Ignatius House was born from the generous gift of a family’s summer home and a desire to help future generations know God.
In 1957, Suzanne Spalding Schroder and her son John, a Jesuit priest, determined that the family’s 20 acres along the Chattahoochee River in north Atlanta would be ideal as a retreat center. They sold the property to the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus and plans began.
A 50-room retreat house was dedicated in December 1960 and Ignatius House opened for retreats in January 1961. The first retreat was offered for women only and widely attended by friends of the late Suzanne Spalding Schroder.
Ignatius House has continued uninterrupted for nearly 60 years, annually welcoming approximately 3,000 guests who seek to spiritual renewal to live out God’s will in their lives.
In 2005, the iconic, glass-walled St. Ignatius Chapel was added to the property by Alex & Betty Smith. Designed by Atlanta architect Jimmy Haverty Smith, the chapel builds upon Suzanne Spalding Schroder’s intent that future generations will know their God. The chapel was entirely funded by her descendants and the architect was her great grandson.
In 2009, Maria G. Cressler was named the first female director of Ignatius House. Under her leadership, outreach has grown to include diverse demographic groups, including interfaith programming. Now, she turns her focus to support for busy families in a hectic world.
In 2011, Ignatius House added the J. Robert Fitzgerald Resource Building (also designed by Haverty-Smith), named after the first professional who was not a Jesuit priest to lead Ignatius House. Known widely as “Bob,” he continues to participate in the work of Ignatius House as a spiritual director.
Throughout the years, generations of families have contributed to the property, including outdoor decks, trails and garden care, furnishings, art, and operational funds. If your family would like to contribute to this legacy, kindly visit the Donation page.