The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius

Yearning for more but not sure what that might be….

Life is feeling out of alignment, even hectic, and deep down you are seeking spiritual freedom.

You feel the desire to build muscle on your soul.

Chances are you have been a follower of Jesus for years and now seek more intimacy with the Divine.

You have an intuition of a bigger contribution to make but are not sure what that might be.

Also, you have a painful past and experience difficult emotions that you want to let go of.

walking exercise metaphor for spiritual exercise

The Spiritual Exercises Offer …

On completing The Spiritual Exercises, people tell me they notice changes in their lives.  Some say their prayer life is deeper.  Others express a sense of alignment with their soul.

They report calmer thought patterns. Or they describe an increased understanding of themselves and a stronger relationship with God.

In addition, some delight in getting to know Jesus as a friend in a completely new way.

Others find that they are clearer about their life purpose and their role as a co-labourer with God in sharing love in the world.


As a Giver of the Exercises, I can promise a personal customised experience.  Together we will witness what unfolds for you.

I would say that the Exercises have an evolutionary dynamic. I have observed that participants committed to the process, find that they are “met” where they are at.

In experiencing the loving gaze of God they find that transformation for the better occurs at a deep level.  Then they realise that these changes are expressed in daily life.

What is Involved in the spiritual exercises?

Undertaking the exercises is a big commitment, taking at least 30 days.  The central part of the Exercises is the four phases or seasons, referred to by Ignatius as weeks.  Prior to that are orientation days when participants are introduced to prayer exercises and spiritual themes.

After week/season four, there is time for integration or appropriation.  This is a time of reflection to help deepen the experience and allow it to sink in.  This is the beginning of living out the graces in the rest of your life.

Heart to show them of love in the first week of the spiritual exercises

Week One

Discover that you are sustained by love and loveable.  Recognize your part in the disordering of creation. Realise you are still held within the loving gaze of God.

Walking on a spiritual journey

Week Two

Discern your identity and an invitation to transformation.  Encounter Jesus as you participate in the events of his life.  As his life unfolds, so does yours.

Week Three

Explore your stickability when life gets tough.  Journey with Jesus to his death to consider your call to service even when the cost is high.

Week Four

Identify the gifts and desires that arise from your relationship with God.  Live into your awareness of resurrection, expressing your call fruitfully.  

Ignatius offers a method of prayer

for reflecting on our experience

so as to become conscious

of how God is present “in our story;

in the past,

in the present

and in the intimations of our future.”

Coghlan quoted by Bernadette Miles, Strengthening Spirit – Releasing Potential

Bodily Exercises a Model for Spiritual Exercises


Ignatius maintains that just as walking or running are bodily exercises, so too we need spiritual exercises.  Spiritual Exercises are important to enable the soul to find spiritual freedom.

The spiritual exercises have been variously described as:

  • a school of prayer.
  • an inner “Camino” pilgrimage with Jesus.
  • a transformational journey.
  • a process of discernment.


Immersion Live-in Retreat

Doing the Exercises in a residential retreat setting is an immersive experience.  You develop a daily pattern of prayer, reflection, and contemplation.  You are accompanied daily by a spiritual director.

This fits well with Ignatius’ suggestion for those women and men able to to disengage themselves by withdrawing “from all friends and acquaintances, and from all earthly concerns.” [Sp Ex. 20]

Extracting yourself from regular arrangements requires consideration and planning.  Maybe using a holiday period, sabbatical time or transition time between jobs makes it possible.

The Sustaining Spirit Space Retreat Room is the ideal location to stay for a residential experience of the Exercises.


Daily Life Retreat

Some people desire to make the full Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius but cannot commit to the consecutive day residential format. Ignatius anticipated this situation. He suggested that a retreatant could make The Exercises from home with regular contact with a spiritual director.

Making the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life requires daily prayer (60 – 90 minutes) and a weekly spiritual direction conversation. The overall timeline is about nine or ten months. For further information please contact me.

Curious to learn more?

Contact me today to book a free 20 minute spiritual direction phone conversation.
Together we can explore what spiritual direction could offer you.
If I am not the best fit for you, I can connect you to other spiritual directors.

Spiritual direction is offered in person from Heidelberg, Melbourne, or online.