The Jesuit Center project will transform two existing buildings on New York’s 83rd Street, creating an environment that will maximize our response to the critical needs of our pastoral, educational and ministerial outreach and revitalize the living quarters of the Jesuits living in the St. Ignatius Loyola Community.
An Apostolic Center that Inspires Collaboration
The belief that we are called to work together to inspire others to live out the Gospels and to build a personal, meaningful relationship with God has remained a crucial part of Ignatius’ vision for nearly 500 years. The Jesuits and lay colleagues who work on the province staff are challenged with creating new ways to serve people at our parishes, retreat centers, social ministries and schools, and sustaining thriving partnerships across our region that have had a life-changing impact on those we serve.
The Jesuit Center will be housed in two buildings on New York City’s 83rd Street that were built in the 1950s. These buildings were once home to the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau and, at one time, to more than 75 Jesuits who served in nearby schools and ministered to the sick on New York City’s surrounding islands. Continuing the long history of serving those in need, this location will be an apostolic center that enables Jesuits and staff members to discern the needs of God’s people and respond to pastoral, educational and spiritual needs on a much larger scale.
As the central administrative office of the future USA East Province, the Jesuit Center will be the home to more than 40 staff members who will respond in creative and effective ways to the ministerial and apostolic needs of ministries from Maine to Georgia. In all, more than 90 Jesuit apostolates, including Jesuit communities, will be a part of a new and united province, set to be created in 2020.
To accommodate this expected growth, the Center will include the addition of six new offices and seven conference center guest suites to accommodate guests, alleviating unnecessary travel expenses. These spaces will be designed to foster increased collaboration and will also include the construction of a chapel and updated common space facilities for those working in the province offices.
A Home that Nurtures Ignatian Spirituality
The Jesuit Center project also includes an ambitious renovation of the St. Ignatius Loyola Community. Since 1954, the community has housed brothers, priests and scholastics serving in a wide range of ministries. Built for a different style of Jesuit life, when many Jesuits needed to be housed in a location close to where they served, the residence offered dormitory style living for more than 75 Jesuits, with small, private bedrooms and a shared bathroom at the end of each hallway.
A COMPLETE REVITALIZATION OF THE RESIDENCE WILL ALSO INCLUDE THE CREATION OF 16 BEDROOMS WITH INDIVIDUAL BATHROOMS, NEW LIVING AND DINING SPACES, AND A BEAUTIFUL CHAPEL.
While Jesuits continued to live in the St. Ignatius Loyola until 2016, critical improvements are needed to allow the residence to meet contemporary needs. Chapels and kitchen facilities remain integral parts of modern Jesuit communities, but common spaces and multi-purpose rooms are recognized as important places where Jesuits can join one another in friendly conversation, assist one another in ministry or just relax and read the newspaper.
A complete revitalization of the residence will also include the creation of 16 bedrooms with individual bathrooms, new living and dining spaces, and a beautiful chapel. Similar to the improvements to the Xavier Jesuit Community that were completed in 2014, the new space will be transformed into an open and inviting home within a building, one that supports Jesuits in service and strengthens their connection to the one another and with the Lord.
These vital improvements are intended to enable the Jesuits living on 83rd Street to enjoy an environment that draws on the rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality and reflection.
Inside: Daily Prayer in Jesuit Life
Prayer has been a crucial part of Jesuit life since the inception of the Society of Jesus in 1540. Whether in daily Mass each morning or during individual moments throughout the day, Jesuits use prayer and the daily Examen to reflect on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern His direction for them.
The St. Ignatius Loyola Community chapel will be located on the 3rd floor of the residence and will be a simple yet beautiful sanctuary visited by the Jesuits and their guests on a daily basis. Several times each day, the brothers, priests and scholastics living on 83rd Street will gather to share the Eucharist at mass; the space will also serve as an important location for quiet reflection and discernment – integral parts of Ignatian spirituality.
Similar to the way parish churches have been renovated to suit contemporary needs, this devotional space will be right-sized and will provide a more intimate setting and allow for a more inclusive experience of the Eucharist.
THE BELIEF THAT WE ARE CALLED TO WORK TOGETHER TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO LIVE OUT THE GOSPELS AND TO BUILD A PERSONAL, MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD HAS REMAINED A CRUCIAL PART OF IGNATIUS’ VISION FOR NEARLY 500 YEARS.
Inside: Living Quarters for Jesuits
While it is true that Jesuits serve in many places during the course of their lifetime, it is crucial that they each have a personal space that, amidst challenging and important work, evokes simplicity and inspires inner peace.
The Jesuit Center project will completely recreate the St. Ignatius Loyola Community into a residence with 16 bedrooms for scholastics, brothers and priests living on 83rd Street. Individual bathrooms will be included in each bedroom, alleviating one of the most noticeable problems with the current space, which features shared, communal bathrooms. Each room will also include a desk, a bed, bookshelves, storage and closet space and a small reading area. The updated furniture will be simple yet long-lasting and suitable for a lifestyle.