Good morning, Anam Cara Community! We are coming up on the season of Lent; and with it, our annual Retreat in Daily Life, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius! We wanted to unfold a bit more the background and history of the Exercises and how they can be engaged in various ways. So, we asked the expert! One of our Anam Cara Peregrini spiritual directors (and Abbey members!), Dale Gish, not only leads folks through the Exercises, he also trains spiritual directors in leading others through them! So, this week, he is doing a bit of a takeover here to get us all prepped and ready and up to speed on our Ignatian Exercises before the RDL starts next week! Here is a bit of an introduction to Dale: "Dale Gish is a Spiritual Director and Ignatian retreat director, trained through SoulFormation. He loves leading Ignatian retreats because he gets to witness God's active love and care for those praying the retreat. Dale continues to wrestle with God to know his own belovedness and see others through God's loving gaze. Dale lives in San Francisco with his wife and two teenage daughters." You can find him at His next round of training in leading the Exercises for spiritual directors will begin in late May. If you are a spiritual director and interested in this journey, email Dale at, so he can get you started in the process! And if you'd like to join us in starting Lent with our weeklong retreat (in the midst of whatever else you've going going in your daily life)--online, or in person in Colorado Springs or Nashville--you can sign up here: or at the link in our profile. And now... An Introduction to the Exercises Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises at the time of the Reformation. In a season of significant corruption in the church, Ignatius wanted to share his life-changing encounter with Jesus by praying through scripture with imaginative prayer. This prayer journey was originally designed as a 30-day retreat experience but is now more commonly prayed in daily life over 9 months. These “Ignatian” Exercises became a central spiritual practice for the Jesuits, but in recent years have taken on new life in protestant circles, becoming an interior pilgrimage rivaling the Camino. Retreatants pray an hour a day with scripture and Ignatius’ considerations, meeting regularly with a spiritual director and sometimes sharing with a small group of other retreatants. Praying an hour a day can be intimidating, but the structure of the prayers helps people use the time well, and for many, it ends up being their favorite hour each day. The prayers begin by opening to God’s loving gaze, before spending significant time praying with a scripture. The prayers conclude with an open conversation where Ignatius invites us to talk with Jesus as we would a good friend. For many people, just the chance to express to God honestly what is on their heart and mind is a transformational practice. Finally, Ignatius invites retreatants to pray the Examen once or twice a day to continue to encounter Jesus throughout the day. The retreat begins with a number of weeks of preparatory prayers focused on knowing your belovedness and then looks at our brokenness and sin in the light of God’s love. Then the remainder of the journey is praying through the gospel stories of Jesus’ birth, life, passion, death, and resurrection. On this journey, we are invited to see Jesus through the lens of his humanity, as a real person, and Jesus becomes less of an idea but a person that we deeply connect with, who we want to know, love, and serve.

Posted by Anam Cara Abbey at 2023-02-13 14:30:14 UTC