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Women Leaders in the Ignatian Family

Erin Brigham

Institution: University of San Francisco

Title: Executive Director, Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition

Location: San Francisco

Do you have any other Jesuit institutional connections?
I’m a graduate of the Jesuit School of Theology.

What does your job entail?
I direct a center that explores the intersections of faith and justice through faculty research, public events and university programs. 

What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy accompanying faculty and staff as they explore meaning and purpose in their work at a Jesuit university. I am passionate about promoting engagement with Catholic social thought, especially Pope Francis’ social teaching, within a religiously diverse community. 

 How does Ignatian spirituality shape your approach to work?
My experience of the (Spiritual) Exercises is foundational in my life and my work. Living into the demands of Catholic social thought — into solidarity with humanity and creation — requires freedom from individualism and consumerism. At least for me, this is a lifelong journey and I need a spiritual foundation to sustain me. 

 How could the Jesuits and the church as a whole foster women’s leadership more effectively?
We need more opportunities for transformative encounter across roles in the church so we discover our common call through baptism. I find consolation in the formative experiences I have had alongside Jesuits — theological studies, the practice of spiritual direction, social engagement — where the Spirit led us and cultivated a community of friendship. We all need this friendship if we are to live into the joy of the Gospel and freedom that comes from the Exercises.