Jesuit Volunteers draw inspiration and direction from the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, sought to integrate a life of prayer with active work for the greater glory of God, ad majorem Dei gloriam.
Ignatian spirituality is practical. It affirms human potential but also is aware of the day-in and day-out struggle between good and evil. Jesuits live as a “contemplative in action,” balancing between prayer and work. In order to better reflect upon and enrich their work, Jesuits incorporate prayer, retreats, and community gatherings to facilitate spiritual renewal in their lives. Jesuit Volunteers share the same elements that make up the spirituality of the Jesuits. Retreats, community gatherings, spiritual direction, and sharing of vision are all a part of the JV experience.
Jesuit Volunteers also seek to understand the Ignatian idea of “Finding God in all things,” through their work and community life. They strive to discern how their gifts can meet the greatest needs of others. In doing so, they participate in co-creating a holy and living space for developing faith in action.
Work as a JV may connect directly with the Jesuits, as several placements, are with Jesuit organizations. JVs serve as teachers and staff at Cristo Rey and Nativity Miguel schools, as well as other Jesuit educational institutions. JVs may also serve in social ministry and pastoral ministry capacities at Jesuit parishes and other Jesuit apostolates.
The support and formation provided to JVs has direct connection to Ignatian spirituality and often to Jesuits themselves. In many cities, Jesuits serve as spiritual directors for JVs or provide “on the ground” support to a JV community. In addition, JVC offers a guided silent retreat with spiritual direction to help JVs reflect upon the experiences of a challenging and fruitful year.