The beauty of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre brings a sense of peace. Photo courtesy of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre

Sacred ground at Guelph’s Ignatius Jesuit Centre

  • April 14, 2013

GUELPH, ONT. - The Ignatius Jesuit Centre startles the newcomer with its beauty and a sense of peace. The dozens of activities taking place seem to rise from the land itself, purposeful, harmonious and deeply satisfying.

On this site just two kilometres north of Guelph, generations have worked, played and prayed, with nature giving strength to mind, body and soul.

This striking property is home to the internationally acclaimed Loyola House Retreat and Training Centre, the Orchard Park Office Centre, the Ignatius Farm and the Plant an Old-Growth Forest project. Founded in 1913 by a group of English-Canadian Jesuits as a place of prayer and worship, the land today is a 240-hectare teacher, tutoring us by means of a physical, intellectual and spiritual experience of Earth and God in creation.

The land is complex, supporting several ecosystems and microclimates, and a range of animal and plant species. Native and ornamental landscapes facilitate prayer, meditation, education, recreation and community outreach programs.

Here we preserve and develop sacred spaces in nature; we can cultivate insight, clarity, spaciousness and calm in the face of all that our lives demand from us. Quickly, people connected with Ignatius Jesuit Centre land feel the lasting impact this sacred ground has on people, their work and their lives.

You will meet many community members from near and far:

o Retreatants from Loyola House — their communion with nature and the farm becomes an intrinsic and essential part of their prayer, as they attend to their solitude in silence;

o Tenants from the Orchard Park Office Centre, who treasure this unassuming location for their work lives;

o Members of Ignatius Farm and Community Shared Agriculture, picking up their share of the harvest of organic produce;

o People from Guelph working their own community gardens;

o Volunteers helping on the land and at Loyola House;

o People finding quiet time in one of the hermitages on the land;

o Students using our meditative spaces including the Stations of the Cosmos, labyrinth and willow dome.

You’ll also meet many others who have no particular reason to be here — apart from discovering that experiencing this land is a crucial part of their spiritual formation and their understanding of broader issues of ecology, creation and stewardship.

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