A New School Year

reaching out photo.jpg

As a community, Loyola gathered on August 19, 2016 to welcome our newest members.  The Class of 2020 took their seats and the stage party processed down the aisle of Holy Name of Jesus Church; it was both an exhilarating and profound moment.  Every year, faculty, staff and University leaders meet in that inspiring space, along with first year students, to greet and challenge one another to live out our Jesuit mission.  This year, I chose to write my own prayer for First Year Convocation and this is what I shared:

Let us pause for a moment and ask God’s blessing for those affected by the devastating flood waters just 45 miles away from us. 

Let us also pray for the victims and their families who suffered the horrific tragedies that took place in Orlando, Nice, Baton Rouge, and Syria.

God of New Beginnings, we gather in this place to start anew—we gather as a community committed to the Jesuit ideal of being the people of God, with and for others.

Help open our eyes in new ways to see what that ideal means at Loyola.

God, give us the courage to Step Up when we see someone in trouble;

Give us the courage to Step In when we have the power to protect and give assistance. 

Lord, remind us:  Reaching out isn’t weak. It’s strong.

God of New Beginnings, lift up Loyola. Amen.

In this space, I want to reiterate to all who call Loyola their “home away from home,” that when in need, reach out to a friend, colleague, or family member.  The word “home” doesn’t always mean the place that you grew up.  As the daughter of an Army Colonel, my family moved almost every three years.  Home wasn’t necessarily a house, it became the places that I felt safe and secure to share my deepest thoughts, fears and successes.  Sometimes “home” was my neighbor’s kitchen table, sometimes it was with my sorority sister in a coffee house, sometimes it was at my college lifeguarding job at Florida State University.  The pool was “home” to me, and the folks that worked there took time to listen to a young girl’s dreams. 

No one is immune from needing; I thank God for so many that have given me so much, including their time and their prayers.  

Here is a reminder of where hope and help can be found when the stresses of life seem hard to handle:

Good News Worth Sharing

Lift UP Loyola is a campaign which reminds us of our responsibility to one another. Loyola University New Orleans has a long and rich tradition of being a community with and for others. Mollie Marti writes,“Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life; it is what gives meaning to life.”  Serving others is an important component of Jesuit education; sometimes we can do this best by paying attention to one another.  Step Up - if you see something, say something.  As the Lift UP Loyola campaign reminds us:  Reaching out isn’t weak.  It’s strong.  If you or someone you know needs help, tell someone. It gives me great pleasure to share our commitment to delivering student programs and services that connect traditional Jesuit values with our contemporary University mission.

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to introduce the following new staff to you:

  • Haniyyah “Honey” Bashir, Community Director, M.Ed. in higher education: Student Affairs, University of Buffalo SUNY.
  • Meghan deBaroncelli, Assistant Tennis Coach, B.S. in psychology, Loyola University New Orleans.
  • Nick Dodson, Head Track and Cross-Country Coach, B.S. in media studies, Shorter College.
  • Stephanie Hignojos, Community Director, M.Ed. in Higher Education, University of Houston.
  • Rickey Hill, Head Cheer and Dance Coach, B.S. in physical education, Methodist University.
  • Margaret "Maggie" Lunn, Office Manager, Athletics and University Sports Complex, M.B.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha.
  • Livia Mahaffie, Assistant Track and Cross-Country Coach, B.S. in exercise and sport science, University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
  • Moira Phippen, Assistant Director of Leadership and Social Justice, M.Ed. in higher education, Loyola University Chicago.
  • Courtnie Prather, Assistant Athletic Director, M.S. in child and adolescent psychology, William Carey University.
  • Clayton Shelvin, Career Coach; CMFA, BFA in theatre arts and dance, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
  • Elise Walter, Internship and Recruitment Manager, Career Development Center.

I am pleased to share the following good news: Kellie Kennedy, Loyola’s Head Women’s basketball coach, set the record for all-time wins in the program’s history; Jill Boatright, assistant director of Career Services,  received the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers New Professional award; Beck Flannigan, Loyola’s assistant women’s basketball coach, received the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year; Tamara Baker, director of Career Services, was recognized by Loyola’s Black Student Union as the outstanding staff member; and Amy Boyle, director of Residential Life, served as president of the Louisiana Association of Housing Officers. Furthermore, I am honored to have received the 2016 Reverend Victor Yanitelli, S.J., Award, the highest award given by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA). 

