to begin to admit where we have gone wrong, and to open ourselves to new possibilities.

Veterans Wayne Richard and Amanda Brown-Longe modeled for all of us the power both of speaking the truth of one’s lived experience and the importance of listening deeply to the community in order to know what and how to share that truth in helpful ways.  Participants were then invited to engage a deeper look at the resources of the Ignatian tradition for understanding the tensions each of us faces as we turn either toward or away from the deeper honesty and authenticity we are called to embody in our lives.  New retreat exercises were developed to allow for reflection and small group sharing around the principle and habit of “turning away from God” and “turning toward God.”

Before and after each exercise we returned to a table in which we shared with one another what we were learning, about ourselves and God, as we did the exercises.  Around that table, we had a greater sense both of who we are and of the spirit of God moving in our very midst.  “I realized, by listening to others’ stories, that I’m not so very different.  And that, even though we are all quite different from one another, there is so much that we have in common, especially in our desire for wholeness,” one person shared.  Over and over this common purpose and calling toward a “new way” of deeper truth, sensitivity, and integrated action was reinforced for us around that table.  One retreatant summed up the experience when she wrote, “This is my food to go back and share with my community and hopefully ignite the attitude of servant and leader.”

A second Witness Retreat is scheduled for May 4-6, 2013 at the Bellarmine Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Gillian T. W. Ahlgren is Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is currently at work on a book developing Ignatian spiritual resources for recovery.  She can be contacted at ahlgren@xavier.edu.


ISP Run for Hope: Chicago and St. Louis

As you may know,  the Run for Hope has become an annual tradition in Chicago, and is in its third year of fundraising and running to end the injustice of homelessness.

This year, the ISP Run for Hope will be hosted in TWO cities: Chicago and St. Louis.

ISP will be teaming with the GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend to raise awareness and support for ISP in St. Louis.  In Chicago, we will once again be teaming with the Wrigley Start Early Run.

Below are details for both the Chicago Run for Hope and the St. Louis Run for Hope:

The Details for the Run for Hope in St. Louis are a little bit different from the Chicago Run for Hope, so please pay attention to the details!

St. Louis:

We are excited to be a part of  GO! For a Cause.  We are hoping to recruit at least 25 runners in St. Louis to raise $120 each (plus their registration fee).  Please help us to reach this goal!

GO! St. Louis has options for a 5k as well as a half and full marathon.  The 5k Race will be held on Saturday,  April 6th at 8am.  The half and full marathon will be on Sunday, April 7th at 7am.  There will be ISP presence and support at BOTH RACES.  So you may register for whichever you choose to participate in the Run for Hope.

Here are the details regarding the race:
ISP is an official charity of the Go! St. Louis Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k Race
When: 5K: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 8am.  Half and Full Marathon: Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 7am.
Where: 5K: Forest Park  Half and Full Marathon: Downtown St. Louis
What: 5k, Half and Full Marathon to support ISP

If you would like more information about the ST. LOUIS Run for Hope please email Becca Little at becca@ispretreats.org or Jenny Mohan at jmohan1@slu.edu.

Chicago:

The third annual Run for Hope Chicago will be held in conjunction with the Wrigley Start Early Run.  There are options to run a 5k, 10k, or a one-mile fun run. All events will be on Saturday April 13th, 2013.

When: Saturday April 13, 2013.
Where: Grant Park
What: 5k, 10k, 1 mile walk/run to support ISP

All ISP Runners will receive:

  • Free registration and all event day materials (race bib and time chip, event t-shirt, etc.)
  • ISP Runner T-Shirt
  • Personal Fundraising website to assist in gaining sponsors
  • Knowledge that you are assisting in building and sustaining ISP’s unique and important mission.

Because ISP is covering the expense of the registration fee, so we are counting on you to only sign up if you’re willing and able to invite your family, friends and co-workers to sponsor you.

