Often called the quintessential Ignatian prayer, the Examen is a priceless tool of self-awareness and a crucial aid to discernment. Ignatius was convinced that even a few minutes of prayerful reflection on the events of one's day could open our eyes to the action of God in our daily lives and open our hearts to respond in humility and gratitude.
Campus Ministry offers our campus community the following resources and programs to support the incorporation of The Examen in Loyola programs and in individual's daily reflection practices.
Walking Sustainability Examen
Adapted from the Ecological Examen (from the Jesuits USA and Ignatian Solidarity Network)
Stop 1: The Chapel & the 9/11 Memorial Garden & Fountain
Ask God for guidance and an open mind as you begin your walking examen. Feel grounded in your feet and take a moment to reflect on your surroundings: weather, nature, people. Sit by the 9/11 Fountain next to the Chapel. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes and tune into the sound of the water. Take another moment to breathe in, hold, and release your breath a few times. With each breath, think about how the trees on the Quad produce oxygen for us.
This Ecological Examen is a tool for prayer, reflection and action as individuals in their home, school, university or community deepen our call to care for creation and the most vulnerable. Please join the Ignatian Family in seeking a conversion of heart to embrace ecological justice and Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home.
Loyola is an accredited arboretum. As you walk to your next stop, feel free to use this link to identify some of the trees along the quad.
Stop 2: Statue of St. Ignatius
Start your journey through the quad, towards the St. Ignatius statue. Ask yourself the following:
What am I grateful for within my surrounding environment? Where in nature do I see or feel most connected to God?
- Looking at the Quad, what gifts do I receive from this green space?
- Take a moment to look up at the tops of the trees. Listen carefully: what do you hear? Leaves moving in the breeze? Birds chirping? Reflect on the shade the trees provide- how much cooler it is than directly in the sun. What do people in urban heat islands (areas without green space and heat-absorbing pavement) do to remain cool in our ever-increasing temperatures?
- How do my actions impact my environment at Loyola and in my Baltimore community?
- What am I doing to advocate for those who are facing environmental injustices in Baltimore?
Ignatian spirituality encourages us to be aware of our surroundings in our day to day lives. We are called to be more than mere stewards of the Earth – rather than living as acquaintances with God’s creation, we are called to live in union with it and have a deep commitment to caring for it. We are called to advocate for the protection of all creation.
Reflect on this quote from Pope Francis: “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, we are living at a critical moment of history.”
We now welcome you to make your way from the statue of St. Ignatius to the Living Plant Wall, located in the Fernandez Center.
Stop 3: Living Plant Wall in the Fernandez Center
Sitting by the living wall, reflect on this quote: “In his historic encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on all people to care for creation and our common home. Pope Francis makes clear that our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately connected, noting that humanity is not faced ‘with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.’” Pope Francis calls this integral ecology.
In 2021, Loyola University Maryland joined the first cohort of Laudato Si’ universities, committing to responding to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor through:
- fostering ecological economics
- adopting sustainable lifestyles
- fostering ecological education
- fostering ecological spirituality
- building community resilience & empowerment
Reflect on the following:
- The living plant wall improves air quality and reduces noise inside the building. What is the importance of having accessible green spaces on campus? How does being exposed to green spaces benefit our wellbeing?
- In what ways do I see care for creation being connected to my understanding of my own faith? Are they connected? Why or why not?
- What actions can I take to create more green spaces in my surrounding Baltimore community?
We welcome you now to make your way to the Humanities Porch
Stop 4: The Humanities Porch
Once you arrive at Humanities, take in the beautiful aesthetic and architecture of the building. Observe the quad. These are the images that represent Loyola; a beautiful, green campus. How should we be acknowledging our privilege of living on a campus like Loyola- where there is clean air, an abundance of greenery, and a safe environment?
Reflect on the ancestral grounds of our campus and this passage from Loyola's Land and Life Acknowledgment:
"Loyola University Maryland's campuses are located on stolen ancestral grounds originally cared for and inhabited by Indigenous communities for thousands of years. The racist violence of settler colonialism past and present led to the traumatization and destruction of millions of Indigenous bodies, communities, cultures, and resources. We must acknowledge that we live on and benefit from this land that was taken by force. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, we are called by our values to engage in active discernment about the role that our institution and the Catholic Church have played in the oppression, exclusion, and erasure of Indigenous nations. Loyola University Maryland commits to calling out continued systemic injustice, repairing institutional harms, and renewing our commitment to working in solidarity to heal this land."
Additionally, think about where our quad is situated on our campus, with York Road Corridor sits on one side of our campus, while the Roland Park neighborhood sits on the other. Reflect on the following:
- How does my faith call me to advocate for communities that are facing environmental injustice? OR How are communities facing environmental injustice and my faith’s teachings connected? Am I responsible to act and be responsible to my community?
