I left early Friday morning on a train to New York City -- with plan to see my brother midday (and give the lunch talk where he works), then out to Fordham for a weekend conference on Ignatian spirituality - organized by the Jesuit Collaborative. I elected the theology track, the focus of the conference was on the Foundation and Principle, which more or less frames Ignatius' pre-requisites for giving the Exercises.
Four hundred people came, three hundred and ninety eight strangers and the director who gave me the Exercises - who walked in the door of the registration area right after I did. I had no idea he would be there (though in retrospect I might have expected it), and with so many people and so many possible tracks, I might never have seen him otherwise. On the other hand, when quite a few in the crowd are trained spiritual directors, adept at making people feel welcome, it's hard to remain strangers - I left knowing far more people than Jim Carr, SJ.
I enjoyed the talk by Ed McCormack from WTU on the mystical underpinnings of Ignatius' spirituality most of all - it made me miss my theology courses (though not quite enough to sign up for one!). The conference was bilingual, and it was nice to realize that I would respond in the right language in the elevator. The oddest thing was to share a suite with two other (I presume) women - neither of whom I ever saw. Our schedules were totally off. (The first night I crashed early - Barnacle Boy had been up the night before with a bad asthma attack, so I too, had been awake.) The boys teased me about traveling light - "you are a woman of the Exercises" they joked. My bags for the weekend are in the photo - there would have been a bit less if I hadn't talked at DESRES.
My favorite translation of the Foundation and Principle is the one by David Fleming, SJ from which this excerpt is taken:
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure,
a long life or short one.
For everything has the potential of calling
forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.
- St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.