If you are ready to commit to training and fundraising for an ISP Run for Hope, fill out the form below:


ISP teams with Go! St. Louis

The Run for Hope has become an annual tradition for ISP supporters in Chicago.  Each April we gather together in Chicago’s Grant Park to run a 5k/10k race and to raise awareness and funds for the spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness and addiction.

This year, the ISP Run for Hope will be hosted in TWO cities: Chicago and St. Louis.

ISP will be teaming with the GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend to raise awareness and support for ISP in St. Louis.

We are excited to be a part of  GO! For a Cause.  We are hoping to recruit at least 25 runners in St. Louis to raise $120 each (plus their registration fee).  Please help us to reach this goal!

The Details for the Run for Hope in St. Louis are a little bit different from the Chicago Run for Hope, so please pay attention to the details!

GO! St. Louis has options for a 5k as well as a half and full marathon.  The 5k Race will be held on Saturday,  April 6th at 8am.  The half and full marathon will be on Sunday, April 7th at 7am.  There will be ISP presence and support at BOTH RACES.  So you may register for whichever you choose to participate in the Run for Hope.

Here are the details regarding the race:
ISP is an official charity of the Go! St. Louis Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k Race
When: 5K: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 8am.  Half and Full Marathon: Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 7am.
Where: 5K: Forest Park  Half and Full Marathon: Downtown St. Louis
What: 5k, Half and Full Marathon to support ISP

As an ISP Runner you will receive:

  • Free registration and all event day materials (race bib and time chip, event t-shirt, etc.)
  • ISP Runner T-Shirt
  • Personal Fundraising website to assist in gaining sponsors
  • Knowledge that you are assisting in building and sustaining ISP’s unique and important mission.

If you would like more information please email Becca Little at becca@ispretreats.org or Jenny Mohan at jmohan1@slu.edu.  Registration opens on September 4, 2012.  If you are interested, contact Becca or Jenny and ISP will provide you with a secret code to waive the registration fee.

Because ISP is covering the expense of the registration fee, so we are counting on you to only sign up if you’re willing and able to invite your family, friends and co-workers to sponsor you.


Recovery and Addiction: A Story from Grace House

Grace House, one of the Shelters that the ISP New Orleans team partners with, featured an article written by the Grace House Executive Director, Michelle Gaiennie, about her experience partnering with ISP. To view the article, click on the “Recovery and Addiction” link below.


Recovery and Addiction


Job Opportunities

The Ignatian Spirituality Project is look for a part-time VOLUNTEER Chicago Women’s Retreat Team Coordinator. The Job Description is  listed below.

VOLUNTEER Retreat Coordinator Position Description

Program Purpose:

Founded in 1999, The Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) works to end homelessness by providing
Ignatian Retreats to men and women who are homeless and in recovery. ISP has found that people
living in shelters are confronting enormous obstacles in their transition out of homelessness
and into recovery. ISP has pioneered a retreat program that effectively addresses this need.
Spirituality and spiritual retreats have proven to be an effective and important resource in laying a
fundamental foundation of hope that can lead to further and long lasting transformation.

General Job Description:

The Coordinator is responsible for organizing all aspects of the retreat programs (overnight, follow-
up, ongoing spirituality sessions). These programs require coordinating the team (volunteers,
logistics, planning), nurturing the relationship with the referring agencies that recommend
candidates, and timely communication with the national office. The coordinator, working with the
national office, ensures that retreat program ministers to the participant’s needs and maintains the
program integrity.

Job Duties and Responsibilities:

Retreat Program

  • Overnight Retreats: Coordinate retreat logistics, including identifying retreat participants, the retreat team, drivers, and witness, as well as locating retreat sites. Coordinate hospitality outreach and all retreat materials.
  • Follow-Up Retreats: Approximately eight weeks after an overnight retreat, coordinate a one-day follow up retreat for the same women and retreat team. Recruit drivers and conversation partners for the retreat.
  • Ongoing Reflection: In conjunction with other team members, organize ongoing spirituality sessions at shelters. Develop ongoing sessions for former retreat participants at a convenient time and location.

