School of Ignatian Spirituality



A Brief History of the Ignatian Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises grew out of Ignatius of Loyola’s attempts to grow in union with God and to discern God’s will. As he grew in that union, he took note of the things that were the most helpful. Eventually Ignatius gathered these prayers, meditations, reflections, and directions into a carefully designed spiritual journey, which he called spiritual exercises.

The Structure of the Ignatian Exercises

Ignatius organized the Exercises into four “weeks.” These are not seven day weeks, but four stages on a journey to spiritual freedom and wholehearted commitment to God and service to His Kingdom.

Preparation week. Six weeks of scripture reflections prepare a person to enter into the Exercises. Daily reflections on God’s love, mercy and grace allow the individual to consider his or her identity, worth, and value in light of the ‘long and loving gaze of God’.

First week. The first stage of the Exercises is a time of reflection on our lives in light of God’s boundless love for us. We see that our response to God’s love has been hindered by patterns of sin. We face these sins knowing that God wants to set us free of everything that gets in the way of our loving response to him.

Second week. The reflections and prayers of the second stage teach us how to follow Christ as his disciples. We reflect on Scripture passages related to Christ’s birth and baptism, his sermon on the mount, his ministry of healing and teaching, his raising of Lazarus from the dead, etc. We are brought to decisions that change our lives to follow Christ more closely, love him more intimately, and know him more clearly.

Third week. We meditate on Christ’s Last Supper, passion, and death. We see his suffering and death as the ultimate expression of God’s love.  During these weeks we are asked to be a friend to Jesus in his darkest hours.

Fourth week. We meditate on Jesus’ resurrection and appearances to his disciples. We walk with the risen Christ and set out to love and serve him in concrete ways in the world.

Application Process/Choices

  1. Individual or Group Experience
  2. 19th or 18th Annotation
  3. Contact preferred Director
  4. Submit an Application


    The 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises

    This opportunity is a guided 9-month retreat with a seasoned spiritual director trained specifically to accompany you through this transformative journey. Scriptures and additional readings on key themes of Ignatian spirituality are offered daily, along with weekly sessions of spiritual direction.

    The 18th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises

    This opportunity covers the same themes as the 19th Annotation only in a condensed 10-week format. Also, included is an introduction to the key forms of Ignatian prayer.  Just like the 19th Annotation, weekly spiritual direction is included with a trained Ignatian spiritual director. Currently, you can be guided through the 18th Annotation individually or in a group.

    Please complete your SIS APPLICATION by using the IGNATIAN APPLICATION button to the right.