Reflecting back on the past seven years since I graduated from Seattle University, I am in awe of how Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality has influenced my personal, spiritual and professional life in a holistic and real way.
Jesuit education helped me to provide a framework for my own personal faith journey at a pivotal time in my life. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer seven years ago. I was grappling with my own faith at the time, left the Church and took a break from my studies after receiving my Associates of Arts degree from Seattle Central Community College. I was working in retail, and also volunteering through the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center and with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, an orphanage in Nicaragua. I was faced with my own process around my mom's cancer, realizing the fragility and shortness of life, and wondering how to make my life more meaningful. I decided to go back to my Catholic faith and to school to get my Bachelors of Arts degree in Theology and Religious Studies from Seattle University. I wanted to learn more about my Catholic faith and to be in an environment that fostered and provided a structure to work out my own spiritual journey. Jesuit education offered a way to incorporate what I was learning, apply it, and make connections in my own life. During my studies at Seattle U, I went on a five-day Ignatian silent retreat where I learned more about Ignatian spirituality and had a felt sense of connection with it. My mom passed away a year before I graduated. I was left bereft but what carried me through was my mom’s unwavering love and trust for God that she had instilled in me.
I continue to be shaped by my Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality since I graduated. Two years ago I became the Spiritual Enrichment for Young Adults Coordinator at the Ignatian Spirituality Center where I organized Ignatian gatherings for young adults ages 21-35 in the Seattle and Tacoma areas. Jesuit education has cultivated in me a consciousness around being held accountable for my actions and how it affects the rest of the world. This fall I will be attending the Graduate Theological Union through the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in Berkeley to get my Masters of Arts degree in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion. Because of the lasting imprint Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality have left on me, I will leave Seattle with a deeper hunger for justice and love for God. To me, magis means to live “the more,” to ask questions and be okay with the uncertainty while also having the capacity to hear God calling us to live more deeply into our most authentic selves.
Seattle University, 2009