|Jesuit University Places Its Tradition Online
September 15, 2000
Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska is using high tech to return to the roots of its spiritual tradition. The Creighton Online Ministries website offers a 34-week retreat based on the movements of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the foundation of Jesuit spirituality. The retreat is designed to allow anyone to make a retreat, at a computer, in the midst of today’s busy life.
Personal freedom and a greater intimacy with God are the focus of the innovative Retreat in Daily Life, which begins its third year on September 17. The internet-based retreat follows the patterns of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and is just one of the on-line ministries on the Creighton website. It is located at http://www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/online.html
A counter on the site, as well as weekly e-mail, indicate thousands of people who have found the online experience not only user-friendly, but also profoundly meaningful. From third world countries, without access to retreat houses to corporate executive suites, the team hears from retreatants who share how they use this web site to find God in their everyday lives.
Although the 34-week retreat can be begun at any time during the year, starting it in mid-September will allow retreatants to coordinate the weekly readings with the Liturgical Year. The retreat is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and features a weekly guide, helps for prayer and photographs for reflection on each week’s focus. An on-line sharing element takes advantage of the resources of the web to allow people from all over the world to share their experiences of God.
“The Exercises have transformed people’s lives for 500 years,” said Andy Alexander, S.J. “We wanted to expand their reach so the Exercises could be available to people at their computers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Alexander is vice president for University Ministry and director of the Collaborative Ministry Office, which created the website.
“We used the Exercises as our textbook as we designed the retreat,” he said. “We also enlisted the support of two other Jesuit priests at Creighton University.” Don Doll, S.J. an internationally renowned photographer, contributed a photo every week and Larry Gillick, S.J., a popular spiritual director and retreat director wrote a weekly column for the retreat called “Guideposts for the Journey.”
“We began our on-line ministries as a service for people on our own campus,” said Maureen McCann Waldron, associate director of the Collaborative Ministry Office, “but we quickly found that it became a global ministry. People are visiting the website from their homes and their offices, and praying the retreat by themselves or in groups.”
Creighton University is a Jesuit Catholic University located in Omaha,