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Jesuit Centre’s unique Lenten strategy

The Jesuit Centre of Spirituality and Culture in Galway are looking for anyone who would like to take part in a 6-week Lenten challenge of dedicating 10+ minutes a day on a spiritual practice of their choice. The opening gathering and introduction to this unique Lenten venture will take place at the Centre on Sea Rd, Galway, on Thursday, February 8 at 8pm. After that you can check in one to one (or via video call), once a week, with an experienced prayer guide. In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, Eddie Cosgrove SJ, the new director of the centre, talks of the Lenten retreat.

Regarding what the retreatant chooses for their spiritual practice, they can pray with scripture, do a stillness exercise, reflect on their day, run, walk, listen to music or do something else creative.  ” Wherever you find God, basically,” says Eddie. Those who sign up for the challenge can then reflect on its impact over the week, with a spiritual guide.

Whilst the Jesuit spirituality centre is obviously Christian-based the retreat is open to anyone from any tradition seeking to enrich or develop their own spiritual journey. Indeed, Ignatian Spirituality is about finding you where you’re at, says Eddie. “It’s about tuning into what gives you energy; what gives you life in your day; or what’s taking energy away from you.” He says that whatever people present with, their personal spiritual guides will work with them and explore what might help them over the six weeks of Lent.

“There are movements in our spiritual life,” says Eddie; “and we’re moved in different ways, so it’s helpful to share that with another person and also someone who can listen to those movements. And we’re delighted to help people.” Jotting down what’s happening for retreatants is recommended, so that their reflection tools can be developed, for example, upon reviewing your day, you may see that the first 10 minutes of social media use is fruitful but that the remaining time isn’t life-giving.

Moreover, according to Eddie, having moments of silence can help you get in touch with where life is, where God is, where happiness and fulfilment is, and it can present difficulties too. Our bodies and our hearts can speak to us during this time. With regard to silence, he says: “There are truths there that are guiding us to what’s better”.

One of the new developments at the Spirituality Centre is the planting and growing of vegetables in the garden as well as maintaining a compost area for new soil. Eddie says that this initiative is a response to the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si’. See the picture above for the setting up of the garden.

The Jesuit Centre of Spirituality and Culture is located at 6 Ely Place, Sea Road, Galway. Pre-booking is essential: jesuitcentregalway@gmail.com or 091 725 363. Cost of €60 for waged; reduction for unwaged; the centre can also accommodate those who can’t afford the retreat.