Ignatian Spirituality #4

16 Reasons I am grateful for St. Ignatius” – Dennis Hamm, SJ

St. Ignatius of Loyola

  1. Thank you, Ignatius, for being a “soul brother.”

He referred to his mission as “helping souls,” not because he thought he was dealing with disembodied spirits, but because “soul” connoted the divine origin, dignity, and destiny of every human being he encountered. He was a “soul brother” to everyone he met.

  1. Thank you, Ignatius, for crafting a model of religious organization and administration that blends a top-down command structure with maximal consultation and local initiative. Today, they teach this style of leadership in business schools.
  2. Thank you, Ignatius, for the 12-step movement addressing addictions. Yes! “Bill W” articulated the Alcoholics Anonymous program in collaboration with a Jesuit, Father “Pug” Dowling of the Missouri Province.

[Footnote: See the book, The Soul of Sponsorship by Robert Fitzgerald, SJ for the story about “Puggy” Dowling’s friendship – even some mentorship –  with Bill W.   Fr. Dowling seems to have influenced Bill W. as he wrote the “Twelve and Twelve,” which can be surmised in the extensive correspondence between them.  Fr. D. recognized a confluence between what Bill had written in Alcoholics Anonymous and what he had learned about Ignatian spirituality –roc,sj]

  1. Thank you, Ignatius, for prizing personal appropriation and adaptation. No “one size fits all.” This shows up in his approaches to personal prayer, to retreats, and to education, combining discipline with openness to the unique gifts of the individual and the concrete circumstances of one’s life.

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