These days we often hear others and ourselves say “Stay healthy!” and it is indeed great advice and encouragement. While our school communities are striving to adapt to online delivery and parents are learning about home-schooling, staying healthy in every way (including mentally and spiritually) is key to help us get through this challenging time. Thankfully there are many encouraging and creative initiatives, articles, videos, reflections and prayers from our schools, our Ignatian family and beyond that can help us to take care of our minds, to stay grounded and to pray and reflect to raise our spirits.
Spiritual exercises and fitness will also help us grow stronger and reach out to others in compassionate love and solidarity. In this article we have gathered resources that have been shared by the community and which we thought might be helpful.
We hope you enjoy them and if you have any resources that you think would help others please share them with us at [email protected] so that we can share them with the community.
Let’s start with two encouraging and inspiring videos by the leadership of the Society of Jesus, one from Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, and another from Fr. José Mesa SJ, International Secretary for Pre-Secondary and Secondary Jesuit Education.
Video messages from Fr. General and the Secretary for Education
“I have been receiving information about the many creative initiatives that have been taken both in the provinces, regions, communities and apostolic works of the Society of Jesus… as well as in collaboration with others. I thank the Lord for all of this. I encourage you to continue looking for the best ways to be close to those in need, in order to continue to walk the common path together.” Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ
“This is a moment to grow together as men and women for others. We have said it very often. This is an opportunity to show it. Let’s see how we can reach out to those who feel isolated, abandoned, in crisis. Could we do something to feel closer to them? Could we do something for those people? Let us think especially of those who might be overwhelmed with this crisis. Can we offer in our school communities and even to others spiritual outreach?” Fr. José Mesa SJ
Prayer and reflection resources
As everything has suddenly changed around us, it is a mentally, emotionally and spiritually charged time for all. Lent invites us to look at this situation with the deep eyes of faith.
Interactive Spiritual Exercises for Students, Educators and Parents
Therapeutic and Spiritual Exercises to Live Better During the Coronavirus Time These therapeutic and spiritual exercises by Sicilian Jesuit educator Artur Pruś SJ are tailored for students, teachers and parents. The exercises are interactive and invite us to reflect and share in order to inspire and be inspired by others. You can do them on a computer, tablet and/or laptop.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY? A Day in My Life: Living Under the COVID-19 Pandemic Cora Antonio from Bellarmine College Prep in California, United States and Maria Oliva Garcia de Cassasola from Colegio San José de Villafranca in the South of Spain both approached us with a creative and heart-warming idea as a way to “journey with the youth” during these troubled times. The proposal is to invite students from all Jesuit schools around the world to share their stories with each other as they experience and live through these uncertain times.
Spiritual Strategies in a time of Pandemic
Seven Spiritual Strategies for a Time of Pandemic as recommended by Marina McCoy of Boston College.
Digital Retreat by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. We are invited to make ourselves ready and available, to encounter Jesus in our homes, to welcome him into this moment of uncertainty and fear. Participate in this digital Easter retreat – “Shelter in Hope” – which follows the popular “Into the Cave” Lenten retreat.
Daily Examen and occasional Mass
Many schools throughout our global network are sharing the daily examen with teachers and students. Here are some links with invitations to join in this daily prayer and occasional mass.
Brian Marana and the Loyola Blakefield Campus Ministry team in Maryland, USA invite everyone to join in their daily Virtual Examen and in the occasional mass
Bob Stephan, Director of Ignatian Formation and Adult Spirituality at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, USA shared a link to recordings of the daily Lenten Examen from members of their Loyola community.
Occasional mass from the Clougherty Chapel. Watch this space. On the Fourth Sunday of Lent Fr Greg Goethals, SJ, President of Loyola High School presided at a Mass in the Clougherty Chapel which was live-streamed by the Loyola Broadcast Club.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is compiling resources to respond in Prayer, Reflection, and Solidarity to the COVID-19 crisis. This article features a useful method of reflection and prayer in times of uncertainty and rapid change the “Examen for Life During COVID-19”, created by Susan Haarman, the associate director at Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning.
Loyola Press has created the app “Reimagining the Ignatian Examen” based on Mark Thibodeaux, SJ’s best-selling book, “Reimagining the Ignatian Examen” and available for Android and iOS.. Reimagining the Examen offers a unique prayer experience that’s tailored to your needs and mood. Each Examen, based on St. Ignatius’s 500-year-old prayer, guides you through a stimulating reflection on your day, helping you invite God into your nitty-gritty.
Another useful resource is The ‘Examen’ Handbook. A guide for Leading Others through the Prayer of the ‘Examen’ by Fr. Ross Jones SJ. containing a great introduction into the theology and spirituality of the examen, guidelines and a host of examples of different types of this Ignatian prayer.
Resources for School Chaplains and Religious Education teachers
The Guidelines for an Evangelizing School – “Líneas de Fuerza” (LdF) project has an amazing array of inspiring resources for both primary and secondary school students in different languages (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese). This is the second year (2019 – 2020) in the six-year cycle in which the project offers some key inspirations of Ignatian spirituality. This year the focus is on the Principle and Foundation and the theme of “#TRUST, so as to love and serve in everything”. To read more and access the resources click here.
Catholics & Cultures is a free, globally accessible educational website featuring articles, images, videos, demographic data and interviews on aspects of lived Catholicism in nearly 30 countries and nine Eastern Churches. For example, we have many articles, photos and videos depicting Holy Week practices around the world. The website’s Educator Resources include Secondary School Lesson Plans that can be modified for remote learning as well as a Video Library and Photo Sets that can be adapted for your educational materials. If you are looking for particular resources, please reach out and the team can help direct you. You are welcome to email the Catholics and Cultures team at [email protected].
Global Spiritual Ignatian Stories
Fr. Brendan McManus SJ, an Irish Jesuit, offers some reflections and practical advice inspired by Ignatius of Loyola, who developed an approach to ‘living through difficulty’ based on his experience and using certain rules of thumb. Read the article here
Fr. Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, Flemish Jesuit and author reflects on what wisdom St. Ignatius of Loyola might want to share with us regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his article we share what Fr. Nikolaas thinks St. Ignatius would write in a letter from heaven which contains down-to-earth advice. Read the article here.
Other resources – Christian Meditation and Emotional Wellness Apps
Even with life under quarantine, may we all find a place of deeper encounter, tranquility and find some space and kindness for ourselves and others.
There are many Christian meditation apps to help deepen one’s personal faith and spirituality and also others that support one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are some recommendations for both types of apps.
In this article, you will find meditation apps that are based on Scripture meditation. Most of them offer free content and some premium paid content too.
Other apps such as Calm and Headspace offer a range of free content (meditations, music, sleep and movement exercises and masterclasses) to support with mental and emotional wellbeing through this uncertain time. Headspace offers free access to all K-12 teachers, school administrators, and supporting staff in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia and a lot of great free content generally.