Bioethics & Professionalism (BP)

Dept. Contact William Schmilke
Location SSOM 292
Phone 708-327-9208
Department: Bioethics & Professionalism
Course Number: BP-405
Course Title: Spiritual Exercises & the Practice of Medicine
No. of Students: 1
Site: SSOM/Retreat Center
Supervisor: Michael McCarthy, PhD; David DeMarco, SJ, MD; John Hardt, PhD
Duration: 4 weeks
Periods Offered: Year round
Prerequisite: Fourth year standing.
Special Note:

Acceptance for program pending approval from supervisors/instructors.

For questions about this elective, contact Michael McCarthy ( in Bioethics.


The Spiritual Exercises are an opportunity to reflect more deeply on one’s call to the practice of medicine through a mostly silent retreat. Many Stritch students cite a high sense of calling to the profession of medicine. Maintaining that high sense of calling has been demonstrated to lower reports of burnout. Thus, fourth year represents a critical juncture for a medical professional to become reinvigorated by their call to practice medicine. One of the key indicators for maintaining a high sense of calling to medicine, for those who report spirituality and religion as important to them, is deepening one’s spirituality.

This fourth year elective offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with one’s sense of spirituality and call to medicine through participating in St. Ignatius Loyola’s 30-day Spiritual Exercises at an off-site retreat center. Over the four weeks students will participate in a set of “spiritual exercises” with the help of a spiritual director at one of the available retreat centers At the conclusion of the elective, students should be able to articulate the importance of spirituality as a key component of their personal and professional life as a future physician. Finally, students are expected to research and enroll for the retreat at their own cost, though some scholarship opportunities may be available upon request.

Method of Evaluation: Final paper and closing interview with course director.