Resource Seminar: Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises for Protestants

Summer 2003

Instructor: Elizabeth Liebert, San Francisco Theological Seminary

The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola has directly influenced numerous Protestants, especially in recent years. Furthermore, since both the retreat movement and contemporary spiritual direction trace their roots to the Spiritual Exercises, thorough these processes countless others have been indirectly influenced by the Spiritual Exercises. We will examine six dynamics from the Spiritual Exercises that are particularly congenial to and useful for Protestants:

  • Spiritual conversation
  • Examination of conscience
  • Prayer, especially Gospel contemplation
  • Discernment of Spirits
  • Discernment of vocation
  • Contemplation and action,

noting their original context, and discussing contemporary adaptations for various ecclesial contexts and ministry situations. We will pay particular attention to how these practices can be adapted for women. Some of our work will be done on the Internet. Participants who have portable computers may find it helpful to bring them; others can access the Internet through the computers in the computer lab.

Required Reading

Dyckman, K, Garvin, M and Liebert, E., The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. New York: Paulist Press, 2001, Chapters 1-5, 9-11

Ignatius of Loyola. Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works, ed. George E. Ganss. New York: Paulist Press, 1991, General introduction, Autobiography, Spiritual Exercises, with accompanying notes. Bring this text to class in the summer; we will use it almost daily to access the primary sources.

Linn, Dennis, Linn, Sheila Fabricant and Linn, Matthew. Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. New York: Paulist Press, 1995.

Lonsdale, David. Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000, Ch. 1-7. 10.

Reader consisting of:     (This reader will be sent ahead of time)

Gründler, Otto. “Devotio Moderna,” in Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation, ed. Jill Raitt.  New York: Crossroad, 1987, pp.176-193. Huggett, “Why Ignatian Spirituality Hooks Protestants,” The Way Supplement, 68 (Summer 1990): 22-34.

Huggett, “Why Ignatian Spirituality Hooks Protestants,” The Way Supplement, 68 (Summer 1990): 22-34.

Lambert, Willi. Directions for Communication. New York: Crossroad, 2000, Ch. 2-3.

Liebert, Elizabeth. “The Role of Practice in the Study of Christian Spirituality,” Spiritus 2 (2) Spring, 2002: 30-49. Available at

Lucas, Thomas. Landmarking: City, Church and Jesuit Urban Strategy. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1997, Chapter II, “Between Two Worlds,” pp. 25-38.

Raitt, Jill, “Saints and Sinners: Roman Catholic and Protestant Spirituality in the Sixteenth Century,” in Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation, ed. Jill Raitt. New York: Crossroad, 1987, pp. 454-463. s

RS: Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises for Protestants

Instructor: Elizabeth Liebert

Readings, Group I

Liebert, “The Role of Practice”

Huggett, “Why Ignatian Spirituality Hooks Protestants”

Linn, Linn and Linn, Sleeping With Bread

Lonsdale, Eyes to See, Ears to Hear, Chapters 1-7, 10

Readings, Group II

Gründler, “Devotio Moderna”

Raitt, “Saints and Sinners”

Lucas, Landmarking, Ch. 2

Lambert, Directions for Communication, Ch. 2-3

First Assignment

Read all of the first group of readings; try, as well, to read the second group. (If you succeed in covering all of both sets, your homework while you are here will be quite modest!). After reading Linn, Linn and Linn, experiment with the practices suggested. Creativity in adapting to your circumstances is welcome! Be prepared to share your experience with this spiritual practice (including your adaptations) during the first class.