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 2020-2021 program calendar here.
As a Jesuit member of the Spiritual Center for 22 years, I am privileged to share my faith and experiences of St. Ignatius and the spiritual exercises with all those I meet. I have a deep love for poor and marginalized people, especially from the 3rd world. Since 1989 I have given retreats and workshops in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. I continue to spend several months each year in Central America giving retreats and sharing Ignatian spirituality.
I believe deeply in a faith that does justice, the Church’s preferential option for the poor and Pope Francis’ call to be a Church of the poor. I try to communicate these values in the way I live and love, teach and preach. Not only is a new world possible but it has begun!
Jack Barron, SJ
Spiritual Growth | Associate Directors
Linda Robinson has been an educator, school administrator, religious educator, director of lay ministry formation, and spiritual director. Now retired from full-time professional life, she enjoys more time in her role as a spiritual director and in facilitating retreats. Linda also serves as a visiting spiritual director for the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She resides with her husband in a suburb of Philadelphia. Together they have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Fr. Lucien Longtin, SJ, a native of Philadelphia, entered the Society of Jesus in 1952 at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville. Ordained to the priesthood in 1965, Lucien spent nearly forty years in Jesuit secondary education, teaching theology at Loyola High School in Baltimore and Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. In 2003, he was asked to come back to Wernersville to serve as Director of the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth. Lucien has served at the Center for 14 years, currently as an Associate Director.
Fr. Lucien Longtin, SJ
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Fr. Robert W. McChesney, SJ
Rob McChesney entered the Jesuit novitiate at Wernersville in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1981. Since then he has served in diverse ministries, such as parish priest at Holy Trinity in Georgetown, Director of Campus Ministry at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and Director of Intercultural Initiatives and Sabbaticals at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, CA. Rob has spent much of his Jesuit life with the Jesuit Refugee Service, serving as Director of JRS/USA in Washington, DC and Founding Director of the JRS Immigration Detention Project in Los Angeles. Most recently, Rob was missioned in Amman, Jordan, serving at Sacred Heart Parish, the only parish in Jordan for English-speaking Catholic, and as Mission and Identity support person for JRS Jordan, which accompanies urban refugees in the capital. Rob is currently pursuing his interest in Michael Hansen, SJ’s “First Spiritual Exercises,” a series of retreats originally devised by St. Ignatius Loyola.