- How might these two communities of Roland Park and the York Road Corridor face environmental differences: varying amounts of trees and greenery? Cleaner air vs more polluted air? How are these communities distinctly situated near different environmental hazards?
- Baltimore has a history of redlining, which is a discriminatory practice designed by white people in power to keep white spaces white and black spaces black through exclusionary lending, denial of financial services, etc. The York Road corridor is a historical redline boundary between the Roland Park and Govans neighborhoods. How do you see the redlining of the two neighborhoods and environmental racism as correlating?
- Do you feel like you are connected to either community? Or does Loyola remain in a “bubble” that sits between both areas? What are ways you can participate in integral ecology, care for your community, and advocate for environmental justice?
Now, make your way to the Loyola/Notre Dame Bridge and Peace Meadow.
Stop 5: LNDL Library Bridge & Peace Meadow
Take a moment to follow the link to learn about the Peace Meadow.
Close your eyes and reflect on the peaceful sounds of the Stony Run stream, Peace Meadow, and Native Tree Grove around you. Water is a precious resource that we often take for granted. How blessed are we to live on a campus with regular access to clean drinking water? Use the sounds of the Stony Run stream to think about how our pollution runoff impacts the larger surrounding waterways.
- How might we be more mindful of our usage of such a precious resource?
- What actions we can take to advocate for the conservation of our water sources?
Water can also provide a visual of the very real-life effects of climate change. From hurricanes to tsunamis to floods, natural disasters are only becoming more extreme, and they tend to most seriously affect those who are most vulnerable.
Take a moment to reflect on the fact that those who have the largest carbon footprints are those who are least impacted by the effects of climate change, and those who have the smallest carbon footprints are those who are most impacted by its effects.
Finally, walk back to the 4th floor of Sellinger Hall to end your Examen.
Ending Your Examen: 4th Floor Sellinger Hall
As you arrive to your last stop, look out the window over West Campus and reflect on your walking Examen. What did you notice about your answers? Is there something you noticed on campus you haven't noticed before? Think about how you might put your thoughts into action to move towards creating a more sustainable environment for our Earth.
- What are 1-2 concrete steps you can take as an individual to become a more conscious steward of the resources available to you?
The Examen is an ongoing experience that can be carried out throughout your day. We invite you to continue walking and reflecting if you feel compelled to. Mindfulness throughout our everyday interactions (I.e., walking through the quad) can be a way for us to open ourselves up to the gifts God shares with us each day.
- What can you do right now to advocate for our environment?
- Take a look at Loyola University's Office of Sustainability website to learn more about steps you can take, as well as the steps Loyola is taking to combat climate change and develop a sustainable campus.
If you are unable to make a visit to your Senator’s or Representative’s office, we encourage you to pick up the phone and give them a call. This is also a valuable way to express to your legislator the importance of environmental justice within your community.
Join us for a weekly examen during the academic year to step back from your busy day and take a few minutes for reflection.
Wednesdays at 8:30pm in the Alumni Memorial Chapel
Seán Bray, Director of Campus Ministry, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick, '20: "Going to the Weekly Examen is such an awesome part of my week. By Thursday, I'm usually super busy―and super tired. The Weekly Examen offers me a rare moment of stillness and clarity to reflect on my week: the highs, the lows, and what I can do differently in the future. On top of that, it's very relaxing."
Elisabeth, '20: "I love the Weekly Examen because it offers a great way to center myself at the end of what is usually a busy week. It gives me a set time to reflect and be attentive to the times that I have seen God at work in my week."
Jack, '23: "I have a tendency to let life pass me by all too quickly. I fail to step back to see God in the hustle and bustle of college life. The Examen allows me to take time to pause and reflect on where I can see God through the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life that will help me to experience a sense of liberation and freedom."
Campus Ministry staff and student interns are prepared and available to facilitate Examen practices for your office, group or class. An Examen may be tailored to your group or theme or can be general. We can also provide materials to support your staff in leading your own Examen.
As a virtual outreach of the office of Campus Ministry, we will be actively supporting offices, faculty and clubs across campus by facilitating Examens for the start of your meetings or classes or as longer personal and spiritual development activities.
Campus Ministry (email@example.com) to schedule your Pop-In Examen session, or to request materials.
Our Pocket Examens are colorful, illustrated cards with a quick overview of the 5 steps of the examen, small enough to fit next to your Loyola ID. Come pick a printed card up anytime in Campus Ministry in Cohn Hall, or download it below. Loyola Community members can also request copies for your group or office by emailing Megan Linz Dickinson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download Pocket Examen