Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Ignatius House Director To Be Feb. 12 Magnificat Speaker

Published January 6, 2011

Maria G. Cressler, of the Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center, will be the featured speaker at the Magnificat breakfast on Saturday, Feb. 12. All women of the archdiocese are invited to attend.

The breakfast will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Killian Hall, 908 Killian Hill Road, Lilburn. The event includes music, prayer, the meal, the speaker’s talk on the transforming love of Christ in her own life, and a time of friendship and fellowship with other women. Doors open 30 minutes before the breakfast, and attendees are requested to arrive early. After the meal there is an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation or individual prayer.

Cressler was born into an Italian Catholic family that she calls faith-filled, faithful and loving. Faith, family and tradition were always co-mingling. She said, “My parents always pointed to God our Father as the source of all love  and the love I felt was God’s love. … My image of God as all-loving was modeled in my home by my parents and grandparents. In all of life’s turns as a youngster and teenager I had no doubt of my place in the world, in my family, even when things were going badly. Somehow, I always knew I was loved.”

She said, “As I grew up, I realized what a tremendous gift this was, as I met so many along the road of life who never experienced that kind of love.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgia State University, a master’s degree in theological studies and a certificate in spiritual direction from Spring Hill College.

Maria has been married to her husband, John, for 28 years. They are the proud parents of three children: Matthew, 26, Christina, 24, and Joanna, 21.

She has long been active in the Ignatius House ministry, promoting and attending retreats, directing individual retreats, and offering spiritual direction. Since October 2009, Cressler has served as the executive director of the retreat center.

A member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna, since July 2004, Cressler previously held the position of director of adult faith formation and was responsible for developing, implementing and managing all programs and ministries related to adult formation within the parish. She also served as the director of youth ministries at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Auburn, Ala., from 1993 to 2002. She has been actively engaged in prison work, spiritual direction, and various retreat ministries, including Emmaus, Cursillo, RCIA and JustFaith, and she has conducted days of reflection on a variety of topics.

Life has a way of “happening,” she said, and evil can strike from within or from the outside. Cressler will talk about how her life has also included family crises and other challenges, and how she found that God’s love triumphs.

Magnificat, a worldwide Catholic ministry to women, is a private association within the Catholic Church that began in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and has local chapters. Women are urged to come and to bring a friend to rejoice in the presence of the Lord.

Reservations must be made in advance. The cost is $10 per person. In order to reserve a place, please send a reservation request with name, address, parish, contact information and check payable to Magnificat Joyful Visitation to Kathy Timony, 6170 Rachel Ridge, Norcross, GA 30092. Requests must be postmarked by Feb. 2. Check-in will be at the door for those with reservations only. No new reservations are taken at the door.

Priests and religious are invited as guests of Magnificat, but reservations are still requested to plan the breakfast.

Since the day is designed to speak to the hearts of women free of distractions, it is respectfully requested that young children not be in attendance. Carpooling is encouraged.