Dear Prep Family,
Happy St. Ignatius Feast Day! Today we honor the founder of the Society of Jesus. At the Prep, we are a part of a 500-year-old faith and educational journey, the beneficiaries of a half millennia of experience and knowledge. The Prep is proud to be Philadelphia’s Jesuit High School.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a pilgrimage to sites in Spain and Rome connected to St. Ignatius. We started at his birth place in Loyola, Spain and moved east, going to the monastery in Montserrat, the river Cardoner, to the cave in Manresa where he began taking notes on what would become the Spiritual Exercises, to Barcelona where he studied to gain the credentials to preach and teach. We even stopped at his friend’s “house,” the castle of St. Francis Xavier. We followed Ignatius’ route on his pilgrimage across Spain as he sought to reach the Holy Land in the effort to quite literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
Throughout his life, Ignatius went from soldier, to pilgrim, to student, to founder, to administrator of the Society of Jesus. These roles led to a life-long journey as he walked his way across Europe and back. And for all the holy places of Ignatius, and the magnificence of the city of Rome, I have to admit that the objects that still stick out the most—the things that seemed to move me the deepest—were his shoes. In his rooms in Rome, there they were, encased in glass. The shoes he wore throughout his life as he slowly transformed into the person God created him to be. The shoes he wore as God revealed the next chapter, and the next, and the next. To me, this is what made him the most real. Where the rubber, or in this case, the leather, hit the road. And when does time ever really remain static? The answer is never. That’s the nature of time, and therefore the nature of our lives.
So on this day of celebrating the author of the Spiritual Exercises and the founder of the Society of Jesus, let’s pause and give gratitude to God for seeing us through all the different times of our own lives and all the different roles that appear before us. And then we ask for God’s continued grace going forward on our own journeys.
Happy St. Ignatius Day and may the God of every good gift continue to provide all that we need no matter what the road ahead may bring.
Rev. Stephen Surovick, S.J.
Senior Director, Mission and Ministry