This unit will assist supervisors and spiritual directors to develop a deeper appreciation of the range of theological worlds that serve as a background and context to the Spiritual Exercises. This unit explores how images of God (theological and Christological frameworks) emerged from Ignatius particular context – historical, familial, religious affiliation, educational, social, linguistic and cultural. The unit offers theoretical and historical frameworks for a responsible theological and spiritual interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises; it also offers a range of possibilities and strategies for communicating the key content in a contemporary context.

Unit code: CT8261J (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Jesuit College of Spirituality

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Learning outcomes


Describe the theological worldview(s) operative in the student’s own meaning-making system and how they have changed since Ignatius’ time and context


Analyse forces shaping Ignatius’ particular theological world


Describe and synthesise the intentional and operational images of God and self out of which those who lived in Ignatius’ time might have been operating


Evaluate the comparisons and contrast between 16th Century understanding and interpretation of the Exercises and contemporary understandings and interpretations


Create theological proposals and possibilities for reshaping the ways we interpret and give the Spiritual Exercises in a contemporary context

Unit sequence

Prohibited combinations: Can only take one of the following:
DS8261J / DS8269J CT8261J / CT8269J


Lectures, seminars, tutorials, facilitated interaction in small groups

Indicative Bibliography

  • Barry, William A. "Toward a Theology of Discernment." The Way Supplement, no. Spring (1989): 29-40.
  • Coleman, Gerald. Walking with Inigo: A Commentary on the Autobiography of St, Ignatius. Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2001.
  • Conn, W. The Desiring Self: Rooting Pastoral Counselling and Spiritual Direction in Self-Transcendence. New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1998.
  • Cusson, Gilles. Biblical Theology and the Spiritual Exercises: A Method Toward a Personal Experience of God as Accomplishing Within Us His Plan of Salvation. Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1998.
  • Dyckman, Katherine et al. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. Manwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2001.
  • Edwards, D. How God Acts: Creation, Redemption and Special Divine Action: Theology and Sciences. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Fleming, David L. What Is Ignatian Spirituality? Chicago, Ill.: Loyola Press, 2008.
  • Fleming, David L. Draw Me into your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises. St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996.
  • Hartt, J., Theological Method and Imagination. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publications, 2006,
  • Hughes, Gerard W. God of Surprises. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2008.
  • Ivens, Michael. Understanding the Spiritual Exercises. Surrey, UK: Inigo Enterprises, 1998.
  • Jones, W. Theological Worlds: Understanding the Alternative Rhythms of Christian Belief. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press,1989.
  • Leonard, Richard. Movies that Matter: Reading film through the lens of faith. Chicago, Ill. Loyola Press, 2006. (recommended for purchase)
  • May, G. The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection between Darkness and Spiritual Growth. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins, 2005.
  • McGinn, Bernard. The Presence of God. A History of Western Christian Mysticism. 5 vols. New York: Crossroad, 1991‐2012.
  • McIntosh, Mark Allen. Discernment and Truth: The Spirituality and Theology of Knowledge. "A Herder & Herder Book.". New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2004.
  • Munitiz, Joseph A., Philip Endean, and Ignatius. Personal Writings: Reminiscences, Spiritual Diary, Select Letters Including the Text of the Spiritual Exercises. Penguin Classics. London: Penguin Books, 1996.
  • Palmer, P.J. * A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life*. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
  • Rainbow Spirit Elders. Rainbow Spirit Theology: Towards an Australian Aboriginal Theology, 2nd edn. Hindmarsh, SA: ATF Press, 2007.
  • Raitt, Jill, ed. Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation. World Spirituality 17. An Encyclopaedic History of the Religious Quest. New York: Crossroad, 1987.
  • Schemel, George & Judith Roemer. Beyond Individuation to Discipleship. Scranton, PA: Institute for Contemporary Spirituality, University of Scranton, 2000.
  • Tetlow, Joseph A. and Thomas Martin Rochford. Choosing Christ in the World : Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola According to Annotations Eighteen and Nineteen: A Handbook. Series Iv--Studies on Jesuit Topics. St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1989.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

7000-word integrative essay

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-10-24 15:12:37 +1100