Arrupe Immersion Hug
Fun on Retreat
Reflection on Senior Retreat
Students in Colombia
Church & Tree

Interfaith Meditation Room

In a quiet corner of Phelan Hall, next to University Ministry, sits a sanctuary for USF students of all faiths and religious traditions. The Interfaith Meditation Room was created in 2010 in response to requests from students, and has since become an important space for quiet prayer, reflection and spiritual activities.

Pedro black/whiteThe purpose of the Interfaith Meditation Room is to provide a sanctuary where people of all faiths and religious traditions may retreat for prayer, meditation and spiritual activities. The Interfaith Meditation Room is open 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week, with a valid USF one card. The Interfaith Meditation Room is located next to University Ministry, in Lower Phelan Hall.

The space features several design elements or symbols that are represented in all of the world's major religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Bahai, Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity.

  • The TREE OF LIFE is the main decorative motif of the room. a symbol that can be found across cultures and speaks deeply about life, tradition, relationships and spiritual growth. The tree of life is etched using sandblasting techniques on the front window of the entrance of the room. 
  • Window Tree of Life
  • BELLS have been used throughout history as a call to prayer, to worship, and to mark the passing of the day. Bells call us to pay attention and be mindful of the ways in which we encounter the sacred or divine in everyday life. The bells featured in the Meditation room are handmade by Father Araujo.
  • GEOMETRICAL PATTERNS are common in many cultures, but in the Islamic cultures the patterns have religious meanings that connect faith to mathematics. Further, in Japanese culture, a pattern is not a decorative motive but a visual expression of the essence of nature. 

  • WINDOWS at the entrance of the room create a liminal space that is separated by framing the contemplative space. Nevertheless, the windows can frame from inside the room or from outside of it. These three windows open the world, which lay beyond limited social concerns and embody a different, broader range of philosophical interests.

  • The RUG is intended to be experienced as a contemporary, non-denominational prayer rug.  It was inspired by many Turkoman prayer rugs. The Mandala symbol on the rug is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. Mandalas often demonstrate radial balance.

Hours: Open 6:00am - 11:00pm, 7 days a week, with a valid USF one card. Located in Phelan 123 (Lower Phelan Hall)



About the Artist

Born in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla, Colombia in 1967, Father Araujo joined the Colombian Province of the Society of Jesus in 1986. He served in pastoral ministries in various parishes in his own country. Ordained a Jesuit priest in 1999, Father Araujo's first assignment was as director of campus ministry at Colegio Berchmans in Cali, Colombia. Ten years ago he moved to the United States and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seattle University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornish College of the Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico. In 2011, Father Araujo joined the faculty at the University of San Francisco department of Art + Architecture where he teaches courses in printmaking, ceramics and painting.

Pedro Arrupe Statue

A granite sculpture of Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ. 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has been commissioned by the University of San Francisco to enhance the beauty of the campus and mark the entrance to the Interfaith Meditation Room. The statue, similar to the one pictured above and based on a well-known photograph, represents Father Arrupe in an Eastern prayer pose with his shoes removed and set aside. This depiction of Father Arrupe has been selected to honor the long history of interfaith reverence and intercultural cooperation by the Jesuits throughout the centuries and in particular, USF's longstanding relationship with Asia and the Pacific Rim.

According to his successor, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ. "Pedro Arrupe confronted the great ethical and religious questions of the day, challenging not only his brother Jesuits and other men and women in vowed religious life, but all Christians and all people, to be rooted in truth and guided by love. He called for authentic spiritual renewal, integrating prayer with the life of service." He is remembered, in part, for his commitment to educating "men and women for others," a theme embraced by nearly all Jesuit colleges and universities and demonstrated at the University of San Francisco in our encouragement of immersion experiences and commitment to social justice.

Please contact University Ministry with further inquiries, or to find out how to see the current space.