by Samantha Yanity
I relate to St. Ignatius of Loyola. I had spent my twenties consumed by vanity with the aim of charming the socks off every, single, man I met. As a result, I dated a string of men who did not challenge me to chase after God, but rather, ending up driving me away from God. Caught up with the lies of world, I stopped going to mass.
One day my life completely unraveled. I had lost my apartment and had less than 24 hours to move out. The only one who could help me was my family who lived three hours away. I ended up resigning from my job and giving up most of my earthly possessions. I had nothing left but a suitcase of clothes.
I knelt on the floor of my parents basement alone and prayed, “OK. God, I have nothing left. Do with me as you wish.” As I prayed I heard “San Francisco” in my head. A week later, I flew to San Francisco with nothing but a suitcase, a few hundred bucks, and faith. What happened once I got to the City of San Francis was radical transformation.
Conversion means to turn something on its head and that is exactly what happened in my life. One morning, I had stepped out onto my balcony to hear church bells ringing. Curious about the bells, I Googled, “Catholic churches near the Haight,” and found a Jesuit parish a half mile from my place. The next day, thinking I was late to mass, I ran to the Jesuit church on the hill. I had discovered that this Church was offering a RCIA class. By rite of my baptism, I had been Catholic my entire life, but I never received the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. I had been running from the Church for so long that I knew it was time to come back.
In RCIA we learned about Ignatian Spirituality and about St. Ignatius of Loyola. I did not know much about St. Ignatius or the Jesuits before I came to San Francisco, but it did not take long to fall in love with this Spanish saint, his order, and the Church. Through a Spanish saint, I found my way back to God. Sometimes, the only way to see God fully in all things, is to surrender everything.
Samantha Yanity has a BA in English and a MS in psychology. Currently, she resides in San Francisco where she provides job support and coaching to young interns with developmental and intellectual disabilities at UCSF Medical Center. She is an active parishioner at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco where her love of Ignatius first sparked.