In addition to this good news we've also recently:

  • Secured a $1.5 million gift from First NBC Bank for the naming rights of the game court in the University Sports Complex. The gift will fund renovations including permanent seating, improved lighting, and enhanced Wolf Pack branding in the facility.
  • Ranked as high as 13th in the country in women’s basketball and captured its second-straight SSAC Tournament Championship.
  • Finished second in the SSAC Championships for women's track and field. It was the highest finish in the program’s history.
  • Qualified for the SSAC Championship in Loyola baseball for the first time in program history. Loyola also led the SSAC with 14 All-Academic honorees.
  • Received votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Top Poll for men's tennis for the first time in program history.
  • Developed a model for four-year academic and career advising/planning integrating the work of faculty advisors and Career Center staff for all programs of study as part of the advising and career workgroup.
  • Managed the reporting and evaluation of over 300 for-academic-credit internships for the following programs:  School of Mass Communication, College of Music and Fine Arts, and the College of Business.
  • Created a resource for faculty in the new Food Policy, Commerce and Cultureacademic degree program. Provided information on market trends, occupational job titles, employers, educational requirements, and skills needed to enter the job market.  Data collected was used to help create academic learning outcomes.
  • Implemented The Outcomes Survey to gather first destination data of graduates.
  • Hosted two on-campus internship and part-time job fairs.  Approximately 130 employers participated.
  • Received a nomination for the 2015 Program of the Year award by LACUSPA for the "Recipes from Home" program.
  • Welcomed Kelsey Rosenbaum to the Sodexo Campus Services team as our district dietitian. Her goal for Loyola Dining Services is to educate through programming on how to make healthy choices on campus. 
  • Continued the Annual Stop Hunger Campaign in fall 2016 with Sodexo and also introduces a food recovery program to campus. All of the donations collected will be donated to homeless shelters in the Greater New Orleans area. 
  • Introduced a student manager-training program that allowed students to get hands-on experience while getting them involved in the Loyola community. 
  • Increased the level of Student Conduct training by utilizing the Association for Student Conduct Administration standards for the Board of Review and Student Justice Board.
  • Developed Standard Operation Procedures for all Student Conduct Officers and Boards.
  • Created a Student Affairs Title IX website in conjunction with a poster campaign pertaining to issues of consent, alcohol, and illegal drug use.
  • Enhanced enforcement of the University Drug Policy in conjunction with private canine units and university police.
  • Increased participation of new students participation in the online Think About It program to 99 percent, an online training program to fullfill Title IX and the Campus Save Act requirements.
  • Increased Family Weekend attendance by 16 percent from the previous year.
  • Increased overall satisfaction in Themed Living Communities by 8 percent from the previous year.
  • Reduced annual vandalism and residence hall damage assessments by 45 percent compared to last academic year.
  • Increased total number of RA applicants by 22 percent from the previous year.
  • Processed student conduct cases (from date of incident to adjudication) 38 percent faster than previous year due to centralized oversiting and administration from the assistant director of Residential Community Standards.
  • Led a full revision of the student organization adviser job description, including adviser expectations and Campus Security Authority responsibilities.
  • Implemented the Get Fit Pledge with over 100 students committing to a semester-long fitness and wellness program.
  • Hosted Get to NOLA excursions for over 350 students to explore the history, culture, and traditions of New Orleans and southeast Louisiana.
  • Launched the Omicron Delta Kappa and LEAD Themed Living Community mentorship program.
  • Hosted keynote presentation, “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation” for fraternity and sorority chapter members.
  • Conducted review of best practices and created strategic plans suitable for university’s need regarding suicide prevention.
  • Implemented ProtoCall 24/7/365 phone-in counseling sessions system. 
  • Established the Beyond Compliance Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force, reviewed best practices, and made recommendations to the president. 
  • Implemented weekly anxiety management workshops during the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters.
  • Continued enhancement of customer service satisfaction in Student Health Services,including streamlined check-in process, reduced paperwork and addition of walk-in nurse consultation.

