Some 20 years ago, a sense of spiritual restlessness called Paddi Amador to attend a Jesuit retreat. Since then, Ignatian Spirituality has animated her life, her work, and her faith.
Paddi serves as a “spiritual reflector” for the Service Corps Members (SCMs) in IVC’s Albany region. Having a spiritual reflector is one of the added benefits of being part of an IVC community. These trained listeners are available to help the volunteers process their service experiences in light of their faith and the Gospel. While not every corps member takes advantage of this one-on-one opportunity, spiritual reflectors also attend and help lead monthly community meetings where SCMs can share their journeys and learn more about the richness of Ignatius’ spiritual guidance and practice.
Paddi comments, “IVC members have widely different levels of familiarity with Ignatian spirituality—some are well-versed, and others, brand new! But they all bring that same restless heart I had way back when, wanting to put their faith into action. During the height of the pandemic, we held monthly prayer gatherings via Zoom. It was important for us to do what we could to support and nurture the community when so many were alone. I think the SCMs would say it made a big difference to know they had a community to rely on during this trying time.”
IVC SCMs are asked to journal about their service experiences to help them reflect on how God is working within them. It’s nothing fancy or elaborate, nothing that is shared or seen by others, but an opportunity to process thoughts and feelings to bring to prayer or to conversation with their spiritual reflector. Paddi shares her experience of these conversations: “Sometimes, an SCM will share from their journal a poignant moment or interaction that had an impact on them or on the person they were serving. Sometimes, it is a difficult situation, a humbling insight, or frustration. Sharing these feelings can help the volunteer reimagine how God is acting in those moments, and what lessons they are invited to learn. There is something about sharing experiences and verbalizing feelings to someone else in confidence and trust that affirms and sustains the volunteer. And, through this sharing and listening, God can always be found.”
And of course, as anyone who does this kind of listening knows, Paddi is fed by the stories of the volunteers’ experiences and the amazing and wonderful ways in which God is working in each individual heart. “I treasure my role as a spiritual reflector for IVC. I’m blessed to be part of this wonderful community in Albany.”