Meet a Member of the Bridges Community: Mary Jane Farrell Lane 

Relate a little about your professional, religious and spiritual background:

Hi!  My name is Mary Jane Farrell Lane. For the last 40 years, I have been a marriage and family therapist in private practice. I began my professional career as a special education teacher, and soon found myself more and more interested in the emotional dynamics of the children and the families in which children live. I then began an ongoing professional education, and today specialize in impact of addictions, grief, and life transitions.

I have 3 married children and 5 grandchildren. I grew up in St. Louis, attended St. Catherine of Siena, Mercy High School and Fontbonne College. Significantly, I have always been around and participated in Christian spirituality, and I am learning more and deeper each year.

When I was led to the Bridges Retreat in everyday life, the platter was overflowing with stressors and demands. My mother’s life was entering the last years, my marriage was challenged, my children were emerging in their adult lives, and I needed something to help just me. I came home from a trip in 2003, saw the bulletin and looked for a bible study, and Bridges spoke to me. I knew little about Ignatian spirituality, but it seemed to work in my life schedule…so I made the call.  I know the Holy Spirit was the guiding force. I read recently, “Come to me with empty hands and an open heart, ready to receive abundant blessings,” and that is what my journey in Ignatian spirituality has been and has continued to be.

During the course of receiving the Bridges Exercises in Everyday Life, what surprised you?

This was the first time I ever shared my prayer life with anyone. I was met with a most generous, compassionate heart who listened and guided me to a deeper understanding of the Spiritual Exercises. I shared I did not know if I could commit to an hour a day to pray and reflect, and I was supported that I would be met with abundance, and the way would be found. I loved entering into walking with Jesus through His life, imagining myself, and experiencing prayer in a whole new way. My son shared with me that while attending a Jesuit university, he wrote a paper in a theology class called “My Mom Before and After Bridges.” I never read it, and I believe it to be true. It is how I feel inside, even with all the years of Catholic education and experiences.

Why would you recommend the Bridges Retreat? Why do you remain active in the Bridges Community?

The Bridges retreat makes the Ignatian Exercises real and possible in a person’s life. You don’t just take it…you live it, in the midst of all that is going on in your life. It sinks in deeper and deeper. It comes alive in you. It takes a little piece at a time of experiencing Jesus’ life into your life, and for me that is what spirituality is all about. Since 2003, I have continued in an Ignatian prayer group, Sacred Circle, which is part of the Christian Life Community.

We continue to deepen our understanding of the Ignatian exercises through many books, reflections, service and prayer. We meet twice per month, and it is an integral prayer experience that guides me to want more, learn more, and be more. It opens me to more and more God surprises. I never even thought I would go to the Holy Land, and in February 2019, I walked where Jesus walked. This life experience has been so profound, and I am so grateful, filled with abundance, and thus able to live my mission of giving more. I recently joined the Bridges Foundation board to help in the little ways that I am able, and to continue to spread the mission. This is possible for you, too, and it is a gift that will keep on giving.