Equipping through the Outdoors

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Man, as a psychosomatic being whose soul’s correct functioning is dependent on the body’s functioning, is called by God’s law to protect that body and enable it to serve his intelligence and decision-making powers during his pilgrimage to the “Land of the Trinity”.

Moreover, since the body of the Christian is the temple of the Most Holy Spirit, he is called to glorify God in his body (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Therefore, the Society of Ignatians in the equipping of its members will carefully watch over the health of her sons not only ensuring that they have a robust and nourishing diet but also plentiful contact with God’s nature.

Both during the years of equipping and those of mission activity Ignatians will find this closeness to nature an inspiring, invigorating, and effective aid to fulfill their vocation. It is not necessary here to recall how scientific studies confirm what the wisdom of our ancestors knew so well: fresh air, amid trees, fields and mountains, detoxify the body, unleash mental energies.

This was a wisdom that St. Ignatius and his successors as heads of the Society implemented into the lifestyle of the Society. They were careful to ensure that novitiates would be in the countryside; that houses for retreat would also be in the countryside.  In the course of hiking through the hills to the south of Rome, near Mount Tusculanum, I often passed by one of those houses that during centuries offered a favorable environment for St. Ignatius’s spiritual sons to restore their energies.