Featured Book for August 2022

The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola

by Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J.

The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola uses Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises as a framework for discussing the spiritual challenges of antiracism. Each of the Exercise’s four weeks are applied in practical ways to the work of antiracism, combining history, present-day events and data, the life and teaching of Ignatius, prayer, and guidance for personal reflection and journaling. An excellent resource for both group study and personal meditation. Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J., PsyD, currently teaches in the psychology department at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he is also a psychotherapist. He enjoys jazz, traveling, and learning new languages; and he plays the guitar, harmonica, and drums. He also likes a cup of hot water in the morning.

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Community Questions

Spiritual Work of Racial Justice Community Discussion Questions

Week 1

  1. What do you hope to get from The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice? P.12
  2. Are you willing and ready to be changed? P. 12
  3. The work of antiracism is challenging and can be uncomfortable. Are you ready to begin to do the work required? P. 12

Week 2

  1. Page 15 of the Introduction describes the Examen as being structurally unlike a story, and more like a car repair manual. Which appeal to you most, stories or step by step instructions, and why?
  2. Week One’s focus is the Sin of Division. On page 23 Patrick quotes Robert P. Jones’ book, White Too Long. “…the more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christians.” What is your response to this quote?
  3. Patrick recommends journaling. He asks that you write in your journal racist ideas you identify in yourself. Do this exercise, then share what it was like to write about these things. Note: racist ideas are everywhere, and none of us are immune to them. P. 34

Week 3

  1. On page 56, Patrick writes, “The spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola invites us to see the sin of racism as what it is: the murder of the Image of God in our fellow humans.” Murder is such a strong word. Share if you agree or disagree with his choice to use it.
  2. Ask yourself: Can I really consider myself an antiracist, or do I cling to the identity of “not racist?” What came up for you examining yourself in this way?
  3. Page 128 has a passage about “false Christians.” Do you think these often sincere, well-meaning people can be persuaded to see things in a different way?

Week 4

  1. Patrick recounts an incidence in which he could have been gravely injured because of the color of his skin. What came up for you reading this story, both emotionally and even physically?
  2. For Week 5 on page 238, Patrick writes about “womb love.” When it comes to people or color, does America ever feel womb-love?
  3. On page 348 Patrick shares the hope he felt in 2020 watching the millions of people who gathered all over the world to proclaim that Black Lives Matter. What gives you hope for the future?