What are the Spiritual Exercises?

What are the Spiritual Exercises? 2017-06-19T21:50:52+00:00


The Spiritual Exercises arose out of the life experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) in the 16th century. Initially St. Ignatius developed the Spiritual Exercises based on the Gospels for people who could leave home for thirty days in quiet prayer. However, Ignatius found that many people could not, for many reasons, go away on retreat for a month.  So he created an everyday adaptation of the Exercises. Often referred to as the 19th Annotation, this adaptation could be extended over a period of eight to nine months, during which people could make the retreat while continuing to live their daily lives. Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL) of Puget Sound offers this experience to participants living in and around the greater Seattle/Tacoma area.

SEEL Retreatants will discover a variety of prayer forms and spiritual practices over the nine month retreat. Our goal for SEEL retreatants is that they become:

  • better able to discern their inner desires and God’s call in their life
  • increasingly aware of the presence and activity of God in all things
  • able to offer themselves to the world as ‘contemplatives in action’
Pat-OLeary“In describing the apostolic vocation of a Jesuit, St. Ignatius observes that it is in the very same grace that moves and engages us in the service of others, that we are ourselves graced and blessed by God. I find this to be wonderfully true and profoundly experienced in the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, and in the privilege of being a companion for someone on his or her spiritual journey. In and through that spiritual companionship, God draws both director and directee to a more intimate union with his Son in the Spirit. Over these many years, it has been such an amazing gift to experience as Ignatius did at Manresa and throughout his life, the joy of being “taught by God.” (Jn,6:44)

Patrick O’Leary, S.J.