The Spiritual Exercises
The Ignatian Exercises – an opportunity for guided prayer
For many years CCSD has offered an experience of praying ‘The Ignatian Exercises’. These form an opportunity for guided prayer in a small group over a period of around six months.
The Ignatian Exercises are based on a scheme pioneered by Ignatius of Loyola who had a conversion experience and became a devout Christian after a career as a soldier/knight. He went on to found what became the Jesuit movement, bringing Christianity to millions around the world.
The exercises are a way of praying using Scripture. There are four ‘weeks’ of prayer which on an individual retreat would take place on a 30 day retreat where a Spiritual Companion or Director would accompany a ‘pilgrim’ who would live in silence only sharing what was happening in their prayer life on one occasion each day. The 30 days would begin with some preparation, and end with a reflection on the total experience. It is still possible to pray the Exercises today in certain retreat houses such as St.Beuno’s in North Wales.
CCSD has accompanied many of its students (and others) on an extended, but less intense, version of the Exercises, alongside daily life. The pilgim commits to a fortnightly meeting with a director (and sometimes a second accompanier) and up to three to five other pilgrims where experiences of prayer are shared in confidence. The group grows in its trust of one another, and also benefits from the experience of being guided, and as time progresses, members are invited to share insights for one another’s benefit.
The exercises are continuing until 13th May 2024 meeting at our current base in Histon on a Monday morning every two weeks. Our next cohort will probably not begin until the Autumn of 2026.
If you feel you would like to know more about the Exercises, in the first instance, please contact our Administrator : firstname.lastname@example.org