Skip to main content

The First Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises:

The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.

But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal. In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in me.

(Paraphrased by David Fleming, S.J.)

Mission

To keep the fire of Ignatius’ love for God and the world burning in our hearts today, the Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) offers an educational program for the training of spiritual directors in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

The ISI, therefore, is ideally suited to those interested in the ministry of spiritual direction and/or retreat work.

More generally, however, the ISI offers adult Christians of any denomination theological and spiritual tools for deepening Christian life and ministry, whether in the home, parish, congregation, or workplace. While the ISI’s primary mission is the training of spiritual directors, the Institute also will admit those who wish to obtain in their lives a better theological and spiritual grounding in personal prayer, discernment, and apostolic action. Provision is made in Year II for those ISI participants who do not choose involvement in the explicit work of spiritual direction, but who wish to bring to their work and relationships the Ignatian vision of “finding God in all things.”

Program Description

The Ignatian Spirituality Institute offers a two year program in spiritual direction. This is a non-credit, non-degree certificate program running concurrently with the Fall/Spring academic calendar at the University.

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) may be available to ISI participants who apply for them through the Continuing Education Department at John Carroll University. For information on CEU’s, please call 216.397.4245.

For more information on the Ignatian Spirituality Institute, call 216.397.1599.

Curriculum

The Program is designed around three areas of study:

  • Theology and scripture, with particular emphasis upon Christian anthropology, Christology, and scriptural exegesis pertinent to the work of spiritual direction.
  • Spirituality, particularly Ignatian spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises, discernment, types of prayer and mysticism.
  • Psychology, with focus upon developmental models of psychosexual maturation, and the cultivation of communication skills.

Years I And II

Year I is academically focused, with classes meeting twice a month in the evenings along with occasional weekend workshops.

Year II is focused on the supervised practicum with two options:

  • Track I consists of the supervised practice of spiritual direction. The basic pedagogical model for this training will be the rich tradition of the Spiritual Exercises.
  • Track II offers more flexibility, allowing students to design a program to bring the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises into their own ministry or profession, whatever that might be.

Students are accepted into Year I initially. Progression into Year II is discerned during the first year in consultation with the Director.

Admission

The ISI is intended for those Christians who have made basic life choices and have a regular habit of prayer or the desire to cultivate one. The Institute is open to Christians from any denomination or walk of life.

Ignatian Spirituality Institute Requirements for Admission:

  • A completed application form.
  • A written spiritual autobiography.
  • A written statement of vision of ministry.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A record of education history.
  • An interview with the ISI Admissions Committee.

Generally it is expected that ISI applicants will have completed a college degree, have several years of steady work and a variety of life experiences. In addition to a college degree, it is helpful if ISI applicants have some prior academic courses in theology and/or scripture. The ISI Admissions Committee may make exceptions to these general criteria.

An Information Night is held yearly, usually the first Tuesday of February, at which time application materials are made available.

The first deadline for applications is April 1. We will continue to accept applications if space is left after the deadline.

Course Descriptions

RL ISI: The Theology Of The Spiritual Exercises I

This is the first of two courses on the Spiritual Exercises. Its main focus is on the theological themes underlying the pattern of the Exercises: the theology of Ignatius and his time, as well as contemporary approaches to the Exercises.

Students in this course will learn:

  • A general understanding of the ministry of spiritual direction, its purposes and dynamics.
  • A foundational knowledge of the history, theology, and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.
  • An understanding of the various movements desired in the one making the Exercises, with practical suggestions for discerning and helping people achieve these.
  • A knowledge of basic themes in contemporary theology consonant with the dynamics of the Exercises and with particular relevance to the spiritual life of today’s Christians.
  • Familiarity with scriptural passages relevant to the various dynamics of the Exercises.

RL ISI: The Theology Of The Spiritual Exercises II

This is the second of two courses on the Spiritual Exercises. Students are expected to learn:

  • A foundational knowledge of the history, theology, and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises.
  • An understanding of the various movements desired in the one making the Exercises, with practical suggestions for discerning and helping people achieve these.
  • The development of the skill of theological reflection.
  • A knowledge of basic themes in contemporary theology consonant with the dynamics of the Exercises and with particular relevance to the spiritual life of today’s Christians.
  • Familiarity with scriptural passages relevant to the various dynamics of the Exercises.
  • An introduction to scriptural exegesis useful for understanding and giving the Exercises.
  • Practice in the listening skills necessary for spiritual direction.

RL ISI: Practicum In Spiritual Direction

This course has a single focus: to assist the intern in beginning the exercise of the ministry of spiritual direction, and to provide practice in that ministry under supervision.

The supervision process is designed to help the beginning director:

  • To grow in the practical skills needed to help directees learn to pray and grow spiritually.
  • To grow in the ability to recognize interior movements and countermovements in oneself and in one’s directees (discernment of spirits).
  • To become aware of one’s reactions to directees and grow in comfort with exploring the underlying reasons for those reactions.
  • To grow in self awareness and interior freedom.
  • To develop a contemplative stance toward one’s directees.
  • To become more aware of and savor God’s presence in the direction and supervisory sessions.
  • To recognize areas in oneself in need of further growth.
  • To recognize and develop one’s areas of strength.

Practicum Requirements:

  • At least 50 contact hours with directees.
  • Spiritual direction log.
  • Nine meetings with your supervisor.
  • The completion of eight verbatims.
  • Two Team Review Sessions with ISI director and supervisor.
Endowment

An Endowment Fund has been established to finance the ISI and to secure its future. We are presently $500,000 short of our target goal of $2 million. Gifts to the ISI Endowment Fund are most welcome!

To contribute to the Endowment Fund, please write or call:

Joan M. Nuth, Ph.D.
John Carroll University
20700 North Park Blvd.
University Heights, Ohio, 44118
216.397.1678
jnuth@jcu.edu

Ignis Newsletter