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Saturday, November 05, 2005

At Peace But Not Without Pain

by Eva K. Galvey, April of 2005
(Former CIS Executive Director)

On May 15, 2005 Fr. Arnie Bugtas, SJ starts his term as the new Executive Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality (CIS) and I move on with a sense of accomplished mission.

Director of CIS for Four Years

Four years ago I was asked to be interim head of CIS. Three Jesuits then staffed CIS. At that point the most senior of the three fell ill and the 2 younger ones were due for further studies. Because of my informal though regular connection with CIS since 1994 (I was already doing the Spiritual Direction Circle with some Jesuit scholastics) I seemed to be the most logical if not the best choice to run the Center until one of the younger Jesuits returns from special studies on Spirituality. The 2-3 years term of office became four. And now I move on at peace.

I leave with modest accomplishments. I leave confident that basic programs are in place and with a good number of people aware of the existence of CIS and its programs, most of them content with their experience with the Center. I leave behind a group of people not just familiar with the operations of the Center but with sufficient experience to keep it going as well.

I Move On Not Without Pain

But I move on not without pain, as there are many good things and experiences I will leave behind. I will miss the simple, elegant and comfortable office that has been home to me for the past four years. I will miss the state of the art equipment that makes our work more efficient. I will miss the opportunity of meeting interesting, intelligent and spiritually inclined laypersons. I will miss the company of pleasant, positive and joyful people—men and women of goodwill. I will miss Marie’s well-crafted letters and prompt execution of my requests. I will miss Joy’s uncomplaining company (it is very rare nowadays to find people who do not watch the time). I will miss Jojo’s patience in the never-ending rearrangement of CIS furniture. I will miss Mang Ernie’s (the unofficial CIS driver) interesting driving ways. I will miss the company of people who are not propelled by ego needs (such as recognition, success, popularity and power) but who are brought together by deep personal conversion—fruit of their experience of the Spiritual Exercises, and fired by a common desire to make the same experience available to all others seeking profound spiritual transformation.

I will go grateful for the ready support I received from Jesuits who in spite of the workload in their own ministries made themselves available to CIS as retreat givers, lecturers, or recollection masters. I will take with me the cordial treatment I always received from the old Jesuits, the warm friendship of the young Jesuits and the fun-filled camaraderie of the much younger Jesuits. And I will never forget the trust and confidence that the Jesuits in leadership bestowed on me.

A Chance to be Part of a Bigger Enterprise

It was a great privilege to be given the opportunity to be responsible for a ministry of the Society. It was a chance to be part of a bigger enterprise, to participate in its many works and to appreciate its many concerns. It taught me not just availability but also disponibility—the readiness to go where there is greater and more urgent need for one’s service. Indeed, the Ignatian magis is ever alive among the members of the Society and is infectious.

Lastly, I wish to thank the laywomen and Jesuit priests and scholastics I worked with closely at CIS, for believing in me, for standing by me at a time of crisis, and for bearing with my weaknesses and blunders. Jordan, Tina and Mannie—your administrative skills and passion for efficiency and excellent service brought CIS to where it is now. Arnie and Tina—you have better public relations skills and classier taste so CIS clients can look forward to more pleasant relationships and surroundings. CIS can look forward to better days ahead. May God’s blessings and St. Ignatius’ intercession always be with you.

Eva K. Galvey is now the Executive Director of EMMAUS Center Foundation Inc. of which she is also a co-founder. She assumed office last May, 2005.


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