Spiritual Exercises in Loyola demand increases
The 30-day Spiritual Exercises in Loyola, Spain, run in English by the ISC, is nearly full 9 months before the event is due to take place. The first year we ran the retreat it filled up by May, the second year it was full by February, this coming year it's likely to be full before Christmas.
This summer a group of 17 people undertook the Exercises in the home village of St Ignatius in July. Participants came from all over the English-speaking world, Europe, America, Australia and Asia. The English-speaking group were joined by a 22 strong Spanish-speaking group to do the 30-day retreat. Loyola is a great place to do the Exercises. For many of the retreatants there was something special about praying in the Chapel of the Conversion, knowing they were in the same room St. Ignatius had pondered and prayed over his future whilst recovering from his injuries in Pamplona. Though for prayer in the evening only the more adventurous would brave the gothic staircases, lifesized statues and swooping bats to reach the Conversion Chapel. For those who were more timid, there were seven other chapels and prayer-rooms in within the retreat house.
The Spanish and English speaking groups united for two break days on the retreat and visited Javier Castle (Xavier) the home of St Francis Xavier and Aranzazu a shrine high up in the mountains in the Basque Country. (Picture is of the group relaxing in Aranzazu)
I do hope the 2018 participants receive as much from undertaking the Exercises as this year's group did.