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Faber Center: Spiritual resource for staff, faculty

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The Faber Center, located in Schroeder Complex, provides spiritual services for staff

While Marquette faculty members are the educators in the classroom, the university reaches out to teach them a few lessons as well – in faith and spirituality.

The Faber Center of Ignatian Spirituality, located in Schroeder Complex, is a resource for faculty at Marquette that provides spiritual guidance through groups and retreats to help create a more positive environment for the entire campus.

Founded in 2006, the Faber Center provides an opportunity for faculty and administration to “explore and deepen their spiritual life and practice,” according to Marquette’s website.

Kathleen Coffey-Guenther, associate director of the Faber Center, said the center’s employees help to define spiritual direction and offer spiritual care and support.

“We try to provide space to explore the culture on campus,” Coffey-Guenther said.

Coffey-Guenther said the center looks at what makes our culture different than other universities and how we can live out Ignatian values and cura personalis.

The Rev. James O’Leary, associate director at the Faber Center, said the center offers spiritual direction, retreats, spiritual groups and men’s and women’s spirituality groups, among other things.

Both Coffey-Guenther and O’Leary agreed that the center is a frequently used resource for faculty and administrators on campus.

“Every year we are growing,” O’Leary said.

The Rev. Doug Leonhardt, associate vice president of the Office of Mission and Ministry, said in an e-mail that a variety of the programs are designed to embrace the different forms of spirituality among faculty, staff and administrators.

“It is a commitment of the university to provide opportunities for the permanent population of the university to avail themselves of pastoral counseling and spiritual direction (and) to participate in a variety of programs that will give them knowledge and experience of Ignatian Spirituality,” Leonhardt said in the e-mail.

Leonhardt said the center helps build communities and tackle other real-life issues, along with providing a confidential place for people to share personal issues.

Though the center only works with staff on campus, Coffey-Guenther said they hope the guidance  they provide trickles down to create a better classroom setting.

People come in all day long for group meetings and quiet meditation, where they share faith life and learn tools on how to live intentionally, Coffey-Guenther said.

Ralph del Colle, an associate professor of theology, has participated in retreats, book clubs and the men’s spirituality group.

“It has been a very positive experience,” del Colle said. “They do a great job, and I am glad that we have it.”

Del Colle said the Faber Center is important especially for a Jesuit university to teach Ignatian values through prayer and spiritual direction.

“It is very enriching to work here,” O’Leary said. “You see people at their best and with this hunger in their heart, hunger for something more than we can see.”

Coffey-Guenther agreed that it has been a positive experience.

“I am very privileged to work with such a diverse group of people,” Coffey-Guenther said. “The people are all genuine seekers who seek how to be better people and live out their values. It’s a very inspiring job.”

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