Monday, July 31, 2006

For the feast today: Lay people moved by St. Ignatius, too

Laity Reflect on Life of Ignatius of Loyola
Mark 450th Anniversary of His Death

ROME, JULY 28, 2006 ( St. Ignatius of Loyola sought to find God in all things, including in city life, says the director of the Lay Center at Foyer Unitas.

This was the lesson Donna Orsuto delivered to a pilgrimage group from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., ahead of July 31, the 450th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Jesuits.

The group of lay professionals, including attorneys, government employees and diplomats, participated in a course offered by the center entitled "Praying in Rome From the Martyrs to St. Ignatius of Loyola: History, Architecture and Spirituality."

Orsuto, also a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, spoke to the participants about the spirituality of the founder of the Jesuits, who always considered himself a pilgrim, although he spent the last 19 years of his life in the city of Rome.

"Actually, when Ignatius arrived in Rome in 1537, it was more of a small town -- with probably just over 50,000 people -- than a big city," Orsuto said. "Nevertheless, Ignatius wanted to live in the center of it all where he would be caught up in diverse activities, such as starting a house for reformed prostitutes, giving the Spiritual Exercises to important citizens, and governing his companions who were eventually scattered from Europe to throughout the world.

"Ignatius the pilgrim was a city dweller in the last years of his life, finding God in all things."

Spiritual Exercises

Orsuto said that "the greatest gifts that Ignatius gave to us, though, are his Spiritual Exercises. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius exemplify the pattern of purification and transformation at work in the life of a person who opens himself to God."

"They are about God's creative and redemptive work in the life of an individual, leading him or her to greater inner freedom so that he might recognize and respond to God's call with great generosity in the here and now," she said.

The group visited various Ignatian sites in Rome, including the rooms where St. Ignatius lived and died in 1556.

No comments: