Monthly Archives: November 2014

Study Abroad and Take a Roman Holiday with IPS

Registration is now open for our Rome Program, Summer 2015.

Occurring June 21 – July 1, the focus of study will be “Peacebuilding in a Global, Interfaith Context,” taught by Dr. Marian Diaz.

This course will explore the theory and practice of peacebuilding from a primarily Catholic perspective. Catholic Social Teaching and interfaith perspectives on peacebuilding will be emphasized in light of contemporary situations. A focus on a variety of Catholic organizations engaging in peacebuilding will help students explore current approaches to peacebuilding.

This is an opportunity not to be missed! Previous participants have said:

  • “All of the tours were excellent and the sites were well chosen. There was a great variety and very relevant to the course work.”
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, from the class, the dinner, the tours and the mass celebrated with father Krupa. The fellowship of the students was also wonderful and enriching on so many levels.”
  • “I would just encourage each IPS student to try and make this trip during their time in the program, it is a once in a lifetime experience.”
  • “The schedule of events for sightseeing/excursions were second to none. I felt like I had the insider’s view everywhere we went. Everyone was thoughtful to be inclusive as the days unfolded. No one was left behind. The group looked out for one another and truly made a community.”

Visit the Rome program’s website to find out more about:

  • Early bird discounts (register before Dec. 19)
  • Alumni discounts
  • How to register and make payments
  • International Study Scholarship opportunities
  • The itinerary & course description
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

To learn more, you may also contact Gina Lopez at 312.915.7450 or

Enjoy these photos from our last trip:

For more exciting news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! 

Fr. Jon Sobrino on the 25th Anniversary of the Martyrs of the University of Central America (UCA)

The Martyrs of the UCA: A Community of Work and of Blood
What they worked for and why they were killed

I would like to begin by sincerely thanking Loyola University Chicago for its recognition of the UCA martyrs over the course of these past few days. Obviously the honor that you grant me today only makes sense when situated within the greater honor bestowed upon my Jesuit brothers and all of the Salvadoran martyrs. And with deep gratitude I accept this recognition.

One Community

I will speak of the UCA martyrs as one group. In more precise language, they came to form one connected body, diverse in its capacities and functions and coming together to form a larger body, which was the UCA. We have become accustomed to saying “the UCA,”, but not in vain. In this sense, and if you understand me well, it does not seem sufficient to speak of “Father so and so and his martyred companions.” Because we are speaking of one community, one body. I will, however, share a few short words about each one of them and how old they were when they were murdered.


JoaquínLópez y López was 70 years old and the founder of the UCA and was its first Secretary General. During his final 20 years he worked in direct service to the poor in schools created by the Jesuits to serve the poorest of the poor known as Faith and Joy schools.

Ignacio Ellacuría was 59 years old and rector of the community as well as a professor of philosophy and theology. He was known for his exceptional intellectual creativity as well as his religious and ecclesial abilities.

Segundo Montes was 56 years old and a sociologist who founded the Institute of Human Rights. He was a researcher and accompanied many refugees and migrants.

Juan Ramón Moreno was 56 years old and a professor of theology, spiritual director, and expert on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Amando López was 53 years old and was a professor of theology as well as the former rector of the diocesan seminary of San Salvador. He was also the rector of the UCA in Managua, Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution.

Ignacio Martín-Baró was 47 years old, a social psychologist and focused on the social-psychological consequences of poverty, violence as well as the liberating effects of religion.

Aside from their respective tasks within the university, each person, in his daily activity, took great care in attending to the needs of the people outside the university. During the weekends, they served rural and urban parishes without exception. Additionally, Ignacio Ellacuría was close to the reality of the people but not always directly rather, he was involved and affected by the oppression and poverty that permeated Salvadoran society on many levels.

Two women who worked in the Jesuit communities, Julia Elba, 42 years old, and her 15 year old daughter Celina, were killed alongside the 6 Jesuits. They were poor Salvadorans and symbols of the crucified majority the Salvadoran population.

This group of Jesuits worked and died together in community. I would like to discuss what these men worked for and the reason why they were killed. I usually think about what they did in dialectic terms. That is why I tend to explain not only what they loved but what they despised; not only what they worked toward but what they struggled against. In other words, we understand things better at times (sub specie contrari) under the contradictory form. Additionally we understand their lives better not just by remembering what they said, but by what they did, although, as we will see, there is a saying here that implies effective absolute action.

The Words of a Peasant

Paradoxically, I would like to begin with the words of a campesino, a peasant and landless farmer, a wise man, but nothing like an academic. They asked him “Who was Monseñor Romero?” And he responded elegantly, and concisely: “Monseñor Romero spoke the truth. He defended us, the poor, and for that, they killed him.”

It is not an arbitrary point that we mention Monsignor Romero when we speak of the martyrs of the UCA. First, although it tends to not be mentioned, the fact is true. Romero and the UCA worked together very closely for three years on many important things. Father Ellacuría solemnly proclaimed that this collaboration personally filled him with immense satisfaction. According to Father Ellacuría “In that collaboration there was no doubt who the teacher was and who the student was, there was no doubt who was the prophet and who the one that followed, no doubt as to who was the voice and who was the echo.

It is useful for us to refer to Monsignor Romero in order to speak of the martyrs of the UCA. It is equally useful to use the words of the landless farmer to organize our own words. The Jesuits of the UCA spoke the truth and defended to poor, and for that they killed them.

1. They Spoke the Truth

These words can appear to be too abstract, but in this I want to suggest it is crucial to speak of truth in order to know and understand the martyrs of the UCA, but to also to help highlight and comprehend the sad state of how we encounter the truth in El Salvador. Seen from its opposite view, the martyrs of the UCA wanted El Salvador to be stricken with and soaked in truth.

In order to speak the truth: 1) They had an primordial intuition that “things cannot be this way,” this is how they thought about the country, just as Karl Rahner had said fifty years prior about the traditional theology of the trinity. To say the truth meant not to be an accomplice to those who hide such important facts. 2) This truth, in its natural state, demanded a reversal of the reality, to be delivered through the university with its commitment to academic excellence in research and instruction, but also with a more comprehensive academic excellence: one with a social projection that enters society in order to reverse it. In short, “to speak the truth” meant to actively ensure that reality became that what it should actually be. 3) One could not speak of truth, however, without taking on the consequences of such work, which does not need further explanation on this the anniversary of the martyrs. 4) However, what is not often taken into account is that in speaking the truth they felt carried by it, working at the university, totally committed to the truth and with a profound sense of joy.

The martyrs publically spoke the truth through the magazine of Central American Studies (ECA), through the radio program YSAX that once belonged to Archbishop Romero, and increasingly they spoke on television. Those of a certain generation in El Salvador would remember the important moments when they publically spoke the truth. For example in 1974 they wrote a book about the electoral fraud, and in 1976 in an article about Liberation Theology, and also in an editorial called “At Your Service, My Capital.”

They founded the University Institute of Public Opinion in order to know and analyze the real truth about what the people were thinking. They founded the Radio YSUCA to make the truth publically available and open a space for people to participate publically in speaking the truth.

Many people are not aware of the biblical roots of their testimony to the truth: to profess the word and administer justice in order to defend the oppressed. As the psalms state: “justice and truth kiss.” I also heard them speak in secular language, stating: “we are free and objectively partial.” In El Salvador, where the defense of the oppressed does not exist, one can doubt, and they doubted at times that there actually was truth. And where there was defense of the oppressed is the space they would open a path to the truth, which would be completed through study and research, and through economic, political, religious, technological and scientific projects at the UCA. And they believed that one could verify in a quasi-scientific way if the knowledge produced and the projects carried out were good and true or not and if they did or did not defend the oppressed.

They spoke the truth with authority, which is a necessary condition (sin qua non) at a university based in a serious and profound pursuit of knowledge. However, in order to communicate with authority one requires credibility. This was expressed with honor and a real consistency between what they said and what they did –all of which overflowed into a defense of justice and a love for the people. This took its maximum form in their final moments characterized as a complete handing over of self to the struggle for the truth.

In a country ravaged by poverty, replete with violence and war, they spoke the truth conscientiously, mentioning the names of the victims, the murders and massacres. They also named perpetrators of the violence and the various branches of the military, paramilitary and security forces that they belonged to. In similar fashion when the perpetrators were from popular organizations they spoke of the exact circumstances, times and places where the events took place. They demanded reparations as an obligation of justice and condemned all forms of impunity.

Each one of them, according to their temperaments, spoke affectionately of the victims. They published their stories in the magazines Process and Letters to the Churches. They were moved by the goodness and hope of the poor.

In putting it all together, the UCA was a vehicle for speaking the truth and in this way it provided an important good to the country. The UCA embraced the idea that the country be filled with and wrapped in the truth. And that it overflows with institutions, associations, trade unions, universities, and churches.

2. They defended the Poor

The essence of speaking the truth goes directly along with the task of the university, and yet, historically, the defense the poor has not been directly associated with the university. Nevertheless, the martyrs of the UCA did exactly that; they defended the poor.

Like Monsignor Romero, they defended the poor in many ways, including university projects that leant technical support, through their teaching and health projects. They poured their efforts into a social trajectory that had a long reach, working for a third social force, or a third way, which brought together all those who wanted an end to the war. They worked in such a way that the people believed in them, so that the people could “have a voice.” And from 1982 onward, they set off in a totally concrete and urgent direction which required them to work first for a dialogue, and later for negotiation. It was a full and complete university response to the defense of the poor.

I think that the word university was fundamentally instrumental for the defense of the poor just like the word pastoral was fundamental for Archbishop Romero. And this was the same on a public level as it was on a private level in terms of words of influence. The Christian inspiration of the UCA also made it possible for the word “university” to be expressed in such an important way. It was present in the way one pronounced the word and dialogued with others as well as the actions that the word gave rise to: which was to put an end to the war and humanize the country. It is important to remember that Christian inspiration – and here I do not mean simply belonging to a particular Christian church or being completely enmeshed in a hierarchy – was and is an essential dimension of the UCA, as recognized in its statutes. Without this inspiration, no institution would have energy or direction. If that inspiration is Christian, it promotes an energy of love and total gift of self which leads to the society of the Kingdom of God based on the equality of everyone, always starting with the least of all. The most important aspect of the Christian Inspiration is that it inspires the truth. The martyrs were convinced that such an inspiration is good for the university and more concretely for a Salvadoran university living daily horrors and embracing hope.

That a university should come to the defense of the poor, as did Archbishop Romero, is not an obvious task. This is an important concept, and many people do not see it this way. It is important to think of the university as a good for the poor. This is similar to the way in which the Puebla document speaks of the “option for the poor.” To add that this option is preferential is to take a step further, because it emphasizes that it is a real option, which is something that is not commonly taken into account. But we still have not arrived at the same clarity and perception of the peasant farmer from earlier who is in total agreement with what the bishops said in Puebla in 1979, when they spoke of what God does with the poor: “For the mere fact of being poor God defends and loves them.” This is what the UCA martyrs did. Yes, they loved them. However, they emphasized a logical priority in the defense of the poor.

How does one defend him or herself with words? A good lawyer can do it with professional ability and the necessary intelligence to find the argument that will favor the person he or she defends. But for a university the fundamental piece is something else. It defends the poor, fighting as an institution against the lies that cover up and hide the truth. A thinker from the first century who we call John wrote one of the gospels. And in that gospel he says: “the evil one is a murderer and a liar,” and in that order. The victims of the evil one are the poor, of course. They are the ones who do not enjoy a full life because they lack basic goods, which condemns them to a slow death. And then there are those victims of unjust violence who die a quick death. To defend their lives is to defend them from death. As John insists, the nature of this kind of death is that it tends to get covered up in such a way that where there is murder there are lies. To defend the lives of the poor is to fight against those cover-ups and lies. Both tasks for us are central to the university.

The martyrs did many things to combat lies and to unmask that which was being hidden. I also think that, just as in the case of Archbishop Romero, it was the most specific way to defend the poor. And they soon experienced that there is no defense of the poor without taking several risks.

3. And for that they killed them

The landless farmer I referred to earlier spoke of what Monsignor Romero did. Romero told the truth and defended the poor, and the campesino concluded correctly by saying and “for that they killed him,” precisely “for that,” because of what he did. Monsignor Romero could have been killed by someone looking for personal revenge, or by someone in the street who was not thinking clearly. But the peasant put his finger on the deepest part of the wound: they killed him for doing two things highly necessary for the country and worthy of praise: “speaking the truth” and “defending the poor.” They killed him for doing good things. This injustice was an ethical scandal, it was a metaphysical scandal, and it was an absurd act of senseless violence.

In addition, the murder of the martyrs of the UCA also has a “for that.” In life they were viciously persecuted in different ways and they were killed in a calculating and hateful manner. And there was a reason for this, a “for that.” It goes without saying that there is a great parallel with the murder of Monsignor Romero and the many other women and men that were martyred. Nonetheless, it is good to remember these scandals and injustices on a universal level as well.

Here in the United States, where we are tonight, it is important to remember that in our world today there continue to exist many victims who die from hunger, malnutrition, the absence or poor quality of health care, and from a lack of access to education. There are innocent victims who die just because they live in places like Iraq, Pakistan, The Congo, in El Mozote and the Ixil Triangle of Guatemala. These are innocent people who die blamelessly. These are some of the horrors that characterize our world, but the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the leaders of the G-7 and G-20 and the emerging super powers of Asia and other places do not speak in these terms.

Every now and again these groups form generic ideas and theses about how the poor have certain rights to life (to healthcare, education, vacation days, migration, work, equality of gender, the care of children and peace). Something is better than nothing, but all of that does very little to set straight the reality of this life and what is required to promote it. And occasionally, they tend to praise and honor those who speak the truth and defend the poor. In 2010 the United Nations declared that March 24th, the day that Monsignor Romero was killed, would be the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. And a few days ago, on November 14th, UNESCO unveiled the incorporation of the academic work of Ignacio Ellacuría, into the national committee of El Salvador as part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program. All of these things are good and useful. However, these big institutions practically do next to nothing, especially if in doing something it means giving up some of what it has or risks the loss of prestige and achievement.

Ignacio Ellacuría was right when he said in is final discourse that “This civilization is gravely ill and in order to avoid a fateful outcome it is necessary to change oneself from the inside out, only a hopeful and utopian person can have the energy to try this in communion with all the poor and oppressed of the world, to reverse history, to subvert it and to launch it in another direction.”

Ultimately, and not in a perverse way, we have to thank the martyrs of the UCA. But that does not always happen. They were killed precisely for speaking the truth and defending the poor. That is the intuition of the peasant “they killed them for doing good.” This is the scandal and the senselessness that we also live with in the Twenty-first Century.

The martyrs of the UCA lived and died so that the opposite would occur. Our responsibility is to continue their struggle by speaking the truth and defending the poor. Our hope is that Archbishop Romero and all the poor and oppressed of the world energize an encourage us. In the little known words of Ellacuría “More and more now, it is the university’s turn to stir up hope.” And in the words of don Pedro Casaldaliga, “If they take hope away from us, they have taken everything.”

The legacy of the martyrs will always remain. “They spoke the truth” and “defended the poor.” For many people this means metanoia, a changing of one’s life toward the praxis of justice and taking a step toward a utopian hope.

I think that the activities that have been organized here at Loyola University Chicago during these recent days are a promise toward those ends.


Jon Sobrino
Mundelein Auditorium
Loyola University Chicago
November 20, 2014


For more news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! 

Student Feature: Meet Mary

This week, we would like you to get to know a little more about Mary Hahn and her experience with IPS thus far.


Hometown: I currently live in Roselle, IL

A favorite thing: I enjoy running and have completed a half marathon

Previous education: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I have been a junior high school language art teacher for the past 26 years

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
Loyola has the best hospital chaplaincy program in the Midwest

What are your studies focused on?
I am pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies, health care/hospital chaplain concentration

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS?
I would really like to graduate the program with honors

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
I am really looking forward to the class, Ministry of Suffering

Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here?
Just having enough time in the day to be a student, a teacher, a wife and a mother at the same time

Do you have any advice for future students?
Don’t rush the program, allow enough time to absorb what you are learning in your classes, not just trying to get them done

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
I would like to be working in a behavioral health center with teens

Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
I am part of a Marian Bible Study right now that is really beautiful


For more exciting news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! 

A Reflection With Sr. Carol

On Saturday, October 25, Sister Carol Keehan delivered a motivating and challenging speech during our 50th Anniversary Celebration. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to read and reflect on her remarks below.

“Thank you very much for the honor of speaking with you tonight on this great occasion.  You are celebrating a wonderful service to the entire Church. When I looked at the focus of your institute and thought of how many lives have been touched by your students and graduates over the past 50 years, it struck me as incredible. My congratulations to Michael Garanzini, President and CEO of Loyola, to Brian Schmisek, your director and to the entire faculty and all the supporters of this wonderful Institute of Pastoral Studies.

Fifty years is an incredible accomplishment and a great anniversary. When these things come up, it is always a challenge to determine how to best celebrate and acknowledge this. I can tell you as someone who is looking at 100 years at an association next year, we are struggling to determine the best way to celebrate.  And then I thought of you and what you have for celebrating your achievement. And I have to admit you have really pulled it off with pizazz. First of all, you have a new Pope whose obsession is pastoral care, whose focus is clearly the family and evangelizing people where they are because God loves them so much and welcomes them with mercy and we should do no less. If there was ever a moment in the sun for pastoral theology studies, this is your moment and I am so pleased that it is occurring on your 50th anniversary.

Your Institute was a wonderful response to the exhortations of Vatican II and the documents that came out of it. In addition, your early curriculum has continued to respond so well to changing needs and situations. You have assembled a stellar faculty that you should be so proud of. I am especially grateful as someone in health care to see the focus you are bringing to that important arena. We have a great need for well-prepared pastoral care staff and mission leaders. And that need is only going to get more significant in the foreseeable future. Thank you for taking this on in such a professional and credible way.

Now, I have delivered the good news. The challenging news that I have to deliver is that the world today has even greater needs than it did when you were founded 50 years ago. It is bloodier and more dysfunctional. Our world, whether we talk about our neighborhood, our country or our globe, is suffering so much. We could each recite a litany of the overwhelming issues that so often result in violence to self and others as well as the mental, physical and spiritual poverty that afflicts us all no matter where we live. Couple this with a media system and communication structure that not only saturate us but often drown out any alternative message.

The extreme polarization in almost any of our life systems, whether they be family, neighborhood, religions, civil society, government and even our Church, not only leave us drained and disillusioned but can obscure hope. We shudder to think of the impact of this on children.

Yet, we are a people confirmed in hope. A hope not based on a new product, technique or approach that will fix this, but a hope that based on the message and promises of Jesus Christ. Your program is a striking example of that – built on the eternal truths, not counseling techniques, pop psychology, etc. You do what you do because you believe in the dignity of each person no matter what externals obscure that. And you believe in redemption and the possibility to grow into greatness.

Our world at every level hungers to know and believe this. Just look at the response to our new Pope over the last 18 months. How many people who never talk to us about faith or religion, or if they did it was to lament the abuse scandal, now cannot stop quoting the Pope. He is suddenly everyone’s Pope and has been said so often, he hasn’t changed a single rule or theological truth. He has been pastoral.

You as an institute of pastoral theology understand his approach best, you realize the ultimate aim of theology is to pastor the people of God. You have developed such impressive programs to meet and accompany people where they are, in some of the toughest times of their lives.

You understand that there is no incompatibility between the immutable teachings of our faith and the most profound one of all of those teachings, the love and mercy God has for each of us. You also know well the need and power of accompaniment. The potential of grace to do great things in each of us, no matter where we start. Just look at history, St. Paul, St. Augustine, Jacques and Raissa Maritian, Dorothy Day to name only a few of great lovers of God who didn’t show much promise at one stage of their lives and even less orthodoxy. We continue to marvel at what Grace accomplished each of them. It is a core teaching of our faith that that Grace is still operative today.

The last three weeks have been very challenging and at the same time hopeful for many of us. When did a Synod ever get more attention? Listening to the deep concerns many bishops have for those who cannot receive communion, who feel rejected by their church, who long to follow their children up the aisle, and to married people who want their church to appreciate the beauty of married love, the challenges our cultures present today, their love for all their children and their pain at the way some are treated at times. The frank and open discussions about offering the welcome and mercy of God and not appearing to compromise important commandments of God and the wisdom of church teaching over the centuries was heartening in so many ways.

Unfortunately, in some instances these discussions appear to have been hijacked by some in the Church and the media, the loudest and most strident voices now seem to dominate the conversation. We cannot let this continue to be the case throughout this year as we journey to the October 2015 Synod.

That is where you come in, what a way to celebrate your 50th anniversary if you could focus your tremendous knowledge on both theology and pastoral theology to help the church at every level find a way forward, a way that allows “the God of surprises” to show us the best way to express and live out the profound compatibility of his Commandments and his welcoming mercy. You, of all groups of theologians, have the most potential to help the church be loyal to both of these immutable truths. Your exploration of this challenge during the coming year could be an enduring gift to the church.

You know how much families need the support of a robust faith life that includes sacramental participation and also how important it is to have such profound respect for marriage vows that living them fully and not tossing them aside at the first problem becomes a priority for couples and the Church as she accompanies them. You have the experience of working with couples who have incredibly beautiful marriages after working through hard issues.

You have also seen marriages that have no potential to survive as sacramental unions and often do great harm to the partners and their children.

I would say that probably no group of theologians more than those in pastoral theology knows better the importance of family and children for achieving happiness and the eternal salvation of the partners.

The sacredness of all families is clear from St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians, “this then is what I pray, kneeling before the father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name.”  All families not just those that are models of virtue.

Exploring this and being a voice that genuinely respects both important values and finds a path as the Psalmist prays “that we may know Lord your way on earth” would be such a blessing for so many.

I cannot believe that it is impossible to do this. Commandments and truths of our faith are never threatened by God’s mercy. Being scandalized by Mercy unfortunately has been a problem for centuries. And it is never when we are closest to the heart of our God. I would also say I think it is dangerous to our own souls. It is one of the things that seemed to irritate Jesus most in the Gospels.

There is a French play that describes the last judgment and the virtuous and the condemned have been judged and each are in line waiting to go to their eternal rewards or damnation when suddenly a rumor starts to circulate that God has decided that all are to be saved and everyone is getting into heaven. At that point, the righteous start to complain, it’s not fair, they haven’t worked as hard, haven’t been as pure etc. and in that instant they are condemned.

It is safer to be on the side of Mercy.

You began 50 years ago in response to Vatican II and in particular to the document Gaudium et Spes, The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.  As I reread this beautiful document, I was struck at how often it notes the church’s role in helping to read the signs of the times, the realities of our world today and how to help families fully live their faith in the midst of these.

I hope you will be incentivized to take up the challenge of helping our church at all levels find a way to be the instrument of God’s mercy and at the same time fully express its clear commitment to the sacred teachings that are so much a part of our faith today. You have so much to offer and I will pray you will share that with our Church.”


IPS Continues to Bring Events to the Community

Loyola IPS is busy year-round developing, sponsoring and hosting various events that bolster its mission of educating adults for professional ministry, spiritual development and faith-based leadership.

On Friday, November 7, IPS hosted its second retreat. The theme of the event was an “Advent Retreat for Teachers.”

During the retreat, multimedia was used to help teachers access scripture and their own personal faith stories. The event also showcased tools to help educators evoke the same response in their students.

In addition, this retreat was used as a day of renewal for professionals who do not always have the time to put energy back into their own spirituality and well-being.

Attendees included over 50 elementary, middle school and secondary teachers from seven different Catholic schools across the area. Enjoy some photos from the event below:


The next day, IPS partnered with the School of Continuing and Professional Studies to sponsor a Speakers Bureau Workshop Series event held at St. Donatus Parish.

At the event, Dr. Salvador Gutíerrez from GUSSI Coaching talked about “Managing Results in a Diverse World,” which included a theoretical lecture and team building exercises on topics like emotional intelligence, working with teams and working jointly with other parishes.

Our goal at IPS is to serve the Church though innovative educational programming delivered around the Archdiocese. This event took place in Vicariate VI and was beneficial to the Hispanic community in that area. Parishioners from several local parishes attended.

Below are some comments we received from participants about their experience:

  • “I am aware that I need to be more patient when taking care of my husband. I will do a conscious effort to improve in this area.”
  • “This exercise affirmed the need to work in team and to recognize the talents of others when ministering to youth.”
  • “Often times, I do not communicate well, especially when my emotions are not in place. I know I need to control my temper and think about the impact of my words.”
Here are some photos from this successful event:

Did you attend any recents events with IPS? Share your experience in the comments below! Do you want to find out more about upcoming events? Visit our website!

Also, for more updates and information, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram!

Student Feature: Meet Alicia

At the start of the Fall 2014 semester, IPS hired Alicia as a graduate student worker. In the short time she has been here, Alicia has been an invaluable asset to IPS and makes the work day that much more enjoyable. Read more below to find out just some of what makes Alicia the endearing person she is.

Alicia pic

Full name: Alicia Crosby

Nickname: Ali, Leigh, Lesha – what I go by is very much based on the relationship I have with someone.

A favorite of yours: My favorite thing to do in my free time is cook. I love thinking about what things could go together and making that happen. Cooking for me is about feeling and experimentation so it’s rare that you’ll ever see me with a recipe or a cookbook.

Hometown: New York, NY

Previous education: I am a proud alumna of Hollins University and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Education, Psychology, and Pastoral Studies. I (half) joke that I majored in what I felt like. Hollins gave me the freedom to construct a program of my choosing and I took courses that allowed me to explore how people acquire knowledge (ex. cognitively, spiritually, experientially) and how it impacts what they produce in the world. I think I called it “The Methodology of Learning.”

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
Before moving to Chicago, I worked as an Educational Advocate for a non-profit in NY. Our work included facilitating discussions around anti-violence and bully prevention, offering STEM opportunities for economically disenfranchised youth and their families and speaking out against systems of inequality while empowering students to push back against the very things that tried to hold them down. It was transformative for me and helped me understand that I want to spend my life doing the work of advocacy.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I was looking at grad schools for a while and LUC kept coming up. One day, I was considering what Christian social justice looked like and decided to Google it to see what popped up. I came across the IPS website and saw Dr. Schmisek post something related to IPS preparing people to help others move toward God’s prophetic intent for them. Empowering others to live purposeful lives is something that means a lot to me and seeing that sentiment was confirmation that IPS was where I needed to be.

What is the focus of your studies?
I’m a social justice kid aka MASJ student.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I look forward to lending my giftings and presence in a way that makes this place a little bit better once I leave. I think we all have a responsibility to lend our voices, who we are and what we can do to strengthen the spaces in which we find ourselves. I suppose this relates to my future goals because that is a sentiment that is applicable in all spheres of life. You are in a given space, in a given season, because who you are is needed there.

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Anything with Dr. Dan Rhodes! He’s an amazing professor and I thoroughly enjoy my Social Context class. I feel like I walk away with new language and concepts that I can apply to understanding the world around me. I’m taking an ethics course with him next term and even though I expect to work hard, I cannot express how excited I am about tackling economic and political theory with him as a guide.

Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
I’m a social justice student, which naturally lends to my seeing challenges. That said, I think one of the things I discern being a challenge is creating community with people throughout this program. We are an adult, commuter-based student body, which makes forming communal ties difficult at times, especially outside of our cohorts. I want to do what I can, as both a student and a worker at IPS, to help foster a sense of community because there is so much we can learn from one another if we make space in our lives to journey together.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Talk to students, check out faculty CVs, and really make sure that this (or any) school is one you are willing to deeply invest in. You are committing your money, your time and your talents to your institution so do your homework to make sure it’s the best option for you.

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
I suppose this is the adult version of asking what I want to do when I grow up…

I’m still sorting that out honestly. I’m interested in non-profit work and ministry, which I’ve known for some time, but ethics is something that is fairly new on my radar. Knowing me, all of those things may converge in some way after I leave here. I’ve got some time to figure that out and I’m working to grant myself the grace to accept that.

Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
I’m working on a paper on LGBT youth and interaction with the Church, specifically through the lens of family. What grieves me deeply is that families are treating these babies poorly or abusively when we are taught that your first ministry is at home. I’m finding that there are a ton of qualitative resources sharing stories, but there are very few people tracking the abuses happening quantitatively. I think my paper will explore why this is the case and, perhaps, work I do in the future can look at this through different lenses.

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I only like red condiments, namely BBQ sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. This made for an interesting time when I went to Portillo’s and ordered a hot dog. The poor lady looked so confused when I told her all the things I didn’t want on it. I finally explained that I just needed her to stick the hot dog on a bun and call it a day. I was already getting a side eye, so I added my own ketchup.

How can people further connect with you via social media?
I blog, so you can check me out at


For more exciting news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! 

Loyola IPS Honors Ignatian Heritage and Sponsors Teach-in for Justice

It is Ignatian Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than by attending the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ).

With a exceptional list of speakers and an expected attendance of 1,300 people, IFTJ is happy to offer members of the Ignatian family the chance to unite in social justice to learn, reflect, pray, network and advocate together. This event prides itself on being a place where participants are empowered, inspired, challenged and supported by a community that sees faith and justice integrally linked.


This year, Assistant Professor Marian Diaz will be representing Loyola IPS at the teach-in. She will be hosting a workshop on Sunday 11/16 entitled, Planting the Seeds of Voluntary Poverty: The Call to Life Amidst the Poor and Oppressed. “This presentation will explore the experiences of persons who have chosen voluntary poverty as a way of life and its impact on their work for justice. Special attention will be paid to how this hard choice represents a spiritual incarnation of the gospel and a redefinition of power.”

In addition, Diaz will be attending keynotes and meeting with colleagues who work on behalf of justice in ecclesial and governmental positions during her time in Washington, D.C.

Though this is her first time attending, she knows many of the presenters and has worked with many people in the area of social justice from Jesuit colleges and universities. Diaz is positive that this event will be worth the trip and encourages students to attend.

“Students who attend this teach-in can expect to meet many other students and professionals who share their passion for social justice. The people who attend have varied interests, backgrounds and approaches to advocacy. They will have time to focus on policy, public witness and prayer. The list of break-out sessions look amazing! The challenge will be deciding which one to attend!  Students will come away with new connections, new knowledge and renewed energy in their work toward rooting out injustice,” commented Diaz.

Loyola IPS is proud to be a Xavier Level Sponsor of this wonderful event. We look forward to hearing about the experiences of our faculty and students who attend the teach-in!

Be sure to stop by the IPS table in the exhibition hall. Enrollment Advisor Chrissy Sofranko will be present from 4pm  to 10:30pm on Saturday, 11/16, and from 8am to 8pm on Sunday, 11/17!

To learn more about the event and to register, visit The Ignatian Solidarity Network.

IPS offers travel grants to students wishing to attend events such as this. Download the form here.


For more news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram!