We are delighted to share an interview with Michael Tod, teacher at Saint Ignatius’ College Geelong VIC in Australia, who participated in the 4 Key Practices in Ignatian Spirituality Course.

4 Key Practices in Ignatian Spirituality is a facilitator-led global course which offers a new synchronous global learning experience for Ignatian educators. This new course modality provides members of our global community the opportunity to learn together as a global group of learners coming from different schools and countries around the world.

We would like to thank Michael for sharing his learning experience with other members of our global community through this interview. Thank you Michael!

Q1. Which of the topics covered in this course most interested you during this group learning experience? And why.

I am most interested in the use of Spiritual Conversation as a way to develop richer and more authentic relationships with colleagues and students. The background material on Ignatius and his interactions with people is always fascinating to me. There is a real sense of the man in the passages that describe how certain people were drawn to him and his gentle, compelling manner. It seems he was able to use the art of conversation to move quickly beyond day-to-day concerns and uncover the subtle spiritual yearnings that lie just beneath the surface of our lives. To employ such a tool in a school environment, where the frantic pace of the modern world is more and more evident, is an attractive prospect.

Q2. Did you feel you gained a richer or deeper understanding of this topic by reflecting on and discussing it with a global group? If so, please explain.

The opportunity to practise Spiritual Conversation with a small group of people from all over the world was a powerful reminder of our commonalities, despite the distances and cultural differences. It was humbling to hear just how similar our primary concerns were when invited to share. The sense of connection between group members strengthened quickly as we were able to empathise with each other and hear about lives that might be physically distant but were evidently a lot closer than we had initially thought.

Q3. Was this your first time taking a course related to “Ignatian Spirituality” as a global group? Please explain your experience.

This was my first experience of completing a course that involved live group discussions with people from all over the world. Any perceived challenges this might present quickly evaporated as the group was able to share personal experience that resonated with other group members.

Q4. What other takeaways would you like to share with other educators who might be thinking of taking this course?

Meeting first as a larger group and then forming smaller breakout rooms was an effective way to enrich the course content. While the course material was accessible and engaging, it is always powerful to share one’s experience with others. The format of the course was familiar and effective, containing video-style lectures, reading material and group tutorials.