The Office of Student Affairs continues to provide students with high-quality, values-based programs, experiential leadership, and service opportunities that are rooted in our Jesuit mission and are fundamental to a rich campus life experience.

M.L. “Cissy” Petty, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs &
Associate Provost


Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

I have been church-shopping off-and-on (more off than on) for the last decade.  I was brought up Episcopal, referred to by my Catholic friends as “Catholic-light.” I joined the Presbyterian Church through my young adult years, and during my post-doctoral fellowship as the Distinguished Scholar in Counseling, I volunteered at St. Timothy’s Methodist Church, Salem College and Wake Forest University’s college student Methodist ministries.  Before moving to New Orleans, I worked at St. Lawrence University.  St. Lawrence was founded in 1856 by Universalist leaders, a progressive group of Christians who were early proponents for civil rights.  Eventually the Universalists merged with the Unitarians, and in Canton, NY, I attended, on occasion, the Unitarian Universalist Church.  

As many of you know, I arrived at Loyola University New Orleans almost 10 years ago.  I visited quite a few churches over the years; however my faith did not suffer from a lack of church fellowship. I am immensely grateful for the ways in which my spiritual life has grown.  I connected immediately to the principles of Ignatian spirituality and dove into an online two-year certificate program on Spiritual Studies, through the School of Theology and Ministry at the University of St. Thomas in Miami, Florida. The program was grounded in Catholic Christian theology and covered the history of Christian spirituality, as well as all the great Christian mystics.  I learned a great deal about the rich, historical tradition of the early church and contemplative life.  I credit Loyola University New Orleans for providing me with opportunities, such as the Ignatian Colleagues Program, which enlarged my view of social justice and the importance of seeing God in all things and people.  I have actually had opportunities now to live my life as a contemplative in action.

On Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, I joined Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church on St. Charles Avenue.  I have been visiting the church for more than three months and increasingly felt called to be a part of this community.   Borrowing from the church motto Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors for the title of this piece, this is what I experience each Sunday as Pastor Callie Winn Crawford delivers her message.  Rayne has become not just a place of worship, but a place where I am experiencing the shining light of God’s love and grace.  In their mission statement, Rayne Memorial United Methodist church declares itself as “ a community of faith and love representing, celebrating, and embracing all God’s children as persons of sacred worth regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, culture, tradition, sexual orientation or gender identity, personal and family history, or station in life. In the full expression of the radically-transforming and all-inclusive love of God as revealed through Jesus Christ, all are welcome!”

As I walked forward to signify my desire to join the church, I was met with hundreds of welcoming smiles and a Loyola colleague ran down from the choir loft to greet me.  I have found my church home.  Cheryl A. Esplin writes, “Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference.”

And as we say at the end of every Rayne service:
Be strong.
Be brave.
Let everything you do be done with love.

Losses In Our Lives Break Us Wide Open

Losses in our lives break us wide open.  Sudden losses leave us momentarily fragile, with the final recognition that we are not in control. Anticipated loss gives us time to make sense of what is happening and too, how we might respond to the impending emptiness.  When we have time to consider what the loss will mean, we have time to prepare our hearts and our minds.  We have time to talk with loved ones, and make meaning of the critical role their lives mean to us.  Impending losses allow for both sadness and celebration to co-exist in the ways that sudden loss does not.

A sudden loss reminds me of driving through a northeastern “white-out.”  You aren’t sure how fast or slow to go; you cannot see what is in front of you or how close someone is following behind you.  You do not know if you should turn right, left or come to a complete stop.  Unexpected losses grab us and squeeze our hearts, leaving us momentarily without breath; we are often unsure if we should sit, stand or just fall down.  When these times have happened in my life, I just wanted time to stop.  I needed time to catch up with all that was unfolding in the “now.”

Dr. Brene’ Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and NY Times bestselling author, teaches us to recognize the power of our emotions and to not be afraid to lean in to the discomfort.  Leaning into our disbelief, grief and sadness help us to rise strong from our pain and to become more wholehearted in the process. 

The quote below honors Dr. Jon Altschul, who left us too soon; he is remembered for seeing the good in all people and cultivating kindness and excellence. 

The quote in the graphic by Gail Galdwell, author of Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship.

