Tom McGuinness SJ
I have been working in the field of Ignatian spirituality since 1978, shortly after ordination, in most of the retreat or spirituality centres of the Jesuits in Britain. My final formation year as a Jesuit was spent in an international group in Japan and the Philippines. In that year I was drawn to the shared insights of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and Zen practice. I found it an enriching time which opened my own spiritual horizons in a significant and inclusive way. Since that time I have been working with people on a one-to one and group basis both in the beautiful settings of some of our retreat houses like St Beuno’s but also in parish contexts, offering retreats in daily life.
Throughout these years I have enjoyed developing an interest in song-writing as one way of expressing the approach of St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. I have been fortunate to be able to record some CDs * of these reflection songs with the support of other Jesuits and, in earlier days, with some of my own family. These songs have been a helpful and hopefully accessible way of sharing something of the language of God’s compassionate interaction with us in our life-experience.
I was also privileged to be able to take part in the BBC series ‘The Big Silence’ filmed at St Beuno’s where a number of retreat guides were able to accompany five young men and women at a significant time of life-transition for each of them. Recently seeing again the DVD of that time deepened my own gratitude for the powerful and gentle way that God can work in our lives.
Until 2015 I was Director and part of the Team of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre (www.iscglasgow.co.uk) in Glasgow, a small ecumenical, non-residential Centre in the heart of the city. ISC offers individual accompaniment, training, many events and also outreach to places locally and further afield in Scotland. Our team and those we meet are drawn from all the Christian traditions. Others also are drawn to us who are not aligned to a specific religious tradition but are searching for a meaningful spirituality in their lives
For some years I have been part of and was recently Chair of the Catholic Network for Retreats and Spirituality (CNRS). This is part of a larger ecumenical network called the Retreat Association (www.retreats.org.uk ) which offers support, information and opportunities to people across many traditions. For me it has been an important link with other traditions of Christian spirituality which complement a Jesuit or Ignatian approach.
One way of presenting retreats and reflection days with other colleagues and friends over many years has been with images from classical and contemporary art, woven with scripture, music, song and prayer. Together we have found that the language of art and spirituality moves people at a profound level and often opens a window for God to touch our lives very deeply.
* CDs: ‘Exsultet /All Will Be Well’ and ‘Winter Gifting’ see McCrimmon Publishing Co Ltd. www.mccrimmons.com