Office of Ignatian Identity

Our Mission: to inform, form and transform adult members of the McQuaid Jesuit Community through the vision and legacy of Saint Ignatius Loyola.

Initial Ignatian Formation

McQuaid Jesuit provides a comprehensive five year formation process for faculty, staff and administration to carry forward our mission of inspiring young men to pursue excellence in all things, service to others  and life-long justice. Why such a comprehensive program?

If the faculty at a Jesuit school is men and women whose lives are inspired by the Ignatian vision, then the question about the percentage of Jesuits on the faculty is not an overriding issue. It is more a question of the quality of the lives of all the faculty, both Jesuit and lay. The school will be Jesuit if the lives of its teachers exemplify and communicate to the students the vision of Ignatius.

Through exposure to materials and reflection on experience personnel new to McQuaid Jesuit will appropriate our Ignatian way of life and mission, enabling full participation in the apostolic work of the Society of Jesus at McQuaid Jesuit. Expert presenters will delve deeply into areas of expertise and personal interaction with materials will inspire living and educating with a heightened sense of awareness and intentionality, leading to personal growth and development. Forming lay collaborators within this matrix will yield more effective Jesuit educators, administrators and support staff imbued with a sense of mission at McQuaid Jesuit.

At the conclusion of the first year, the cohort will have basic knowledge of the life of Saint Ignatius, Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises, Jesuit History and Mission, the History of McQuaid Jesuit, Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm and Ignatian Service.

Integration of course materials with life experience is central to Ignatian Spirituality. Integration experiences include:

  • Participation in monthly cohort gatherings
  • Participation in Ignatian Study Day on April 30, 2021
  • Participation in the Liturgical Life of McQuaid Jesuit
  • Attend the USA East Province “Partners in Mission Retreat” in Morristown, NJ. Date TBA

2020-21 Course Syllabus

2020-21 Reflection Facilitator Schedule

The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius are the heart of Ignatian Spirituality. A combination of “exercises” (meditations and active imagination contemplations, discernment, journaling, conversations with a spiritual director, and contemplative reflections unique to Saint Ignatius) lead to greater spiritual intimacy and human authenticity – all in service of God. The Exercises form a uniquely Ignatian identity from which  Jesuits and lay colleagues serve the mission of McQuaid Jesuit.

At the conclusion of the second year members of the cohort will have comprehensive knowledge of the theology, dynamics and formative principles of the Spiritual Exercises. Members will have some experience of the Spiritual Exercises, but will not be making the Spiritual Exercises Retreat.

Integration for transformation experiences include:

  • Participation in monthly cohort meetings
  • Participation in Ignatian Study Day on April 30, 2021
  • Staff one Kairos Retreat during the 2020-2021 Academic Year
  • Participation in the Liturgical life of McQuaid Jesuit

As the Spiritual Exercises form an Ignatian identity, Ignatian discernment is the interior compass that helps one live an Ignatian life. Above all, Saint Ignatius was interested in creating a person of discernment; one who sincerely asks Jesus what he desires and does it. Given the complexity of our blessed and wounded human nature competing spirits (the Spirit of God and the enemy of human nature) conspire for our affection making it difficult to determine God’s invitation and desires. Attention to knowledge of God and knowledge of self, reason and affect, prayer and experience help us find God in all things, and serve God with joyful generosity.        

At the conclusion of the year members of this cohort will have experiential knowledge of the theology and process of discernment.

Integration for transformation experiences include:

  • Participation in monthly cohort meetings
  • Participation in Ignatian Study Day on April 30, 2021
  • Staff one Kairos Retreat in the 2020-2021 Academic Year if you have not staffed one last year
  • Participation in the Liturgical Life of McQuaid Jesuit

Prepared with a firm foundation in Ignatian Studies, the Spiritual Exercises and discernment, the focus of this year’s formation is Ignatian Leadership. Ignatius formed people to confidently and boldly step into the frontiers of education, the arts and sciences, ecology, politics, economics and religion to influence learning and living with an eye toward developing the whole person, contributing to making the world more humane. Members of this cohort will continue to be formed for leadership, fortified with the necessary tools that distinguish Ignatian Leadership.

