Our Writers Introduce Themselves
chose to read this book and participate in the discussion because I
was drawn to it and since I completed the 19th annotation last year
I have missed the weekly discussions on our assignments and readings.
I first was introduced to the exercises when I was a nursing student
at Boston College. I absolutely loved my Jesuit education and it has
served me well. My director at that time was totally committed to the
formation of young working lay professionals bringing Christ into the
everyday world and participating in the transformation of the work place.
He was remarkable holy priest. From bedside critical care nursing, I
returned to school and became a Sociologist. During my teaching years,
I felt extremely privileged to be part of the lives of some of the most
courageous women who returned to school after a number of crises in
their lives. Eventually I heard a voice that sent me to the Medical
Mission Sisters with whom I lived for a little more than a year. Subsequently
I heard a different calling and I married had 3 children and continued
with teaching nursing. My husband died 3 years ago. Currently, I am
in a state hospital that provides care to those with chronic medical
and psychiatric conditions. Most can not receive care in any other setting.
I serve as head of a department researching care practices and reducing
I volunteered for this retreat as soon as I found the invitation. I participate as a small way of saying "Thank You" to Collaborative Ministry Online which has been a positive force in spiritual life for about 8 years now.
Peter STS, New Carlisle, Ohio, US
Hello to all of
you who have responded and are willing to be part of this wonderful
on-line Lenten retreat. It was my privilege of knowing Fr. Gary Smith
sj in the 1970's when he was assigned to Holy Family Church in San Jose,
Ca. and now it is my pleasure to read through his insights and see through
his eyes what many of us have not been exposed to in our
I am a Sister of Mercy, age 67, teaching philosophy at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. In a sense I have been in the Jesuit network since graduate school at Fordham, quite a while ago. In that time I have experienced the riches of the Spiritual Exercises in several forms, including the 19th Annotation.
I was initially
drawn to this lenten retreat for a couple of reasons:
Betsy, RSM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Blessed with the opportunity to complete the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in 2006, I continue to struggle in two areas. First, how do I use time, talent, and treasure to love and serve our Lord? and second, what do I need to do to be able to recognize God's presence in those individuals I encounter, especially, in those relationships which challenge me the most. Lent is my favorite time of year to reflect on where I am in my relationship with Jesus and how I can increase his presence in my heart. When I saw the opportunity to participate in this retreat, I felt an immediate rush to respond. I pray for all of my co-retreatants, that our hearts may be open to whatever God is calling us to through this unique opportunity. AMDG.
Tom D., Cleveland, Ohio, US
I was really
glad to see this book sharing for Lent at the Creighton site. I had
been reading about 'preparing for Lent'; though I want to do this every
year, it often slides right by, and I find myself working out my Lenten
plan once it's begun; and feel 'behind' at least for a few weeks. I
knew immediately I would want to participate in this book forum. In
addition, I have wanted to really grow in understanding some things
occurring with people in other parts of the world. The foreign names
for people and places seem to muddle my mind, and I give up too quickly.
Fr. Gary Smith has found a way to assist in the clearly written introduction,
and the included maps. The commitment to take my time and read this
prayerfully over the time of Lent, rather than read too quickly and
shallowly will enable me to develop deeper understanding of things that
seem a bit scary to consider.
I'm an American who has been living in France for over twenty years. I teach at one of the universities in the Paris area. My son, who's in college in the US just did a class on peacekeeping in Africa and I wanted to find out more about the situation there. I also wanted to do something special for Lent, something that would jar me a bit out of the rut I'm in. When I saw the announcement on Creighton's website, everything seemed to come together and I knew that God was calling me to do this. So I immediately respnded. The only problem is that, being in Paris, I haven't yet received the book. I hope it comes soon.
I read the author's note and introduction on Loyola Press's website and found it very moving. One of the things I notice in reading it is how often I complain, every day: problems at work, problems at home. The electricity was cut a couple of weeks ago for a few hours. Since we're in winter, it got cold and dark. I complained a lot about that. So how can people in much, much worse situations than me sing when all I seem to do is complain? Definite food for thought this Lent.
Lori in Paris
I am a Sister of Mercy for 64 years. I am also a Creighton graduate in 1982. I took my first social justice class in 1979. I was excited about this book and the opportunity it provided. I have been here in my third career as a certified chaplain in our cancer center here in Fort Lauderdale Florida. I am preparing to retire from active ministry and continue to do Healing Touch as a volunteer.
Sr. Margaret, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, US
I volunteered to be part of this group because I felt that committing to it would prevent me from dropping out a few weeks into Lent as I might do if I just did it on my own.
I am a 73 year old native New Yorker transplanted, with my husband, to a rural area in North Carolina. Here we are close to two of our three children and our four grandchildren. This gives us the wonderful (sometimes exhausting) opportunity to see these children grow and develop. I became acquainted with St. Ignatius in 1997 when I made 12 week "At Home With God" retreat in my parish. This led to the development of a solid daily prayer practice and a few years later I participated in the Nineteenth Annotation. My prayer life began to suffer after our move 4 years ago and this retreat is offering me the opportunity to regroup and get back on track. Thank you so very much!
Mo from North Carolina, US
I have been part of the on-line Creighton community for the last 3 or 4 years and was delighted when I saw the invitation to be part of this Lenten reading group. The topic of Fr Gary's book immediately attracted me and I expect to be challenged and to undergo life-enhancing change in my attitudes about my own life experiences, as I learn from these refugees. This is the grace for which I pray.
Jean, Lancaster, NW, England
My name is Drew.
I am 47 years old, a husband of 19 years and a father of two. I have
been using the Creighton and Sacred Space websites for daily reflection
for some time. It will be both an honor and challenge to share these
reflections during this very unique Lenten journey.