Fierce Conversation: How to Discuss What Matters Most

By Rose Spaziani

M.L. "Cissy" Petty, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs and associate provost at Loyola University New Orleans, believes authentic communication is critical to leadership success. She shares her advice and perspective on the subject at "Table Talk: Speaking Truth to Power," NYIT's next leadership lecture on Friday, Feb. 5. Petty has more than 35 years of experience in her field and received the "Pillar of the Profession" award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 2014. She spoke to The Box about her career path and leadership values.

What does it mean for leaders to speak truth to power?

Speaking truth to power is about having a fierce conversation in which you are willing to come out from behind yourself and speak meaningfully about reality. In other words, you are willing to risk being seen; authenticity is not something you have, it's something you choose. In a conversation, it is important to remember that everyone has a piece of reality. Over time reality changes, so it's important to keep asking new questions. English poet David Whyte says, "No one has to change, but everyone has to have the conversation."

When speaking truth to power it is important to remember that both character and competence come into play. Character is a constant—you either have integrity or you don't. Competence, on the other hand, is situational and depends on results and skills. As a leader, your intent and behavior must match for there to be trust in a crucial conversation.

How did you find a sense of purpose in your career?

From early on, I was taking the lead, either as a child with my band of buddies or as a college student planning campus activities. I've always wanted to make things happen.

I was getting ready to graduate from Florida State University (FSU), and on my way to law school at Stetson University, when I had a conversation with Phil Barco, dean of students at FSU. The conversation changed everything for me. He encouraged me to consider a career in the student affairs field. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I knew I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. My first chief student affairs role was in my early thirties and I have never looked back.

What is your brand of leadership?

I'm a relational leader, skilled in talent identification and capacity building. I have learned to trust myself and can extend trust to others. American writer Stephen M.R. Covey describes that as "smart trust." I also believe that staff members who are able to "talk straight" with one another get us to succeed much quicker.

When was the moment (or moments) that you came into your own as a leader?

Any time I've said yes has been an opportunity for me to break through and become a better leader. Since saying yes to a career in student affairs instead of law, I've had many different positions and learned from all of them. I said yes to serving as dean for student development at Mississippi University for Women, where I learned a great deal about class and race. I said yes to serving as vice president for co-curricular education at St. Lawrence University in New York, though I had never lived east of the Mason-Dixon Line. What's important is that you say yes to the unknown and learn from it. Saying "yes" is life affirming.

How did NYIT get on your radar?

NYIT's Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Love is a champion in our field. I've gotten to know him better over the last few years. NYIT-Manhattan Campus Dean Ann Marie Klotz and I met several years ago. As a young professional, I found Ann Marie smart and dynamic; I am pleased we became both friends and colleagues.

Who has inspired you and influenced you to inspire others?

My grandmother was probably the most pivotal person in my life. She was national vice president of Alpha Xi Delta and traveled the country checking on various chapters. Later in life she was house mother for a fraternity at Rollins College. As a 5th grader, I'd ride my bike to visit her at the house and watch her interact with the young men … and had my eyes opened!

As a leader, you interact with people 24/7 and must get to know others well. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Publicly I'm an extrovert, but privately I like to be alone. I enjoy traveling and often take solo trips. I recently did an eight-day silent retreat at the Eastern Point Retreat House run by the Jesuits in Massachusetts. When I tell people, they can't believe I could be quiet for that long.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I know at least 30 former students who are making a positive impact in the student affairs field. I'm thrilled to see them moving up to director-level positions and beyond! Helping to build the foundation for our field's future is extremely rewarding.

R.S.V.P. for "Table Talk: Speaking Truth to Power" to learn more about positive change through powerful communication.

Rose Spaziani is editor of The Box in NYIT's Office of Communications + Marketing.

A Blank Slate

I have been struggling with writing my New Year’s post.  I do not want to write about New Year’s resolutions.  Frankly, the subject has been exhausted.  What I do find interesting is how a new year signifies a beginning, and a beginning is most often a blank slate! 

A blank slate means just that—nothing yet has been written, said, or with finality, decided.  It’s fresh; there is an unknown quality to a brand new year.  We are often uncomfortable with the unknown, so perhaps that’s why we quickly fill the blank slate with clutter.  Often the clutter looks like a list of resolutions, a series of decisions to do or not to do.  We just can’t stay in the moment, waiting and watching and letting the New Year unfold.

