Ignatian Spirituality

Retreats / Ignatian Spirituality

Ignatian spirituality has its roots in the experience and life of St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). It is a practical spirituality for everyday life. It is an outlook, not a programme; a set of attitudes and insights, not rules or a scheme. It is grounded in the conviction that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” as a famous Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins would describe it. It is a pathway to deeper prayer, good decisions guided by keen discernment, and an active life of service to others.

Jesuits offer retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. These retreats are of varying lengths: a three or four day weekend retreat; a longer eight-day retreat; and a 30-day “long retreat.”The Spiritual Exercises are often described as Ignatius's greatest gift to the world. It is not a book to be read for spiritual enlightenment. Rather it constitutes a creative and flexible programme of prayer centred on the life of Christ. It can be described as a practical compendium of suggestions that guide one through a personal, imaginative reconstruction of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It unfolds a dynamic process of prayer, meditation, and self-awareness. The basic thrust is to make us more attentive to God's activity in our world, more responsive to what God is calling us to do.