Guiding Standards for Those Who Give the Spiritual Exercises



1. Personal Spiritual Formation: Those who would give The Exercises to others will:

  • Have completed the full four “weeks” of the Spiritual Exercises under annotation 19 or 20 (testified to by the director);
  • Be in personal spiritual direction and making an annual retreat for at least two years;
  • Have discerned a call to this ministry;
  • 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 Spiritual Exercises to others will have:

  • Received basic instruction on the structure and dynamics of The Exercises;
  • Familiarity with the “text” of The Exercises;
  • A basic understanding of the study of Sacred Scripture, especially of the New Testament;
  • 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:

  • one-on-one mentoring and supervision by an experienced director through two retreats for those who give individually directed retreats;
  • mentoring by an experienced preacher for at least two retreats, for those who give conference retreats;
  • basic pastoral counseling skills;
  • 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:

  • participate annually in a conference, formal course, workshop, or other structured program on spiritual ministry;
  • do regular reading in spirituality and religion;
  • maintain on-going supervision (one-on-one, group, peer, or with the retreat director);
  • make a personal annual retreat;
  • continue to receive spiritual direction.

5. The Practice of Giving the Exercises: Those who give The Exercises to others will:

  • observe standard professional boundaries with regard to relationships, setting, place, content, etc,
  • strictly observe confidentiality (as limited by mandated reporting laws);
  • consult and refer when entering areas of unfamiliarity or non-competence (e.g. emotional or psychological disorder);
  • be faithful to the content of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises regularly reviewing the “annotations” and “rules”;
  • evaluate each retreat carefully.