Stephen Hoyland
Stephen Hoyland, Spiritual Director

Stephen Hoyland

I was a first year undergraduate at Manchester University studying Chemistry.  It was the wrong course and I was deeply unhappy.  A friend suggested I spend a couple of days at Loyola Hall Jesuit Spirituality Centre praying about what to do.   A wise spiritual director avoided counselling me and instead sent me off to pray with Isaiah 43:1-5: “If you walk through fire you will not be burned . . . you are precious in my eyes, you are honoured and I love you”.  At the words “I love you” I became aware of another tangible presence in the room which I believed to be God.  I felt an overwhelming sense of being loved and looked after.  All my fears subsided.  I changed degree course and the direction of my life.  Thirty years later I have been based at Loyola Hall and work around the country running retreats for students.  Isaiah 43:1-5 is a constant companion and I often give it to other students who are going through a difficult time.  I know from my own experience the way in which God can deal directly with people and I want to provide opportunities for that to happen.