At the conclusion of this year members of the cohort will identify, cultivate and appropriate the ethos and principles that distinguish an Ignatian Leader.

Integration for transformation experiences include:

  • Participation in five Cohort Meetings
  • Staff one Kairos Retreat during the 2020-21 academic year if you have not done so in the past two years
  • Participation in Ignatian Study Day on April 30, 2021
  • Participation in the Liturgical life of McQuaid Jesuit

At the conclusion of the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius invites us to “take the long look back.” Through this exercise a person more clearly identifies experiences and gifts to help discern future steps. Since this year brings the cohort to the threshold of a deeper commitment to McQuaid Jesuit, formation is in service of the question, “What do you desire?” And, since discernment happens through dialogue initial formation culminates in a conversation between each member of the cohort and principal Adam Baber.

At the conclusion of the year members will appropriate aspects of Ignatian formation and professional development through a year-long discernment process. Each member of the cohort will provide an article for the cohort to read and discuss to guide professional integration for leadership.

Integration for transformation experiences include:

  • A final three-page paper, guided by the discoveries made in this year of discernment will be submitted to Mr. Baber by March 12. 2021
  • Participation in Ignatian Study Day on April 30, 2021
  • Participation in the Liturgical life of McQuaid Jesuit

Ongoing Ignatian Formation

“Life and mission are inseparable. On the one hand, we know that we are a fragile body. […] On the other, we live as pilgrims, always seeking to draw profit from the tensions that arise from our mission as it is carried out in complex and ever-changing contexts.”  (Fr. Sosa S.J., Superior General)

“The Pilgrim”(the term Saint Ignatius used to refer to himself in his autobiography) would certainly assert that tensions are opportunities to discern creative ways to respond to the demands of our mission.  Mining the treasures of our Catholic, Jesuit Traditions, the Office of Ignatian Identity offers several educational, spiritual and service opportunities to support ongoing formation for our adult community, contributing to the formation of persons dedicated to excellence in mission.

All adult members of the McQuaid Jesuit administration, board, faculty and staff, parents/guardians are welcome to attend the opportunities provided below.

Open Wide our Hearts

The document Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism was developed by the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was approved by the full body of bishops as a formal statement of the same at its November 2018.  Access the document here Open Wide Our Hearts

It is this document that inspired our 2021 Ignatian Study Day Friday, April 30, 2021. Our presenter and facilitator for the day was Dr. Donna Andrade.

Dr. Donna Marie Andrade is the Dean of Mission and Ministry at Fairfield College Preparatory School in Fairfield, CT. She designs and implements professional and spiritual programs for the Fairfield Prep adult community, oversees the Campus Ministry Department in which she supervises three direct reports, fosters school-province relationships which focus on the promotion of Jesuit Mission, and collaborates with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University to provide additional programming and resources for Fairfield Prep community.

From 1985-2010, Andrade administrated the Students for Educational Excellence through Diversity Program (S.E.E.D.) which focuses, primarily, on recruiting students of color, as well as economically-marginalized students of all racial backgrounds, and providing the support services vital to the retention of student through working with faculty, parents, and the greater Bridgeport community. Andrade also served as Academic Dean for 16 years. In this capacity, she was responsible for the professional formation of Ignatian educators which encompassed new faculty orientation, supervision of faculty, In-Service Professional Development Workshops, and the Curriculum Design and Review Process (CDRP). As Academic Dean, Andrade supervised faculty who were in their first five years of teaching, worked in all faculty and Chairs of the Academic Departments on annual curriculum design and review. She also provided professional development for faculty which focused on Ignatian methodology and pedagogy, issues and trends in education, varied instructional and assessment strategies and techniques, multiple/cultural learning styles, and managing diversity issues both inside and outside of the classroom.

