Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jesuit Retreat Program for the Homeless Highlighted in the St. Louis Review

The Ignatian Spirituality Project hosts retreat at Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet 
to help homeless find meaning in their lives. (courtesy St. Louis Review)
The St. Louis Review features a story on the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that offers retreats, based on the Ignatian spiritual exercises, for homeless individuals.The goal is to help the homeless develop a deeper relationship with God and find meaning and purpose as they get their lives back on track — and someday end their homelessness.

Since its inception, about 150 overnight retreats have been held in a dozen cities across the United States, with the hope of expanding to several other cities by 2010. In St. Louis, the program was introduced about a year ago, when the project's coordinators in Chicago approached St. Patrick Center, the Catholic Charities agency that is Missouri's largest provider of services for the homeless.

Ann Rotermund, senior director of mental health programs at St. Patrick Center, said she "jumped at the chance" when leaders at the agency were contacted by Chicago organizers about offering the retreats in St. Louis.

"We'd been doing meditation (with clients) three times a week," said Rotermund. "So we knew people were hungry for this sense of quiet and peace. It's funny how this kind of fell in our lap."

To read more about the Ignatian Spirituality Project's impact in St. Louis, go here. Photographer Lisa A. Johnston has created a multimedia presentation on the Ignatian Spirituality Project in St. Louis, click here to view

Watch the video below for an overview of the purpose of the Ignatian Spirituality Project.