Graced History

In the spring of 2016, I decided to fulfil one of my dreams which was to trace the footsteps of St. Ignatius in Spain.  While in Loyola, I sat outside the Chapel of Conversion where Ignatius would recuperate from his battle wounds.  I stared at the life-like reproduction of the man who would read his way into a complete transformation of heart, mind and spirit. I prayed that I might too be open to God’s grace of conversion in my life.

I left the house where Ignatius had grown up and walked over to the Basilica which was empty.  I felt blessed to have the space to myself.  In thinking about Ignatius and his journey, I felt called to review my own graced history.  I pulled out my journal and let the memories and words flow out.  I let whatever thoughts come, whether painful or joyful.

I began to see how some pieces of my life on occasion were linked to others.  In particular, the parts that were challenging created a compassionate person. I could see even from an early age a passion for social justice.  I was able to thank God for the gifts that were showered upon me and how I was able to use them.

I sat in the Basilica marveling at my life, grateful for an early encounter with God at the age of 5. I traced this Divine Presence through the decades in awe. God’s hand had long been on my heart.  My love of God became deeper over the years and my desire to serve stronger.

I looked over my career within the Deaf Community and felt fulfilled.  Meditating on serving God within “the least of these” populations in the Great Lakes region of Africa, Guatemala, Washington (DC), and the Dominican Republic brought renewed joy.

In this holy place where St. Ignatius and his family would have attended mass, I gave thanks for the amazing opportunities I had had in life. We are each given life to pour it back out to others—to be as St. Ignatius says a person for others.  I found God in new ways on this little pilgrimage of mine and discovered St. Ignatius in ways that continue to shore up my faith.


Photo courtesy of Suzanne St. Yves

Suzanne, a good collaborator of the Jesuits, was very involved in the Spiritual Exercises apostolate of St. Ignatius parish, Winnipeg, and also in many social justice issues. She died on June 25, 2018. May she rest in peace.

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 02:40h, 04 August Reply

    Such a beautiful self reflection by a beautiful mind and a human being. It touched me quite deeply as I could identify with the similarities of Suzanne’s thoughts, in many ways, so similar to my own.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 08:58h, 04 August Reply

    Thank you Suzanne! Pray for us.

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