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Saint Ignatius and Ignatian Spirituality


Saint Ignatius Making Final VowsIgnatian spirituality is a way of relating to God and to the world that is based on the reflection and prayer experiences of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Ignatius was born in 1491 into a family of minor nobility in the Basque region of Spain. He became a 'man of the world' who enjoyed fast living.

At age 26, Ignatius' life changed drastically. While seeking worldly honors and glory, he was struck in the leg by a cannonball in a military battle at Pamplona. After several excruciating surgeries and weeks of fever and delirium, he began a long convalescence.

During his recuperation, he asked for books to read, expecting to be given the romance novels he so enjoyed. To his dismay, the only books available were "The Life of Christ" and a collection of stories about saints. As he read these and reflected on them, he became strangely moved and excited by thoughts of imitating the selfless deeds the saints had done for God.

The New England Province offers many paths to Ignatian Spirituality. Explore the retreats and spiritual direction, the Jesuit Collaborative,  Jesuit Connection and Principle Centered Leadership program sections.

Spiritual Exercises

Ignatius then divested himself of his armor and noble clothes and took on the simple garb and lifestyle of a begging pilgrim. He went to a place called Manresa and lived for eleven months in a cave near a monastery. He spent many hours in prayer and meditation, recording in journals his experiences of God, who gently and powerfully communicated with him and transformed his soul.

During the years that followed, Ignatius edited his journals and devised a month-long retreat program of spiritual exercises, consisting of meditations, contemplations and self-examinations. The retreat was composed of four sections called "weeks." The First Week focused on conversion from sin and worldliness to a life centered on God. During the Second Week, one contemplated Jesus from his Incarnation to the end of his public ministry, seeing Jesus as the model for all true Christian living. The Third and Fourth Weeks were experiences of unitive prayer in which the retreatant accompanies Jesus through his Passion and Resurrection. The retreat ended with the "Contemplation to attain the love of God," which reviews all the gifts and graces of the preceding four weeks. The goal of this contemplation was to help retreatants return to their daily lives ready and able to love as universally and unselfishly as God loves.

 Learn more about St. Ignatius in a video produced by Loyola Productions featuring Fr. James Martin, SJ


Ignatian Reading

We maintain a list of recommended Ignatian reading by and about Jesuits, the Society of Jesus, and Ignatian spirituality.  See our 2012 Ignatian reading list.

Online Ignatian Blogs

This directory describes some of the online blogs available.

National Jesuit News
News and information about and for Jesuits

The Road From LaStorta
A blog from Michael Rogers, an American Jesuit attempting to survive his first year in the Eternal City

Ignatian Spirituality
Reflections from Fr. John Predmore, SJ, a retreat director at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Fr. Jack, MD
Jesuit Fr. Jack Siberski blogs about tertianship


Online Ignatian Resources

This directory describes some of the online resources available.

Ignatian Spirituality
Ignatian Spirituality offers information on and experiences of prayer, spiritual direction, retreats, and from Jesuit and Ignatian sources.

Prayer Windows
Prayer Windows presents the Spiritual Exercises in art created by Fr. Bob Gilroy, SJ.

Nineteenth Annotation Retreat
The Nineteenth Annotation Retreat is offered online by the Jesuits of Creighton University.

Daily Reflections
Prayers are offered daily by the Jesuits of Ireland.

Jesuit Voices
Podcasts and  blogs from Jesuits around the world.

Three-minute Retreats
Daily prayer presented by Loyola Press designed to nurture a live faith and help people be conscious of God’s work in their daily lives.

America Connects
Weekly podcasts from America magazine featuring interviews with staff members and writers.

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