In a sense, Ignatian Spirituality “gave birth” to our religious family.

oanh-ignatiusIn 1877, our first Sisters were in the middle of an Ignatian retreat when they had to choose between the Ignatian spirituality that they had grown to know and to love and another way of praying and being, offered by the local bishop. Their decision was unanimous: “We want the rules of St. Ignatius.” And so our spiritual adventure began.

Ignatian spirituality is a special way of prayer and a way of understanding God and all of creation. It’s called “Ignatian” because it was put into writing and clarified by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

Ignatian spirituality, centered on the following of the poor and humble Christ, permeates and deepens every aspect of our lives as Handmaids. Our world view is inspired by the gaze of the Trinity, contemplating every person on our planet with tenderness and redemptive power.

We are called to identify with Christ and become partners with him in his work of redemption, always seeking the greater glory of God as Jesus did. We learn to become women of discernment, able to discover God in and through all things, a God who is present in our world and active in our lives.

Ignatian spirituality is characterized by various elements:

  • The urge to seek, find, and serve God in all things;
  • The desire for total availability to God: what is called “Ignatian indifference,” or the ability to choose whatever glorifies God;
  • The practice of “discernment,” or a way of choosing that seeks God’s will above all;
  • The desire to teach other Christians how to discern and how to be more available to God;
  • A deep love for the Church and a willingness to go anywhere the Church sends us;
  • A prayer style marked not by thinking about Jesus, but by accompanying Jesus. This is a prayer style that engages our imagination, our desires, our affect — not just our intellect!;
  • The practice of a yearly retreat called the Spiritual Exercises. Handmaids participate in 8-day retreats every year and a thirty-day retreat twice in our formation;
  • The desire for the “Magis” (the “More”): knowing that there are many good possibilities for our ministry, we seek constant openness to what is “more” positive, “more” giving, “more” God’s will; and AMDG: Ad majorem Dei gloriam, to the greater glory of God.
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