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The Ignatian Year in Britain, by Fr Ladislav Šulik

May 19, 2021

The Ignatian Year in Britain

Fr Ladislav Šulik is coordinating events in the British Province for the Ignatian Year and explains how they will form a journey we can all take together.

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, has called for us to celebrate an Ignatian Year in recognition of the historical events in Ignatius’ life that led to his transformation. Thursday May 20th marks five hundred years since Ignatius’ injury in the battle of Pamplona and a life crisis that gifted him an opportunity to get in touch with himself and decide on a new path. From the sequence of events at Pamplona, Loyola and Manresa, a course was set for the founding of the Jesuits twenty years later.
An important part of Jesuit initial formation is to undertake an experiment called pilgrimage. Since the time of Ignatius, Jesuits have a great tradition of walking. Walking as a spiritual practice and a tool brings Jesuit novices into a self-knowledge that lasts. Many people who want an experience of journeying back through their lives, choose famous routes or shrines in a search of renewal - in an effort to take hold of life rather than miss out on it.
The heart of this Jubilee is primarily about enhancing the present moment with a meaningful future orientation. The Ignatian Year invites everyone to look at the same reality in a new way. Bridging historical events with a future change speaks volumes in the midst of this pandemic we are all going through. For many of us, this year is about getting our lives back.
Secondly, Father General chose for this Ignatian Year the motto “to see things anew in Christ”. Our renewal has a clear direction and purpose being focused on Christ who guarantees life to those who follow Him (cf. Jn 14,6). He inspires a liberating change in us. Looking back at Ignatius’ key life events we are invited to make Christ the centre of our change of life. That is why we have decided in the British Province to translate his invitation to a pilgrimage, one that inspires us to change. Without commitment to a journey, there can be no real change. And our journey turns into praying together. In our difficult circumstances, we journey together in prayer, looking at the possibility of dreaming a new future. As we progress, we will invite more and more people to join us in our travels.
Walking can help us bring about change. As a way to get through the lockdowns, walking is back in vogue. It is the most natural movement for the body, invigorating our bodies, clearing our minds, and helping us to see things differently.
To aid our walking together during this Ignatian year, we are organising an 'event journey' in the form of workshops, reflections, courses, and pilgrimages that will take us through a sequence of stages and culminate in a final global retreat in July 2022. This will bring together people from around the world online and to the beautiful setting of St. Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre.
We will help people to notice God’s presence within them, to use our imaginations to take Ignatius’ spiritual conversion as a vehicle for reading our own experience of life - following the different stages of Ignatius' conversion story. We will better understand how Ignatius ended up following Christ, and we will see how Christ's story unfolds in our own lived experiences today.
The Ignatian Year gives us an opportunity to relearn how to live our life in a simplicity of little things and to look ahead with hope. We all need change and more importantly we need to learn how to incorporate that change into our lives.

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