Thursday, June 20, 2019

Photos and Commentary

No homily at the moment.  Arrived in Loyola, Spain two days ago to present two talks at a international symposium on psychology and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.  One of the talks is this evening (am wide awake at 4 AM) and the other tomorrow.  Obviously sleep has been a problem.  I don't expect it will improve.   Will give a talk on "Ignatius' Experience in Manresa: A Psychiatric Perspective" later today (may skip the morning conferences in favor of some sleep or have a gallon of coffee).  Tomorrow's talk is on "Desolation and Depression in the Spiritual Exercises." 

This is my first time in Spain.  Loyola is in Basque country.  It is picturesque and very hilly.  No plans tto hike anywhere.  It is also prone to rain and overcast--kind of like Pennsylvania these past weeks.  The Basilica of St. Ignatius was built in 1738 which explains the ornateness.  The baroque had no understanding of the concept of excess.  I can understand Spanish via Portuguese but can't speak it too easily.  Basque, on the other hand, is a language that is not at all recognizable.  Apparently like Finnish and Hungarian, there is no certainty as to its origin.  It looks like nothing I've ever seen.  

On 26 June I head over to Slovenia until 8 July  It will be an opportunity to catch up with friends, take as many photos as possible,  eat klobasa, chomp on potica, and relax.  

View from my room.  The dome behind the building is the basilica.  It is about three minutes to walk from here to there without a camera and about an hour and a half with. 

Plaza in front of the basilica.   Arrival day was pleasant but today was typically gray and cloudy.  Am grateful for the lack of humidity. 

One of the paths in front of the basilica.

A bas relief near the desk at the retreat house in which the conference presenters are staying.  There are over 200 registered.  

A mosaic near the photo above.

Lunch tables set.  Wine with lunch and dinner.  Dinner not until 9 PM.  I will not get used to that part.  In LJ our main meal is at 1 PM.

The main entrance to the Basilica of St. Ignatius.  It was built in the mid-18th century.

Main altar.  Nothing spared was the motto of the baroque. 

Am developing this thing for crystal chandeliers.  Would love to see this on lighted.  

Altar dedicated to Mary.  The basilica is huge. 

One of two pulpits. The lighting in the basilica is a challenge.  A lot of work in processing to tame things down and adjust color.  There is a very oddly placed spotlight that illuminates an IHS but makes no sense. 

Main altar.

The choir loft and organ.  There will be a closing Mass here on Monday.

Tabernacle door on main altar. I hoped to get another look at this today to figure out where the color originates on the host.  It is too uniform and outlined to be reflection.  The basilica is closed from 1 to 3.  By the time I was ready to return it was too close to the opening of the conference to have the time. 

+ Fr.Jack, SJ, MD


  1. I would be very interested in hearing/reading your talk on desolation and depression in the spiritual exercises. Is it available somewhere? I was at a silent retreat at Campion earlier this year and encountered the revelation that depression is distinct from desolation, an insight that was tremendously helpful. - Phil

    1. Sorry for the delay. I did not have access to a computer in LJ. I will be reunited with the laptop I left in airport security in Madrid in ten days. A friend picked it up for me. Send an e-mail to: and I'll forward the Powerpoint handout.