Entering eleven years in service to the Region, IVC St. Louis has more than tripled in size with Ignatian volunteers at various different partner sites tutoring and teaching; providing child and after-school care, counseling and immigrant services; working with seniors, adults with developmental disabilities, those searching for employment, women and children in transition, and in many other venues, all of which minister to those in need.
In 2005, Fr. Kevin Cullen, SJ and an enthusiastic advisory council launched IVC in this region. Last year we were fortunate to be able to recognize Fr. Cullen at IVC’s 10th Anniversary Celebration on Sept. 20th 2016.
The St. Louis program continues to flourish thanks to the generous support and interest from the Jesuits of the Central & Southern Province, from the Ignatian Volunteers, from partner organizations and IVC friends and donors throughout the St. Louis region.
As with other Ignatian Volunteers throughout the country, St. Louis Ignatian Volunteers commit to working 8 – 16 hours a week from September through June. The pairing of an Ignatian Volunteer and a partner agency is the result of a discernment process with the Regional IVC Director, the volunteer, and the administrator of the service site.
IVC participants meet monthly for a morning of prayer and reflection, sharing their experience of service, and discussing insights gleaned from a book selected each year from recommendations from Ignatian Volunteers nationally and locally. They conclude this gathering of all volunteers by celebrating Mass and sharing lunch.
Additionally, Ignatian Volunteers meet monthly with a spiritual reflector to talk about the meaning of their work, beyond the service experience itself and how it is contributes to growing their faith. This year we have 23 dedicated spiritual reflectors who accompany our volunteers on their journeys. Because our members are asked to keep a journal of their service experience, the fruits of this journaling practice and aspects of what may be gleaned from personal prayer are also integral to this monthly experience.
Communal and personal prayer and reflection in the Ignatian tradition opens fresh perspectives on faith, nurtures the hope and aspirations of each IVC participant and thus further empowers each one to make charity a way of being.
As we begin IVC year 2017-18 there are 44 Ignatian Volunteers working at 27 different IVC partner organizations in the St. Louis metro area in direct service to our brothers and sisters in need, adults and children alike. Our members say over and over again that they receive back so much more than they give.
If you have a desire to give back, if you are curious about Ignatian spirituality, if you have ever thought about attempting volunteer service, or if you desire to see God in action, we invite you to consider the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. We are a community which supports all of its members in service through prayer, reflection and shared experience.
Want to know more? Please find our quarterly newsletter on this site. We welcome your feedback and expressed interest in our program. Also, we encourage you to contact Vicki Simon, IVC St. Louis Regional Director, for more information about how you might join this important endeavor on behalf of those who are in such great need. We also ask for your prayer, for continued courage and grace to live out the spirit of the following prayer from St. Ignatius:
Lord, teach us to be generous, teach us to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that we do your will. -St. Ignatius of Loyola