~ Opening prayer
Will you pray with me,
We are here, Lord. Here to do your will,
As the water of Baptism infused the Holy Spirit within us,
we seek to remain open to the message of Jesus and humbly follow in his footsteps of love, peace and service to humankind
May your spirit shine through us so that we may be beacons of light to others on this journey of life…
John, the Baptist, received a message. A message from God. He was to be the forerunner of the One, the Messiah who was to come and bring salvation to the world. As John was baptizing people in the Jordan River, his cousin Jesus appeared in the crowd. John felt a stirring in his heart. He felt he was not worthy to baptize Jesus. Yet, Jesus insisted John was the one to baptize him. Then, the dove appeared over Jesus’ head and John knew this stirring in his heart to be true. Jesus came to John in humility as the Son of God to be baptized with water as the Holy Spirit spiraled through him. From that moment on, the Holy Spirit would become present in the waters of Baptism for all humanity. John witnessed and testified to others that Jesus was the One they had been waiting for.
In our own baptism, we are infused with the Holy Spirit. The Triune God becomes present to us. Although, we cannot recall our own baptism, we can witness the baptism of babies and adults and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. As I reflect upon the baptism of my son, I will never forget how the Holy Spirit stirred in my heart. He was baptized at 7-months-old in a 700-year-old church in England with a truly simple baptismal font. As the priest poured water over Dylan’s forehead, he smiled, kicked his legs and looked upward at the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling. I, too, was compelled to look up…and didn’t “see” what he was looking at. Yet, I felt the breath of the Holy Spirit descend upon him.
Now when I reflect on the Baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River, I feel that same stirring in my heart. The stirring of the Holy Spirit and being in solidarity with and following in the footsteps of Jesus. I feel every cell of my body becoming infused with the light and love and peace of the Holy Spirit and walk with Jesus as my companion.
Have you ever noticed how this light, shines through the faces of people you meet? Maybe in a random stranger’s face, maybe a family member or friend? We are being called today, more than ever, to witness where the Holy Spirit is at work in others, as well as in ourselves.
For me, I see this light in people’s faces. As a photojournalist, I was out in the world in many different environments. I have seen the light of the Holy Spirit shine through the faces of university students, babies, the marginalized of society and others.
I chose these photos to illustrate how I was stirred by the presence of the Holy Spirit in others. What do you witness in these faces? (Photos, Copyright: Jeanmarie Santopatre)
It may be in the water of Baptism that the Holy Spirit comes to us and it is also important to sustain the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Richard Rohr writes, “In very real ways, soul, consciousness, love, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Each of these point to something that is larger than the individual, shared with God, ubiquitous and even eternal-and then revealed through us! Holiness does not mean people are psychologically or morally perfect (a common confusion), but that they are capable of seeing and enjoying things in a much more ‘whole’ and compassionate way, even if they sometimes fail at it themselves.”
We each have our own journey to witness when and where the Holy Spirit is revealed and how we regard others with compassion in an ethereal way. When you feel that stirring in your heart, how will you respond?
Reflect and discern where the Holy Spirit is moving within you and calling you to action…
An avid proponent of her Catholic faith and Social Justice, Daniel Berrigan, S.J.’s books helped shape Jeanmarie Santopatre's passion for truth and social justice. She was a photojournalism major at Syracuse University and upon graduating from Syracuse, Jean embarked on a career as a newspaper photojournalist in Southwestern Connecticut.
After a successful newspaper career, Jean joined the public relations and publications staff at Fairfield University, CT as the university photojournalist. She was drawn to Ignatian Spirituality and completed the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life of St. Ignatius. Jean was a mentor in the Ignatian Residential College and co-led student Mission Immersion trips with Campus Ministry.
At Fairfield, she studied Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality and received her Master of Arts. Jean’s discernment led her to embark on a new career path. She attended Yale Divinity School and completed her Master of Religion, Education, Leadership and Ministry in 2015. She completed two units of CPE as a Bridgeport, CT hospital chaplain and interned at St. Thomas More, the Yale Catholic chaplaincy while at Yale Divinity School.
Upon graduation from Yale, Jean was hired as the Director of Campus Ministry at Lauralton Hall, an all-girls Catholic, Mercy college prep school in Milford, CT. After four years as Campus Minister and Religion teacher, her discernment led her to seek a position in Ministry that engages Ignatian Spirituality and Social Justice. She joined St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in August 2019 as the Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation for Family and Ignatian Young Adults and Social Justice Ministry.
Jean has completed her formation as a Spiritual Director at the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University and received her certification in December 2019.
She resides in Bridgeport, Connecticut with her husband, Michael Freeman and their son, Dylan, Fairfield University ’20.
“Go forth and set the world on fire.” ~ St. Ignatius Loyola
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