The Spiritual Exercises are a collection of prayer forms and meditations developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to assist people in deepening their relationship with God. The traditional form of the Exercises, which all Jesuits take part in during their formation, is experienced as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in silent prayer and conversation with a spiritual director. Many laypeople take part in the Exercises as well – sometimes through the long retreat, but more commonly as a “retreat in daily life.”  In this format, the retreatant commits to several months of daily prayer and weekly meetings with a spiritual director.

"By the term 'Spiritual Exercises' is meant every method of examination of conscience, of meditation, of contemplation, of vocal and mental prayer, and of other spiritual activities....For just as taking a walk, journeying on foot, and running are bodily exercises, so we call Spiritual Exercises every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all inordinate attachments, and, after their removal, of seeking and finding the will of God in the disposition of our life for the salvation of our soul."------ St. Ignatius of Loyola


The Exercises at Saint Joseph's University

After an initial interview, the retreatant will be assigned a spiritual director to guide the exercises.  The retreat takes part in a structured period, either of 5 weeks (Fall or Spring semester), or of 24 weeks (usually Fall and Spring semesters), which entails:

  • a commitment of a half-hour daily to formal prayer
  • keeping a journal recording the prayer experiences
  • making the Examen of Consciousness daily
  • meeting weekly individually with the director for about half an hour

For more information, contact Dan Joyce, SJ