Standards For The Jesuit Ministry
The Spiritual Exercises
The USA And English Speaking Canada
From The Jesuit
Provincials (1) Of
The United States And Upper Canada
We, the Jesuit provincials of the United States Assistancy together with
the Jesuit provincial of Upper Canada, recognize that the Spiritual Exercises
of Saint Ignatius Loyola are a gift of the Holy Spirit to the whole Church.
We realize that the Society of Jesus bears a special responsibility to
preserve this gift and promote its authentic use in its many applications
Furthermore, we recognize that the spirituality and world view of the Spiritual
Exercises inform all of the ministries and apostolic institutions of the
Society. Therefore, we offer to Jesuits and our partners the following
guidance for this ministry.
Care for and promotion of the Spiritual Exercises are collaborative
efforts involving Jesuits and many others. The leadership, staffing, and
governance of Jesuit affiliated apostolic works, whether spirituality centers
or educational institutions, are accomplished by lay persons, Jesuits,
clergy, and religious working together.
We expect that Jesuit formation will include an understanding of the structure
and dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises and the preparation to give
them in one or more modalities. In addition efforts must be made to assist
our partners in ministry with appropriate formation in the
We encourage Jesuit sponsored ministries to collaborate with other associations
engaged in the ministry of the Exercises, especially the Jesuit inspired
networks of lay persons who give the
Spiritual Exercises in daily
life. As far as possible, the Society of Jesus seeks to offer guidance,
training, and support for these associations. The Jesuit Conference shall
promote regular conferences and workshops on Ignatian spirituality in general
and on the adaptation and the application of the Spiritual Exercises
Finally, we ask those Jesuits and Jesuit affiliated works whose ministry
is giving the Spiritual Exercises to adopt the following guiding
standards. This set of guiding standards is to be reviewed in three years
---- May, 2008.
Standards for Those Who Give the Spiritual Exercises:
|1. Personal Spiritual
Formation ---- Those who would give The Exercises to others will:
a. have completed the full
four "weeks" of the Spiritual Exercises under annotation 19 or 20
(testified to by the director);
b. be in personal spiritual
direction and making an annual retreat for at least two years;
c. have discerned a call
to this ministry;
d. be a fully initiated
Roman Catholic in good standing for at least three years or a similarly
invested member of another Christian denomination who is respectful of,
and comfortable with, Roman Catholicism.
2. Intellectual formation
---- Those who would give The Exercises to others will have:
a. received basic instruction
on the structure and dynamics of The Exercises;
b. familiarity with the
"text" of The Exercises;
c. a basic understanding
of the study of Sacred Scripture, especially of the New Testament;
d. a basic understanding
of Theology (especially Theology of the Trinity, of Christ, of Salvation,
of morality, and of the Church).
3. Professional Preparation
---- Those who would give The Exercises to others will have:
a. one-on-one mentoring (3)
and supervision (4)
by an experienced director through two retreats for those who give individually
b. mentoring by an experienced
preacher for at least two retreats, for those who give conference retreats;
c. basic pastoral counseling
d. training in preaching
for those who give conference retreats.
Note: A person who does not
have all the formal training required but has been competently practicing
in this field for some years can be recognized as having equivalent competence,
knowledge and experience.
4. Continuing Education/Formation
---- Those who would give The Exercises to others will:
a. participate annually
in a conference, formal course, workshop, or other structured program on
b. do regular reading in
spirituality and religion;
c. maintain on-going supervision
(one-on-one, group, peer, or with the retreat center director);
d. make a personal annual
e. continue to receive spiritual
5. The Practice of Giving
the Exercises ---- Those who give The Exercises to others will:
a. observe standard professional
boundaries with regard to relationships, setting, place, content, etc.;
b. strictly observe confidentiality
(as limited by mandated reporting laws);
c. consult and refer (8)
when entering areas of unfamiliarity or non-competence (e.g. emotional
or psychological disorder);
d. be faithful to the content
of lgnatius' Spiritual Exercises regularly reviewing the "annotations"
e. evaluate each retreat
was formally adopted by the Jesuit Provincials of the United States and
English Speaking Canada at their tri-annual meeting in May 2005.
distinguishes the terms "application" and "adaptation" according to the
vocabulary of the Spiritual Exercises.
"Application" refers to the act whereby an exercitant performs one or more
of the specific exercises as
intended in Ignatius' text. "Adaptation" refers to the practice of modifying
one or more of the exercises or movements
of the Exercises to fit the particular circumstances or capabilities of
the exercitant. Annotation 18 defines and
is understood as the process whereby an experienced retreat director coaches,
instructs, and guides a neophyte director.
is here used in the sense the word is generally used in the helping professions.
It refers to a practice whereby the retreat director reflects on and processes
with another professional his/her own interior experience while giving
The Jesuit Conference
recommends the Spiritual Directors International Guidelines for Ethical
from the directee may be disclosed to another without the directee's permission.
The director must inform the directee that he or she (the director) is
being supervised and will make every effort to protect the directee's identity.
with psychological or emotional issues that impair a directee's judgment
(e.g., trauma or addiction), the director may, with permission, consult
a professional or recommend that the directee see a clinician or specialist.
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