The Catholic University of America

 Final Presentation of

Paul Gallagher

for the degree of

Doctor of Ministry


Making All Things New: A Health Transformation Retreat Using Principles of Ignatian Spirituality

Director: Rev. Richard DeLillio, O.S.F.S., D.Min.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them” (CCC #2288). Caring for our bodies has become a critical issue for both our physical and spiritual wellness, especially for people suffering from chronic illness. The targeted audience for this project are Catholics who may have a chronic illness and are looking for both physical and spiritual solutions to their situation. This treatise proposes that spiritual practices found in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), when integrated into a holistic wellness plan, can benefit those who are struggling with chronic health issues such as obesity and Type II diabetes.

The doctoral project has two primary components: a synchronous three-day retreat and an asynchronous multi-week online retreat continuation. Three principles of design were used, and they included The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, Adult Learning Theory developed by Malcolm Knowles and others, and Blended Learning Theory proposed by several contemporary experts in the field. The main content for the project was drawn from Ignatius' writings, especially topics from his Spiritual Exercises. Additional content for the project focused on the development of healthy diet and exercie changes beneficial to health.        


More about Gallagher

A native of Glendale, California, Paul D. Gallagher graduated from the University of Redlands in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  He attended Johns Hopkins University and earned a Master of Administrative Science (MAS) in 1991.  He graduated from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in 1999 with a Master of Arts in Theology.  From 2000 to 2012 Paul was the Director of Religious Education at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, Maryland.  While working at St. John, Paul entered the Doctor of Ministry program of The Catholic University of America.  Paul continues to serve at St. John in the area of Adult Faith Formation, and is presently employed as an Educational Consultant for Loyola Press.  Paul leads retreats rooted in Ignatian Spirituality and guides individuals and groups through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.