Team Formation and Retreat Preparation

  • Pre/Post-Retreat Meetings: Travel to shelters to ensure proper documentation is completed and to make sure that participants are fully aware of the expectations and travel plans. Make periodic visits to shelters to speak to candidates. Identify and maintain working relationships with shelter liaisons. Ensure participants complete and return necessary paperwork.
  • Team Meetings: Organize and lead team meetings that help to process the ministry of the retreats and deepen facilitation skills. Coordinate new member orientation (with national office), periodic review of retreat materials and format, as well as disseminating pertinent information.

The Jesuits Invite You to Try Something New for Lent—“40: The Series”

In partnership with Loyola Press and Loyola Productions, the Chicago-Detroit Province is offering a unique Lent program called “40: The Series”

“40: The Series” is a “post-apocalyptic drama” that begins Ash Wednesday with seven strangers who appear to be the only survivors of a mysterious event that has left Los Angeles empty, devoid of people. From there the story unfolds throughout Lent in 14 episodes—2 per week—that run 4 to 7 minutes apiece. Each episode acts as a Lenten allegory and is accompanied by reflection questions that help viewers make connections between the story line, scriptural references, and meaning of Lent. Check our website Mondays and Wednesdays to watch each new episode.

Miss an episode? Not to worry, 40 has its own website and YouTube Channel where you can catch past and recent episodes.

 


2012 Run for Hope Registration Form

Last April we held our first ever ISP Run for Hope. Runners from around Chicago joined ISP to run a 5k/10k to raise awareness and funds to help provide spiritual retreats for men and women experiencing homelessness.

We would like you to join the ISP runners as they join thousands of runners participating in the Wrigley Start Early Run.  We need your help! The first 10 organizations to register 40 runners get a table and tent at the event (really good PR for ISP)!  Please help us to reach this goal!

Here are the details regarding the race:
ISP is an official charity of the Wrigley Start Early Run.
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012. 9 a.m.
Where: Grant Park
What: 5k/10k Walk or Run

As an ISP Runner you will receive:

  • Free registration and all event day materials (race bib and time chip, event t-shirt, etc.)
  • ISP Runner T-Shirt
  • Personal Fundraising website to assist in gaining sponsors
  • Knowledge that you are assisting in building and sustaining ISP’s unique and important mission.

If you would like more information please email Tim McCabe at tim@ispretreats.org.  If you would like to sign up please fill out the form below and we will register you with the Wrigley Start Early run.

ISP is not requiring a fundraising minimum and we are covering the expense of the registration fee, so we are counting on you to only sign up if you’re willing and able to invite your family, friends and co-workers to sponsor you.




2011 in Review and Looking Forward to 2012.

 

With the new year at hand, the Ignatian Spirituality Project hopes to use this blog more actively to keep our supporters up to date.  Here is a look back at 2011 and what you can expect in 2012:

 

In 2011 the Ignatian Spirituality Project….
… led its first retreats in Akron, Pittsburgh, and Twin Cities.
… hosted the Fifth Annual National Gathering.
… completed its first Strategic Plan and launched our second Strategic Plan.
… presented at the National Ignatian Spirituality Conference.
… launched a social media presence.

 

In 2012 the Ignatian Spirituality Project will…
… continue a national listening tour to create a formation program.
… launch the ISP retreat in three more cities.
… host second annual ISP Run for Hope.

 

 


Announcing ISP Blog

As part of our recent update to the ISP website, we’ve included a blog!  Check back often for updates about the way our ministry is making a difference.  Feel free, of course, to send us a story you think the world ought to know about and we can post it here.


Ignatian Spirituality Project | 1641 South Allport Chicago, IL 60608| 312.226.9184 | info@ispretreats.org