Klaire Matthews: Why Ignite?

Over the course of the next few months, myself and the other five Ignite interns will be blogging and reflecting on our internships, whether that be over the last few months or the last two years. We’ll be doing this for a new blog series we’re calling “Why Ignite?”. Our hope in these reflections is that you yourself apply to be an intern, or that our reflections inspire you to pass them along to someone you think would benefit from the experiences that we share in these reflections. However, before I answer this question for myself, I see it fit to explain what exactly this internship entails if you don’t know already. 

The Ignite Internship is a 10-month program at the Jesuit Spiritual Center where you join of our vast and expanding youth program. As an intern, you live in community with the other interns, gain ministry experience, especially with retreats, and develop as a young adult—mentally, physically and spiritually. Today, after working as an intern the last six months, I have a completely different answer to this question than I did in August after my recent college graduation.

Why Ignite? First, as an intern, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought possible, and only continue to learn more with each passing day. A big part of this has come from experiencing silence and a “lack of busyness.” Now, please don’t take the phrase in the wrong way. As an intern we certainly stay busy, especially now near the end of the school year. However, even in the course of a busy season, there are still moments to experience silence and stillness. At first, this was extremely uncomfortable for me. Today, I realize this discomfort came from the last eight years where I was told by society to “GO GO GO,” and never stop. I was told to fill my planner as a student, stay on top of my academics, participate in outside organizations, serve, and maintain my social life. When I walked onto JSC’s campus, I was told the complete opposite. I’m still processing all I’m learning about myself in this silence, so I can’t possibly provide details on how this experience is benefitting me. I ask only that you take my word for it. Each lesson I learn is different than yesterday’s and is almost always stronger than the one that came before it; all of which have to do with growing mentally, physically, individually and spiritually.

My second answer is that because of the opportunities you experiences outside of the everyday responsibilities of an intern. Over the last several months I have met so many wonderful people. It is clear to me that Cincinnati is a very tight-knit community. The supervisors of all the different volunteer programs and intentional communities in the city have worked hard to plan gatherings so our programs can come together and meet. During these gatherings that I’ve met and made friends with some diverse and amazing people. An internship at JSC does not just mean that you will gain a community at work, but a community outside of it as well. Another opportunity outside of my normal responsibilities is a project that is currently in the works. A few weeks ago, I was asked to help plan and coordinate an Interfaith Retreat for some Xavier University students with a few other members of my team. Although this is a small project and others certainly have more of a say in the final product than I do, it has given me a glimpse into the future that I hope to have someday. This opportunity has ignited a fire in my heart again, and is energizing me to work even harder to obtain my goal of working with university students.

The past few months have been an absolute blessing, even in the most difficult moments. It’s hard to move to a new city after graduation, away from your family and friends and learn how to trust all over again. However, I strongly believe now after being a part of this program, that it is also something that every young adult should aim to do. As I said before, you learn so much about yourself in the process: about the person you used to be, the person who you hope to be now while working with students, and the person you hope to be in the future. 


If you or anyone you know may be interested in our Ignite Internship, you can find the application here