Maybe a new year conjures up for us a need to get busy solving problems, mending fences, or settling scores. So we make plans, enumerating each way that we might “fix” what is broken in us or around us. Having resolve centers on “getting to the bottom” of something or finding out answers at all costs. Is this any way to start a new year?

Last month we were content to wait. We wanted to experience and celebrate our family, friends and most importantly the miraculous birth of the Christ child.  I am not ready to move from a space filled with peace and possibilities to a “to do” list.  Maybe it’s the “starting fresh” approach that seems a bit off-putting. Maybe we have it all wrong.  Instead of making a list of resolutions, perhaps we ought to only ask one simple question:

A year from now what will you wish that you had started today? 


"I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.” 
― Thomas Wolfe

As summer faded to fall this September, I had the occasion to be in Asheville, NC for a wedding. The leaves had not turned completely, only hints of golds, ambers and bright red colors were making their way to the surface. The air was just beginning to have the morning crispness which made the sky and the mountains all the more clear. I was struck with thinking…this used to be my home.

It is hard to believe that eleven years had passed since my last visit to see my friends that feel like family. It had been thirty years since I bought my first house there. I drove the neighborhoods I used to run through, and returned to the University of North Carolina–Asheville where I once worked. I was simultaneously surprised with how much change had happened, and too, how little.  

I had equal moments of knowing exactly where I was, and not knowing if I should turn right or left. Being in Asheville had both an ease and discomfort. Asheville native and major American novelist, Thomas Wolfe captures this feeling In Look Homeward, Angel. There is poignancy to returning to a place that you once loved so deeply; time makes every memory sweeter and every hardship equally distant. The famous quote from Wolfe’s novel, “you can’t go home again” signifies a time for new direction.

It now occurs to me that we have a responsibility to be fully “at home” where ever we live. That being “home” has much to do with the comfort of our interior lives rather than the four exterior walls we may call a house. Perhaps that’s where the truth lies in the beloved saying “home is where the heart is.”  Did you return “home” for fall break?  What did you notice? Was the once familiar and comfortable changed to something different?  How has Loyola become your home? As you continue on your personal growth journey and find new “homes” along the way, keep in mind Wolfe’s advice: Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going.  Don’t freeze up.  Keep on going…

Talk Is Cheap

Daniel F. Chambliss published an article on September 15, 2014 in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “The Power of the Personal.”   The article begins with the bleak outlook of higher education’s financial future coupled with the inherent need for universities to discover student success “improvement strategies that are simultaneously reliable, powerful, available and cheap.”  Chambliss further writes, “Such methods should consistently work well, clearly repay the effort they require, be usable by almost anyone on campus, and require little time and no additional money.” The author’s shoestring solution is that talk is cheap and relationships are built one conversation at a time.  No operating budget funds need to be expended to highlight the importance of face-to-face engagement with our students.

Chambliss and Takacs, in their multi-year longitudinal study of students, found that “personal relationships with both peers and faculty members, starting from direct contact, were fundamentally important to undergraduate success and could be readily facilitated by the institution.”  Student engagement begins from the moment a college extends a genuine welcome to its incoming first-year class.  Following that, summer and fall orientation sessions serve as introductions to fundamentally important relationships: faculty advisors, staff mentors, and peer friendships. Student success is then a product of excellent advising, teaching and fostering student involvement.  The more involved students are in and out of the classroom the greater likelihood students will persist and experience an “on-time” graduation. 

At Loyola, we measure student involvement, both curricular and co-curricular, through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).  NSSE’s research supports “the more involved students are in an institution, the more vested they will be. The higher the student involvement level the higher their grades are and the more likely they are to re-enroll for the next semester.”  NSSE underscores the importance of student involvement as “vital for an institution to create a culture, not just a campus.”  Loyola University New Orleans has a distinct culture as a friendly campus where diversity is celebrated.  Time and time again we hear, and receive survey results, that Loyola is a place where students, faculty, staff, and alumni feel a sense of belonging. 

