It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of our dear friend Amanda Longe Asque: alumna extraordinaire, Company of Grace awardee, former Board member, and one of ISP’s greatest ambassadors. Amanda received a double lung transplant in 2020 after a difficult battle with COVID. Last year, she was well enough to return to her role as Executive Director of Harmony, Hope, and Healing, but health challenges continued to plague her and she went home to God on December 15, 2022.
Amanda was full of energy, life, and the Spirit, which she generously shared with all she encountered. Her recovery story was core to her life and work. Amanda was an integral member of the ISP Chicago women’s team, witnessing and facilitating over two dozen overnight retreats, plus countless one-day retreats in partnership with Harmony, Hope, & Healing. Amanda was also a key member of our wider ISP Network community: during many years of expansion and growth, she traveled with staff to launch programs and provide support to over half of the cities in our Network.
Perhaps you met Amanda at a Network Leadership Conference in Chicago, or she came to your city to help lead a retreat. Maybe you’ve read her Impact Story, or were blown away by her contagious enthusiasm when she co-hosted our first virtual Company of Grace in fall of 2020. Wherever you may have encountered her, you had a warm, energetic, loving companion for a time. We are grateful to have had Amanda journey with us for so many years. We are a stronger organization because of her wisdom and leadership. We’ll miss her dearly.
We invite you to share a favorite memory of Amanda with us in the comments below.
As I traveled with Amanda around the country to start up new overnight retreats, I was in awe of her presence in the world. She was a magnet for people, drawing them to her. She told her story freely, without edits, and she encouraged others to do the same. She shared her enthusiasm for life, her hope for humanity and her love of God with all. I am blessed to have been able to call this remarkable woman my friend.
When the ISP offices were still at St. Procopius Parish, you had to walk up three flights of stairs. On the days when you were lucky enough to be greeted by Amanda, that greeting usually started on floor one when she would cheerfully start calling up announcing her presence. One was never in doubt that Amanda was nearby. Her energy and vibrancy and positivity transcended space and filled a room. As she approached the top of the steps, phone in hand, stylish bag slung over her shoulder, she said something about how the Jesuits really could pick some places. Amanda entered the modest kitchen space which also doubled as the conference room. By her sheer force of will, she had gathered representatives from several organizations with which she was involved to plan a one-day retreat. Gathered around the humble table, Amanda called the group together and named the purpose: we have to help people realize they got a voice. Whether she was leading a talk on a retreat, counseling a woman newly in her recovery, or belting out a gospel tune from the altar in front of hundreds, Amanda did just that. Gone for now, as she would say remembering other lives lost too soon, but not forgotten.
Amanda’s tenacious courage made me more willing to move forward in the face of life’s challenges. Her soaring spirit filled me with confident hope. Amanda taught me something essential about the present moment: go all in, letting go of the past, unafraid of the future, because this brief period of time is the gift, a present. Your spirit lives on, Amanda.
I met Amanda on her very first retreat with ISP and am so grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know her a bit during my time with ISP. When I moved back to Chicago and saw her at an ISP event, she was so happy to see me and I was so excited that she remembered me and wanted to say hello. I’m so sorry she is no longer with us as she was a gift to everyone she met.
I had the joy of working with Amanda the first time as ISP opened its Oklahoma City site. We went to offer a training retreat to the new teams and Amanda’s courage, passion, and humor abounded! We all knew we were in the presence of someone with a deep and authentic spirit which brought forth our own humanity in a new and hopeful light. She connected so well with folks and I was transformed by my time with her as we lead the sessions and broke bread together. So full of life. Her spirit stays with us and heaven is a bit richer now!!!
Every day I had the opportunity to be with Amanda was a good day. The energy and love she brought always blew me away. It was impossible to have a bad day when Amanda was around. Her boundless energy — getting her BA and then pursuing an MA, the many people she sponsored, the work she did at Harmony, Hope and Healing, and the time she spent at ISP — was nothing short of amazing. Whenever ISP called upon Amanda, she was there. Traveling to lead a retreat, agreeing to be on a panel, training witnesses, she was always ready with her love for life and any task she took on. The way she lived her life was edifying and calls me to be a better person.
Amanda was an inspiration to me and a good friend. Her exuberant spirit and her many loving phone calls will be remembered for a long time!
Amanda flew to Oklahoma twice to be the witness at our Team Training and again to be at our first Women’s Retreat in Oklahoma City. She immediately became the “new best friend” for everyone! Her straight-talk honesty, joy of recovery and love-filled spirituality put everyone at ease while opening our hearts to allow God’s healing. Being with Amanda was like putting on a lifejacket; you felt buoyant no matter what life had in store. Amanda taught me so much. My entry into ISP was greatly shaped by Amanda’s living example of love, honest and joy! She embodied and transmitted all the Fruit of the Spirit, making this world a better place and me a better companion for others. I will miss her. And she lives on, as all love lasts an eternity!
When I met Amanda she was Amanda Brown. Newly minted as a retreat witness, she was the person you wanted to be mentored and/or remembered by whether you encountered her on an overnight retreat or a follow-up day of reflection.
She was a lightning rod of energy and possibility. No mountain was too high, no problem too complex. She BELIEVED and if you were within shouting distance of her, you had no choice but to believe as well.
Amanda’s struggles were epic, yet her victories inspired so many. The workings of the Holy Spirit are beyond my comprehension, however I do believe that somewhere Amanda is leading a rousing chorus of Bembelela that echoes back to those of us who have been left behind: Never give up my friend.
I pray for peace for her, all her family, and all of us who walked a part of her journey with her.
I met Amanda on the first overnight retreat of the Chicago women’s team. I was impressed by how full of energy, life and wisdom she was then, as she continued to be through the subsequent years. What stands out for me: I remember how people gravitated to Amanda on retreats, and how she often exchanged contact information with them to stay in touch. Her warm, effusive spirit attracted others to her— she exemplified relationality. She was always willing and eager to reach out, connect with and support others. I loved to watch her leading the children in song with hand motions. She had a tremendous desire for growth and persistence in pursuing her goals. She was very kind to me, and will always be an inspiration to me.
I met Amanda at my first ISP Retreat. What I remember about her from that day was her warmth, her smile, her open hearted welcome, her indomitable spirit, and the power of her story. Since that weekend, I have often thought that she is one of a handful of truly charismatic people I’ve ever met. I looked up several definitions of charisma and the one that I think fits best is this one: “an extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit.” Amanda was and is a gift to me, to ISP and, likely, to everyone who ever met her.
Dear Amanda, Thank you for inspiring many of us to become involved with ISP, which has been a great gift. Your witness (over and over again in so many ways and ministries!) to the power of faith has been an incredible force for all who have been touched by you and your story. Your energy and enthusiasm combined with such remarkable courage and resilience have had a huge impact in the hearts of all who knew you, and the many who only knew of you! Thank you for showing us what Faith, Hope and Love look like, in sickness and in health!