The Ignatian Spotlight offers periodic highlights of important figures, articles, or themes in Ignatian Spirituality and the Jesuits. This "spotlight" focuses on Pope Francis and his thoughts on the church.

The Physician's Vocation Program 

is a four-year formation experience for medical students interested in exploring one's self-identity at the intersection of faith and medicine. Through academic coursework, spiritual formation, a commitment to service and prayer, and conversation with classmates and faculty, The Physician's Vocation Program seeks to foster and explore medicine as a calling.


The word vocation come from the Latin vocare, "to call." A contemporary and Christian understanding of vocation ultimately finds its roots in a contemporary of St. Ignatius, Martin Luther. Luther led the way in articulating a broader understanding of vocation that encompassed not only members of vowed religious communities, but also lay professionals. The Physician's Vocation Program aims to cultivate this sense of calling, by integrating aspects of religious formation--prayer, self-reflection, community, service, and education--into the formation of physicians in an effort to sustain one’s desire to be a physician in the service of God and others.

Education is an essential component to formation and holds a place of prominence in the tradition of the Jesuits. The Physician's Vocation Program builds upon a a three course progression and concludes with a fourth-year elective.

Spring,Year 1: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality and Medicine

Fall, Year 2: Religion and Medicine: the Meaning of Vocation, the Challenge of Suffering, and the Commitment to Service

Fall/Spring, Year 3: Practicum Course: The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life - Students proceed through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius under the guidance of a spiritual director and in conjunction with their clinical rotations. The class will meet as a group on each PCM III day.

Spring, Year 4: In Service of Others (Fourth-Year Elective) - Students will participate in preparatory conversation in advance of the experience and reflective conversation after its completion. This elective intends to serve as a synthesis experience of the constitutive components of the program: service, prayer, community, and education.     

Stritch has a variety of opportunities to serve in solidarity with those in our community, both locally and globally. Service and reflection on those experiences play important roles in a physician's vocation and a Jesuit education. However, throughout one's education, time for both of these activities seems to become more elusive. In this program we hope that you will be able to offer your gifts and talents in a variety of ways and that you come to see your work as service.

Formation takes place in the context of a community. Yet, the experience of medical school can be isolating given the amount of time spent in solitary study. While this time is necessary and of value, the formation of the physician ultimately is rooted in community. The Physician’s Vocation Program meets regularly for classes, meals, and prayer. Our discussions inevitably engage the other communities to which we belong--family, professional, religious--and the role these communities play in shaping how we think about what it means to be a good doctor.  

Cultivating a habit of prayer serves to support the faith that rests at the center of one’s vocation. Throughout the program students will be introduced to a variety of prayer experiences. These will include morning prayer, retreat opportunities, and spiritual direction. Students participating in the Physician’s Vocation Program will make the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as their Practicum Course in their third year. The Exercises support one's awareness of God's presence in all things and in particular one's work as a physician.