"And did we not brush up against some Mystery together here?
Did we not speak here as the angels speak,
in a language beyond words?
Did we not hear God singing to us?
What can compare to that, really?"
~ Paul Mariani, SJ
The Jesuit poet and literary critic Paul Mariani penned these words near the end of his graceful memoir, Thirty Days: On Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius. The 2003 book draws from a journal he kept during what is known as "The Long Retreat" when Mariani made the full 30-days of the Spiritual Exercises created by St. Ignatius Loyola.
Many more people experience the inspiration of St. Ignatius when they make a weekend retreat or an eight-date retreat. Increasing numbers of people go through a special adaption of the Exercises that takes up to six or eight months by praying an hour per day and meeting with a spiritual director regularly.
Whatever form the Spiritual Exercises take, they have a transformative power to reshape lives and unloosen an incredible freedom to respond to God's invitation to come closer.
The Central and Southern Province runs five traditional retreat houses, in St. Louis, Dallas, Denver, Grand Coteau, La. and Convent, La. An innovative program in Kansas City takes its programs out to parishes, while the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, La., welcomes individuals for directed retreats. Several of our spirituality centers offer instruction in spiritual accompaniment.