Loyola University New Orleans currently faces the challenge of how to leverage our relational aspects with continuing to create a culture where, as Chambliss writes, “at its heart, higher education is a human activity, powered primarily by bringing thinkers together. So rather than attending so much to programs and policies, maybe higher education should focus first on its people, and on helping them find—and eventually care about–one another.”

The Chambliss piece easily aligns with the Jesuit ideals of dignity, compassion and wholeness.  We carry out Chambliss’s advice daily.  Conversations are free and talk is cheap when finances are tough to come by and students succeed best in an environment where they are engaged, connected, and cared for.  As Susan Scott wrote in her book Fierce Conversations, “while no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life—any single conversation can.”    

An Open Book

I challenge you to read four books of your choice this summer.  The books do not have to be about your work; in fact, don’t make it about work at all!  The only requirement for this challenge is that you pick four books that you are drawn to reading.  You can read on your Kindle, your iPad, your iPhone…or go “old school” and read a real book.

You know, there is something wonderful about real books.  The crack of the spine as you open a new one, the feel of the paper—the way some people take off the cover just to keep things pristine. Do you have a ritual when you start reading a real book? 

I am in the very early stages of my May reading.  One of my friends recommended Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and she thought it would be cool to read it at the same time to compare notes.  It just so happens she signed up for Oprah’s Book Club, and there is a course on Thrive, complete with lessons.  Wow.  Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew; my intent was for this to be a “summer read.”  Nonetheless, I liked the way the book began. Even in the preface, I was already hooked. Huffington writes:  Success is not always about doing more, but also about doing better—and we do better when we’re connected to our inner wisdom, strength, and intuition.  I think this book is going to matter to me.  I think this book will stir a conversation about what it means to live a good life, to live a life that is balanced and focused.  Stay tuned.

My June book is sure to be a paperback that can sustain a bit of saltwater and sand; I’ll be reading at the beach.  This book will no doubt be a page turner, and likely a David Baldacci novel.  I can go through 500+ pages and have a cold drink or two with the sun on my shoulders, in no time at all. 

In July, I will be flying to see friends and that’s when I pack my Kindle.  It will be charged and ready to go and I’ll start reading The Vacationers by Emily Straub.  It’s a top-ten summer recommendation, described as "an irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.”  Nothing like being immersed in family drama on vacation!

My August read is up in the air.  Feel free to send suggestions to me,mlpetty@loyno.edu.

I hope you have a terrific summer, filled with family, friends, and time to recharge.  Let me know how the reading challenge goes! 

Active Lenten Journey

Each of us
has a song to sing
that is right for us
and a gift to others.
—Joan Chittister

Lent is a special time to spend moments thinking about your faith journey.  It is interesting to look back and see how your spiritual formation has taken root. Who are the important faces that come to mind?  What events have clearly made a difference in your life?  What losses and gains now shape your relationship? A faithful and/or faith-filled journey takes many paths—those twists and turns are ever present; indeed, the twists and turns are often our greatest teacher.

One path I had not anticipated as a protestant was working at a Catholic university.  Coming to Loyola University New Orleans, post-Katrina—now almost nine years ago, has been extremely important in my spiritual growth. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote:  “God is not remote from us.  He is at the point of my pen, my pick, my paintbrush, my needle—and my heart and my thoughts.”  St. Ignatius took the view that nothing was too small for God’s attention, and therefore we should pay attention to the world (lives of others) around us and make a difference.    My Christian faith deepened with the introduction of Ignatian spirituality; a spirituality that supports God being active in our world. 

In fall 2013, I had the privilege to be selected for the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP) and was afforded the opportunity to participate in an 18-month study along with a concentrated immersion program and silent retreat.  The ICP program was a culmination of active learning and engagement, something as educators we want to happen with students and colleagues on a daily basis.

During my eight-day silent retreat, I practiced a prayer the Jesuits call “The Examen.”  What I like about the daily Examin is its powerful simplicity.  It changed the way I communicated with God on a daily basis.  The version I am sharing below comes from http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/. 

Five-step Daily Examen:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

Ignatian spirituality is about paying attention and responding to needs when God calls us to action.  Here’s to our active Lenten journey—one that calls us to remember both God’s gifts and graces, in their purest and most meaningful forms.