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The Spiritual Exercises

During the 1520’s, St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of The Society of Jesus, began writing about the emotions that took hold of him while encountering the scriptures — feelings of gratitude, anguish, consolation and sadness. Those writings and meditations were eventually published in 1548 and became known as The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. “The Spiritual Exercises” refer to both a book and a retreat experience in daily life.

Retreat in Daily Life

The Spiritual Exercises are meant to be lived, not merely read. They are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and other contemplative practices, mostly written in the form of notes for a spiritual director as they accompany the retreatant.


The Exercises are often referred to as a “retreat,” and can take several forms. They can be experienced as a 30-day silent retreat — an entire month spent in prayer at a retreat house, but since most people cannot get away for this length of time, Ignatius added the Retreat in Daily Life (RDL), sometimes referred to as the “19th Annotation.” In the RDL retreatants typically spend about an hour each day in contemplative reflection with specific reading material, and meet with a spiritual director weekly. The RDL is offered over a 9 month period from September -- May and consists of four movements, which are referred to as "weeks."


Matt Wooters, SJ, a Jesuit priest with the Society of Jesus, briefly explains the Spiritual Exercises in this short video.

(3 min 24 sec)


How do you know if the Spiritual Exercises are right for you?

  • You have an active spiritual life

  • Personal experience(s) of the reality and presence of Holy Mystery in your life and in the world

  • You have previous experience with spiritual direction and an openness to the Sacred

  • You find the life and teachings of Jesus compelling and desire greater awareness of Divine Love

  • You have 45-60 minutes available every day.

  • You can meet (virtually) once a week for spiritual direction to share your experiences and receive prayer material for the upcoming week. 

  • You're open to bi-monthly virtual gatherings with others who will be making the retreat.


Interested in the Retreat in Daily Life? 


Applications are now open for the Spiritual Exercises: Retreat in Daily Life (online), 2024-2025

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