Guelph Centre of Spirituality
P.O. Box 245, Stn. Main, Guelph, ON
Canada. N1H 6J9
Dear Fr. Clooney,
I am responding to your letter of June 23 inviting reflections on the interreligious dimensions of the Society's work in retreats and spirituality. Although your letter refers to retreat and spirituality centres in the United States, I am assuming that your interests are broader, since the Guelph Centre of Spirituality is in Canada. Loyola House of the Guelph Centre of Spirituality is known throughout the world for our retreats and training programs (in spiritual direction, facilitation, etc.) which are rooted in the dynamics of Ignatian spirituality. I will offer a few brief reflections on the three areas you listed.
1. The range of religious diversity among those who come to the Guelph Centre of Spirituality: For the early part of our history, the vast majority of our clientele were priests and religious. In the past ten years or so, we have seen a significant shift in the profile of those who come to Guelph. There are fewer priests and religious. We welcome increasing numbers of laity. There is a noticeable shift in the number of women and men (both clergy and laity) from other Christian traditions (especially Anglican, United Church, Lutheran, Mennonite, etc.). We see increasing numbers of people who would not list any particular religious tradition (e.g., people who are searching for a community, for a way of praying, etc.). Perhaps because of the nature of our centre and our rootedness in the Spiritual Exercises, our clientele is almost entirely Christian. There is a conference centre associated with the Guelph Centre of Spirituality (but not part of Loyola House). It attracts a wide variety of groups - Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. It is primarily a ministry of hospitality - providing space and meals.
2. Particular programs which highlight or draw upon other religious traditions: We do not have any programs which draw upon other traditions. Our programs are open to a wide variety of participants. We are looking at adding a weekend program on "Meditation and Prayer in the World's Religions."
3. Members of our staff: As far as I know, no one from our staff has a particularly strong interest in other religious traditions.
I hope that this data is helpful. Contact us for further help.
Philip Shano, S.J.
Created: October 4, 2000 Updated: October 4, 2000