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s2smodern

The first-ever retreat for women experiencing homelessness took place in Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality from Saturday 15 February to Sunday 16 February 2020. Eight women living in temporary accommodation joined a team of facilitators who accompanied them over the two days of the retreat, known as the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP).

Eddie Cosgrove SJ is the co-ordinator of the ISP in Ireland. He conducted the first ISP retreat for homeless men here in August of last year. The project itself began in 1998 in Chicago when Fr Bill Creed SJ was invited to make the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius available to people who were economically disadvantaged. The ISP now runs retreats for people experiencing homelessness and in recovery from addiction in over 30 cities in the US and Canada, and now in Ireland.

The retreats are spiritual but not religious, in the sense that while they have a Christian and Ignatian foundation, they are open to people who would like to connect with God/Higher Power as they find helpful, similar to 12-step programmes. Each person is free to share about their own experience of God/Higher Power, however, they understand that.

Denise McDermott led the women’s retreat and was joined by facilitators Noreen Mackay, Anne Boland and Susan Jones. Jan O’Halloran of the ISP in Chicago flew to Ireland earlier in the week to assist the team and work on the retreat also. Read Denise’s report below of the two ‘Spirit-filled’ days.

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