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St. Francis Xavier College Church is set to host a virtual, anti-racism speaker series. The series is open to all and will feature three esteemed speakers, each grounding the work of racial justice in Ignatian Spirituality. The Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province and the Office of Ignatian Spirituality are co-sponsors of the series.

According to Lisa Burks and Winnie Sullivan, co-chairs of the church’s racial justice team, this is the latest step in a gradual effort to eradicate the moral evil of racism in the parish and broader St. Louis community.

“This parish has long been at the forefront of issues of justice and advocacy issues,” Burks said.

The parish’s anti-racism efforts have gained traction in the last several years.

“Being anti-racist is now part of our parish vision, and we are committing to the idea as a parish on a level we had not seen before,” Sullivan said.

The speaker series was brought about with assistance from Christine Dragonette, coordinator of social ministry at the parish.

It will take place from 7:30-9:00 p.m. Central Time on three consecutive Wednesdays during February, which is Black History Month.

On Wednesday, February 9, Fr. Thomas Clark, SJ, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, La., will deliver a talk entitled: “You Are That Man! 2 Samuel 12:7.”

On Wednesday, February 16, Danielle Harrison, president of Mission, Faith, Equity Consulting, will give an address called “Call of the King, Call of the People … Ignatian Spirituality and the Invitation to Allyship.”

On Wednesday, February 23, Dr. Mary Wardell-Ghiraduzzi, academic and thought leader on race, leadership and faith-informed social justice, will speak on the topic: “A Redemptive Call to the Altar: Ignatian Spirituality for Anti-Racism and Racial Justice.”

Each speaker is expected to bring a different perspective.

“All three work in different spheres and different contexts – Fr. Clark in a parish setting, Danielle in communities and organizations and Mary in education,” Sullivan said. “To hear their different perspectives will be enlightening.”

According to Burks, although the term “anti-racist” is a relatively new addition to many people’s lexicon, it is consistent with long-established Jesuit values.

“To truly be ‘contemplatives in action,’ we as a parish must be tuned into the needs of our community, and hosting these kinds of events is one way for us to do that,” Burks explained.

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