About Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa
Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa is a clinical social worker in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from Boston College, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and served in Seattle at a community mental health agency. Inspired by her experience as a JV, she moved to St. Louis to pursue a Master’s in Social Work and studied the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy. She continues to marvel at God’s movements in her life.

How Spanish Class Taught Me About Finding God in All Things

This summer, I am finally learning to speak Spanish. After a few years of short-lived attempts to learn the language, numerous methods tried, and several immersion opportunities, at long last I sense my skills shifting. What has made the difference for me this summer has been method; instead of memorizations, conjugations, and vocabulary lists, this technique centers on the principle of inductive learning. Here the student gradually builds new knowledge into previously understood concepts. As […]

Waiting for Daybreak

This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I wonder what the time between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning was like for the disciples of Jesus. They witnessed his death and buried his body, and they waited for the first daybreak after the Sabbath to visit the tomb. Were they speaking with each other, trying to make sense of what had happened, or did they sit in silence? Did they comfort […]

Staying with the Cross

This post is based on Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. In my work as a therapist, I suppose one could say it’s a central part of my job to tolerate discomfort. After all, many clients come to therapy in distress, pain, and grief, and the therapist’s role is to hold a space to welcome these understandably unwelcome emotions. In the therapy room, we might gently ask a client to delve deeper into a […]

The Main Thing

This post is based on Week Six of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. My boss recently shared an oft-quoted adage from the corporate world: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I welcomed the timely reminder, as this advice caught me during a week I’d felt overextended with work projects and overcommitted in my personal life. I’d needed a reminder to keep my focus on my main goals—and allow myself to […]

Who Calls You?

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I recently attended a parish workshop on the topic of servant leadership. In a small group exercise, we shared examples of people in our lives who truly embody the characteristics of a servant leader—leaders who are empathetic, humble, focused on others, and driven by a sense of mission. Our group shared stories about saints and popes, family members and friends, civic and political […]

Contemplation on the Dance Floor

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. In the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to imagine looking at the world with God’s-eye view—to gaze upon the whole of humanity in the moment before the Incarnation. We are invited to pay attention to what affectively arises when we observe the triune God gazing at the world and responding in love. This week, I connected most fully with […]

God Runs

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. “While he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) I imagine the father squinting towards the horizon, daring to whisper, “Could it be my child has returned?” Although his son is still far away, the father cannot help but break into a run. I […]

Praying Our Stories

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. When I was in second grade, I kept a diary. It had a shiny purple cover, a tiny lock and key, and lined pages where I diligently listed what I did each day. This diary became the first of many I would later fill, and I would gradually add worn and well-loved journals (and a few empty ones) to my bookshelves. This collection […]

Freedom from Fear

This post is by Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. In NBC’s hit comedy The Office, boss Michael Scott asked himself the Machiavellian question, “Would I rather be feared or loved?” With the absurd and dry humor that characterized the show, Michael Scott answered his own question, with a deadpan stare into the camera: “Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” Many of us […]

Harvesting Treasures

This fall, my two-year-old niece has taken up a fascination with acorns. She clutches as many acorns as she can possibly hold in her toddler-sized hand, leaving one hand free for picking up more. She calls them her “treasures.” As I watch her carefully turn over in her hand each acorn—studying it, delighting in it, proudly presenting her collection to me, and then eagerly looking for more—I feel invited to join her in harvesting treasures […]

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