The triennial Ignatian Spirituality Conference was held at Saint Louis University July 16–19, 2015. We asked some of the participants to share their takeaways from the event, which had a theme of “Ignatian Silence: Heart of Mission.” Here’s what they said:
Participating in the Ignatian Spirituality Conference, both as a presenter and participant, was a wonderful way to connect with others in our global network on important topics related to sharing and deepening the gifts of Ignatian spirituality. As a facilitator, it was helpful to engage with others in rich dialogue about my personal and professional work in the area of Ignatian leadership. As a participant, I walked away with deeper knowledge, a host of innovative ideas, and several new connections with colleagues around the world.
—Karin Botto, Executive Director of Organization Development & Ignatian Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University
ISC reinforced for me the value of silence in today’s world and fueled my passion to encourage my peers to embrace silence as a tool to support them in maneuvering the many responsibilities of life. As one of the speakers shared, we face a globalization of superficiality, and the group of gathered Ignatian friends and colleagues served as a witness to me that silence provides a sacred space to grow a relationship with God that provides depth and unconditional love.
—Becky Eldredge, Writer and Spiritual Director
The conference did a wonderful job in promoting and providing silent space. All conferences should do this; all retreats should do this; all meetings should do this. A bit of silence never hurt anyone and it shouldn’t be relegated (at least in public space) to memorials for the dead.
Secondly, it’s just always great to hear new voices, catch up with old colleagues, and meet new people who serve in God’s vineyard with us. I’m always amazed at the people that I don’t know and humbled by those superstars who call me a friend.
—Mike Hayes, Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College
I often struggle with quieting my mind and my environment. To hear various keynotes and workshops explaining that silence and quiet are not always the same made this facet of Ignatian spirituality seem possible in ways that I had not been able to experience in the past.
—Deirdre Long, Assistant Coordinator of Programs & Communications, Charis
My biggest takeaway was that I felt very affirmed to be a part of the Ignatian family. And I realize how much we support one another in ministry.
—Andy Otto, Blogger and Theology Teacher in California
I was reminded that Ignatian spirituality is so core to my identity. Even though I work outside of a Jesuit institution now, I am still part of the Ignatian family, and tapping into the spirituality will be so crucial to staying sustained in my work.
—Sarah Otto, Director of Newman Catholic Center in Chico, CA
The conference made me realize that I need more intentional silence in my life. Besides the spectacular keynote talks, two workshops in particular seemed to carry the theme of the conference: Michael Sparough, SJ’s “Treasures of the Heart” was a wonderful hour of silence and an experience of Ignatian contemplation. Steve Connor’s workshop on Pope Francis had all the same elements, including a wonderful meditative introduction that transformed the auditorium into a sacred space.
—Maureen McCann Waldron, Co-founder of Creighton University Online Ministries
Never before in the history of humanity have we had the technological wealth to be so connected, yet never before have we known the poverty of being disconnected from God, others, and ourselves. The Ignatian Spirituality Conference inspired in me a deeper desire for that which grounds and inspires my identity and mission in the world today: silence. I could have asked for nothing more!
—Damian Zynda, Director of Formation at the Church of the Transfiguration in Rochester, NY
Were you at the conference? Add your thoughts in the comments. Not at the conference? Audio recordings of the keynote addresses are available here.
How does the theme of Ignatian silence speak to you?