By Patty Feder, wife of Dan '83 and mother of Joe '19
Upon exiting a SLUH parent function, be it Back to School Night, a Mothers Club meeting or Fathers Club event, it is not uncommon to hear, "I wish I could go to school here!" Surely few of us would wish to return to the angst of adolescence, academic pressures and co-curricular duties. So, what is it about the school that bestirs in an adult the desire to be connected to the physical property, the bustle of activity, the kinetic energy that permeates and emanates from what we affectionately call "SLUH?"
According to the overwhelming response to a simple invitation extended early this fall, one has to conclude it is at least a curiosity, if not a deep-seeded hunger, to draw closer to God through the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. From this desire, a small group of parents, with the support of the school administration, created the "AMDG" initiative. AMDG, an acronym for the Latin phrase "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," meaning "for the Greater Glory of God," is the Jesuit motto inscribed throughout the building and on the lips, if not hearts, of every SLUH student who prays twice daily to dedicate all his "thoughts, words and actions to the greater glory of God." It encapsulates the purpose of life for all persons of faith – to fully, joyfully and completely live our lives for God.
Thus, the AMDG Ignatian Spirituality Group was formed for parents to learn what their sons are learning – a way to deepen their faith and form friendships with other people of faith in the SLUH adult community. The group will present four talks each year about Ignatian Spirituality, guided by the insights of Father David Fleming, S.J. '52, author of What is Ignatian Spirituality?
The effort launched on Thursday, August 31st, when more than 100 SLUH parents met in the Currigan Room of Jesuit Hall for the first of four AMDG Parent Spirituality events. The evening began with Mass, celebrated by Fr. Bob Poirier, S.J. '65, followed by a dinner provided by SLUH parents and a talk given by Fr. Chris Collins, S.J., Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity at Saint Louis University.
Fr. Collins shared insights about Ignatian Spirituality, summarizing the first chapter of Fr. Flemings’ book (see video below for his talk). He reiterated the fundamental meaning of life: we are made for union with God. We come from God and we are going to God. Everything else on the face of the earth – for instance, relationships, skills, jobs, activities – are gifts from God that have the potential to help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, if we latch on or cling to the gift, they displace God and hinder our growth toward our goal.
To learn more about Ignatian Spirituality, please join us at our next AMDG meeting on November 16th for friendship, refreshments and to hear Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Director of Catholic Studies at Saint Louis University, who will discuss Chapter 2 of Fr. Flemings’ book, “God is Love Loving.” Fr. Flemings’ book is accessible online but copies will also be available at all AMDG meetings. All adults in the SLUH community, including alumni and faculty/staff, are welcome.