Lenten promises: Xavier’s own Fiat 40


The Fiat 40 website guides its participants throughout their Lenten journey. Photo courtesy of Lauren Brown '19.

Lauren Brown, Class Writer

Every year, as winter slowly transitions into spring, the time comes for Lenten promises and spiritual reflection. Starting with Ash Wednesday on Mar. 6, the Lenten season will last until Easter Day. While some people are giving up Netflix or taking on extra community service, others within our community are committing themselves to deeper spiritual exercises, which involve Fiat 40 and Exodus 90.


Fiat 40 and Exodus 90 are similar in the respect that both work to challenge the Catholic man or woman through active participation in prayer, asceticism and sorority/fraternity. While Fiat 40 is a spiritual exercise for women, Exodus 90 is directed towards men.


With the help of Ms. Dawson, Mr. Ahern, and Ms. Iker, a group of girls has decided to bring this challenge to Xavier. Junior Shea Nowicki has been one of the primary driving forces in organizing and gathering other like-minded girls in the Xavier community to spiritually challenge themselves.


In regards as to why she chose to partake in this journey, Nowicki stated, “I chose to do Fiat 40 this year out of a desire to enter into the season of Lent more fully. The Resurrection and Easter season means even more to me with the sacrifices that I’m making during Lent through Fiat 40. It’s been difficult, but it has inspired me to be more grateful, to practice more virtues, and to pray more.”


The foundation of Fiat 40 is rooted in a commitment to three involvements: prayer, asceticism, and sorority. People who participate are urged to set aside time and pray for 20 to 60 minutes every day for 40 days. As for the asceticism side of Fiat 40, those that are involved keep themselves from indulging in certain comforts and distractions in life. This gives each person the opportunity to grow in their relationship with God and self-improve in general. Lastly, a major component of the challenge involves a small group meeting, otherwise known as a sorority. Throughout the forty days, the concept of having a support system is important. That being said, having a small group to meet with and spread encouragement during the experience is typical of the spiritual exercise/challenge.


When asked about Fiat 40 and her experience with it, Ms. Iker said, “I think it has given me a more meaningful Lent… because it’s optional, we’re not bound to it; [you’re] choosing it as opposed to it being compulsory, so it gives you greater freedom and a greater sense of pride when you are successful in doing well.”


This is the same as Exodus 90. The only difference is the number of days; instead of 40 days, it is 90. Nevertheless, both Fiat 40 and Exodus 90 share its mission to reinforce faith and change the lives of those participating.


When asked about the asceticism component, Mr. Ahern, who is participating in Exodus 90, stated, “All of those distractions aren’t just distractions, I think they’re more than that. They pull on you, they pull time away from you, so you just throw it out. It gives you more availability to be present in things that you are supposed to be doing, [like] your responsibilities.”


As a result of time and dedication, a group of girls, including Nowicki, have worked to organize and bring Fiat 40 to Xavier. While they did receive supervision from Ms. Dawon and Mr. Ahern, it was primarily student driven. In fact, some of the girls came together to launch a website with the basics and daily readings, in which they update on a daily basis. If interested, you can learn more on their website.


Regarding why people should consider doing Fiat 40, Ms. Dawson says, “It reflects a real sincere and desire to grow in faith and maybe be a little challenged. I think people should participate because I think it pushes you outside of your comfort zone and it gives you a community to be challenged in.”