Fordham Students Celebrate Ignatian Week


De La Fuente and his class hoped to teach guests that attended the showcase about the overarching themes of Ignatian spirituality. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Fordham students celebrated Ignatian Week on April 18 by hosting a showcase to publicly present on the themes of Ignatian spirituality. The showcase, “Unchained: Ignatian Spirituality Beyond Institutional Bounds,” was moderated by David De La Fuente, FCLC ’10, and featured one of his classes, THEO 3854: “Ignatian Spirituality.”

“When I was given the opportunity to teach the course, I thought that it would be really great to do a public facing event, showcasing the students and having them talk about how they have experienced spirituality. In this case, we were looking at each of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola,” said De La Fuente.
De La Fuente felt it was important that he do his part to continue spreading the themes of a Jesuit education.

“We currently have 27 Jesuit universities. The demographics are changing, the realities are changing. When I was an undergraduate student at Fordham, there were a fair amount of Jesuit faculty, administrators and, of course, our president was Jesuit. Just because of demographic shifts, there are fewer Jesuits who are active in faculty, administrative and leadership positions. There is a need to carry forward and communicate why the Jesuit education is important, what is distinctive about it and what is distinctive about places like Fordham. I feel compelled to do my part and this is one way to do that, to have my students directly engage through the class, and in that way, get a direct sense of what it could mean for them.”

To cover each of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, De La Fuente’s class split up into several small groups. Each small group chose to display their reflection in a different medium. Some of the chosen display styles included paintings and student-made short films.
“It made the most sense to have students use creative modes as a way to express what they’ve learned, because what they’ve learned will always be tied to what they’ve experienced. It makes it meaningful for them and personalizes the education,” said De La Fuente.

Each student took a different approach to presenting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Kaitlyn Squyres, FCRH ’26, helped coordinate the logistics of the event.

Squyres said, “I did a lot of the graphics, not all of them, but I did the logo and some of the slides. I also did some color schemes and some typography.”

Squyres also designed the program for the showcase.

“It was a lot of back and forth with my professor about what information needed to be on there, what names, what titles and all of that. A lot of it was just graphics that I had already made,” said Squyres.

Other students chose different methods for displaying the themes of Ignatian spirituality. Abigael Hartlieb, FCRH ’25, and Ava Coogan, FCRH ’25, were student moderators for the event.
Hartlieb said, “I think the core curriculum at Fordham does a great job of welcoming students to new ways of learning about religion. My theology class last year really inspired me to learn more about Ignatian spirituality.”

“When I was looking for a course for the second theology core requirement, I saw Ignatian spirituality and I thought it was interesting because we go to a Jesuit school that is always talking about Ignatian spirituality and cura personalis. I thought it would be cool to take a class and learn more about it,” added Coogan.

Darin McFarland, FCRH ’25, was inspired to take the class through peer recommendation.
“Fordham students have to take certain higher level theology classes. I had heard good things about Professor Dave. He was recommended to me, so I decided to take the class and see what it was about.”
The showcase included food and student-designed T-shirts that featured St. Ignatius of Loyola donning a Fordham baseball cap.

De La Fuente and his class hoped to teach guests that attended the showcase about the overarching themes of Ignatian spirituality.

“Ignatian spirituality is unique. With lots of topics you can study them by reading it, but with Ignatian spirituality, to really understand it, you have to experience it first and then deepen that with the reading,” said De La Fuente.

De La Fuente added, “I think the main thing, for those who experience Ignatian spirituality, they find that it’s really flexible. It gives you a frame for understanding what is happening in your head and in your heart, a way of looking at the world and responding to it. That is what I want my students to experience, because in the end, that is what is happening in a Jesuit education. From whatever perspective they are coming from, from all the unique backgrounds they have, they are being trained to acquire a frame of mind, a disposition and a commitment that will enable them to transform the world around them.”