Finding God in All Things: Identity and Purpose in a Jesuit Community for the Elderly

Jon-Michael Odean


This article is an investigation into the development and maintenance of identity of elderly Jesuits residing in the Jesuit Community for the Elderly (JCE) in Maryland. Through qualitative research and analysis using identity theory, I investigate the human creature as an embodied being oriented to perceive and respond to meaning, and to construct identity out of the process. I look to see the means by which these individuals, especially in the context of a religious order and old age, create and maintain their identities. I conclude that with the intentional practice and construction of foundational habits in the context of community, the residents of the JCE, no matter their state of physical deterioration at this late stage in the life cycle, are able to maintain their identity as Jesuits, continue relational practice through ministry, and maintain a profound sense of meaning in life.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Jon-Michael Odean

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