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The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality Welcomes You
We are a Center on Fairfield University’s campus that offers spiritual direction to students, faculty and staff, the Diocese of Bridgeport, and community members of all faiths. In the Ignatian tradition, the Murphy Center’s spiritual directors help people explore the sacred aspect of being human, and finding God in all things.
Programs We Offer
When looking for God, we often find ourselves.
The doors to the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University open wide and invite anyone seeking deeper meaning and a closer relationship with God to explore the opportunities for spiritual engagement. No prior experience or background in spiritual direction needed.
All who feel invited are welcome!
Programs for All
Encountering the Living God | 10-Week Program
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.
19th Annotation, Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) | Year-Long Program
A guided retreat accompanied by a Spiritual Director, the 19th Annotation, Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) program helps participants better discern God's presence in their everyday life. The SEEL retreat usually lasts at least a year, during which time the retreatant meets weekly with a director and follows the model of prayer outlined by St. Ignatius of Loyola. 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 19th Annotation Retreat." Ideally, participants should be in spiritual direction before undertaking the SEEL 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.
Monthly Spiritual Direction
Is for anyone, of any faith, who is seeking a deeper connection with God. Participants meet monthly 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.
Fairfield University's Walking Examen is the first of its kind on a Jesuit campus. Beginning on the plaza of Egan Chapel, this mile-long prayer and meditation trail was designed to cultivate prayerful discernment and an awareness of God’s presence around us.
The Examen is a contemplative prayer practice made popular by St. Ignatius of Loyola that invites us to see God in our everyday lives. There are five steps to the Walking Examen identified by five large rocks with a plaque. Each step signifies the five movements of the Examen prayer: Thanksgiving, Illumination, Examination, Contrition, and Hope.
Bookmarks with maps are available in the Library, Campus Ministry, Admission, and in the Murphy Center for anyone who would like to follow the route.
Programs for Fairfield University Students
“Finding God in All Things” | Semester-Long Course
Following the model of the Encountering the Living God program, this for-credit course is intended for Fairfield University undergraduates, and is led by a team of Murphy Center spiritual directors. “Finding God in All Things” is offered to Fairfield University undergraduates every semester of the academic year, and introduces students to the spiritual legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola, as expressed in his writings and in the history and on-going mission of the Jesuits. As part of the class, students are offered the opportunity to participate in the Ten-Week Ignatian Experience.
“Christian Spirituality” | Semester-Long Course
This for-credit course is intended for Fairfield University undergraduates, and is led by a team of Murphy Center spiritual directors. “Christian Spirituality” introduces students to the fundamentals of spirituality through a variety of different traditions, and offers students the opportunity to participate in the Ten-Week Ignatian Experience.
STAG Athlete Support
MCIS offers retreats and spiritual support for all student athletes. Team retreats are coordinated through Athletics and individual one-on-one Spiritual Direction is available through MCIS.
Any student athlete who is interested in deepening his or her spiritual connection and personal growth is invited to explore opportunities at the Murphy Center in a meeting with one of the Center’s spiritual directors.
Spiritual directors are trained to accompany others on the journey to find meaning and purpose in everyday activities, paying attention to the sacred graces animating daily life. All are welcome. For more information or to arrange a meeting, please contact Marcy Haley at email@example.com.
Programs for Faculty, Staff, and Community Members
“Aging With Grace” | Semester-Long Virtual Program
“Aging With Grace” meets every Thursday, virtually via Zoom. Open to retirees of all faiths, the course uses prayer, assigned readings and personal reflection to guide participants through an exploration of the spiritual dynamics of growing older. All are welcome!
Rev. John Murray, S.J., will offer "Aging With Grace" this semester on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Spring 2024 AWG participants are asked to purchase this semester's required book prior to the beginning of the course: Inner Compass, by Margaret Silf.
To register by mail, please provide the following information:
- Full Name
- Mailing Address
- A $40.00 check payable to Fairfield University (Please write "AWG Spring 2024" in Memo line.)
- Mail to:
Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality
1073 North Benson Rd.
Fairfield, CT 06824
MCIS Women’s Initiative | During Advent and Lent
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 faculty, staff and members of the larger community.
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.
Spiritual Director Formation Program | Two-Year Certificate Program
A two-year certificate program conducted at Fairfield University, intended for persons with a ministerial and theological background who wish to be trained as spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition.
News & Events
To view all upcoming and recent events, visit the events archive.
From lecture series to retreats to special events, The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality offers a diverse selection of programming to meet a range of spiritual needs.
A Closer Look at Spiritual Direction
“Spiritual Direction is the space to explore the everyday ordinariness for the presence of God and the workings of grace, precisely at those time when nothing seems to be happening.”
— Eugene Peterson
What can I expect from spiritual direction?
- No judgment or agenda — just a welcoming presence who is there to help you discover the "life in your life."
- Someone who will listen attentively and reflect back the presence of God you are experiencing and discovering.
- Reverence and respect for the spiritual movements in your life, in the context of your religious background or belief system.
- Confidentiality — everything you share in spiritual direction is held in confidence.
- Encouragement and Hope to gently nudge you toward the wisdom and love God is already pouring into your life.
- Freedom to discover your deepest desire and move toward freedom from all that distracts from that desire.
- Meaningful Connection to yourself, God, and others, to respond to the movements of your heart and make choices in line with your truest self.
- Support — noticing God's action in your life, and finding valuable inner peace during difficult times.
Four Journeys with Ignatius
What Can We Do for You?
- Who you are and where God is in your life
- Thoughts, questions, desires you have about faith and spirituality
- Discovering the nature of your deepest desire
- Feeling spiritually disconnected, isolated, or lost
- Making choices in line with your truest, most authentic self
- Connecting your lived experience with your spiritual journey
- Feel, appreciate, and notice what is stirring below the surface of your life
- Find the connection you desire with God, yourself, and others
- Disconnect from the digital world and feel rooted in the real world
- Become free of all that distracts from your deepest desire
- Respond to God’s love and the movements of your heart
- Enhance your appreciation for your spiritual life
- Reverence the sacred in your everyday experience
- Develop a personal relationship with God and prayer
- Individual and group spiritual direction
- Drop-in hours for support and spiritual guidance
- Days and evenings of guided reflection
- Faith sharing groups
- Ten-week student encounters begin in September and January, at the start of each semester
- For all other appointments or programs, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2373
Where to Find Us
Dolan House is located in the northeast corner of campus.
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Staff & Advisory Board
The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality is comprised of an array of individuals 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 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.
- 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
Support the Center