Ignatian Volunteers are Christian men and women, aged 50 and over, who commit to serving in poor and marginalized communities, 2 days per week, 9 months per year (generally September to June). The program only requires a one-year commitment; however, many volunteers choose to renew their commitment year after year.
Ignatian Volunteers in Chicago serve in a wide variety of settings, from Catholic and public schools to refugee and immigrant services, homeless and social services, hospital and prison ministry. They provide a wide range of services in the field of healthcare, food and shelter services, and employment assistance. Many volunteers serve as mentors and tutors to youth and young adults who come from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds. Long-term community partners include Howard Area Community Center, San Miguel School, Cristo Rey Schools, Catholic Charities, and John H. Stroger Hospital.
Volunteers agree that what sets IVC apart is our spiritual reflection program. IVC volunteers gather with other members each month to reflect on their service experience, and also meet individually once per month with a spiritual reflector. The reflection aspect is integral to the IVC experience since, when we take the time to reflect spiritually, we begin to notice shifts in our own point of view. We begin to find Christ in our day-to-day experiences. We begin to see with God’s eyes, from God’s perspective.
Fr. Jim Dixon, SJ, one of the chaplains for the IVC Chicago chapter, notes that “community is central to IVC.” Fr. Jim describes IVC as a “ministry conducted entirely by lay persons animated by the Jesuit mission of service to the poor and Ignatian spirituality.” IVC members strive, in the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, to be “men and women for others” and “to find God in all things.”
To learn more, please contact Jacqueline Fitzgerald, IVC Program Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.