In May 2021, Jesuit institutions, parishes and organizations across the world began a 14-month celebration of the Ignatian Year: the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius Loyola’s conversion. In this month’s issue of Connections, we take a look at how it has been celebrated on Jesuit campuses here in the United States.

At Xavier University, the Ignatian Year inspired the theme for the inauguration of Dr. Colleen Hanycz: the first woman and first lay person to serve as Xavier’s president. At Loyola University Maryland, the office of mission and the department of communications joined together to launch a special podcast featuring interviews and reflections on the Ignatian Year with members of the Loyola community. At Creighton University, the anniversary coincided with the University’s pursuit of a new elective classification in Leadership for Public Purpose through the Carnegie Foundation. And at Loyola Marymount University and Rockhurst University, the Ignatian Year has guided both students and Jesuits themselves toward conversion and growth in faith and spirituality.

Not only can you read about these stories in this last issue of Connections for the academic year, but you can also learn ways to tell your own Ignatian Year story from a new book by Eric Clayton, deputy communications director for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Eric previews the book, Cannonball Moments, and explains how he first came to understand Ignatian spirituality during his sophomore year at Fairfield University.

The Ignatian Year will conclude on July 31, but the story of Ignatius’ conversion will continue to guide us in our lives and in our work. As Pope Francis said:

“In this pilgrimage on earth we meet others, as Ignatius did in his life. These others are signs that help us to stay on course and who invite us to convert again and again. They are brothers, they are situations, and God also speaks to us through them. Listen to others. Read situations. We are road signs for others, we too, showing God’s way. Conversion is always done in dialogue, in dialogue with God, in dialogue with others, in dialogue with the world.” (America: May 24, 2021)

We hope that you continue to be inspired by the Ignatian Year, and that you have a healthy, happy and safe summer!

By Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU