What the Sisters of Bon Secours Taught Me About the Spiritual Exercises

From the cowl of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, translated by Louis J. Puhl, SJ

I knew nothing of the Sisters of Bon Secours earlier than shifting to Baltimore.

It was an Ignatian-inspired retreat that will convey me to the sisters’ stunning retreat middle in Marriottsville, MD, approach again after I was nonetheless new on the town. That retreat would introduce me to different younger adults in the space, people who shared my pursuits and who have been in the identical season of life by which I discovered myself. Forming group was the first order of enterprise, and, because of the spirituality at the coronary heart of that and subsequent retreats, we adopted an Ignatian approach of continuing.

Despite the incontrovertible fact that I’d go on to steer extra of these retreats and serve on committees for the fledgling Bon Secours Young Adult group, it could be a number of years earlier than I actually started to grasp the charism that underscored the life of the Bon Secours household—and incorporate it into my very own prayer.

The Charism of Bon Secours is to convey God’s therapeutic, compassion and liberation to folks in want. Special consideration is given to those that are poor, sick or dying by serving to to alleviate their struggling and bringing them a message of hope and assurance that there’s a God who loves them. (Sisters of Bon Secours, USA)

But why ought to we care? Well, that is what I found in my prayer: The Bon Secours charism fantastically compliments the journey one takes when praying by way of the Spiritual Exercises.


Encountering our God of compassion is central to the life of a Christian and, in some ways, the level of the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises. We could also be tempted to suppose of the First Week—the week by which we meditate on hell and all its darkish fruits—as a guilt journey. It’s simple to suppose that the level of these meditations is to make us really feel dangerous about our sins. But actually, that First Week of St. Ignatius’s foundational textual content is about recognizing all that God yearns to avoid wasting us from.

In essence, the first motion of the central textual content of Ignatian spirituality is a journey into compassion, a recognition that ours is a God who liked us first, who loves us nonetheless, and who won’t cease loving us, it doesn’t matter what.

That’s a compelling message—and the charism of Bon Secours challenges us to convey that message of compassionate love out and into the world.


In the Second Week of the Exercises, we stroll with Christ. We place ourselves alongside him, turning into immersed in the scenes. And so many of these scenes of the Second Week, of Christ’s energetic ministry, discover him therapeutic the folks he encounters.

He heals them of bodily afflictions; he heals them of doubt and disgrace and insecurity. And he invitations me—he invitations us—to do the identical.

That, too, is the invitation of the Bon Secours charism: How would possibly we place our personal insights, experiences, and needs alongside the therapeutic palms of Jesus and accompany him on this work? What distinctive vocation has God referred to as us to by way of which we’d supply the world a therapeutic contact?


Finally, in the Third and Fourth Weeks, we fairly actually expertise liberation—and its reverse.

As we accompany Christ by way of the Passion in the Third Week, we see him burdened by the weight of betrayal, dashed expectations, misplaced hopes, and the Cross itself. He is sure to its wooden by a system of oppression, by buildings of injustice. Evil current in our world holds him quick, and he willingly accepts his destiny.

But then—and that is the key not solely to the Fourth Week, not solely to the Exercises, not solely to the Bon Secours’s charism, however to the entire challenge of Christianity—Christ is liberated from the shackles of sin and loss of life and oppression, breaking by way of the confines of loss of life and rocky tomb alike.

In and thru this second of liberation, God’s Holy Spirit invitations us to like and serve Christ present in all of creation. We aren’t merely liberated from sin and loss of life; we’re liberated for love and repair.

The Mark of Holiness

The charism of the Congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours is as very important in the present day because it was in France in 1824. In the wake of the French Revolution, a bunch of 12 girls discerned their name to be “good help” to these in want. They went towards the expectations of their day, leaving cloistered life to minister personally to the sick and dying.

This braveness to discern and act upon God’s want for our lives—even when it’s sudden and maybe even unorthodox—is one other parallel between the Bon Secours and the Ignatian approach of continuing.

Maybe, although, the invitation to discern and act on the will of our God, who needs compassion, therapeutic, and liberation for these most in want, isn’t the unique territory of any religious custom.

Perhaps it’s merely the mark of holiness to which we’re all referred to as.

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