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Theology Students Collaborate with Boston College on Virtual Pilgrimage App

During the second semester, twenty one students representing all four graduating classes, along with eleven faculty and staff members, collaborated on content to enhance an Ignatian spirituality app sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies (IAJS) at Boston College. This virtual pilgrimage app, Journey with Ignatius, connects a community of pilgrims and follows the footsteps of Ignatius from his years as a young page in Arevalo, Spain, to his final days as Superior General of the Society of Jesus in Rome, Italy.
The app features a unique weekly location and an accompanying theme, both of which are introduced through videography and key excerpts from the biography and autobiography of St. Ignatius. Users have the opportunity to read from Ignatius’ own writings, gain insights from selected Jesuit sources and join a community of prayer. Additionally, Journey with Ignatius integrates Apple Health Kit to track users’ physical steps through the course of the journey.   

The IAJS at Boston College partnered with twelve Jesuit secondary schools on this digital project. Each school was given a theme for one of the weeks, and students were asked to provide seven days of reflections—a mix of written, audio and video— to be used for prayer by those who join Ignatius’ pilgrimage through the app. 

Loyola Academy students were assigned to work on the theme of week 12: foundation. Within the virtual pilgrimage, this theme accompanies Ignatius' "final" destination in Rome where he, with his companions, builds the official foundation of the Society of Jesus. “Foundation” here is communicated to pilgrims as the starting point upon which everything else is to be constructed. While the pilgrims come to an end to their journey, it is also a beginning. 

“We are so grateful for the content provided by students at your school, and for the collaboration between our two institutions,” said IAJS representatives in an email to Loyola Academy Theology Department Chair Josh Hooker. “Across the board, we were so impressed with the content created by these young students.”

Kudos to the following students and faculty/staff members for their hard work and creativity on this interactive project:

Kealy Cummins ’22, Nora Dettling ’21, Mirka Gallo ’12 (alum), Maggie Heintz ’21, Drew Jimenez ’22, Rachel Lin-Peistrup ’22, Sandrina Madariso ’24, Amaiya McCord ’21, Lily McManamy ’21, Sara Morales ’22,  Sarah Nelson ’21, Flor Pallchizaca ’23, Nina Riley ’21, Monique Robinson ’22, Silvana Scarsella ’21, Peter Scheidt ’22, Nate Schwitzenberg ’23,  Madison Steele ’22,  Kristian Uremovic ’24, Matty Vallace ’24, and Josie Zaker ’21.

Colleen Aufderheide (Fine Arts), Sarah Bennett (Counseling/Principal’s Office), Patrick Brown (Theology), Kristina Cavallaro (English), Doug Gleber (Chaplain), Josh Hooker (Theology), Minh Le, SJ (Fine Arts/Theology), Paul Leon (Campus Ministry), Alex Lupo (Campus Ministry), Clare Nelson-Johnson (Counseling), Chris Penna (Principal’s Office), and Katie Seeberg (English).

Journey with Ignatius is live and available as a free download for all iOS and Android devices.  At last count, the latest version of the app had over 5,700 downloads from 75 countries. The project seeks to expand the mission of Ignatian spirituality, the history of the Jesuits and Jesuit pedagogy.

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