Homeless retreat on track again

December 7, 2021 in coronavirus, Featured News, News

Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) Men’s Retreat took place over two days October 16 to 17 in the Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality, Clontarf, Dublin.

Eddie Cosgrove SJ is the Irish Co-ordinator of the ISP and he says that after an almost two year break due to Covid-19, the retreat team were delighted to be able to offer an ISP overnight retreat again to people in recovery from homelessness and addiction.

“We began with a men’s retreat,” says Eddie, “and we were privileged to share with each other how God/Our Higher Power has been active in our lives, and to share our strength and hope.”

Some of the men who came on retreat had encountered the depths of addiction during the Covid pandemic, according to Eddie, “And through God’s grace with their own determination and the help of Cuan Mhuire and others, they were clean/sober, and getting their lives back together”.

Some of the feedback from the men on the retreat:

  • “What I liked most about the retreat was the sense of belonging”
  • “The retreat helped a lot to feel some peace”
  • “The retreat helped me to get in touch with God. I learned that I am capable of achieving more in my life by living through love instead of fear”
  • “I liked being in company that I did not feel judged by”

Eddie and the team hosted a follow-up retreat morning at Gardiner Street Parish on Saturday 27 November, and are planning further retreats for women and men in February. Eddie says they want to continue offer these retreats and experience of community to men and women struggling with homelessness and addiction during these difficult times. He also says that people’s prayers for the project and all those involved in it are much appreciated.

The ISP 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.

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.