Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

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Mission Statement

The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University welcomes those seeking to deepen their relationship with God and to enrich their daily lives. We offer spiritual direction and programming, in the Ignatian tradition, to guide individuals and groups in their journey toward this encounter, as St. Ignatius did, by “finding God in all things.” As part of this outreach, we also train spiritual directors who can assist individuals and groups in the discernment of God’s direction in their lives. We are committed to supporting the faith-life of the students, faculty and staff of Fairfield University as well as individuals from the larger community outside of the university.

The Murphy Center's goals are to:

  • Establish a lasting infrastructure to serve as a repository and holder of the Jesuit values foundational to the culture of Fairfield University
  • Promote vibrant and attractive expressions of Ignatian spirituality at individual, group, and larger community levels, both on campus and in the Diocese of Bridgeport
  • Create a symbol that personifies the commitment of the University to these Ignatian values
  • Offer a space suitable for personal discernment, dedicated to the kinds of experimental and formative discussions about Jesuit and Catholic identity that animate Fairfield's institutional life


Searching for deeper meaning and life purpose?
For a more personal relationship with God?

Satisfy your spiritual hunger at Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

Based upon the life experiences and teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the six-month Ignatian Spirituality for Today journey focuses on practical methods of prayer and discernment. The program includes:

  • Lecture and Prayer Experiences

    Four Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
    October 6 & 20, and November 3 & 17, 2018.

  • Faith Sharing Groups

    Six Sessions in January and February 2019: Dates and times to be determined.

  • Week of Directed Prayer

    March 16 to 23, 2019: Group prayer on Saturday mornings, and daily one-on-one weekday meetings with an experienced spiritual director. Flexibility allows retreatants to schedule around work and family obligations.

For more information or to register, contact Colleen Gilbertson at 203-254-4000, ext 3468. A donation of $150 for the entire program is requested. Space is limited to 24 participants.




Programs Offered

Encountering the Living God

A 10-week program of prayer and reflection, under the personal guidance of one of the Murphy Center’s trained spiritual directors. This program is open to Fairfield students, faculty, staff and members of the larger community. Its method and content are inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius o f Loyola. Participants meet weekly with a spiritual director for ten consecutive weeks.


Students’ Ten-Week Ignatian Experience

Follows the model of the Encountering the Living God program. Intended for Fairfield University undergraduates, led by a team of the Murphy Center’s spiritual directors. The course, Finding God in All Things, is offered to Fairfield University undergraduates every semester of the academic year. The course introduces students to Ignatius of Loyola, and to his spiritual legacy, as expressed in his writings and in the history and on-going mission of the Jesuits. A second course, Christian Spirituality, introduces students to the fundamentals of spirituality through a variety of different traditions. A component of both courses is the opportunity to participate in the Ten-Week Ignatian Experience. In both classes, students receive credit for course requirements by participating in this program.


Parish Ignatian Pilgrimage

A multi-month program offered in parishes of the Diocese of Bridgeport, providing participants with an introduction to Ignatian Spirituality in both theory and practice. The program includes lectures, discussions in faith-sharing groups and opportunities for individually directed prayer experiences.


Ignatian Spirituality for Today

A multi-month program offered at Fairfield University. The program follows the structure of the Parish Ignatian Pilgrimage listed above.


Spiritual Direction

Is for anyone, of any faith, who is seeking a deeper connection with God. Participants meet with a spiritual director who can assist them in developing the skills needed to recognize the presence of God in their life. A spiritual director is a companion who aids in listening for the movements of the Sacred. The spiritual director helps a person pay attention to God’s personal communication, respond, grow in intimacy with God, and live out the invitations that emerge from that relationship.


The Full Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

An individually-directed retreat, usually lasting at least a year, during which time the retreatant meets weekly with a director and follow the model of prayer outlined by St. Ignatius. The retreatant commits to daily prayer, while continuing his or her normal routine. This is known widely as “The Retreat in Daily Life” or “The Nineteenth Annotation Retreat.” Ideally, participants should be in spiritual direction before undertaking the Spiritual Exercises in this form.


Life after the Exercises


Intended for those from the University and Prep community and beyond, who have completed the full Exercises of St. Ignatius and who seek to nourish and refresh the graces received during the Exercises. Includes an annual retreat, regular study sessions on themes of Ignatian Spirituality, and small groups for faith-sharing.


MCIS Women’s Initiative

The MCIS Women's Initiative seeks to assist women in their desire to find God in all things. Programs are designed to nurture personal spiritual growth in both a communal and individual atmosphere with biannual meetings consisting of a brief talk followed by self-reflection and small faith-sharing groups. The group is open to Fairfield students, faculty, staff and members of the larger community.


Fairfield University and Prep Faculty and Staff Retreat

A three-day, weekend retreat in the Ignatian Tradition. Offered for faculty and staff of Fairfield University and Fairfield Prep. Includes three meetings of one on one spiritual direction. Provides an opportunity for personal reflection in a quiet, prayerful atmosphere.


Spiritual Direction Training

Through Fairfield’s Office of Community and Lifetime Education, the Murphy Center sponsors three programs:

A two-year certificate program conducted at Fairfield University, is intended for persons with a ministerial and theological background who wish to be trained as spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition.

A four-year program conducted at St. Francis Springs, Stoneville, NC, is intended for those for whom weekly or monthly classes are not possible and have no educational background in theology or spirituality.

19th Annotation Practicum

A yearlong formation program that trains spiritual directors in how to offer the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This program is intended for individuals whom are already spiritual directors.


A Practicum in the Art of Supervision: Experiential Learning at the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

This practicum is designed to provide experienced spiritual directors with the fundamental skills and further experience to develop their skills and grow in the art of supervision.

News & Announcements


A Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality Benefit Dinner
Honoring Reverend Charles H. Allen, S.J.
with the Rev. James M. Bowler Award on April 25, 2020, 7 p.m.

[The Rev. James M. Bowler Award was awarded to Fr. Bowler in May 2018 for a lifetime of service exemplifying the spirituality of St. Ignatius and Founder, Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.]

Fr. Charlie Allen is a living example of a contemplative in action. His wit and wisdom have, in the Ignatian tradition, provided students, alumni and the larger community with insights reflecting God’s work in their daily lives. With humility and humor, Fr. Allen walks faithfully with Christ and forms relationships with individuals and communities who seek to find grace in their connections with God and each other. The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality is delighted to honor Fr. Charlie Allen, SJ for his more than 40 years serving the spiritual heritage of Fairfield University with magnanimity in relationships with our alumni, neighbors in the Diocese of Bridgeport, and various organizations in the town of Fairfield and the Greater Bridgeport area.

Dinner Committee Chairs Jennifer and Peter Harding
Past Honorees Rev. James M. Bowler, SJ
The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano

Aging with Grace

A six-week lecture series in November and December presented by Rev. John Murray, SJ exploring the dynamics of aging through prayer, discussion, personal reflection and an openness to sharing personal stories. To register, please contact Elizabeth Hastings at
November 7, 14, 21 & December 5, 12, 19, 2019
Participation Fee: $60

Making Peace with Stress

A panel discussion for students on caring for the whole self. The event, hosted by the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Counseling and Psychological Services, RecPlex and Dining Services and identifies the difference between healthy and unhealthy emotional and neurological responses and the importance of working with thoughts and caring for the self. Information about various foods and the effects on mood, energy and sleep will be discussed along with the importance of exercise as a means of reducing and relieving stress. The Murphy Center will help define spirituality as an inherent gift and a pathway to more meaningful connections with God, nature, others and one's self.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Oak Room

Women's Advent Retreat

An opportunity for women to come together in prayer and reflect individually and communally on the challenge and gift of waiting with grace.
Donation $35
Wednesday, December 3, 2019, 6 – 9 p.m.
Dolan House
To register, please contact Diane Mastrone at

Married Couple's Retreat

Seeking to grow your relationship with God and your spouse? Escape the noise and come away for a while. This three-day retreat is based on the model of shared stories on the vocation of married life. Along with dialing meetings as a group with table discussions, there will be ample free time for rest and reflection. Come and enjoy this collaborative experience of our Jesuit institutions and their committed faculties and staff.

  • The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University in collaboration with Fairfield University Preparatory School, Boston College, Boston College High School and Cheverus High School, Faculty and Staff host a Married Couples Retreat
  • March 20-22, 2020
  • Hilton Hotel, Boston/Woburn MA
  • Cost $125 including Lodging and meals (dinner Friday through breakfast Sunday)
  • Please RSVP for application by December 1, 2019 to


AMDG Retreat

The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality will offer a weekend version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. This silent retreat, directed by MCIS staff, is available for faculty, staff and students. The retreat will include opportunities for daily meetings with a spiritual director, and will also involve presentations on key aspects of this uniquely Ignatian retreat.
February 28 – March 1, 2020.

Words of gratitude and humility set the tone for the dedication of the newly renamed Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality on Thursday, September 27.

Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

A $4 million gift in honor of Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S. J., the President of Fairfield, has been made by long-time University supporter and 2011 honorary degree recipient, the Honorable Maryanne Trump Barry, Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The gift will fund scholarships to enable deserving young people to pursue an education at Fairfield, and will permanently endow Fairfield’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

External Resources

Both of these sites are resources produced by the Loyola Press. The first is seven variations of the traditional Ignatian Examen accompanied by your choice of music. These different patterns offer a means to enhance ones participation in a very practical Ignatian mode of prayer. The second is a month long program celebrating important aspects of Ignatian Spirituality through various types of media.

Contact Us


For more information, contact:

Fr. Denis Donoghue, S.J., Associate Director
203-254-4000 x2561

Fairfield University
Dolan House, room 106
Fairfield, CT  06824

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