In a letter dated 29 May 2020, the Provincial of the former Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus announced his decision to close the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, effective August 2021. You may read the Provincial’s letter, accompanying FAQs, and Br. Derby’s letter of response here.
While we are sorrowful at the decision, we are focused on the remaining time of ministry here in Wernersville. The Jesuit Center will continue to offer retreats and other programs for spiritual renewal, and to host groups, through August 2021. You can see our 2021 program calendar here.
Today, women comprise a large percentage of the spiritual directors as well as the retreat participants. Over the past 30 years, female colleagues have collaborated with the Jesuits as full time staff members, and their unique contribution to the spirit and ministry of the center is greatly appreciated.
A portion of the house is now home to Jesuits who are retired or still active in the community as hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, helping out in a parish ministry, or as Spiritual Growth staff members of the Jesuit Center. Many of the now retired Jesuits arrived at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues as fresh, young men, full of spit and fire, eager to conquer the world as Jesuits. They taught in colleges and prep schools, they were chaplains in Vietnam, or they were pastors in a parish. Many were missionaries in India, in the Philippines, to the American Indians out west, in Africa, in Chile, in Burma. Others dedicated their lives to the daily operation of Jesuit institutions or the Curia itself. After leading full lives, they have returned. The Jesuit Community has opened its doors and extended its invitation to be a place of spiritual sustenance for those who seek peace within.
About Us | History
"Since my first visit in 2001, the Jesuit Center has been a place of healing, discovery, and discernment, a place of warmth, hospitality, and welcome. I offer thanks to all who serve the Center and to the sacred Jesuit tradition for helping me to light a candle of hope as others in the Society of Jesus have done in the past. When I drive through the gates at Wernersville, I experience a wonderful sense of enclosure and know that I am home and welcome. When I leave, I take that inner peace, that “Resting in God” with me, and my heart overflows with gratitude. May all who enter the gates experience Joy and may the Center continue to be a place of contemplation and serenity."
— Carmen Bruce, Swarthmore, PA