Drew, Wayne, Pennsylvania, US
It was difficult
for me to open They Came Back Singing. I felt that
Mary, Joliet, Illinois, US.
I live in Allentown, PA with my husband of 41 years. We have 3 grown daughters and 7 wonderful grandchildren. I’ve been using the Creighton daily reflection site for several years. As soon as I saw the invitation to be part of this retreat I signed up immediately. It was only afterward that I realized what an awesome privilege it is to share with this global community of faith. I know it will be a fruitful Lent.
Rita - Allentown, PA, US
I am a 43-year single president of
a Catholic, Benedictine K-12 school in the Cincinnati area. I am Jesuit-
and Franciscan-educated, and have been blessed to be able to come back
and work for both communities during the course of my career. I look
forward to our reading and sharing, and the opportunity to step outside
the circle of my own experience during this Lent.
I was viciously attacked by two American Bulldogs/Rottweilers on 9/29/05,which cost me the removal of my left buttock. Through the last couple of years during recovery I lost myself to a dark hole of severe depression; however,I never gave up on Jesus or God. I was just grateful to be alive and that it was not my face. However, it did put a complete hold on my life and personality of being a survivor.
I attended a St Ignatius Retreat at my children's school. I was amazed of the graces I recieved and how the faculty and staff helped with my recovery. I finally recieved a peace within myself that help me to deal with the drastic changes that occurred because of this horrific event. So after the nine week retreat was over I was saddened because that was the first time since my attack that I was among people. We were given additional info to continue our prayer time on our own and your site was included.THANK GOD! So ever since November I have continued my retreat online.
I just wanted to let everyone know that God and Jesus really work. It takes time and patience.Thank You!
Rebecca D.- Cleveland, Ohio, US
I am the Mother
of three married kids and Grandmother of Alicia Grace. I work as a X-ray
and MRI Tech for a Catholic Health System in Orthopaedics. I am also
a parttime missionay and an advocacy worker for Immigration Reform and
Universal Healthcare. I love to sing and sing in several choirs.
When I saw
the invitation to participate in the Lent Retreat Group, a "yes"
was on my lips within seconds! Being highly engaged in ministry and
loving it, the LGR has the potential to keep me focused, to stretch
my heart and to hear the call from Jesus once again to live in solidarity
with my suffering brothers and sisters. Best part is that everything
is already organized. All I need to do is let God's grace work in and
through me as I pray with our world-wide community. My hope is that
many will join this journey in the forty day journey that awaits us!
The day before I saw the invitation to join this retreat group I had remarked to a friend, “I need a good Lent!” and wasn’t sure which path to follow to come to that experience. Thank you CU Online Ministries for this opportunity to guide us through this Lenten journey. I live in a suburb south of Chicago, Illinois, and am involved in music ministry at my parish. It is through music that I seem to find our Lord most present in my life, or should I say He continues to find me. I pray for us all as we ask for God’s blessings on this journey together.
Susan - South Holland, Illinois, US
I'm a recently
retired elementary school teacher (inner city,Jacksonville, Florida)
who volunteered for this Lenten Reading Group because of a friend's
suggestion - she didn't make it! God does work in mysterious ways!
I am a pastor of
a large, suburban parish in the northern suburbs of Buffalo, ordained
22 years a priest. But, my Lent this year will be spent in Southwest
Asia as I perform my Air National Guard chaplain duties. I find Lent
increasingly difficult to enter into with the additional pastoral demands
of extra confessions, special prayer services as well as different gathering
rites and activites at Sunday Eucharist. This will be the second Lent
I will have spent in Asia and I hope that the desert climate, the change
of scenery, and reflection upon the journey of Fr. Gary Smith shakes
me from slumber and moves my heart deeper into the life of God. It will
be good to journey with such a diverse world-wide group. Thanks for
to be part of this Lenten reading group as a way to say a small thank
you for the gift that you and your ministry are in my life.
Honestly,after I freely joined Online
reading group I experienced struggle within my heart. Do I really need
all of these people from Sudan or Uganda disturb 'my' Lent? No. I don't
care for destiny of some distant african people whom I can't give real
help. And I'm fed up with news about wars, killings and starvings.....
I'm on the begging of 'adventure' to allow refugees to be more than
just statistical number from one book. It's not easy to face reality
of their lives and to find place for them in my own heart . Reading
this book impressed because I found how Jesus CARES for this world -
calling and sending men like fr.Garry Smith, sj, in the midst of terror,
injustice, poverty. Jesus, thank you for people who care when we don't.
I am a junior high school geography
and computer technology teacher at an Omaha-area Catholic school. My
wife of twenty-six years, Susan, is a pediatric nurse and we are the
proud parents of three sons and a daughter.
I am Rev. Fr. Gogo A. of the Archdiocese
of Palo, Leyte, Philippines. I am assigned at the Sacred Heart Seminary
in Palo. I am a Spiritual Director of the 1st and 2nd year high school
seminarians and at the same time I teach math in our college department.
I was ordained last September 20, 2005. I came across your website and
I thought of trying to help out.
I am a Sister of St John of God...a small
Irish congregation of Sisters...I am living and now ministering in the
Diocese of Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, South Africa...we are 3 sisters
who are working here. Our ministry is to those who are living and dying
of HIV/AIDS...we are working in different parishes...we are involved
in three different programmes...Education for life, Home Base Care and
Orphans and vulnerable children... Our response is small...but we do
not work in isolation ...we work closely with other religious and priests
and volunteers...we are also with the local people on the ground. In
2007 I celebrated my silver jubilee of Profession...
Anita - Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, South Africa
I live in Cleveland, Ohio, went to St. Ignatius HS and Xavier U, in Cincinnati , OH. I look forward to being a part of this group, thanks for organizing it.
Joe M. - Cleveland,