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Mixed emotions as spirituality centre closes

Jesuits and friends gathered to mark the closure of the  Jesuit Centre of Spirituality and Culture in Galway on Saturday 16 November 2019.  The day included prayerful reflection for all associated with the centre over the past 13 years and an account of its influence in helping to spread a movement of prayer to the people of the West.

Willie Reynolds SJ and Amy Hallett Cusack spoke to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications about the day, the closure and the legacy of the spirituality centre.

Willie Reynolds SJ became director of the centre 18 months ago, having previously worked with seminarians in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He refers to the many Jesuits and partners in mission who have done a lot of great work, particularly in Knock as prayer guides and spiritual directors. He says: “Knock is where the future is, and I think if there is any investment to be made then the investment has to be in Knock.” He says that there are various ideas and plans around bringing a new type of prayer there.

In his closing speech at the recent celebration, Willie gave thanks to all connected with the centre over the years with a special mention to John Humphreys SJ (RIP) who he says was the “prime mover bringing this place to fruition”. Willie’s predecessor, Eddie Cosgrove SJ, and spirituality delegate, Brendan McManus SJ, were among the Jesuits who attended and many people came who were involved in groups such as the Lectio Divina Group, the Ignatian Identity Group and the Presentation Prayer Group.

Administrator Amy Hallett Cusack says she has “mixed feelings” about the closure. She says that the Galway community sees it as a big change, but that the friendships made will carry on into the future. She hopes to integrate Ignatian spirituality into her new career as a life coach.

The centre is used by a number of groups not affiliated to the Jesuits and they will continue to use the room in 6 Sea Road for the next two years.

Charlie Davy SJ will speak about the history of the Galway centre in the next Irish Jesuit Newsletter.