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Ignatian Lutherans

boleary_01Johannesgarden is a retreat centre outside Gothenburg. It was originally run by Sacred Heart Sisters from Germany but is now in the care of the Swedish Catholic diocesan authorities. Each year members of Kompass – an ecumenical ignatian association in Sweden – gather there for an eight-day directed retreat. Almost all are Lutheran priests who live Ignatian spirituality and incorporate it in their ministries. Brian O’Leary recently returned from leading this year’s retreat in which he had a Scottish and a German sister as co-directors. This is the third such retreat in which Brian has been involved. This Swedish ecumenical interest in Ignatius reaches further, as you can read below.Brian led a workshop for Kompass on the Jesuit Constitutions! Earlier this year he was asked to write an article for Polanco, the ignatian spirituality review published by Kompass. The theme was Ignatius’ theory and practice in formation for leadership/ministry. Ignatian spirituality has a freshness for these Swedish Lutherans that Catholics here may well have lost. Some of them were taught in their seminary that Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits to destroy Luther and his reform. This was the received opinion at the time even if historically inaccurate. The volte face in recent years has been remarkable on both sides. It is significant that it has come about through spirituality rather than doctrinal discussions. Didn’t Pierre Favre point in that direction in the sixteenth century but few listened?