News Detail
"Ignatian Spirituality believes that facing our brokenness begins with facing our truth and encountering the unconditional love of our God who actively labors with us and desires for us ever greater freedom.”
Jesuit Serves the Homeless through Ignatian Spirituality Project

August 7, 2013  Fifteen years ago, Jesuit Father Bill Creed cofounded the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) in Chicago to offer retreats to an often-overlooked group: the homeless. Fr. Creed and Ed Shurna, director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, have been helping homeless people build community, find hope and transform their lives through ISP ever since.

“Many outreach programs for the homeless try to address basic attributes such as food, clothing, shelter and employment,” said Fr. Creed. “However, when addiction is in play – and it often is for the homeless – there can be no real transition from poverty until the individual person has the inner resources to make different choices … Ignatian Spirituality believes that facing our brokenness begins with facing our truth and encountering the unconditional love of our God who actively labors with us and desires for us ever greater freedom.”

Fr. Creed recently shared about his own spiritual journey while conducting the retreats. Fr. Creed recalled that a man from Canada once showed up two days early at a workshop for which he had not registered, demanding free housing, a free workshop and a special diet. Fr. Creed became very angry with the man in front of the staff.

In response to Fr. Creed’s reaction, one of his colleagues commented on his lack of hospitality for a man who was “poor not only materially but psychologically and socially” and suggested Fr. Creed was “not only angry but also fearful” and out of touch with his own internal poverty.

Looking back, Fr. Creed said, “It was that event which began to lead me to listen inwardly, to my own brokenness, my vulnerability, to what was below my anger and fear. I am poor and that is a gift … We are invited to follow Christ’s poor, either in spiritual poverty or actual poverty.”

Since it began in 1998, ISP has grown into a national network of more than 400 lay volunteers who help homeless men and women through retreats and spiritual companionship, and a new survey shows that the project is helping. The ISP Outcomes Survey, a two-year study conducted in collaboration with a number of organizations and professionals, has confirmed that people who participate in ISP programs experience long-term internal and external change. According to the results, participants experienced a statistically significant decrease in loneliness and improvement in housing and employment six months after a retreat.

Fr. Creed said that feeling as though one is listened to, believed in, respected and trusted can be transformative in a homeless person’s life, and ISP can provide such listening presences. “We are all called to do this wherever we are,” he said.

For more information, visit ignatianspiritualityproject.org. [Wisconsin Province Jesuits]





Recent News

June 14, 2018 — Fr. Martin will speak on welcoming LGBT Catholics at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which runs from August 21-26.

June 13, 2018 — Jesuit organizations, including the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, are "appalled at this ill-conceived decision."

June 7, 2018 — Advice on prayer from Frs. Gillick and Carlson, longtime Creighton University priests who direct silent retreats.

May 31, 2018 — The Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. join our brother Jesuits and the Nicaraguan bishops in denouncing recent violence in Nicaragua.

May 29, 2018 — On his visit to Regina, Saskatchewan, Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, met with Indigenous elders and students at Mother Teresa Middle School.

May 27, 2018 — Fr. Sosa continued his 12-day visit to Canada this weekend, attending a diaconate ordination in Quebec City on Saturday and a Mass of Thanksgiving in Montreal today.

May 26, 2018 — Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., discusses some of the highlights of the provincials’ time with Father General.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 6/11/18

America 5/28/18

America 5/14/18



Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House
Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House is located on 80 acres of gently rolling meadows and wooded countryside just 35 miles northwest of Chicago.