From Spain to Rome,
Jesuit Alumni, Faculty and Staff Find God in All Things
This past summer, Le Moyne College President, Linda LeMura, Ph.D.; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rev. Joseph Marina, S.J.; and Vice President for Mission Integration, Rev. David McCallum ’90, S.J., traveled to the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, where they joined approximately 300 colleagues from 189 Jesuit institutions of higher education from around the world, to attend the inaugural meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU).
In the heart of Rome, lies a building with several rooms where St. Ignatius of Loyola spent the last decade or so of his life. It was there, in those rooms, that 30 people affiliated with Creighton University, spent their first afternoon in Rome, having already visited a number of other important sites in Spain on a summer pilgrimage following the footsteps of Ignatius and the early Jesuits.
Over the course of its nearly 150-year history, many alumni of Saint Peter’s University have expressed that they would like to learn more about the founder who played a major role in their life experience. In 2014, the Office of Alumni Engagement at Saint Peter’s responded to that call with the University’s first-ever trip to walk in the footsteps of St. Ignatius.
The bus from Bilbao rolled into the quiet Basque town of Loyola as I listened to the second movement of Franz Schubert’s Fifth Symphony. Like the mood of the music, it was cloudy, misty and dreary, yet immensely full of life. I was thousands of miles away from my academic home, Loyola Chicago, but I immediately felt that Loyola, Spain was my home. After all, I’d discovered my Jesuit vocation in Europe, and now I was returning to rediscover it in the place where everything Ignatian began more than 500 years ago.
Since the summer of 2017, The University of Scranton’s Jesuit Center has taken groups of faculty and staff on the “Footsteps of Ignatius Pilgrimage” to Spain and Italy to visit the important sites in the life of St. Ignatius and other prominent Jesuits. The faculty and staff cohorts begin with a nine-month on-campus Ignatian Leadership Program, designed to prepare participants for the experience along the Camino Ignaciano – the path of St. Ignatius – from Bilbao, Spain to Rome, Italy.
One student called it “easily the best academic experience I’ve ever taken part in.” Another trekker found it, at times, “demanding, boring, exhausting and discouraging.” Not the most compelling advertising pitch? Well, here’s what the second trekker said next: “But it also provided great happiness, enormous satisfaction and…when the walking was joined with our inner voyage…the pilgrimage brought much peace.”
VIDEO SERIES HIGHLIGHTS JESUIT EDUCATION
The October 2018 issue of Connections highlights ways that Jesuit institutions are encouraging students to register to vote and become politically engaged. Visit ajcunet.edu/connections to learn more.
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