The Spiritual Exercises were developed by St. Ignatius more than 500 years ago. They were born out of his own experience of God and are intended for use by individuals who desire a deeper relationship with Jesus. There are many books written about the Exercises. However, in his wisdom, Ignatius is clear that this journey, once chosen, is not intended to be made simply by reading about the Exercises or by making the journey alone. The Exercises are intended to be made under the guidance of one who is trained to accompany an individual on this sacred journey.
In terms of content, the Exercises are Scripture based and divided into four “weeks” or phases, each one taking the individual deeper into an experience of how much he/she is loved by God and invited to follow Jesus. The Exercises made in everyday life, as Ignatius intended, typically take place over a period of 10 – 16 months.
When an individual chooses to make the Exercises, she/he will meet with a spiritual director who will accompany the individual on this sacred journey. The spiritual director helps determine the movement from phase to phase [or “week to week”] based on what he/she observes as the individual’s experience of the material. In making the Exercises, the individual must commit to one hour of prayer each day using the materials provided, meeting with their spiritual director as agreed upon, praying the Examen daily and journaling as appropriate.
Making the Exercises requires a commitment of approximately nine (9) to fourteen (14) months, depending on frequency of meetings. Individual meetings are one hour each and are typically scheduled twice a month but may be arranged weekly depending on the director giving the Exercises. If you are interested in further exploration of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, or if you have questions, we invite you to contact one of our spiritual directors trained in this process who will be happy to speak with you.