Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality 2014 to Focus on Pope Francis

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 10:00am

MOBILE, Ala. – The Department of Theology and Ministry at Spring Hill College is pleased to offer a special opportunity to learn more about the unique Jesuit spirituality of Pope Francis during the 2014 annual Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality.  

Many have found the words of Pope Francis life giving and challenging. The pope’s language, energy and focus are certainly to the heart of our faith and the teaching of the Church. But his unique expression of why he does what he does, why the Church speaks as she speaks, and what is most important for the Church to do and say today, are formed in Jesuit Spirituality, and the challenges of the Church in Latin America.

The Summer Institute is a unique program designed for adults interested in both academic challenge and spiritual enrichment.  The 2014 event will look at some of the iconic expressions and themes of Pope Francis and ask where they come from. We will look at the Spirituality, Mission and Formation of the Jesuits as the source of a language that can help the modern world.

St. Ignatius Loyola and his companions provided a humanist, renaissance language and spirituality to give voice to and make sense of the centuries’ long traditions of the Church for their own contemporary world at the time of the Reformation (Protestant and Catholic). Today Pope Francis I, the first Jesuit pope, is using the (humanist) language and spirituality of the contemporary Jesuit order (very much reborn with Vatican II and the leadership of Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., but also refined in the fire of the Church in Latin America) to give voice to and make sense of the faith of the Church in and for the modern world.

In Mobile, the event is hosted on the Spring Hill College campus, over the two-week period, June 1-13. Course titles include: Sources of Pope Francis’ Spirituality; Jesus & the Culture of Encounter; Prayer & Discernment; The Joy of the Gospel: The Social Dimension of Evangelization; Gerard Manley Hopkins; and The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Courses may be taken for graduate or undergraduate credit, or merely for enrichment and enjoyment. Special, drastically discounted rates are available for those who do not want to earn credit.

In Atlanta, the events are hosted at Ignatius House Retreat Center, and will feature a variety of courses offered either in an intensive weekend or weeklong format. Dates range from June 16-29. Course titles include: Prayer & Discernment; Pope Francis: The Man, Priest, Jesuit; The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; and Jesus and the Culture of Encounter.

Spring Hill and well-known visiting faculty teach courses in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence. This year’s faculty line-up includes: Dr. Matthew Bagot, a theologian specializing in moral topics; Dr. Matthew Baugh, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic with degrees in law and political science; Dr. Timothy Carmody, a biblical scholar and author, specializing in narrative criticism; Rev. Mark Lewis, S.J., the provincial of the New Orleans Province of Jesuits; Rev. Jayme Stayer, an English professor specializing in poetry visiting from John Carroll University; and Rev. Christopher Viscardi, S.J., chair of the department of theology at Spring Hill. 

In Mobile an Ignatian Retreat, five- or eight-day Silent Directed Retreat, is also available following the Institute June 14-22.

For more information including registration, full course descriptions and schedules, faculty biographies, times and costs, visit our website,, or contact us by phone at (251) 380-4458 or via email,