Nationally, Andrade most recently served (2012-2017) as board member for the Jesuit Schools Network (formerly named the Jesuit Secondary Education Association) and she previously served two terms on the JSEA Board from 1994-2000. Andrade also served as National Chair of the Diversity Conference for the JSEA from 1994-2001. In the latter role, Andrade coordinated the first three national conferences for the 44 U.S. Jesuit high schools, and served as a consultant to these institutions upon their request. In 2011, Andrade served as Chair of the National Steering Committee for the second JSEA Ignatian Leadership Academy. In November 2014, Andrade was one of 14 North Americans selected to participate in the International Seminar on Ignatian Education & Pedagogy in Manresa, Spain. Locally, Andrade also serves as a board member for Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

In addition to her responsibilities with Jesuit schools on the local, regional, and national levels, Andrade concurrently served an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, Stamford, (1994-2014), Fordham University (1992-2006), the New School for Social Research (1995-1998), Southern Connecticut State University (1997-2000), and Fairfield University (1991-1992).

Prelection Reading to Establish Context

  1. Universal Apostolic Preferences
  2. Contemplation and Political Action:  An Ignatian Guide to Civic Engagement
  3. Avoiding Racial Equity Detours
  4. DEI Focus Groups 

Ignatian Formation for Mission 

This Formation process is foundational for understanding Ignatian Identity so as to live with a deeper awareness of the Mission of Jesuit Education.

Unit 1: The Life of Ignatius 

Presenter: Fr. Marc Roselli, S.J.

Date: November 2, 2020

Time: 3-4 p.m.

Place: Mission and Ministry Conference Room

Unit 2: Ignatian Spirituality Rooted in the Spiritual Exercises

Presenter: Damian Zynda

Date: February 1, 2021

Time: 3-4 p.m.

Place: Wahl Room

Unit 3: The History of the Jesuits

Presenter: Jack Ruppert

Date: March 15, 2021

Time: 3-4 p.m.

Place: 2nd Floor Conference Room

Unit 4: The History of McQuaid Jesuit 

Presenter: Dr. Christopher Parks

Date: May 10, 2021

Time: 3-4 p.m.

Place: 2nd Floor Conference Room

Mission Formation Committee

A Jesuit school has a governing board which holds the Jesuit and Catholic mission and identity of the school in trust for the Society of Jesus by setting direction, establishing policies, and ensuring programs that build and manifest the school’s Jesuit and Catholic identity. 

This Formation Process anchors members of the McQuaid Board of Trustees in Ignatian Spirituality, the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the History and Mission of the Society of Jesus, and the History and Mission of McQuaid Jesuit High School. Ignatian pedagogy (experience, reflection on experience, spiritual conversation) and didactic learning will be used throughout.

Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius

All Board Members are invited and encouraged to share the wealth of the Ignatian Tradition by making the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  The Spiritual Exercises is a 30 Week Retreat (modeled upon the original 30 Day Retreat) beginning in early September and ends mid-May May.

If you are interested please contact Dr. Damian Zynda.

Forming Spiritual Directors in the Ignatian Tradition

Image result for ignatian spiritual direction

In 2019, the Society of Jesus announced four “Universal Apostolic Preferences” to guide its mission over the next ten years. In describing the preferences, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General, stated, “Our desire has been to find the best way to collaborate in the Lord’s mission, the best way to serve the Church at this time, the best contribution we can make with what we are and have, seeking to do what is for the greater divine service and the more universal good.”

Jesuit schools have been forming young women and men of “competence, conscience and compassion” since 1548 when the first school opened in Messina, Sicily. 

Jesuit schools have the unique opportunity to embrace the four Universal Apostolic Preferences. The Spiritual Directors Institute focuses on two:

  1.  To accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future

“Our works seek to be spaces open to youthful creativity, spaces that both foster an encounter with the God of life revealed by Jesus and deepen the Christian faith of the young.

