In the Pilgrim's Company:
An Ignatian Storytelling Initiative
To celebrate the Ignatian Year, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States is launching a global Ignatian storytelling initiative entitled In the Pilgrim’s Company, a project that will take a fresh, innovative look at St. Ignatius’ autobiography. And we’re inviting storytellers the world over to contribute their ideas.
This isn’t a simple rehashing of Ignatius’ own words, though. This is an opportunity to delve deeply into the character of one of the many people St. Ignatius encounters during his pilgrim journey – from those early pages stuck in bed with a wounded leg to the final pages in Rome beginning charitable works.
The storytelling challenge is to identify a character from the autobiography – other than St. Ignatius – and explore their thoughts, motivations and perspectives on the would-be saint.
What did Ignatius’ brother, for example, really think about his sibling’s newfound faith? What of the Muslim man Ignatius passed on the road? What insight might be gleaned by exploring a theoretical character who sees Ignatius at work on the streets of Manresa? One might wonder what was going through the mind of Francis Xavier prior to meeting Ignatius. Or, the mind of Pope Paul III as he encountered this band of holy men.
This approach to storytelling is quite Ignatian. The challenge is to drop oneself into this classic story, to take a look around with fresh eyes and to glean new insight from that reflective experience. Perspectives often overlooked, ignored or forgotten come to the forefront, deepening our understanding of Ignatius’ life. This, in many ways, is imaginative prayer.
During this Ignatian Year, we’re invited to “see all things new in Christ.” This storytelling opportunity is an invitation to do exactly that: To gaze upon something familiar with new eyes, to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us something new about the life of this saint – and thus something new about the one whom this saint served.
We are accepting original pieces of fiction (up to 5,000 words), poetry, one-act plays or comic strips. Successful submissions will:
- Clearly identify and assume the persona of a character that is in Ignatius’ autobiography, or a character that might have been in his autobiography (e.g. a townsperson);
- Reflect a deep understanding of Ignatius’ autobiography, as demonstrated by an accurate historical representation of both the life of Ignatius and the society in which he lived;
- Reflect a deep understanding of Ignatian spirituality, the Society of Jesus and the Catholic imagination; and,
- Connect the story of Ignatius with the signs of the times today, as well as the Ignatian Year’s call to conversion.
There will be two submission periods: March 1, 2021 through June 15, 2021 and October 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022. Selected submissions will be featured on Jesuits.org/pilgrimstories throughout the course of the Ignatian Year (May 2021 – July 2022). This project is open to anyone in the world, though at this time, all submissions must be in English.
Selected contributors will receive a stipend, as well as an opportunity to be featured across Jesuit media platforms, including podcasts, videos and more.
If you are interested in submitting your work, please complete the following submission form. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.