LaTanya was a teenager when she started using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and trauma of her difficult and unstable childhood. Twenty years and plenty of chaos and struggle later, she was assigned to an addiction treatment center and then admitted to a transitional housing shelter. There, LaTanya discovered the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP), a faith-based nonprofit founded by the Jesuits which provides transformational support to individuals recovering from homelessness and addiction through overnight retreats, one-day programs, and ongoing reflection groups.
“From that very first retreat I felt changed”, LaTanya said. “I knew myself better, and my self-esteem shot way up – because I felt I belonged somewhere.”
Addiction and homelessness continue to plague Chicagoland, and hundreds of incredible non-profits work to provide material resources to those in need. And yet, so often those resources are not enough, as the path to recovery requires attention to deep pain and emptiness; requires the belief that I am loved, I have purpose, I matter, I belong. ISP’s programs invite participants into a safe place to share their story, build relationships with others on the same path, deepen their relationship with the God of their understanding–and eventually find healing, purpose, and the inner resources to access sobriety, housing stability, and reconnection with loved ones.
Today, La Tanya has a job and home she loves, and still leads ISP retreats as part of the volunteer team. “I still feel that sense of belonging with the ISP community,” she said. “I am able to be my true self, and the community still loves me anyway. Having someone walking alongside me makes it that much easier to get through those bad times.”
Founded in 1998 in Chicago by Fr Bill Creed, SJ, and Ed Shurna, former Executive Director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, ISP is celebrating its 25th anniversary with programs in over 20 cities that serve 7,500 individuals annually. Here in Chicagoland, over 800 individuals participate in retreat, reflection, and alumni leadership programs.
March 9: Company of Grace Celebration
ISP’s annual Company of Grace event provides critical funding for retreats and alumni leadership development programs that empower individuals like LaTanya to reclaim their lives and access long-term stability.
The Company of Grace celebration, emceed this year by Fr. James Martin, SJ, is virtual so that members of our entire community across the country can join with us! Visit us online to learn more and register to join us ISP alumni leaders, memoirist and poet Mary Karr, and public theologian Lisa Sharon Harper on March 9th.
Double Your Impact
Supporters of Ignatian Spirituality Project can double their impact during our Board Matching Grant Challenge campaign, running until March 31, 2023. All gifts made in honor of the Company of Grace will be matched dollar for dollar by the ISP Board of Directors, up to $25,000.
Other ways to support ISP:
- Volunteer – there are all kinds of ways to engage with our programs
- Invite us to speak – ISP alumni, participants, and staff share their sacred stories about recovery, healing from trauma, and finding hope and new life with a variety of audiences
- Read and share Impact Stories about lives transformed by ISP