Saturday, June 06, 2009

Prayer and service.

Readers who find themselves in Europe (or live elsewhere but have the means of getting there) may be interested to learn of current retreat offerings at the Cova de Sant Ignasi, a Jesuit spirituality center located at the site of the cave near the Catalonian village of Manresa where Ignatius lived for a period of eleven months in 1522 and 1523. During his time at Manresa, Ignatius underwent a series of profound spiritual experiences which culminated in the mystical illumination he felt by the banks of the River Cardoner. Manresa is also the place where Ignatius began to compose the Spiritual Exercises, so it is with some justification that the Jesuits at the Cova de Sant Ignasi describe this site as "the birthplace of Ignatian spirituality." The Jesuits at Manresa are currently offering the complete, thirty-day Exercises with individual direction available in several languages; upcoming dates and other details are available here. For those who would like to make an Ignatian retreat at Manresa but don't have a month to spare, eight-day and five-day retreats are also being offered. If you've always wanted to go to Manresa, this may be a good opportunity for you to do so.

On a somewhat different vein, I've been asked to call your attention to the work of the Fresh Air Fund. Founded in 1877, the Fresh Air Fund is an independent non-profit agency that provides free summer vacations to low-income children from New York City. The basic idea behind the Fresh Air Fund's work is that kids who have spent their entire lives in the inner city should have the opportunity to spend some time in the countryside. The Fresh Air Fund relies on the generosity of many people to do its work, from donors who provide financial assistance to families who agree to host children enrolled in the program. If you'd like to learn more, visit the Fresh Air Fund website to find out how you can get involved. AMDG.


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