      2.  To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment

“We want to share with others the most fundamental discovery of our lives, namely, that discernment and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius show the way to God.”

The Spiritual Directors’ Institute is a response to the Universal Apostolic Preferences.  The Institute is a two year formation process that includes theological foundations and practicum in Ignatian spiritual direction and discernment spanning two academic years. The program prepares the participant to engage in spiritual direction and individual and communal discernment.


  • Participants have made the Spiritual Exercises in either the 30 Day or 19th Annotation formats prior to the 2022 summer of studies
  • Participant is receiving spiritual direction (if one is not currently making the Spiritual Exercises)
  • Application to the Institute and Letter of Intent
  • Letter of Recommendation from the participant’s Director of the Works or Supervisor
  • Two week residency for cohort seminars (July 11-22, 2022 and July 10-21, 2023)
  • Reading list for Summer I (sent January 1, 2022) to be completed prior to July Cohort Gathering. Reading list for Summer II (sent January 1, 2023) to be completed prior to the  July Cohort Gathering.

Year One:

Fall 2021 – Spring 2022 – Participants make the full Spiritual Exercises either in the 30-Day or Nineteenth Annotation models. This experience takes place in his or her home city, and the Institute Director facilitates details.

Participants complete the reading syllabus in advance of the July term.  

July 11-22, 2022 – The candidate joins his/her Cohort Group in Rochester, NY for two-weeks of prayer, reflection and course work.  The two courses are: The Theology and Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises and A Pre-Practicum in Spiritual Direction.

Year Two:

Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 – Practicum in spiritual direction.  Candidates will engage in supervised spiritual direction, directing two people once a month for nine months.  The participants will meet individually once a month with her/his supervisor. Student-directors will submit verbatims and reflections on supervision, as well as a final reflection at the end of the practicum to the Institute’s Director.

Participants complete the reading syllabus in advance of the July term.  

July 10-21, 2023 – The candidate joins his/her cohort group in Rochester, NY for two-weeks of prayer, reflection, and course work. The two courses are: The Theology and Practice of the Discernment of Spirits and Post-Practicum in Spiritual Direction.

Tuition and Fees:

Summers: Tuition is $800 for two classes.

Practicum Supervision: $700 for 9 months supervision

Room, board and transportation is $800.

Airfare and other personal expenses are separate.

The program also sponsors optional weekend excursions for additional fees. Tours of the Finger Lakes wine country or Niagara Falls, are examples of opportunities to experience the natural beauty of Upstate New York, and to deepen colleagueship within and among the group. Other self-guided opportunities, which incur no additional programmatic fees, are available throughout the Rochester area.

School Year: Fees for making the Spiritual Exercises, books and other school year expenses are the responsibility of the candidate.


CLICK HERE to register. Registration is due no later than May 1, 2022.

For More Information:

Damian Zynda, Th.D.
Institute Director
c/o McQuaid Jesuit
Phone: 585-256-6103

As Director of Ignatian Identity at McQuaid Jesuit, Dr. Damian Zynda forms leaders in McQuaid’s adult community in Ignatian Spirituality and Jesuit Pedagogy. She holds a doctorate in Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, the Toronto School of Theology (2004), and Certifications in Advanced Jesuit Studies from Boston College (2016), Spiritual Direction in the Spiritual Exercises, Loyola House, Guelph, Ontario, Canada (1991), and Supervision of Spiritual Directors from St. Meinrad’s School of Theology, St. Meinrad, Indiana (2014).  Since 2004 she has been on faculty in the Christian Spirituality and Master of Ministry Programs at Creighton University forming spiritual directors in the Ignatian Tradition for almost two decades. Damian is an active member of the JSN Ignatian Identity and Mission Officers’ Cohort and UNE Province Mission and Identity Cohort.